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How Customers Can Help you Build Credibility, Trust and Confidence with your Buyers

This article was contributed by Michelle Nickolaisen of TrustRadius.

Today’s B2B vendors are faced with a difficult quandary: most buyers don’t actually trust vendors. Out of the average of five sources that buyers use, the vendor’s website and representatives are ranked as less trustworthy and less influential by buyers (even below product demos, user reviews, and free trials).

Your potential customers want to get a complete picture of the product before purchasing, and many of them don’t trust a vendor’s site to provide that accuracy and honesty.

What buyers do trust is input from customers and third parties. In Demand Gen Report’s 2017 B2B Buyers Survey, 84% of buyers said they seek input from peers and existing users, and 67% of buyers said reviews were a very important consideration in the buying process. Add in that our 2018 data showed that 42% of buyers were promoters by NPS definitions, and 90% intended to renew their contracts, and you’re sitting on a well of potential that you can easily tap to create that input your potential customers are seeking.

Out of the several ways to do so (including customer references, case studies, and review programs), user reviews are often the most scalable and the most effective. It’s relatively easy to start on your own review program — here’s how you can get the ball rolling:

Determine Your Success Metrics and Set Expectations

Before you start collecting reviews, you should determine how you’ll measure the success of your review program. Will you be judging based on the number of reviews, an improvement in your Net Promoter Score, the number of leads influenced by reviews, or something else? Deciding this ahead of time lets you tailor your review program to create the kind of success you’re most interested in and lets you accurately benchmark your goals.

You’ll also want to set expectations internally and decide what kind of resources (and how many) you’ll be dedicating to the review program. Decide which team (or person) will own the review program, how many people will be working on it, and how much of their time will be spent on it.

Identify Your Customer Advocates and Start Getting Reviews

Start looking for customers who are willing to share their feedback  and might be interested in writing a review. The best way to get started here is to go broad. Research shows that buyers are especially interested in reviews from people like them, whether in terms of use case, industry, company size, or role. Because of this, you want to cast a wide net to ensure broad participation. You can add an email to your user onboarding sequences that prompts people to write a review after 2-4 weeks of being a user (or after a they undertake a certain amount of actions — set up three projects in your project management tool, etc.).

Of course, you should also be reaching out to and following up with people who engage with your brand  via social media or email. They’re great candidates to write reviews.

Bonus: Integrate Reviews Into Your Marketing

Having authentic customer reviews for your product is one step towards building trust with potential customers, but you can leverage reviews much more than that. Once you’ve started collecting customer reviews, you can use their words to influence how you craft copy, what words you use on social media, and more. In general, you want to modify your communications across multiple platforms to use the same language that your customers are using.

If you want to learn more about setting up a successful B2B review program, make sure to check out our Definitive Guide to B2B Reviews, which covers everything you need to know to create (and maintain) a five-star review program.

About the author: Michelle Nickolaisen is a content marketer based in Austin, Texas. When she’s not writing B2B trends and tips for TrustRadius, she’s usually listening to podcasts.

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