Businesses live and die by reviews; nobody buys anything anymore without reading the reviews first. And we’re not just talking about consumer goods. We’re talking about the B2B market too.
According to Demand Gen Report’s 2018 B2B Buyers Survey, 65% of buyers rate B2B software service reviews as “very important” when evaluating a setlist of solution providers. This means word-of-mouth between professionals isn’t enough for B2B businesses anymore.
So, for businesses that want to take their review game to the next level, they often have to invest resources to ensure their business gets customer reviews on the right review sites.
The reason review sites are so important to businesses is that they have high SEO rankings, which means customers will be able to find your business more easily. Review sites are also considered more trustworthy because they are third-parties and more likely to be objective.
Now you just need to find the right review site for your business and products so that you can get the right types of reviews in the right places. First, let’s talk about the two main review-site categories: B2C and B2B.
B2C Review Sites
When we think about review sites, we usually think about B2C sites like:
- Angie’s List
- Trip Advisor
I could keep going, but I’ll stop here.
All of these review sites can be further divided into categories like travel, food, service-based businesses, eCommerce, etc. So, when it comes to finding the right review sites, B2C businesses have a lot of options.
B2B Review Sites
Just like B2C, B2B review sites usually focus on an industry or only certain types of businesses. For our purposes, we’ll focus on software review sites. Here are the ones we encounter most often:
Even though it’s not technically a review site, Quora can also be a great source of information for professionals researching potential business partners.
B2C Versus B2B Review Sites
How many times have you read a review on Amazon only to find that the review was actually about another product entirely? While this is usually the exception rather than the rule, it’s a typical occurrence with B2C reviews. Since anyone is able to leave reviews about cheeseburgers to vacuums, you have to be a little more selective about what reviews you trust.
By contrast, B2B review sites are catered toward professionals, so business profiles and reviews are usually held to a higher standard. A business’ page will often feature their logo along with a business description, screenshots, downloads, specific user ratings, business comparisons, etc. All of these features make it possible for professionals to find the specific information they need. It also ensures that the reviews are relevant and reliable.
But a review is a review, right, regardless of where it’s housed? Well, not really for B2B businesses. Let me give you a scenario…
Your business provides a billing solution to other eCommerce businesses, something like…FastSpring. So, when your clients bill their customers, your business name shows up on their bank statement. While this happens all the time, some customers don’t realize the company billing their bank account is different from the business providing the actual service.
This customer then decides to leave a review on a regular B2C review site, because they are, in fact, the consumer. The only problem is that they’re leaving a review for the wrong company without realizing it.
Yes, this has happened to us…several times. So, in these types of cases on B2C review sites, you’re only as good as your worst client. And no business wants to be in that position.
But sometimes the point of confusion is less obvious. Take Trustpilot, for example. If you look at Trustpilot’s reviews on its own website, there’s a review complaining about a broken sensor and a broken dryer. Call me crazy, but Trustpilot doesn’t sell dryers or fix sensors. Since the screening process is less rigorous on B2C review sites, these types of reviews are bound to get through, even on your own review site.
So, if your business does start getting bad reviews as another business—or random crazy reviews—on B2C review sites, be proactive. Try to respond to each of the reviews with an email or phone number to help the customer understand the problem and direct them to the right business. And after you’ve clarified the confusion, be sure to encourage them to remove the false review whenever possible.
In our experience, there’s not a lot you can do about false reviews. Sure, you can contact the review site and explain your situation and hope that they’ll take it down, but that often doesn’t go anywhere. So, the best way to combat the bad, irrelevant reviews as a B2B business is to make sure your profile and reviews on B2B review sites are as good as possible.
Choosing the Right Review Site
When determining what review sites to invest your time and resources in, try to find sites that are as specific to your industry and products as possible. Then look at their Alexa rating and average monthly traffic. You want to find the sweet spot between relevance and visibility. While relevance and reliability should be your priority, you also want to make sure people can actually find your reviews online.
Customer reviews can be tricky. As business owners, there’s a constant love/hate relationship with reviews. While you always encourage customers to leave good reviews, sometimes bad ones slip in, and sometimes they just happen to be about other businesses. But just make sure you provide the best products and services you can, respond to both good and bad reviews, and hope that the good ones float to the top.