I’ll cut to the chase here. 

Reviews are important. People read them, they seek them out. I don’t think I need to tell you that. Review providers, UX thought leaders, and consumer behavior statisticians have been writing and analyzing their significance for years.  

They’ve become a staple of purchase journeys across the world. Whether you’re looking for a new set of pans online, you’re downloading a new app to your phone, or you’re researching a doctor for your next physical visit. Customer reviews have become integral in how we make purchase decisions as consumers. 

And it’s not just our day-to-day purchases that have been influenced; Even the five- and six-figure decisions we make on our next software purchase for our company gets researched. In fact, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. 

Some might say it’s a hot take, but it appears that nearly every facet of our purchasing lives has some degree of seeking out feedback before making a decision. 

In this article, we’re going to unpack exactly how and why reviews took top billing for purchase influence, and what you need to do now to get on board. Specifically, this article will answer:

  • Why reviews and customer feedback are so integral in today’s purchase journey
  • What makes reviews specifically valuable for the readers and their requesters
  • How you can collect more reviews
  • How you can maximize review submissions 
  • How you can leverage those reviews for sales and marketing efforts

As G2 is a B2B reviews site, this article will focus on B2B strategies, but a lot of these same approaches are grounded in user behavior in the world of B2C. 

Let’s get started.

Why do reviews really matter? 

Have you ever asked yourself:

This might sting, but it’s time you hear it: your customers and prospects don’t trust you. And we’ve got the data to prove it.

But nobody’s going to spend money unless they feel relatively confident they won’t be taken advantage of or cheated. So it’s not that your prospects aren’t buying, more that if they don’t trust you, they’ll just find other sources of information they can trust— and ideally, a source that can give them an idea of what their experience would be like as a customer. What better place to get these authentic insights than from customer reviews? In fact, 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

There’s been a shift in how buyers determine which sellers deserve their business — and at this point, transparency is table stakes. If receiving feedback and getting authentic customer testimonials from your audience is integral to the strategies and plays you and your team are running, reviews are a perfect place to start. 

What makes a review valuable?

But why are reviews so valuable? Why are they ranked higher than nearly all other forms of purchase information?

For users

Reviews provide prospective buyers (of any type) with a huge gift: they hear directly from someone that has used or experienced whatever it is that they’re buying. What’s more, reviews now have identifiers and filters for job title, location, company size, and more to further help buyers find feedback that is relevant to their specific situation. 

And with an ideal mix of reviews ranging from 1 – 5 stars, your prospective buyers are getting the opportunity to receive candid feedback that will help them make a confident buying decision and ideally become a longtime customer of yours. 

For companies

For the folks asking for and receiving reviews, what makes these pieces of content so valuable for them? Reviews are a pulse check on your current (and previous) customers’ sentiment about your product and the experiences associated with it. 

  • For Marketing: Reviews can be integral to your overall strategy. They can be used as automatic, trusted assets for campaigns, and they can inform your value proposition — and position yourself more competitively.
  • For Product: They can surface nuggets of valuable information you can use in your discovery processes and truly ensure you’re listening to your customers when building and enhancing your products — and be proactive about critical UX updates. 
  • For Customer Success: Asking for and receiving feedback adds a touchpoint to your engagement strategy with your customers and enables you to get a pulse check on your customer’s sentiment with their experience — and ideally prevent churn. 
  • For Sales: You get a treasure chest of customer testimonials to leverage when speaking to prospects to drive deals forward — and reestablish that critical trust with your buyers.

They’re valuable for everyone! 

How to collect reviews

It’s worth noting that all review collection strategies are not perfect for everyone — just like all products, industries, and customers are not made equally, review collection strategy can’t possibly be a one-size-fits-all. We encourage you to work with your CSM if you’re a G2 customer or discuss with your internal teams about the channels and strategies that work best to reach your users. But below are a few tried-and-true approaches to get you started as you build your strategy.

Run a review campaign through your reviews provider

If you’re working with a review vendor like G2.com, your customer success rep can help you set up a landing page and have G2 manage the review collection for you. Just provide us with a list of customers to reach out to and we’ll take care of the rest. 

