Third-party review sites like G2 Crowd have generally alleviated questions about B2B software and services companies’ reliability and authenticity, but new research from B2B ratings and reviews platform Clutch reveals that B2B buyers still have issues with vendors—mainly when it comes to finding transparent information about cost when reviewing these sellers’ websites.
One in four B2B buyers (25 percent) rank transparent cost information as the most important element of a software or services company’s website, followed by case studies/testimonials (23 percent) and immediate access to information (17 percent).
The report shows that B2B services and software companies must proactively build trust with customers through their online presence. B2B buyers use increasingly more information sources to evaluate both services and software, though.
Thirty percent of B2B buyers now rely on more information sources—search engines, industry-specific content (e.g., blogs, whitepapers, etc.), and online reviews—to hire a business services provider compared to previous experiences. Similarly, more than 1 in 4 B2B buyers (26 percent) rely on more information sources to invest in software than in the past.
“Ensure your brand story, in the form of reviews, ratings, or references, is available in as many forms and across as many sites as is relevant,” said Eric Quanstrom, CMO at Cience, a lead generation company in California, in a news release.
Companies offering business services or software should work to increase trust across their whole online presence—not just their website.
Nearly all B2B buyers use online reviews to evaluate purchases
The survey found that 94 percent of B2B buyers have used an online review to help make a B2B buying decision. Furthermore, nearly half of B2B buyers (47 percent) read at least six reviews in the process.
Not all reviews are created equal, however. Half of B2B buyers (50 percent) say the validity of an online review is more important than its overall score (22 percent) or recency (11 percent).
“There’s so much ‘noise’ on the internet that it’s challenging to find good, honest, reliable reviews about vendors,” said Greg Fung, North American partner specialist team manager for HubSpot, a marketing software company, in the release. “However, there are usually a few trusted review sites for most industries, and it’s well worth a vendor’s time, attention, and resources to show their best selves in those arenas.”
B2B buyers most commonly read online reviews on companies’ websites (68 percent), followed by search engines (61 percent) and B2B ratings and reviews sites (53 percent).
Third-party platforms, such as a B2B ratings and reviews site, can be a better source of unbiased, holistic reviews of a service or software compared to a company’s website.
Clutch surveyed 451 employees who were involved in helping their business hire a service provider or invest in software in the past 12 months.