Continuing our Choosing the right advocate marketing software blog series, this week we discuss how you can get real customer opinions to validate (or refute) what vendors tell you about their advocacy platforms.
Be skeptical about what vendors say. There’s a profit motive behind what they do, so can you really trust everything you’ve seen on a vendor’s websites or in a demo? If you want to be 100% confident about your decision, get social proof. Opinions from real customers will validate (or refute) vendor claims with honesty – they have no motive to sugarcoat the truth.
Customer needs vary, so it pays to get opinions from a broad set of current customers – as well as focusing in on those with a similar business model and scale to your own organization. Ask each vendor for customer references. But beware, they will hand pick their happiest customers. And if they can’t provide you with relevant customer references fast, there’s a problem: they clearly don’t practice what they preach.
To counter the impartiality of vendor references, seek direct contact with their customers. Ask your social networks (online and offline) to see who is using their products. And check technology review sites like G2CROWD.com where customers pro-actively post their experiences of technology products.
Use your requirements matrix sheet as a guide to your interaction with existing customers. You should try to validate as many points as you can against the reality of what they have experienced. But you should also try to get a general feel about what it’s like to be a customer. Are they attentive and quick to respond? Do they take a pro-active approach to customer success? Do they work closely with customers to resolve issues and develop new functionality? Are there any common themes that appear in customer reviews?
By talking with customers, you can find out the truth about what each vendor will deliver and make a confident purchasing decision.
If you want to find out more about the process of choosing the right brand advocacy solution, download the whitepaper below…