The process of moving B2B prospects through your sales cycle takes time. It’s unlikely that someone is going to purchase off the back of a single touchpoint, as that decision is probably being vetted by the business. As this process can take a long time, it’s even more important to provide relevant content to help nurture a prospect along.
Do your prospects trust that your product will work for them?
Testimonials can really help build trust, and are extremely valuable. Generally, B2B buyers tend to be more suspicious, and are more likely to question case studies, white papers and social media, as these are typically written by a company whose interest is in self-promotion. As a B2B marketer, there is a fine line between being self promoting and being an objective observer.
In gathering testimonials from your customers, and encouraging them to speak about their encounter with your business, you will be harnessing their enthusiasm and credibility and using it to your advantage. Equally, this first person review will also be more engaging and compelling than a case study you have written in house. These testimonials formats are not limited, and could come in different formats, be it a video, review or quote to put on your website.
According to a study by Nielsen, “92% of the study trusted recommendations from their peers and 70% would trust a recommendation from a stranger”.
There are other benefits to doing this as well. Generating your own articles and case studies can take large amounts of resources… especially if you have a lengthy approval process. With customer testimonials however, it is far less resource intensive.
Overall, testimonials are a really powerful tool to help drive home those sales. Here are some things to consider when acquiring customer testimonials:
Know when to ask
There’s no point asking in the middle of a project or if the product hasn’t been being used for very long. Ask after the buyer has implemented a complete service solution, received the final product, or achieved a significant business win.
Ask the right person
Think about the customer who was most involved in the process. You may find that you have several people who would all be relevant and willing to write one for you, and there is nothing wrong with having multiple testimonials from the same business as it helps gain perspective from all angles. Some of the best testimonials happen when you have feedback from across a business.
Use the right content format
Different target audiences will prefer different content formats and deliveries.
Help them out
Often when you ask for a testimonial from a client, it can be quite a daunting experience for them in terms of knowing what to say. If you can provide them with guides around what you’re looking for, by giving a template, or specific length or questions, you will greatly improve your chances of getting something useful.
Showing your appreciation is a really important thing to remember. Don’t just email them back; pick up the phone or send a handwritten note. Emails can be fairly impersonal, and it validates their efforts more by using a different reward method.
As well as saying thank you, you should show your client how and where their testimonial will be used. Try and get a business logo or, if they are willing, a picture of themselves. Once you have permission, use that content across all the relevant channels you can!