Peer reviews have redefined how we choose almost everything in our personal lives. Yet for B2B software, buying behavior has not yet tipped to rely on peer review site data.
I wanted to understand why, so I learned about Gartner Peer Insights, a peer review site where SAP was recently named a 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice in the Cloud HCM Suites for Midmarket and Large Enterprises category.
Now I’m convinced that peer reviews for B2B software are coming of age and can make the B2B software buying process easier — if they meet essential criteria.
For B2B software, references that bring to life other customers’ experiences have long been an essential part of the buying process. Prospective customers can view customer stories but requests for personal reference conversations remain the norm. Identifying and scheduling relevant reference connections is a time-consuming process that’s not very scalable and can slow down decisions.
Peer Reviews to the Rescue?
In today’s fast-paced business environment, we need an easier way for prospective customers to validate if other people using a software are happy or not, and why. After several years designing and leading customer advocacy functions with this in mind, I’ve found that we have a new answer: high-quality peer reviews.
Let’s take Gartner Peer Insights as an example. They’ve built a valuable repository of customer reviews that are publicly available and should be considered as a viable way to minimize the number of live reference conversations needed and simplify the reference validation process. Here’s why.
Fives Reasons Peer Reviews Can Make B2B Software Buying Easier
1. Trusted source: Gartner Peer Insights has extensive checks in place to help ensure that published reviews are from actual customers without conflicts of interest, and approved reviews must contain enough information to actually be useful to readers. Gartner also analyzes results to identify the highest rated vendors that stand out as a “Customers’ Choice.”
2. Critical mass now exists: Gartner Peer Insights alone reports “320+ categories, 4500+ products, 130,000+ reviews.” Using the Cloud HCM Suites for Mid-Market and Large Enterprises category as an example, there are over 1,700 reviews at the time I’m writing this, with four vendors named Customers’ Choice, including SAP.
3. Relevance: Readers can filter and read reviews by specific solution type, rating, industry, reviewer’s role, firm size, and date to find the most relevant reviews for them.
4. Value: Prospective buyers will find quantitative ratings and qualitative comments that convey why a customer is or is not satisfied across multiple experience points, including Evaluation & Contracting, Integration & Deployment, Service & Support, and Product Capabilities.
Even better than most live reference conversations, you can easily find multiple perspectives from similar organizations. Using quotes from three SAP customer reviews in the Cloud HCM Suites for Midmarket and Large Enterprises category as an example, you can see multiple perspectives weighing in from the same industry to inform your decision:
“We have had a very positive experience with [SAP] SuccessFactors and the overall implementation has been a huge success. The product has provided us a platform to transform our HR function and how it delivers services to our business.” — CIO in the manufacturing industry
“Extremely easy to configure and to integrate with other systems. Makes our work go faster and our lives easier.” — Manager, HRIS, in the manufacturing industry
Awesome product, meets global requirements, great user experience, reduces IS support.” — Director of Finance, HR, and Planning in the manufacturing industry
5. Customers want to contribute: Having a trusted peer review resource benefits everyone. It’s been inspiring to see the number of SAP reviews grow by 200 percent over the last few months and we are so grateful that our amazing customers want to contribute their experiences.
Take a Look for Yourself
The growing relevance of Gartner Peer Insights is an exciting opportunity for customers to share information with each other that increases confidence and success. I encourage you to take a look here and decide how it can be useful for your organization.
Michelle Knight is vice president of Global Customer Insight and Analyst Relations for SAP SuccessFactors.
Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Gartner or its affiliates.