How to Get your Users to Write Awesome Reviews For You

Why Do You Need B2B User Reviews?

As the leading review platform for B2B enterprise technology reviews, we understand the importance of user reviews in the B2B space. Not only our own research, but research by the industry’s leading technology analysts asserts the importance of user generated content.

According to Forrester research, 74% of B2B buyers are doing more than 50% of their purchasing research online. A recent study by Gartner also revealed that 68% of a customer’s buying time is spent away from the actual vendor.

According to the Salesforce blog, “word-of-mouth recommendations from peers influence over 90% of all B2B buying decisions.”

But do buyers really trust peer content they read online? The numbers speak for themselves: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Peer Reviews and the Buyer’s Journey

Are peer reviews only useful for top-of-the-funnel marketing, or can they play a part in other marketing strategies further down in the buyer’s journey? As you can see below, according to research by RO:Innovation, customer reviews play a huge part in influencing buyers through every stage of their journey.

b2b user reviewssource:roinnovation.com

How can software vendors rise to the challenge of providing potential buyers with B2B reviews that not only answer their questions of “Is this software right for my company needs?”, but also answer questions such as, “Why is this solution the best option among its competitors?”

How can you collect user reviews that help your prospects at every stage of their journey?

How To Collect Real User Reviews
Collecting real reviews for potential buyers can present some challenges. Not all users are willing to write a review, and dealing with internal compliance regulations can make the process difficult.

One of the big advantages of external review sites is that users can review your solutions without having to comply with company policy. This means that it is both easier to find users who are willing to share details of their experience, and also that users can be more honest and open than if they were providing a corporate case study.

What Potential Buyers Want to Know

Another challenge, once you’ve found users willing to give reviews, is knowing which questions potential buyers want answers for.

For example: Are readers most interested in your pricing model? Do they expect full disclosure of your technical support offering? Are scalability and stability the primary ‘must-have’s on their checklist?

Having helped many enterprise technology companies collect user reviews from their users, we’ve written up a quick and easy guide to help you get the best reviews from your users. 

How to Get Awesome Customer Reviews: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Where to Find Users 

At Your Conferences or User Events
By approaching users at your conferences or at events for reviews, you are targeting users who are already knowledgeable about your solutions and will have valuable feedback to share. You can also take down their feedback face-to-face, rather than rely on email or phone feedback, which can be more time consuming for your users.b2b user reviews
Via Customer Advocacy Programs
By tapping into your customer advocacy programs, you can connect with users who are not only experienced with your solution but also willing to share their feedback with others.

Via your Support Team 

Your users who have had positive interactions with your support team are a great source of positive feedback. They can also add room for improvement that your customer advocacy program users may not be able to give you.

Find happy users online

Monitor your brand online with tools like Google Alerts and Mention. Not only can it help you understand where users aren’t happy, but it can also help you identify users who love your solution and who you can potentially reach out to for user reviews.

Step 2: What to Include in your B2B User Reviews

Ask users what they find valuable about your solution. Their answers may surprise you and can provide invaluable information for your product team.

Example: When asked “What do you find valuable in IBM Spectrum Protect?”, CTO Carsten Dan Petersen writes:

“The smallest entry level sized installation can easily grow to large enterprise usages and be migrated across platforms.The product is very client-oriented which supports a lot of different platforms and products, and only have to be upgraded approx. every five years to maintain support.”

Ask users which solutions they have also evaluated. This information can give you great competitive information, and can also influence the potential buyers reading your user reviews.

Example: When asked “Did you consider any other solutions besides VMware vSAN?”, an Infrastructure Manager answers:
We looked briefly at alternatives, but nothing stood out like vSAN. Nutanix was another solution, but surprisingly, it would have cost us more..

Ask users how and where you can improve your solution. Not only is this information very valuable for your product team, it also makes your reviews more believable. Users don’t trust five-star reviews that only say good things about a product.

Example: When asked “Where do you see room for improvement in Tableau?” Data Analysis Team Leader Yali Pollak answers:

Tableau lacks machine learning algorithms that you can implement using R, SPSS Modeler, and Python.It has clustering and time-series forecasting abilities which are helpful, but adding machine learning capabilities like decision trees, CHAID analysis and K-means would make this product perfect!”

