Let me explain.
If we just think about how we buy in our personal lives, whether it is selecting a hotel for your family’s vacation or buying a new gadget, we seek the opinions of our peers and we typically look for reviews from other consumers before we buy.
The same trend is happening in B2B. Business technology buyers have increasingly adopted consumer-like behavior as they evaluate products. They now complete more than half of their evaluation process before contacting you, and they seek and trust opinions from other users ahead of vendors and analysts. In fact, two-thirds search online for peer reviews or testimonials.
How should you market and sell to this new breed of prospect?
The strategy is quite simple. You need to elevate the voice of your customers. You need to put the voice of your customers in every aspect of your go-to-market strategy. That is what will resonate at every step of the buyer’s journey.
So why aren’t you encouraging your customers to speak authentically on your behalf?
You are your own biggest obstacle to transparency.
As B2B product marketers, we have historically micromanaged the flow of information to prospects. We are used to carefully crafted value propositions conveyed through highly produced marketing communications, salespeople trained to convey a standardized message, and tightly managed reference programs that gate access to customers.
Some of us have also become complacent. Despite having hundreds or even thousands of users, we are satisfied when we have a few dozen case studies and references.
But more importantly, almost all of us are afraid to give up control. Letting are customer openly and candidly share what they think about our software is nerve wracking. Truth is, we fear for our job security. What if one of the review is less than stellar?
It’s actually not a bad thing. As consumers, we’ve inherent distrust of content that just looks too good. Many studies have shown that when the language is too positive or the rating is too high, consumers don’t trust in the content. Ultimately, the reason your prospects are turning to user reviews is that they care about product benefits, but they are just as interested in limitations.
Change is not easy. However, faced with a new buyer’s journey, you don’t have any other choice — you must change. Your users are already sharing insights and telling your story in their own words. And your prospects are listening, whether or not you tap into the conversation.
So this year, invite your customers to share their voice, and thank them for their open and honest feedback.