Whether we are trying to find a hotel, a place to celebrate our birthday or even a new mobile phone, reviews are our saving grace- this is not just our opinion, but we have statistics to prove it. A survey by Spiegel Research Center in 2017 reveals that 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. Testimonial Engine states that 72% of buyers don’t take action until they have read reviews.
Do reviews really matter?
Think about it:
Are you more likely to buy a bar of soap because you saw a commercial on the TV with a celebrity, or because your friend recommended it?
Online reviews are nothing but peer recommendations that give potential buyers a more rounded, objective view of a tool, product, or service.
71% of customers more comfortable purchasing a product once they have gone through its reviews (Source-3DCart). That’s a lot of customers who are dependent on other customers to make a purchasing decision. And, this is not limited to only B2C businesses.
How reviews impact the B2B industry
A report by BrightLocal 2017 states that 68% of Americans report positive reviews making them more likely to use a business. Isn’t that what every company wants?
Today, the B2B industry is bigger than ever, and it won’t stop growing anytime soon. So, to stand out, businesses need to differentiate themselves from their competitors, now more than ever. The most effective way to do this is by attracting and retaining customers through review sites.
Plus, this is relevant, especially when it comes to investing in online tools for Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Automation, Financial Reporting, Human Resource Management, and more. This is because an online tool is a significant and long-term investment for any business, irrespective of its size. The information you can get on tool review sites can influence your purchasing decision.
Now, that we know why are reviews so critical, let’s understand how these websites can guide you to make the right decision when it comes to choosing a suitable software.
The purpose of Business Software Review Sites
Today, tool review sites go beyond hosting varied opinions of buyers. According to a blog post by Enterprise Irregulars, they serve five different functions. Let’s understand what the real purpose of review sites is.
1. Buyer Advocacy Platform
The purpose of the site is to provide buyers with detailed information that would help them make better buying decisions, based on unbiased review data provided by actual users.
Every review site needs to present data that is easy to consume without injecting personal opinions. This is because buyers want correct, transparent, uncoloured views of the person using the software to solve real business problems. The overall purpose is to provide data that supports buyers in their decision-making process.
2. Brand Advocacy Platform
Review sites aren’t only beneficial to buyers but also companies who offer automation tools. Brands can use such platforms to present valuable details about their tools, its salient features, provide access to free trials, competitive comparisons, reports, and finally
compelling reviews. By putting out essential information about the products, your brand can help accelerate the buyer’s research process. This is because shoppers will have almost all the information they need to know about the product and your company on the same platform.
Just like any other website, review platforms contain relevant ads as well. Running advertisements is useful for brands to let their users know more about their software and take them directly to their landing page and convert them into customers. On the other hand, customers can get to know more about different software providers and make a well-informed decision. What brands should keep in mind is that the ads should not mislead; this defeats the whole purpose of an online reviews website.
4. Data Platform
The cookies from review websites can help your business collect valuable user data. With this data, you can learn about the potential buyer’s business size, industry, role, and business problem. All of these details will help lead the user to the “right” solution to a business problem.
5. Add on to Traditional Market Analysts
If you run a small or mid-sized business, the data you receive from a review site is often enough to make a decision. But, this is not the same when it comes to larger companies. Here, the process usually involves more stakeholders, several approvals, and formal governance. In such situations, the data from the websites can be used by a partner or a consultant as an example. This will add value to any tool they plan on choosing for their company.
All in all, review websites provide customers with valuable data, serve as a branding platform, advertise and help consultants. These are a few prominent functions of any online review site.
Information Available on Tool Review Sites
By now, it is apparent that review sites help businesses and customers in myriad ways. But, is the customer reviews all the information they can offer? We don’t think so. Take our website, ToolsMetric, as an example. Here, we go above and beyond to provide detailed information to help you make an informed decision. Let’s delve a little deeper into what information you can find on tool review websites.