What about users who wish to remain anonymous?
Some users may be happy to give feedback, but can’t because of their own corporate compliance policies. One way around this is to allow users to give reviews either with their full details or anonymously. By giving users this choice you will collect a wider range of user reviews, which can be used as a tool throughout your marketing materials.

What are your users saying about your solution?

Sign in to IT Central Station to read what real users have to say about your solution.

Free Webinar- How User Generated Content is Changing the Marketing Game

IT Central Station is delighted to be hosting a free webinar with three of the biggest names in enterprise technology marketing. Our three guest speakers will be giving actionable insights into how to incorporate user generated content into your marketing strategy.

On Wednesday 29th March 2017, at 10am PT our CEO, Russell Rothstein will be joined by:

  • Roland Smart, VP of Social and Community Marketing at Oracle
  • Emily Miller, Senior Director, Brand and Audience Marketing at NetApp
  • Wendy Perilli, Senior Director, Global Integrated Marketing Programs at ServiceNow

Register today

 

We Want You To #BeOpinionated For International Women’s Day

Last year, just over 10% of the user reviews on our site were written by women, and we know we can do better. We would like your help to make 2017 the year where women’s voices are heard on all matters in the Enterprise Tech world.

So how can you help? Sign up today for IT Central Station, and review the solutions you know and use. Let your voices be heard, and #BeOpinionated!

When you are done, you can check out some of our great video reviews taken at technology conferences and events in the last year.

 

How To Integrate Customer Advocacy Into Your B2B Marketing Strategy

When planning your 2017 marketing strategy and budget, you’ve probably covered activities related to online marketing activities, PR and brand building, along with designated time and budget for social media promotion, but have you included the voice of your user or customer in your marketing activities?

According to Forrester, 74% of B2B buyers are doing more than 50% of their purchasing research online. A recent study done by Gartner also revealed that 68% of a customer’s buying time is spent away from the actual vendor.

What type of content are users consuming online, if they are not doing their research on vendor sites?

As you can see in the infographic below, interested buyers are engaging with peer experiences, and product ratings and reviews. While users are spending less time on vendor sites, they are seeking out the experiences of your current customers to hear what they have to say.

peer reviews

Instead of sitting by passively when your users seek out alternatives, B2B Enterprise marketers in 2017 have a unique opportunity to harness this content. Marketers can integrate feedback from happy customers to produce detailed user reviews, testimonials and case studies.

peer reviews

Interested in finding out more about how to create new innovative marketing strategies built upon customer advocacy?

Find the IT Central Station team at The Summit on Customer Engagement, March 6th-8th 2017, Redwood Shores, CA. We will be in the Grand Ballroom Foyer, Table 6.

What Real Users are Saying about VMware vSAN – New Reviews for 2017

IT Central Station community has contributed 41 detailed user reviews of VMware vSAN. They discuss the valuable features of the solution, where they see room for improvement, and other Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions they have previously used. VMware vSAN has an average rating of 8.4 from our Software Defined Storage (SDS) community, and its reviews have been viewed over 29,000 times by our users.

We’ve rounded up new user reviews of VMware vSAN for 2017, to help you in your evaluation of Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions.

Valuable Features

According to Srsytemb55, “The most valuable features are scalability and speed. The ability to throw in extra disks on the fly and extend storage with no limits is very useful.”

Miguel Perez Rodriguez appreciates how “It gets rid of dependencies of expensive SAN storage units which decrease our electricity and cooling expenses in a very drastic way.”

Infrastr581820 is impressed by VMware vSAN’s “Resilience: We tried to break our vSAN PoC instance to test its robustness. We pulled out hard drives while they were being written to and we unplugged server nodes, and we never lost a VM.”

Room for Improvement:

However, Seniorvm581832 notes some areas for improvement:

  • “There could be improvements in the hardware failure and data recovery methods.
  • A control panel for VMs is absent. Although, other vendors are deploying this for each host to provide better storage control.
  • A typical data center for installation of systems requires more storage growth than servers. This limits the scalable features of vSAN.”

Rodriguez agrees, writing “I would like to see faster re-sync and recovery times after a host failure.”

Srsystemb550 would also like to see “A better UI showing actual space used and disk space available. The current output is very deceiving.”

