Customer testimonials in B2B: a powerful marketing lever

 

As an individual, you are no doubt aware of the considerable influence of consumer opinions on our purchasing decisions. Who hasn't chosen a hotel or a new dishwasher based on their ratings and comments?

While customer recommendations are recognized as an effective sales technique in B2C, they are also a powerful marketing lever in B2B, although they are still under-exploited. However, professionals who are satisfied with your products or services are your company's best ambassadors. Discover how to set up a customer testimonial strategy to reassure and convert your prospects, while improving your visibility on the Internet.

What are the advantages of customer reviews in B2B marketing?

Power of persuasion based on social evidence

 

Developed by the American psychologist Robert Cialdini in his reference work " Influence and Manipulation ", the concept of social proof can be summarized as follows: " Dans doubt, an individual tends to rely on the opinion of groupe ". According to this psycho-sociological principle, we adopt the behaviour or point of view of our peers when we do not know what to do or think. For example, a deserted restaurant will look suspicious, whereas a busy establishment will inspire more confidence!

Social proof has long been used in B2C marketing, especially through word of mouth. Online reviews are just the digital version of this age-old, but still a very effective sales technique. In a context of growing consumer mistrust of brands and advertising, customer testimonials appear all the more as a source of objective, credible and authentic information.

According to an IFOP study, 9 out of 10 French people consult the comments of previous buyers before ordering a product or service. Chances are, you yourself are one of them! Positive feedback helps reassure the prospect and help him or her progress in the buying process. For example, the presence of customer testimonials on a website multiplies the conversion rate by 3, and by 4.5 over 50 reviews (sources: Reevoo and Bazarvoice).

 

A decisive factor in generating and converting B2B leads

 

Customer opinions are just as important in the B2B sector, if not more so. Purchasing processes in B2B are longer than in B2C and require more thought in order to avoid a mistake that could have serious repercussions. The B2B prospect, who is committing his professional reputation and often a large budget, is looking for elements of reassurance to exorcise his fear of a bad investment. The client returns will give him the confidence he needs to make the right choices and take a serene decision.

As a long-term marketing tool, customer testimonials are used at every stage of the purchasing process:

  • During the search phase, the presence of customer reviews improves the natural referencing of your site and promotes traffic. The stars displayed in rich snippets under the url in the results page increase the click rate by up to 35% (source: CXL).
  • During the discovery phase, the prospect will read the comments to get information about the benefits of your products or services.
  • In the decision phase, the recommendations will support the future buyer in his choice and increase the conversion rate.
  • Finally, after the purchase, the publication of the testimonial helps to enhance the value and loyalty of the satisfied customer.

According to several consulting firms, 84% of executives are influenced by customer testimonials in their B2B purchasing process and peer recommendation is the primary decision factor. However, currently only one B2B company out of 5 integrates customer reviews into its marketing strategy! The implementation of this process therefore represents a significant competitive advantage and a powerful growth lever for your business... provided that you respect certain rules that we will detail below.

What is an effective customer recommendation?

An authentic and credible opinion that the prospect can identify with

 

A customer testimonial only carries weight if it comes from a real and trustworthy person. Anonymous comments or comments that only include the witness's initials are therefore to be avoided. A strong recommendation must specify all the elements that allow the author to be identified: full name, job title, company name and logo, website url, link to the LinkedIn profile, etc. Although optional, a photo is a plus because it attracts attention and reinforces the credibility of the speech.

The recipe for a good customer testimonial has three essential ingredients: similarity, the problem and the solution.

  • Similarity helps the prospect to project himself and identify with the witness through commonalities such as profession or industry.
  • The statement of the problem encountered by the client accentuates this feeling of complicity by allowing the reader to recognize himself in the situation described.
  • The solution outlines how you have met its needs, specifying the methods or products used and highlighting your expertise.

