The Role of Reviews in the B2B SaaS Space

Frances Arville and Mathias Thulin
Photo: Marcus Landström

Analysts put you in a bucket, individuals rate your product on review sites, and industry experts have opinions about your offerings. Should you care? Most definitely, not only care but actively work to move the public opinion in the direction that properly reflects the value you bring to the market. 

This session with Frances Arville, EMEA Sales, G2, and Mathias Thulin, Co-Founder & CSO GetAccept, was about how you need to think about external opinions and what you can do as a B2B SaaS company to come out on top.

People Trust Their Peers 

When Matias founded his first company in 2007, about a hundred other digital sales and marketing platforms were on the market. Today there are almost ten thousand options in the same space. And, of course, the more there is to choose from, the more difficult it becomes for customers to make their choice.

“If you look at the websites or talk to the sales reps, every product will be presented as the number one. That’s why we need to let the customers talk, as they can validate products in a more authentic way,” says Mathias. 

Frances from G2 agrees and says we all just need to look at our own buying behavior to understand how much sense it makes. In B2B, 97% of buyers use reviews to make purchasing decisions, and in B2B, numbers are not far behind. 

“Stats indicate that as many as 86% of B2B buyers turn to peer review before making a purchase. People want to know that they’re not the first to try something. This is especially true in B2B tech, where companies spend thousands to millions of dollars on new tech solutions.”

She points out that many buyers don’t have an extensive network of peers to ask for advice, so peer review sites become the most transparent and trustworthy place to look for information and compare products. 

“The B2B spend on tech keeps increasing at a rapid pace. And many buyers are not located in tech hubs like Silicon Valley or Berlin, where they have peers to ask. So they go to Google and review sites like G2 or Trustpilot to read access their peers’ insights and experiences.” 

Take Control of Your Review Sites

Taking control of your review pages, whether on G2 or Glassdoor, is crucial. And when you’re entering new markets where you have no brand awareness to lean on, it becomes even more critical. 

“ Especially in the US, those pages are of the first things prospects or potential hires will look at. We noticed that working proactively with our reviews made a big difference when entering the US market,” says Mathias.

He also stresses the second aspect of reviews related to fund-raising. Many SaaS companies are looking raise funds, and then reviews can play an important part.

“Know that your investors will read every single review on the review pages. That’s 100% certain. We even received summaries from our leading investors where they had read all our reviews, summarized them, and then gave us feedback based on that.”

So how do you get all those reviews? Of course, the ideal is that they come organically. But to be honest, that’s hard. So you need to create a process to generate reviews. At GetAccept, that process is connected to the NPS surveys. 

“We’ve found one tactic that has worked well for us at Getaccept. What we do is that we regularly measure our NPS score. And everyone who rates us eight or higher, we redirect to G2. If they rate us lower than 8, we instead present them with a form where they can give more detailed feedback to our product team, and then we follow up on every one of them,” says Mathias.

Mathias points out that the feedback in the reviews is very valuable for product development.

“Reading all reviews helped us understand what it is in our product that brings the most value and what features our customers appreciate the most. Reading the reviews has also helped us identify things our users don’t like.”

Review Sites for Lead Generation and Buyer Intent Data

If you go beyond the free versions of review sites, there are several ways to leverage them to up your sales and marketing game. 

“Review sites are also great for lead generation. Especially many product-led companies are getting a lot of signups from the review sites. 

Many review sites also offer buyer intent data to paying customers. This can be valuable intel for both sales teams and customer success teams.

“With paid accounts, you can get access to what companies are scouting out different solutions in your category, which is a strong signal their looking to buy. This can help your sales team in their prospecting,” says Mathias. 

When GetAccept was entering the US and were doubling down on G2, it became clear that their product spanned at least five different categories. That presented a challenge because just maintaining a presence in one or two categories is a lot of work.

“That’s why we started the conversation with G2 where we asked if we could create a new category that we could call a “digital salesroom”? Because that’s really what we want to build,” says Mathias.

So if you feel that your product represents a new category that is presently not on the review sites, starting a dialogue about it may result in new categories being created.

What About Negative Reviews?

But what about bad reviews? How should you handle negative feedback? Those are questions that sometimes hold companies back from leveraging review sites. 

“I get that question every single day. And I always tell people not to be afraid of a bad review. Wouldn’t you want to know if somebody’s unhappy? You don’t want them to churn just because you didn’t know they were not satisfied. You need to respond to negative reviews and showcase that you are an engaging vendor,” says Frances. 

Mathias agrees that negative reviews can be seen as an opportunity to engage with customers and turn their experiences into positive ones.

“That’s what we do. You can both respond to reviews in public and contact the customers directly. Sometimes, this has even led to customers updating bad reviews. To start having those conversations and contact unhappy customers is very powerful.”

Key takeaways

  • B2B buyers look a lot at peer reviews when making a purchase
  • It’s crucial to get on top of all relevant review sites such as G2, Trustpilot, and Glassdoor
  • As a paying customer, you can leverage review sites for lead generation and buyer intent data
  • To get traction, you need a solid process for collecting customer reviews
  • If your product doesn’t fit neatly into existing categories, suggest creating a new one
  • Always respond to bad reviews and offer to solve any issues