Client testimonials are critical in the reputation-driven world of B2B marketing, and choosing the right B2B success stories helps convey trust to your target buyers.
In this guide, we’ll show technology marketers how attain more success stories and how to choose which ones are the best to highlight in press/marketing materials, and on company websites.
How to attain better B2B client testimonials
Before you worry too much about choosing the perfect client success story, you’ll want to consider your company’s age and presence in its target market. According Paul Schrimpf, partner at Prophet, just about any positive review will help if you’re a new company.
“As you get bigger, you want testimonials that are relatable to your target audience from a situation and impact perspective, and where possible, to borrow brand equity from it.”
Amber Reed-Johnson, copywriting assistant at Giraffe Social Media, says one of the best ways for companies of any age or size to get the customer testimonials they need is to send a survey or ask questions yourself, rather than simply asking the customer to leave a review.
“This ensures that you have control over the direction of the testimonial, focusing on areas which you’d like to promote and discuss,” Reed-Johnson says.
Testimonials can come through in various ways, says Annie Raygoza, Director of Client Services at WebEnertia:
1 – Every quarter, I distribute an NPS survey to all of our current clients from the past quarter. Based on the score level, we request that they provide a testimonial to Google. This gives an opportunity for cold leads to find these reviews easily and help solidify the level of work we provide.
2 – Additionally, when relationships are strong, and projects have ended on a high note with new opportunities – I will reach out directly for a testimonial from the client. Generally, they are inclined to provide this (due to the positive experiences they’ve had with our team). These testimonials can be utilized within our website (on specific pages, based on the level of detail they’re providing), and help with encouraging people to do a “form fill-out” for a new business lead. Often times, when people see the testimonial from competitor B2B tech organizations, they feel a bit more confident in taking the next step in working with us. We will also use the testimonial on other marketing material such as internal newsletters we distribute out to clients as well.
Choosing the best testimonials
What determines an appropriate customer testimonial, especially for a B2B business?
According to Reed-Johnson, it’s customer testimonials that are honest, compelling, and real.
“On social media, the best way that customers can advertise your brand is to upload photos and videos of them actually using the product or service, enjoying it, and recommending it to their followers.”
To ensure you have the appropriate type of testimonial, Raygoza says WebEnertia tries to help define what they’re looking for.
“For example, ‘can you provide insight around an issue you had, and how WebEnertia resolved it for you?’ ‘What was your experience like working with the team?’ ‘How was the level of communication and support?’ ‘What highlights came out of working together from a technical or creative perspective?’ Any details around analytics that they can share to showcase how we improved things.”
Generic compliments are a dime a dozen. They are nice to have, but aren’t especially compelling. The more specific the testimonial, the more persuasive it is, says Tom Faust, Managing Director at Stanton.
“Companies need to be thoughtful about both their strategic goals–such as promoting a certain offering or aspect of their business–and the concerns of the audience they are marketing to. If the testimonial is going on your website, you should ask yourself first, how will people get there? If it was from an advertisement on a website or media outlet focused on a specific industry, you may want the quote to come from a company in that industry or address an industry-specific issue.”
According to Shel Horowitz, Green Business and Marketing Strategist at GreenAndProfitable.com, the best testimonials have a few things in common:
- What problem the person providing the testimonial needed to solve
- How you/your company solved the problem
- How easy you were to work with
- What the person you helped will do with the new knowledge/skills/products/services they acquired with your help
“For maximum credibility, the testimonial should be signed with full name and location, position, and organization and/or credential–so instead of ‘Jane S. in Arizona,’ ‘Jane Shakti, VP Customer Relations, Julius Caesar Enterprises and author of Sales the Caesar Way, Mesa, Arizona’ (fictional example). Ideally, they should be people we’ve heard of or who hold titles the rest of us can recognize as important.”
David Bacher, head of marketing for LG Business Solutions USA, says LG tries to highlight different projects that impact different sectors across the country.
“For example, recent marketing and PR efforts have focused on projects featuring LG commercial displays in LaGuardia Airport in NYC, the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, and the National Governors Association HQ in Washington DC,” Bacher says.
“Our ultimate goal is to generate multiple media stories and expose potential customers to our capabilities across technology and support. In order to do so in a meaningful way, we try to identify the most innovative uses of our technology, plus those customers who can detail tangible results since installation.”
Limitations on your B2B client testimonial choices
Faust says some customers of their tech clients have policies in place that prohibit testimonials, while others are reluctant to put their name on any sort of endorsement.
“This is often due to some vague fear that is not realistic. What we find is that suggesting some options for a quote can go a long way to assuage any concerns, and get them over the hump of having to figure out what exactly to say. Once they see something over email to review, the reaction is usually, ‘this looks fine with one minor word change.'”