Technology Buyers Feel More Confident After Reading Reviews￼
The buyers’ journey to find the perfect technology match is not the same as it used to be. When options were limited and information was selectively shared, buyers were content with settling. The journey was linear and predictable, but not anymore. In today’s marketplace, your potential customers have specific needs that must be met, and they will put in the work to find a vendor that meets their expectations.
In fact, business technology buyers are consulting more independent resources than ever to find validation in their decision before contacting a sales representative. According to our latest research, the 2023 B2B Buying Disconnect Report: The Self-Serve Economy is Prove It or Lose It, buyers reported that the top five most common resources consulted are expected to be through self-service. Those sources are:
- Product demos
- User reviews
- Their own prior experience
- Free trials or accounts
- Vendor or product websites
While most of these have continued to be the most-used resources over the past several years, the rank that each has over buyer confidence in their purchasing selection has shifted. However, user reviews continue to be in the top three commonly used sources of information, and a user’s own prior experience has made its debut in the top five.
The top three things buyers are consulting: product demos (58%), user reviews (54%), and their own prior experience (51%).
Business technology buyers are clearly finding value in reviews, but how do they gain confidence in their evaluation or decision? And once they feel confident, what do they do after reading reviews?
Reviews stimulate confidence
Reviews are one of the most influential sources of information because they are written by customers who have a realistic and relevant viewpoint. Of the 1,604 surveyed buyers, 52% said that vendors who offer user reviews make them more likely to purchase.
With so many technology solutions available on the market, today’s buyers are searching for clarity and reassurance that they are narrowing their options down to a viable solution. They want to hear from people like them to uncover relatable challenges and learn where your technology measurably helped. In a world where buyers have to prove the ROI of technology to a committee before they purchase it, buyers use reviews to find validation.
When do buyers become less confident after reading reviews?
Only 9% of buyers look at how many reviews a vendor has. Most buyers are more concerned with the quality of reviews and use cases, and most want full transparency in both capabilities and limitations. The buyers who are less confident about their decision likely learned something new throughout their evaluation, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Reviews can challenge assumptions about a product, revealing shortcomings that may be deal-breakers, and overall, helping buyers make the right decisions. The critical benefit of this to you? Fewer customers facing buyer’s remorse down the road.
So, reviews were read—what happens next?
We know the buyer journey today is nonlinear. Buyers conduct independent research, talk to sales reps, get hands-on experience through a free trial, revisit research, and attempt to nudge forward through a comprehensive investigation. From discovery to evaluation to selection, buyers repeat actions during multiple phases of their process for different purposes. What’s the common denominator throughout each of their steps? Reviews. According to research from our 2023 B2B Buying Disconnect Report, buyers list “Reviews are relatable to me” as the most important factor (23%) in driving their next move.
But reviews are not just for research. Reviews lead to real action. Vendors using TrustRadius see a 35-70% rise in traffic and conversions when adding reviews to social media, landing pages, and their own websites. With those numbers, it’s not hard to see how important social proof is to buyers.
Enable buyer confidence with a solid review strategy
Even though buyers are extremely skeptical of sales and marketing messages today, the most impactful thing marketers can do to change this dynamic is infuse customer voice within their messaging. Using a trusted third-party decisioning platform like TrustRadius helps brands differentiate and align their messaging to in-market buyers, giving a better idea of not only your products, but also your brand as a whole.
But marketers are still missing the mark on leveraging reviews. Why? Our latest research shows only 35% of surveyed technology vendors perceive user reviews as impactful for moving buyers along in their journey, while 61% of buyers say they’re an impactful resource. That’s a big disconnect.
Now that you understand how important reviews are in the buyer’s journey, what buyers are looking for, and why, you have the potential to truly level up your review strategy.
Are you ready to boost buyer confidence in your brand and products? Check out how to get quality B2B reviews, our 10x educational pillar page on driving quality reviews you can trust.