There’s no need for you to worry about where to find B2B buyers today. They’re simply finding you on their own. In fact, according to CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council (co-sponsored by Google), 57% of the buying process has been completed before prospects even contacted you. That means long before your sales rep had any chance to talk to a prospect, they had already formed an opinion whether they like you or not. How? They research online.
We’ve seen this disruption to the sales funnel long ago in the B2C arena, a phenomenon reflected in a Harvard Business Review article that said a one-star increase in a Yelp rating can result in a 5%-9% sales increase. In B2B, the Yelp factor is already happening on software review directories such as FinancesOnline.com, where buyers are researching, reviewing, and comparing products, including your own.
It’s the most compelling reason to get your product on a review site, because your customers are there. Here are four more critical reasons why you need to get on board if you want to double, maybe triple, the leads your website is now generating:
1. B2B directory will increase user trust in your brand
A CompUSA and iPerceptions study reported that 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site that has product ratings and reviews, making review sites an ideal starting point for product discovery. There’s a level of transparency when you put your product under scrutiny, and this builds trust. The question is, is your product being reviewed at the right angles? Reviewers are industry experts, who have their objective opinion about your product. However, it won’t hurt if you contact them and present your product’s best features or value proposition to help them get a 360-perspective.
Likewise, review sites usually feature trust seals or awards to highlight the best-in-class products as a way to help buyers decide. B2B vendors can leverage such trust seals to build credibility in eyes of their users. In fact, an Econsultancy report showed people feel more confident to buy from a website when they see trust seals. For example, FinancesOnline, one of the leading B2B software review sites, stamps a Verified Quality Seal on software products that show a solid quality of their features and services and offer usability as well as reliable vendor support. FinancesOnline can also improve your credibility with a wide range of industry awards they give to products reviewed on their site. These include such trust marks as: Best In Your Category Awards, Experts’ Choice Awards, Great User Experience Award, etc. All of these have a huge impact on user trust and can increase your sales by as much as 14%. If you want to improve conversion your conversion rates you can request an award for your product here.
How are these specialist trust seals differ from popular trust marks like Norton and BBB?
A specialist trust seal like the Verified Quality Seal targets your niche buyers–for instance, marketers for CRM software or educators for learning management systems–whereas Norton and BBB appeal to a broader audience. As a vendor with a niche B2B market, you should understand that a specialist seal can give you that thought leadership image in your category, especially if you leverage the seal by displaying it on your website, social media, and even in print materials.
Another excellent way to maximize the full potential of a specialist seal is to display it between a technical security seal like Norton and a popular business trust mark like BBB. In fact, in one experiment, CrazyEgg discovered this tactic to increase sales by 14% and organic search conversions by 30%.
2. B2B directories rank high in search
Because review sites constantly update their content with new posts, enjoy an active community of people sharing their experiences, and feature a user-generated rating system, they usually rank high in search results when people look for keyword categories like CRM, ERP, project management, sales software, etc. In the State of Demand Generation survey by Pardot, B2B buyers are found to start their product research through search, which means review sites are strategically positioned to capture these leads.
If your website lacks a sufficient organic search traction, having your product present in B2B directory will give you that SEO boost to get found in search results more often. It’s not uncommon for review sites such as FinancesOnline to rank higher than product websites in search when buyers use such search queries as “product name + review”. To make sure you get optimal exposure you should add your product review to all popular B2B software review platforms. You can usually get your product reviewed quickly and without much effort. For example, if you want to add your product to FinancesOnline listing you can easily request a review here.
3. B2B directories makes research easy for your clients
An Acquity Group study revealed that 94% of B2B buyers report that they do some form of online research before buying a business product. Review sites are an ideal research platform for these busy people because it’s impractical and inefficient to check one by one the individual websites of all competing products.
B2B buyers rely on software review sites’ built-in filtering and algorithm to narrow down the choice in a given product category. For example at FinancesOnline, buyers can filter their search by, among others, devices supported, pricing model, geographies served, and deployment. Buyers can also quickly assess the product’s value based on aggregated scoring. This advanced algorithm gives them an idea whether the software is above, within, or below industry standards without having to go through the time-consuming effort of checking each feature of each product. FinancesOnline even has a proprietary SmartScore system that analyzes the software’s main features along with critical factors, such as, customization, integration, customer support, collaboration capabilities, and mobile support. Products are scaled between 1-10 with ten being the highest score.
At the same time, a Customer Satisfaction Algorithm assesses user reviews, social media mentions, and other user posts about the software. The system allows clients to quickly see what other people thing about the product.
4. Your competitors are present in B2B directories
Would you leave your competitors to have all the fun eating up the market and stealing your clients From B2B directories? Comparing products is simple and more accurate on a review site. The products’ features are laid out in a matrix, so it’s easy to spot your product’s features and pricing and find out what your competitors lack and vice versa. This makes review sites a practical tool for buyers, while a moment-of-truth for vendors, where a sale is made or unmade.
A competitive vendor like you must know that being just a fish in a pond of fishes that is a B2B directory won’t cut it. You need to find a way to get attention of your clients and distinguish yourself from your competitors. Fortunately, many review sites offer premium plans that help you to get that upper hand. For instance at FinancesOnline, you can get a premium marketing plan that will grant you optimized position for your product making sure you’re one of the first products a potential client sees when browsing the site. This can obviously have a huge impact on your conversion as the are more likely to become interested in your product, especially if your competitors are further down the list. You can also get your product suggested as a reliable alternative on comparison pages, even when users are actually comparing offers from your competitors. If you pair that with a quality trust mark and an award or two it’s very likely you can actually steal potential customers from your competition. If you want to start optimizing your review you can ask for more details about the premium plan here.
An easy ways to optimize your page in a B2B directory
Review sites frequently offer content marketing services to boost your chances of getting organic leads. For example, if you’ve been awarded a seal or certificate, FinancesOnline can write a detailed review of your product and mention this achievements. The detailed review will be then featured on their website making your stand out from your competitors even more. Here’s an example of Nimble’s detailed review. Moreover, the article is distributed as a press release across major media news sites such as Google News or Yahoo Finance.
If you haven’t yet put B2B directories as a priority in your content marketing strategy, now is the time. What’s worse than missing out your prospects who are in the process of deciding which product to buy in a review site? You should know well: your competitors are getting them if you’re not.