The reviews are in.
B2B buyers do indeed give customer reviews a big thumbs up as decision-shaping information when buying products and services.
According to a survey by G2 Crowd, a peer-to-peer business solutions review platform provider, and Heinz Marketing, a B2B marketing and sales acceleration firm, more than 90% of decision makers said they are more likely to purchase a product or service if they have been able to read a trusted review about it.
In fact, all of the reviews don’t have to be favorable. In their 2018 Benchmark Report, The Impact of Reviews on B2B Buyers and Sellers, G2 and Heinz note that negative reviews might not be as problematic as marketers think. Of the 550 business professionals who responded to the survey, 67% actually want to see a good mix of positive and negative reviews. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said that negative reviews “help provide depth and insight to a product.” Almost 40% said negative reviews actually build product credibility.
Good or bad, B2B buyers want reviews to be fairly current. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they find reviews more valuable if they were generated during the previous three months. Product reviews are considered at all stages of the buyer’s journey. 70% of the respondents said they read reviews during the consideration stage. Half will reference them during later stages in the buying process.
B2B buyers read a number of reviews to get a bigger picture of the products and services they’re considering. 61% of those surveyed reported that they will look at 11 to 50 different reviews. A fifth of the respondents said they’ll read 1 to 10 reviews.
Review sites are visited by a majority of B2B buyers seeking unbiased information. According to the survey, 60% of buyers use review sites, with 82% ranking them as valuable research tools.
Despite the interest that B2B buyers have in product reviews, fewer than half of companies include reviews in their marketing mix, the survey discovered. And only one of five companies that do not share reviews with buyers are planning to do so.
The G2 and Heinz study suggests these companies are missing an effective marketing opportunity. Almost 70 of the companies that include reviews in their go-to-market strategy gave them a value rating between 5 and a very-valuable 7. Almost the same percentage said the importance of using reviews in their marketing has increased in the last two years.
Reviews are used in multiple ways, respondents said. In addition to using them as testimonials and case studies (52%), companies rely on reviews to:
To see more results from the survey and to discover the best-practices for using customer reviews to market products and services, download the benchmark report.