If you’re a B2B marketer or seller, you know that building buyer trust does not happen overnight.
But when done well, with the right approach and mindset, it has the potential to drive real business outcomes that are worth the investment. This is what IBM is doing – and we’re proud that G2 is able to support these efforts, partnering with Jill Cross, VP of Global Demand Gen Strategy, and her team.
Last month, I had the pleasure of taking the stage at the Forrester B2B Summit in Austin, TX, alongside Jill to discuss IBM’s strategy and what she has learned along the way.
As she shared in our session, marketers and sellers need to start with establishing buyer trust through shared customer experiences and offer engaging experiences with compelling content. Ultimately, Jill noted, it’s about being market driven — and customer stories are essential to engaging buyers that are in the market.
That’s the spark you need.
Impact of reviews on the end-to-end journey
For IBM, what first began as a relationship with G2 for syndicating product reviews, has evolved into a long-term strategic partnership focused on customer experience, market relevance, and market insights. A single review on G2 can impact several different teams.
At IBM, it fuels a field seller, a demand strategist, product, product marketing, content marketing, competitive strategy, and the list goes on. They’re constantly thinking about how review content can be weaved into social posts, eBooks, and sales kits, and leveraged by business development representatives (BDRs) for drip campaigns.
While IBM starts with sourcing reviews, it clearly doesn't end there. They syndicate the voice of the customer through marketing and sales journeys with digital content. They power sales intelligence to generate client interest. And, they tap into customer advocacy when using review feedback to influence their product roadmap and identify reference candidates.
IBM has embraced reviews as a holistic business impact program – not a tactical program.
5 takeaways from IBM’s VP of Global Demand Gen Strategy
While there have been many lessons learned through IBM’s work to drive business impact through customer voice, Jill shared the following as her top five:
Be represented where your customers are. Think about top-to-bottom engagement and extending your reach well beyond our traditional branded channels. Show up where your customers are beginning their search.
Leads are a byproduct, not the priority KPI. There are various metrics to measure across all stages of the journey; for example: review growth, asset adoption, unique company signals, intent signals, how the product team is using feedback, and more.
Complement analyst programs with review sites. They both provide value and can support your goals in different ways.
Prove quick wins, then implement for the rest of your portfolio. For vendors with several products - especially large enterprises like IBM – start small before implementing across your entire portfolio.
Take a macro view to see the forest through the trees. Going beyond the tactics for a macro-level management approach is critical for success.
For IBM, the proof is in the pudding: G2 is IBM’s top source of intent signals outside of its own website, and they saw nearly $20M in pipeline influenced in Q1 alone this year!
If you’re looking to amplify the voices of your customers and make data-driven decisions to grow your business, IBM’s story is clearly one worth paying attention to. Remember to keep Jill’s takeaways in mind and embrace a holistic approach that incorporates stories, insights, and content at all stages of the engagement cycle.