Q: Do customer testimonials work? How?
They work — if done right. And they are incredibly important.
We spend so much time marketing and selling to customers. And building stuff for them.
But almost no one thinks enough about what a buyer really goes through.
Especially, sales and marketing teams often don’t think enough about the risks in buying a new piece of software. It’s not just the $$$ in the contract:
- The soft costs to deploy a piece of software are often 3x+ higher than the direct costs. The training. The business process change. The work to pilot something inside of an already dialed-in business process. Etc. etc.
- The time investment cost is high. If the app fails to work as expected, the vendor loses a renewal. But the customer loses all that time invested in qualifying, testing and deploying a vendor. I’ve never seen a sales team really care about this, or really understand it, outside of very complex enterprise sales. They should.
- Picking the wrong vendor can be a huge mistake in terms of time + productivity. It’s bad enough if a deployment fails. But what if you’d picked the “right” vendor instead, and the project had actually worked? That could have saved you a year or more!
So prospects are looking to de-risk their vendor choice:
- Will it work in general?
- Will it work for me?
- Does it work for customers like me?
Arm them will all the information they need to know it’s as low risk as possible. And it works really well for folks with similar businesses, of similar sizes.
And watch deals close faster. And more often.
Ultimately, this is why most customers (80%) will pick the safe choice once a category is established. Why they go right to the upper right of the magic quadrant. The one with the #1 brand.
It’s not because they are sure it’s the best choice.
It’s because they know it’s likely the least risky choice.
So as to customer testimonials — they aren’t magic on their own. They don’t make a sale on their own. But they certainly help show you are the right choice for a similar prospect and customer. And maybe even more importantly — a less risky choice.
(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)