Be careful not to overdo it: a torrent of praise can indeed arouse the suspicion of your visitors and drive them away. A convincing recommendation must deliver useful and objective information to provide the potential customer with real added value.

 

Relevant content to be declined in different forms

 

In addition to traditional commentary, there are several types of customer testimonials that can be used in written, audio or video format. For example, you can write a blog article based on a customer review that you incorporate into the text. It is also a great opportunity to work on your search engine positioning to generate qualified traffic. Another possibility is to conduct an interview in the form of an article, video or podcast. A win-win strategy for both you and your client that will be highlighted and will benefit from better visibility.

A good way to add value to a customer opinion in B2B is also to create a case study. In it, you will explain the details of the assignment from start to finish: description and analysis of the client's needs, drawing up the specifications, project stages, equipment and techniques used, objectives achieved, etc. This type of content proves to be very effective in convincing and reassuring prospects faced with a similar problem. Like blog articles, case studies help improve your natural referencing and can also generate leads if they are downloadable in exchange for an email address.

 

A strategic position and multi-channel distribution

 

For maximum efficiency, use your customer testimonials onall your communication media:

  • website ;
  • social networks ;
  • press releases ;
  • newsletters and email marketing campaigns;
  • print publications (company brochure, flyers, printed advertisements...) ;
  • presentation for a trade show, etc.

On your website, be sure to place the recommendations in strategic locations to provide an optimal customer experience. Highlight a few positive reviews on the home page, usually the most visited. You can also create a dedicated testimonial page, or integrate feedback on each sales page related to the product or service described.

How to get customer testimonials in B2B?

Contacting satisfied customers to ask for their opinion

 

The human brain tends to focus more on the negative than the positive. We never talk about trains arriving on time, and good news sells less than bad! This cognitive bias means that an unhappy customer will spontaneously express it to you, whereas someone who is happy with the way things went may not have the reflex to tell you.

You should therefore get into the habit of soliciting customer feedback, ideally at a key moment in the business relationship: presentation of project results, contract renewal, annual satisfaction survey, etc. Whether by e-mail, telephone or face-to-face, it is important to clearly specify the reason and purpose of your approach to maximize your chances of return. Don't simply ask your contact person if they are satisfied, at the risk of getting a comment that is too vague and therefore much less impactful. You must guide the testimonial by asking relevant questions about the service delivered: quality, deadlines, responsiveness, relational, skills, etc.

 

Choosing a B2B customer recommendation platform

 

For your convenience, it is convenient to use a customer testimonial collection solution. The Internet is full of consumer review sites designed for B2C (Tripadvisor, Verified Reviews, Truspilot, Google My Business...) and e-commerce is all about buyer feedback. On the other hand, the B2B sector is lagging behind.

The agency Autour de l'Image has chosen Trustfolio, the number one trusted third party for authenticating and enhancing customer testimonials in B2B. This Lyon-based start-up offers an optimised recommendation process thanks to numerous functionalities:

  • collection of authenticated opinions via import or invitation, without obligation to create an account;
  • multi-channel broadcasting: sharing on social networks, badges for email signatures, integration to your website ;
  • customer follow-up: identification of detractors and ambassadors, re-invitation, one-click thanks;
  • co-optation: post-recommendation contact request ;
  • production of various contents: writing client case studies, written interviews, videos, thematic articles, etc.

Your company has a dedicated Trustfolio profile that appears on the first page of Google and attracts up to 200 unique visitors per month, allowing you to increase your visibility. Your site conversion increases by up to 41% and half of the testimonial customers co-opt a prospect, boosting your sales - and your turnover!

 

About the author

Philippe Rigault

Philippe Rigault is the founding President of the agency Autour de l'Image. He assists clients in the development and animation of their communication strategy, combining advice, creativity, mentoring and common sense. Autour de l'Image is a global communication agency that simplifies the life of entrepreneurs. It brings together all the communication and marketing skills needed to develop sales and brand awareness.

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