This section will inform you about the tool name, its vendor details, origin, and more. Here, you will get a basic idea of what the tool is all about and how it can help your business.
In this section, you will learn about the USPs of the tool. It is its unique set of features and functionalities that can drive your business — basically, the key highlights of why you should opt for a particular automation tool.
Once you know the key metrics, it is time to know more about the tool’s other features. For instance, if you are reading a CRM review, you will learn about the characteristics that go beyond just customer relationship management. These features will help you learn more about the CRM tool.
Another important feature- the price. Each tool has a different pricing structure. It varies depending on the plan you select and its duration. Review sites will provide you with an in-depth structure for each tool. This will help you shortlist software which is in your budget.
Don’t you want to know how a tool works before you invest in it? Of course, you do. This is why websites often embed this feature right after the pricing plan. Thanks to this, you can sign up for a free demo and decide if you want to invest in particular software.
Pros and Cons
This feature is available on very few websites that offer tool reviews. In fact, this section proves to be very useful for buyers as they get to learn the pros and cons without investing in the tool.
If you do not want to use the tool, you can always look at its screenshot. This will help you understand how the tool looks and identify its varied features. Screenshots are also a great way to help buyers identify the user-intuitiveness of tools.
You can watch videos for a brief introduction about the brand and how the software can help your business. Again, not all websites offer this feature.
This one is a no-brainer. Here, you will find testimonials from customers all over the globe. Their experience and suggestions can help you come closer to making a decision.
Finally, the overall score based on the parameters above. The higher the rating, the more people are likely to invest in an automation tool.
Click here to learn how a sample tool review looks like.
How Review Sites Can Influence Your Purchasing Decision
By now, it is apparent that you have a basic brief of review sites- what their purpose is and the information you can find on them. Now, let us understand how these websites can impact your buying process or decisions.
Reviews determine the list of products on a buyer’s radar
Before you invest in any automation tool, you are bound to shortlist a few. And, how do you determine the components of this list? Yes, through reviews. In the initial stage, reviews will help you understand what their competitors are using, and which products fit in their budget, might meet their needs and more.
Reviews set realistic expectations
Almost every Customer Relationship Management software claims to be best on the market. But, how many users can testify to this statement? With review sites, you can get a clearer idea of what to expect from a particular software; when it comes to its implementation, features, usability, and support.
Review sites help validate
Once you have gone through several reviews, you are bound to have picked a suitable one for your company. However, you might not purchase instantly, as there are stakeholders to sign off on the decision, contracts to be drawn up, and more. Considering the amount, time, and the stakeholders involved, you want to make sure you are making the right choice. Reviews can help you validate your thinking, and feel more confident. This will eventually help you convince others that your process of research was thorough, and the automation tool you chose is the ideal fit.
Reviews help you ask the right questions
Once you are done with your research, have approvals to purchase the tool, it is finally time to talk to the vendor and seal the deal. Now, want to make sure you ask the right questions. The vendor might be all set to present their products and services in a positive light, showcase the most reliable features, the best-case scenarios, and others. Reviews will encourage you to develop a more balanced perspective through feedback on challenges and product limitations from a wide range of customers. After going through varied testimonials, you can ask about topics you might not bring up otherwise. You can also use reviews sites as evidence to support any questions you have and make sure the vendor can address your concerns; before they commit to working with you.
There you have it- everything you need to know about review sites and how they can influence your decision while selecting a tool. Are you all set to browse through a tool review site and choose a suitable automation software? Don’t wait any longer. Just scroll up, click on ‘Categories’ and we will help you find the right software for your business. At ToolsMetric, we feature various reviews that will provide you with an end-to-end understanding of different types of software and tools. From CRM and email marketing to finance automation and HRM, you can read the combined opinions with carefully selected reviews, as well as updated data for every tool. Stay tuned with our blog section for similar software updates.
For more tips on buying software for your business or to read an in-depth tool review, keep reading ToolsMetric!