Read new reviews from 2017 for all the major Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions on IT Central Station here.

What Real Users are Saying about HPE ArcSight – New Reviews for 2017

IT Central Station community members have contributed 33 detailed user reviews of HPE ArcSight. They discuss the valuable features of the solution, where they see room for improvement, and other solutions they have previously used, as well as the scalability and stability of the solution. HPE ArcSight has a 7.9 rating from our community, and reviews have been viewed over 28,000 times.

We’ve chosen several new user reviews of HPE ArcSight for 2017 — to help you in your purchasing decision.

Valuable Features

Laszlo Kereszturi points to three valuable features of the HPE ArcSight:

  • “Event correlation across multiple device categories: It allows us to have a full picture of what is happening in the environment.
  • Flexible event collection: Besides hundreds of standard devices, you can send custom CEF Syslog prepared with your own scripts.
  • Customization of alerts: Velocity macros allows you to send very clear and user-friendly alerts.”

Amit Kumar Gupta agrees “Correlation and flexibility are the most valuable features. ArcSight saved time and effort responding to security incidents with one centralized console and helped to meet compliance requirements for log collection.”

Bharath writes “It’s a highly customizable solution. Rules can be customized to a great extent. Session lists, active lists, and global and local variables are pretty unique to the solution.”

Alexander Kuzmin highlights “High performance: The amount of data fed to the solution is huge (100s of millions of events per day). Security incident discovery and mitigation is a matter of hours, rather than days or even months, like it was before.”

User Merana Sadikovic Mandzukic notes the following valuable features:

  • “Collecting logs from many different sources. If you have your own app, you can do logging for it. In addition, you can customize log parsing.
  • Built-in content such as reports, dashboard, compliance, and standard packages.
  • Ready-made content that can be used immediately.
  • Customized business tables can be correlated.”

 

Room for Improvement

However, Shane Lawrence finds room for improvement “I’ve had stability issues, particularly with SmartConnectors. They sometimes crash. Worse still, they often report that they’re working fine but completely stop listening for events.”

David Hourani would like to see improvement in HPE ArcSight’s “Ease of use, access and simplicity: ArcSight can be quite complicated to use for “non-IT” user.”

Sorin Brici agrees, “Making the FlexConnector configuration less complex. You need development skills in order to do your job in creating/configuring agents and connectors. The cost for this work, via HPE consultancy, is huge.”

According to Associatb8eb, “The correlation and storage have to be improved. The correlation works fine, if we have less amount of rules being written, but it becomes slow if we have more than 200 rules written for any correlation.”

Mandzukic would like to see:

  • “Ease of changing the product underneath. For example, instead of Juniper routers, we started to use Check Point routers.
  • Component accessibility: Components are managed in different places; console, web console, and administration web. It would be nice to have easier access.
  • Better UX: I would like to see a better user experience with the web client. Sometimes, it is very slow and not very intuitive.”

Read new reviews from 2017 for the Top SIEM Solutions on IT Central Station here.

New User Reviews for 2017: Data Warehouse Solutions Roundup

In IT Central Station’s user community, 3009 users follow the Data Warehouse category. Users in our community have already contributed new reviews for Data Warehouse Solutions in 2017 for Oracle Exadata, HPE Vertica, and Oracle Database Appliance. Users discuss the valuable features of the solutions that they use, as well as where they see room for improvement.

“What are the Solution’s Valuable Features?”

Oracle Exadata

Akhilesh Kumar writes about Oracle Exadata’s performance,  “It’s about consolidation of my infrastructure, scalability, high performance, and availability.”

Rakesh Inukonda, adds “Also, we have enabled RAC clusters. That’s one of the main things, as well as high availability. The performance and high availability are really awesome.”

A Senior Principal Consultant at a Tech Consulting Firm sees direct cost benefits from Oracle Exadata’s performance, noting “We see cost saving due to the reduced footprint in the data center and improved performance”

HPE Vertica

Jochen Schlosser highlights a number of good points to the HPE Vertica, noting among them that “The most valuable feature in the solution is ad hoc data analysis. It improved the SLAs for our end clients.”

Oracle Database Appliance

Nitin Vengurlekar writes “The biggest value that customers are seeing, is that it’s easy to install, quick to deploy, and easy to consolidate platforms; as opposed to building an environment from scratch.”

