Customer reviews can make or break a sale. And consumers are taking the practice of scouring reviews on Amazon and Yelp, and putting it to use before making important B2B software purchases.
Consulting reviews has become a critical part of the B2B software marketing funnel. It’s estimated that as much as 57% of the buying decision process is already completed by the time a buyer contacts a sales representative, making it so critical that all points of contact prior to that are informational and factual.
Despite common thought, a list of 100% positive reviews isn’t what the majority of B2B decision makers are looking for from software vendors. Over half (52%) reported to Capterra, a software review firm, that they actually trust a brand more if there are some negative reviews posted online about the software.
According to data from Software Advice, 75% of buyers consult at least one review before making a purchase decision for business software. In fact, Capterra found that 63% of buyers looking for business software through their platform wanted to read at least six reviews before making a buying decision. For large companies, online reviews are even more important with 87% of companies with more than 500-full time employees consulting online reviews prior to a purchase.
Research also shows that the type of review matters to the B2B decision makers. As with personal buying decisions, 56% of B2B decision makers are more likely to trust a review that comes from a friend or colleague they already know. What’s more, according to Capterra 76% of B2B buyers have asked a friend or colleague directly for advice on a business software buy. Plus, those that researched and read reviews prior to making a decision were much happier with their B2B software choice. Software Advice reports that buyers who consulted online reviews prior to purchase were 15% more satisfied with their purchases compared to those who didn’t consult online reviews.
Location and time matter to B2B decision makers as well. Reviews posted directly on a software company’s website are considered less trustworthy. Capterra’s survey showed that 40% of business software buyers believed reviews on a software vendor’s website were less trustworthy than other places. Software Advice reports that a staggering 99% of buyers do not trust a review that is more than year old. Seventy-one percent discredit a review that is more than six months old.
If the studies about B2B reviews have offer any wisdom, it’s that marketers should worry less about having a pristine review record and more about getting reviews out there from third-parties. In the software world, everything changes so rapidly that vendors and marketers need to keep reviews as fresh as software updates.