Could 2023 be the year vendors recognize the full potential of peer reviews? To get the year rolling, here are five things every enterprise tech CMO needs to know about peer reviews.
1. Even in the enterprise tech buyer space, peer reviews are here to stay. They are not going away.
You don’t have to be head over heels in love with peer reviews, but it is essential to recognize their place in the tech buyer ecosystem. In the era of the self-service buyer, vendor shortlists are being made before the prospect is even ready to engage with potential providers. On this note:
2. Buyers are taking note of insights from other reviewers. Bad reviews, in particular, should not be ignored. Of course, low-scoring reviews get attention. It’s not just prospects who read reviews. It’s also your customers. And even if your happy customers don’t bring up other reviewers’ issues, they’ll remember.
Just like in the consumer space, many people seek out reviews after buying – to provide comfort during buyer’s remorse. Even long-term, loyal enterprise customers are interested in learning from their peers about what’s new and which vendors are causing disruption. Oh, and press and analysts also read reviews. Destrier has a tested methodology that enables vendors to tackle bad reviews.
3. Approaching customers for reviews should be baked into customer success but balanced against customer fatigue. Success in reviews shouldn’t JUST be a numbers game. The always-on approach is the way forward.
Review sites have long advocated this – yet too many vendors still focus on campaigns – usually driven by a hard deadline, such as a looming deadline for inclusion in a report such as Gartner’s Peer Insights Voice of the Customer series or seasonal G2 awards. Although Gartner’s publication schedule is somewhat random, vendors should be prepped and ready. And although it’s not about sheer numbers of reviews …
4. To an extent, it really is a numbers game. Market challengers have been taking advantage of this. There are plenty of enterprise tech categories where small – or tiny – vendors are way out in front of the established players. It’s our number one source of complaints from vendors – “how can this TINY company be the category leader?” they demand.
It’s simple. Challenger vendors realize that peer review sites drive direct and indirect sales inquiries. And they’re maximizing their visibility accordingly.
5. Many vendors still underestimate the rich data from reviews. There’s so much insight on tap for sales, marketers and product management … too often overlooked. Think of reviews as near real-time feedback from your customers. They’re less of an echo chamber than a customer council or focus group – and you can also find out what your competitors’ customers are saying. Innovative vendors use reviews to position against their competitors – or identify and fix problems quickly. In short, it is all about the data.
Destrier runs enterprise peer review enablement programs for tech vendors. We’d love to tell you more.