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Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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PERCEIVED AUTHENTICITY OF REVIEWS Authenticity Score 100 0 75 50 25 All positive reviews Mix of pos./neg. All negative reviews No reviews 52.9 77.2 55.7 51.2 Software vendors should also recognize that their cus- tomers are speaking in their negative reviews. Marketers may glean valuable insights into their product develop- ment, customer support, or product usability from un- happy customers. This is valuable feedback that software companies should hear to improve their businesses. Figure 4 PERCEIVED TRUSTWORTHINESS OF REVIEWS Trustworthiness Score 100 0 75 50 25 54.7 75.9 50.1 49.8 All positive reviews Mix of pos./neg. All negative reviews No reviews A U S T I N M E R R I T T is the co-founder and General Manager of Software Advice, a Gartner company. Software Advice helps buyers research B2B software with over 200,000 reviews of 8,000 software products on its website. Austin earned a BSE in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University. REASONS FOR DISREGARDING A NEGATIVE REVIEW Figure 5 Exaggerated Or Hyperbolic Expresses Unreasonable Expectations Poorly Written Subject Of Review Not Relevant To Me Vendor Responds Thoughtfully Other Would Never Disregard 0% 25% 50% 75% Percent of Sample Finally, if your product receives a negative review, your marketing team should respond publicly and professionally. This is a great opportunity to show pro- spective customers that you care about their feedback. Furthermore, half of buyers said they would disregard a negative review if it were accompanied by a thoughtful response from the vendor. We asked buyers for other reasons why they would disregard a negative review. Figure 5 explains what what they told us. While counterintuitive, vendors should embrace neg- ative reviews as an essential tool in marketing their software effectively online. Over the last few years, online reviews have become an essential part of buyers' software research. Software vendors now have a tremendous opportunity to give customers an important seat at the table in marketing their products. If vendors follow these four best prac- tices, they will ensure that their customers become im- portant allies in the software marketing process. S Figure 4 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017 40 SELLING & MARKETING Framework By A. Merritt ONLINE REVIEWS: 4 STEPS TO LEVERAGE THE POWER OF THE CROWD

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