Does Your B2B Marketing Include Social Proof?
There are five pillars of B2B marketing and sales success.
The second pillar deals with the Buying Process and factors affecting this process. There are four main factors affecting the buying process. These factors are;
1. The Five Buying Stages
2. Social Proof
3. Why B2B Companies Buy
4. The Five Influencers
The last article I wrote was on The Five Buying Stages in the Buying Process of B2B Buyers. You can read about these stages in the previous article.
The next factor is Social Proof.
Social proof, especially in B2B marketing, is important to show new prospects that others believe in your products and services.
Why is this important?
In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, or when a situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to, and accept, the actions of others as correct.
What does this mean?
It means that people will believe what others do, if they are not quite sure what to do themselves. It means that if you haven’t completely convinced another company about your products and services, the people in this other company want to know what other people are saying, and have done, with your products and services.
They want SOCIAL PROOF before they will proceed.
So what is social proof? From Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion he states that the principle of social proof is; “The greater the number of people who find an idea correct, the more the idea will be correct.”
And there is another important condition for social proof. The principle of social proof works best when we are observing the behaviour of people we believe are similar to us.
So, why is social proof so important to your business, and how do you provide social proof for your business?
Because you are trying to convince people who don’t know you, or your business, IE: your prospects; they need a way to feel assured that if they buy your products and/or services, they will be getting what you said they will get.
They want proof. They want to mitigate as much of the risk as possible.
You can provide social proof to your business in several ways.
One of the most common ways is through Authority, to associate your business with a business that everyone knows and trusts. A good example of this is when a technology company has Microsoft or IBM as a partner.
If these two trusted companies believe in your company to let your company become a partner, then your company must be trustworthy and reliable.
Another common method of social proof is with Case Studies & Testimonials. These show that other companies trust you because they have done business with you, and have given you an endorsement through the case study and testimonial.
However, there is a danger here. Many companies collect case studies and testimonials, but they are like their websites. They are too similar to everyone else’s case studies and testimonials. They are weak and commonplace.
Very few companies do case studies and testimonials that sell. If done correctly, case studies and testimonials differentiate your company from you competitors, and make your company stand out from the rest.
They also help define your Unique Value Proposition.
How to Put Social Proof to Work
Most people are imitators. So, if you want someone to do something, show others doing it.
Here are a few specific applications of this idea:
• List testimonials of satisfied customers and clients.
• Feature testimonials by those who have been “converted” from another product or service.
• Show pictures of people using your product or service.
• Relay case histories of some of your best customers or clients. Show people similar to your prospect using your product or service.
• Show the general excitement of others who have discovered your product or service.
• Mention how long your company has been around. (A subtle indication of popularity.)
• Tout the number of products sold.
• Display the names of customers or clients you serve.
• Say how long your product or service has been a best-seller.
• Cite information on your market leadership.
• Show important or well-known people using your product or service.
• Display a seal of approval by a rating organization.
• Cite favorable reviews.
• Cite mentions in the media.
If you want to stand out from your competition, stand out from the crowd, get the social proof you need to convince your prospects to buy from you.
If you want some help getting it right, then please contact me through my email below.
Why B2B Marketing Fails – Part 2 – The Process – Social Proof!