When a business is on the verge of making a major investment, there is a lot of risk involved. If done right, it can be the key to a successful future. But if an investment does not deliver, it can be a long-term nightmare that will slow down a business for years to come.
With this in mind, it only makes sense a that decision maker would gather trustworthy information to try and make sure the investment is a ‘bang on’ success. Research from Google shows us that 60% of B2B buyers search for peer reviews and testimonials. This is sensible information, because what better way to find out whether a product or service is the right one for your organisation than by looking at its implementation within a business similar to yours? This finding is further backed by a report from pardot.com: 89% of B2B marketers consider customer testimonials to be the most effective content marketing tactic. Both for a business’ inbound and outbound content marketing, a customer success story is a valuable and persuasive tool to have.
So how do you get your most loyal customers to participate in creating a success story?
This may very well be the biggest challenge. B2B businesses often consider their suppliers to be their competitive edge, and don’t feel much like making that public. Randomly contacting clients may give unreliable results. So here are some useful tips based on our experience:
Get the sales team involved
When you contact a client with the request to write up a success story, you’re not quite sure what their response will be: there may be competitive or legal copyright reasons that will make them turn down your request. However, when this request has already been brought up during the sales process, it won’t be so difficult to get your foot in the door, you are more likely to find that door wide open.
Prepare your questions
Don’t ask up front for a testimonial. Ask questions related to the product or service you will use to create an informative and inspirational testimonial. Questions that clarify how the product or service has helped and the impact it has. This can be the financial impact, the time saved, the increase in productivity, or the impact on the end-product.
Contact recent clients
A recent purchase of your B2B product or service will be a hot topic for quite a while to a client. That makes it easy to contact them about their experience. You will come across as implicated, PLUS you can use the opportunity to try and convince them to share their story.
Highlight the value
Explain how their participation will also benefit them. Mention all your communication channels: social media, website, mailers, and point out how this would also benefit their visibility. Tell your contact how interesting it could be for their visibility to be introduced in a mailer that is sent out to your full database. It's a win-win situation.
Company restriction hurdles
When trying to create testimonials in a B2B environment, company restrictions frequently make it too much of a hassle (getting the legal department involved) for a client to agree to be featured in a testimonial.
That doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end of the road. You can propose to create a client success story without mentioning the company name. The message will lose a bit of its edge this way, but you will still be showing similar businesses that you have a solution that might be valuable to them.
Another solution to company restrictions is to bundle several brands and businesses together that are being reluctant, and create a single testimonial about these businesses and brands. You can average out the results mentioned in the testimonial, and all participants can remain anonymous. You now also have some interesting stats that you can use in your marketing.
Last but not least. Your best clients will also provide you with your strongest client stories. By contacting them, you can further strengthen the relationship on a personal and branding level.
Is that it?
There’s much more that can be done: you can create a testimonial acquisition plan. Set up a case study funnel. Introduce an employee incentive (bonus) plan: reward your staff for scoring an agreement with a client for their participatation. Introduce a client incentive: remunerate his ambassadors in some form (free service, supplies….)
And of course, there’s always the possibility to get duomedia involved in assisting and helping your customer success stories come to fruition.
General Manager duomedia