Ask for reviews within your platform or on your website

Are you using a chatbot or engagement tool with your customers? If so, take a page from the many apps you use and ask for feedback while someone is using your platform. Your product will be top of mind for them and they’ll likely be able to share specific feedback with you that might help your internal teams create an overall better experience for your users. 

Set up automatic triggers for always-on review collection

Are there milestones customers hit that would be a perfect time to ask for their feedback and a review? Work with your Operations teams to identify those moments and set up a simple email campaign that allows you to ask for a review automatically when someone meets the criteria you decide on. 

Some of these customer milestones could include: 

Don’t just target the Promoters! Ask all of your customers for feedback if they’re engaging with you and providing feedback. It will show that you care about their opinion and you take their feedback seriously enough to display it externally. 

Leverage current marketing initiatives 

Review requests don’t need to be their own separate project from the initiatives you’re already working on. Find ways to ask for reviews as a supplement to existing campaigns. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Do you have an upcoming virtual event? Set up a virtual review booth to encourage your visitors to write a review while your company and product are top of mind. 
  • Are you running a customer-focused webinar? Have your call to action be: ‘Submit a Review.’
  • Do you have a customer advisory board? Ask the attendees to share their feedback and thoughts via reviews so others can benefit from their insights and experience. What’s more, if you meet regularly, ask your customers to update their review to ensure you always have the freshest perspectives available to future buyers.

Don’t stop there! This is just the start of ideas you can do to collect more reviews from your customers (and keep them flowing in). Set up a brainstorm session with your team and see what other ideas you can come up with to gather more customer voice content. 

Maximizing review submission

 There are many ways to collect reviews, but how and when you make your ask can either maximize — or tank — the volume of reviews you actually get.  Below are a few quick tactics that can have a major impact on your collection efforts:

Messaging

There are always options to provide incentives to your customers like gift cards to encourage them to write reviews. But don’t overlook the impact a well-executed organic tactic can have when done right! Before you throw in the towel on non-incentivized review collection, try adjusting the messaging around why you’re asking for a review so that it resonates with the reviewer. Here are some examples:

Be truthful with your customers about why feedback matters to your company and how their input can help their company as well as future customers. Paired with a memorable experience and strategic timing, you’ll collect a breadth of reviews that will help your future customers make better, faster decisions and help your internal teams create meaningful change that is truly customer-driven.

Timing

Previously, we covered instances in a customer lifecycle when your buyers are most likely to give feedback. Why do those milestones usually make sense? Because your product — and hopefully a positive experience — are both top of mind for them after each. However, timing can also work against you when done wrong.

If the implementation is generally a cumbersome process, or you’ve been asking a lot of your customers lately in other ways (comarketing, extra meetings, contract back-and-forth, etc.), asking for even more from them may come off inconsiderate — or even audacious. Consider the mindset of your customers before asking for reviews, in order to make sure you’re asking them for a favor right when they’re ripe to do you one. 

Action

Make it clear that you take reviews seriously and their feedback will be widely used. Highlight review snippets on social media or your website, respond to a review publicly, or send a thank you to a customer who provided feedback. Especially if this feedback was used to improve the product experience, to show your reviewers that you appreciate the time they spent to leave you a review, and that it’s driving value for your business and companies like theirs. 

Leveraging reviews 

Now that your review engine is turned on, how do you make the most of what you’ve collected from your customers, and leverage it in your awareness, pipeline, and revenue-driving activities? Similarly to collecting reviews, the sky’s the limit when you have a plethora of authentic feedback coming in from your customers, but below are a few ideas to get you started:

In sales tools

To use in sales tools:

On your website

When you’re on your website, consider the following:

On social

When on social media, consider the following:

There are a ton of ways you can leverage reviews across your marketing and sales efforts. Once you’ve started your reviews engine, continuing to collect fresh content and enhance the ways you highlight your customers’ voices to the market will become second nature.

Conclusion

Once you start collecting reviews efficiently, effectively, and using them internally to drive value externally to your customers (and highlighting them in the process!) you’ll create an always-on feedback loop: capturing reviews, leveraging reviews to create better products, using reviews to tell your story externally, closing new customers, and capturing reviews from them to start the process all over again. 

Be on the lookout for Part II of our UGC series about the power of negative reviews, coming soon.