The B2B products and services sector is massive. It includes tools, equipment, motors, hardware machines, office supplies, and many other items without which the infrastructure and functioning of other industries might suffer a severe dent. But it has stayed away from modern marketing ploys like user generated content and referral programs owing to its longer life cycle and higher price range. But no business exists without loyal customers who will refer your products to their peers. Here we’ll talk about these two keys to B2B advocate marketing: reviews and referrals.
It’s very natural that people want to know everything in detail about the products that they are buying. Whether it’s a printer, desk, or industrial vacuum, buyers need to know about durability and reliability.
While ordinary B2C consumers have their own concerns about the products they buy, they’re responsible to only themselves or, at most, their families. Business buyers, however, have entire organizations that rely on their decisions. Think of an office manager tasked with getting new chairs for 50 people, or an IT team leader who needs their project to be on time and under budget.
These buyers need to make reliable purchases. They need a sense of trust and the credibility that comes with authentic user generated content from people like them.
That’s where B2B advocate marketing in the form of ratings and reviews plays a huge role. The significance of ratings and reviews lies in the fact that they act as social proof. When more and more people are sharing good reviews about your products or services, trust in your business increases. The following graph shows how the number of stars in reviews directly affects the number of orders for a given product.
For more information about ratings and reviews, take a look at our brand new white paper answering your top ratings and reviews questions! Or, read our ratings and reviews best practices ebook!
The trust and reliability factor discussed above can also be addressed through sharing and referral solutions. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend or colleague.
Some people associate referral marketing with quick discounts, which can be a valid tactic for certain B2B marketers. However, sharing and referrals cover a flexible range of solutions that have different configurations. You can make the incentive for referring, sharing, and buying be anything you’d like!
If your B2B business has an AOV of, for example, $100, maybe a 10% referral discount makes sense. If you sell expensive software or machinery, perhaps the incentive should be something like 3 months of free maintenance and support.
Word of mouth marketing solutions have the adaptability to generate impressive ROI across many verticals. In our most recent case study, for example, a footwear manufacturer is seeing a 10:1 ROI and a 38% increase in orders over 1 year thanks to our Sharing and Referrals and Social Login solutions!
B2B marketing professionals as a whole have to understand that the benefits of reviews and referral programs are immense and many other industries are benefiting from them. Given that a fair amount of industrial and business supply companies sell to both the B2C and B2B markets, there’s a dual purpose that each of these tactics can serve.
Don’t forget that both reviews and referrals can be enhanced with omni-channel components. Find out more about offline reviews here, and get all the details on omni-channel reviews in this post!