TrustRadius on how to make peer reviews matter for B2B buyers

SUMMARY:

Customer reviews are a huge factor in B2C buying. But can B2B peer reviews reach the same level of relevance? TrustRadius says yes – here’s how they’re doing it.

customer-phone-reviewPeer review sites have gained in popularity. Done right, they help buyers figure out what product is right for them by learning what current customers think. It’s an effective tactic in the B2C space and has the potential to be more effective for B2B.

A little over four years into the peer review business, TrustRadius believes it has found the business model that B2B organizations need to truly activate the voice of its customers.

Driving the best peer reviews is important

As Bertrand Hazard, VP Marketing at TrustRadius points out, selecting a technology can be a career affecting decision. So you want to know the product you are recommending is the best one.

I look for reviews on products before I buy them, not just for personal use, but also marketing software I am tasked with recommending. Knowing what others think about the software they use can tell me a lot about how it will work for my company. And regardless of whether that product is licensed software or subscription-based, it’s still a big decision with many implications.

To help decision makers, TrustRadius has created a detailed review process for B2B software. Hazard said the software reviews on his site are approximately 400 words, which compared to the average 46 words for a B2C review is fairly extensive. The head of research developed a set of seven core questions and then spent time trying to figure out how to ask them and how to motivate people to answer them. Reviewers are authenticated using LinkedIn but can be anonymous if they want.

Once a review is completed, it goes through an internal review, and the team can always go back and ask the reviewer for more information. Hazard said they have a base of 50 different questions they can work with to get the best information.

Something else nice with TrustRadius reviews is the ability to go back and update a review. Usage does evolve, as does software, so it’s good to be able to make changes to reflect how the software is currently used.

A review site focused on customer reviews

Hazard said that TrustRadius focuses on helping brands leverage their customers’ voices. They want to be the most trusted review site, and for them, that means focusing on the reviews alone. You won’t find any advertisements or other lead generation tactics on the website, something Hazard believes affects the view of “trustworthiness.”

But there’s more here than striving to be the best review site for buyers. TrustRadius offers a set of features for brands that help them pull reviews into their website in a targeted, contextual way.

TrustRadius isn’t pay for play. It’s free to claim product listing and drive your customers to review it. But if you want to go further, then you are signing up for a paid relationship, and there are a few things you can do.

For starters, you can engage the customer success team to run campaigns on your behalf that get people to review your site. It’s also good to know that you can customize the questions sent to reviewers to support your particular product or solution.

Once you have reviews on the site, you have access to them from a backend portal. Here you can highlight sections of a review for quotes, and tag and categorize reviews. Ultimately, what you have is a library of quotes and a way to select reviews using tags.

What can you do with all this? You can place a syndication widget on certain pages of your website that show different reviews in real time. For example, you can have a landing page for one product and show only reviews for that product. You can have another set of reviews on your product page. You can also show a set of reviews that note that your product was selected over a competitor’s. It’s all in how you tag your reviews.

Visitors still must click the review to go to the TrustRadius website to read the full review. Hazard noted one customer that increased conversions by 35% using this widget and another increased trial demos by 25%.

Another product from TrustRadius is a product or vertical TrustReport. This report includes reviews to support a product, a vertical, or a specific campaign. The reports are licensed for a year, and you offer them on your website. Hazard talked about brands that were planning events several months that were able to prepare a widget or a report that was ready to launch with the campaign.

So far, these TrustRadius products have been marketing related. But there’s also integration with Salesforce that enables the Sales team to view reviews within the Salesforce environment. You can push a tagged review to the lead, contact or opportunity level. Seeing these reviews in Salesforce gives you easy access to select them and paste them into Sales emails.

For TrustRadius, these offerings are focused on helping customers bring the voice of the customer into their buyer’s journey to establish credibility and trust, and ultimately, help increase conversions.

Reviews can do more than that. They can help brands identify new use cases for their product, learn what may be missing or what needs to be improved. They can also help improve product messaging because you are learning how customers speak about your product

It’s all about the review

The best peer review sites are going to understand the importance of the content in their reviews. That’s why the process to ensure reviews are accurate and from a real person actually using the product is critical.

With TrustRadius, reviewers have the option to be anonymous. They can also change that option at a later date, even requesting to have a review removed if they want (although in most cases, Hazard said anonymizing the review is all that’s required).

Reviewers also know their reviews can end up on brand websites and if necessary, can be removed (it’s a little more difficult with a PDF report, but it can be done).

My take

It seems like yesterday when I talked with Michael Fauscette about his new role as Chief Research Officer with G2 Crowd. In reality, it’s been over a year and a half. G2 Crowd does provide Salesforce integration, but also focuses its efforts into research and data reports, equally useful to brands who understand the value of customer reviews.

The difference appears to be in their focus. TrustRadius wants to be known as a company that offers a customer voice platform, one that enables companies to take that voice to their websites. G2 Crowd focuses on making the buying decision as smooth as possible and providing organizations with information to improve their products and marketing.

In the end, though, both require the content of reviews be accurate and honest and full of enough details that a buyer can make an educated decision.

Image credit - Online Reviews Evaluation time for review Inspection Assessment Auditing © adiruch na chiangmai - Fotolia.com

Disclosure - Diginomica has no financial ties with TrustRadius.

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