We partnered with Reevoo, the independent review company, to get unedited, uncensored feedback from our clients. SaleCycle Head of Marketing, Chris Sheen, explains why we’ve done it and what we’ve learned in the process…
I’ll start this blog with a confession. I spend too much money online.
There, I said it. It’s right what they say; it does feel good getting things out in the open. But yes, I am an avid online shopper. I was never a big fan of shopping when I was younger – the whole high-street thing just never really appealed, and unless it was shopping in Game or All Sports (both of which I worked in as kid) ‘actual’ shopping just wasn’t for me.
Then the internet took hold. E-Commerce was so. And I was welcomed to the party. Christmas gifts, gifts for Chris, birthday presents, presents for Chris, holidays… there’s lots to be buying, and the internet is my playground.
So, What’s This Got to Do With Reviews?
Well, whether I’m purchasing something new for the wardrobe (I have a well-known obsession with Superdry), buying some stupid new gadget for my house (I have the lights you can control with your smartphone – they’re awesome!), looking for somewhere new to get a decent bite to eat (ribs, I like ribs) or looking to book my dream honeymoon (Vegas in May baby!!). In each and every one of these consumer purchasing decisions – I will seek and read reviews!
Sure, your website may claim: ‘Our Ribs Are The BEST In The Land – You’ll Never Go Anywhere Else Again!’, but Mike, 45 in London, and a self-confessed rib aficionado, says “The meat was well cooked and fell off the bone nicely, but the BBQ sauce was very disappointing. Runny and lacking in tang. Disappointing.”
Sorry Rib World, but Mike’s isn’t the only to have voiced such concerns – and until these concerns are addressed, I shall be seeking my rib feeds elsewhere.
The point I’m making is that as a consumer it’s pretty rare that I’ll make a purchase or booking online without having sought a little customer feedback. And more and more consumer brands are opening themselves up to giving just this level of openness – and the ones who haven’t, are being left behind – however good their ribs are!
It’s Time for B2B to Be Brave
Why then, when I’ve got my work hat on (sadly I don’t have a hat but stay with me) and I’m looking to invest significant amounts of money in new technologies, service providers, and agencies… is it so difficult to get that same level of openness and feedback?
$10 on a new protective iPhone cover (I really need one!) and I can read over 100 reviews telling me if it fits properly, looks as good as in the photos, still lets me use my charger dock and will be a hit with the ladies*.
$30,000 a year on a new email service provider and I’m relying on testimonials, case studies, video stories and in the very best case, one or two references from people I know and trust (not always easy to find).
* it won’t be – it’s an iPhone cover.
Making It Feel Impartial
Now case studies and testimonials are great, don’t get me wrong. We work really hard at SaleCycle producing a ton of them with our clients and I love each and every one of them. They are great at getting into the detail of a client’s experience and telling their story and how they’ve worked with the ‘supplier’ to do something great.
Videos are great too – they feel even more ‘real’ than their case study counterpart as you’re looking into the whites of the eyes of said client (shameless plug for one of ours) and hearing their experience first hand.
But, the one common factor in all these things (and I’ve not even touched upon sales brochures, presentations, one-pagers, landing pages, webinars, etc…) is that they’ve all had marketing’s hand on them. We’ve had an influence throughout.
We’ve helped write the case study. We’ve asked the questions for the video. And edited it. We’ve come up with the slick and shiny sales lines in the sales docs.
It’s all great. But does it feel completely ‘impartial’? Does it feel completely ‘independent’? In my mind, it does not.
Reevoo’s First Ever B2B Reviews
And so, we decided it was time for B2B brands to make it easier for decision makers to read real, unedited feedback from customers, all sourced completely independently and backed up with one of the world’s most well respected trustmarks, that of Reevoo.
Sure, it was slightly scary at first – “What happens if clients are mean and in a really bad mood that day?” was one of the more commonly held concerns… but “Have faith!” came the word from the top, “We all work really hard to deliver the best service we can, and if there are areas we can do better in then let’s not hide from it”.
So we didn’t.
So, What Have We Learned?
Well firstly, it’s that our customers are pretty happy with us on the whole. So that’s good, and a great boost for everyone across the company.
We’ve found out more about the stuff they like about us (campaign management team take a bow!); and arguably even more importantly the things they don’t like quite as much (stuff we’re busily working on to improve for the future).
And finally, we’ve learned that people respond to being asked for their feedback when you really want it. When it’s not lip-service, and you really care, it can be a pretty liberating process. And that’s the kind of gooey, happy stuff that I love.
It’s real. It’s genuine. And hopefully, it’s the start of the new era of B2B buying.
Take a look at www.SaleCycle.com/Reviews