“Where Do You See Room for Improvement?”

Oracle Exadata

Rakesh Inukonda still sees room for improvement to Oracle Exadata’s service, commenting “In the current version we’re using, we had lots of storage issues, disk failures, etc.”  

A Database Architect at a Tech Services Company further notes “One of the major issues was the Write Back Flash Cache. By default, the storage nodes come with write-through. That’s not very good for your OLE DB because it’s not going to hit your flash. It’s going to directly hit your hard disk.”

A Director Of Information Technology comments “They can make it faster and more scalable. Currently, it is not.”

HPE Vertica

Schlosser has little criticism, noting only “[Technical support] could be quicker sometimes, but that’s always the case with big processes.”

Oracle Database Appliance

However, Vengurlekar also points out that “Oracle has done a good job of letting it expand storage, but the number of nodes is still limited to two. This continues to be an issue for customers.”

Curious to learn more about other Data Warehouse Solutions?

 

Read more new user reviews for Data Warehouse Solutions on IT Central Station.

Enterprise Help Desk Solution Reviews- Best of 2016

IT Central Station users review the best enterprise Help Desk software of 2016

IT Central Station community members have contributed over 300 help desk software reviews for enterprise solutions in 2016. Our users discuss things they love about their current helpdesk solutions, and where they see room for improvement. They also write about the scalability of the solution they use, and compared it to previous solutions they have experience with.

Here are the top Help Desk solutions of 2016 according to the IT Central Station community.

ServiceNow

Our users have contributed 79 user reviews for ServiceNow, and it is ranked as the top Help Desk solution for 2016 by our users. Marcelo Moreli found ServiceNow to have: “Facility for doing customizations, very quick time to business, good support, availability time, some nice development tools, and facilities for building integration”

Room for Improvement

When noting room for improvement, one consultant added that an area for improvement was, “the configuration capabilities of the end-user facing portal, although this issue is due to be addressed in the next release.”

Zendesk

Vlad Diaconu had this to say about the solution: “Zendesk is a smart tool, helping us to become very well organized and, if necessary, to rethink our business strategies. We have a real-time overview on all requests coming from different channels, we can set service level agreements to meet our customer’s expectations and we can also monitor and evaluate our agents’ activity, managing to adapt and establish their tasks according to the work flow.”

Room for Improvement

However, John Appel says Zendesk “need to fix the email thread response problem.” Zendesk has the number two spot according to IT Central Station community.

Spiceworks

Joy Fano reviews SpiceWorks and writes: “We’re now able to provide logs during an it audit and we can monitor network activity in real time.”

Room for Improvement

At the same time, Stephen Fidler thinks Spiceworks requires the following improvements: “Scanning of the network, being able to remove some of the default actions that are in the drop down menu of the tickets.”

HPE Service Manager

Jacob Heubner, says HPE Service Manager is “a solution that works out of the box.” He continues to explain, “The solution’s real strength is its ability to change for your organization’s infrastructure.”

Room for Improvement

Darren Johnstone, a systems management specialist, argues that HPE Service Manager needs to “bring in new requested features to give the product a faster development cycle, ahead of the game!”

BMC Remedy

Goncalo Oliveira says that “flexibility in development and the capacity of being used by so many different kind of businesses are the most valuable features of BMC Remedy for us.” He continues to explain, “It enhances the implementation of process between teams in a central way, and if that is not possible it makes the integration with other applications easily.”

Room for Improvement

Jeevan Chaukar mentions these flaws in the system: “In general, Remedy doesn’t support very aggressive Agile development and is more conducive to a waterfall kind of SDLC. Also, the debugging of defects or performance issues in Remedy is not well assisted by the Remedy Developer Studio.”

Deciding which solution is right for you? Check out the full top 10 help desk software solutions of 2016 with peer reviews here..

 

Application Performance Management (APM) Reviews- Best of 2016

IT Central Station users review the best enterprise APM solutions of 2016

IT Central Station users have reviewed the main enterprise APM solutions and ranked them based on reliability, stability and ROI from the solution. Below are the top 5 solutions in 2016 according to our user community.

APM user reviewsAppDynamics APM:

IT Central members highlight ease of deployment and reliability as key factors for picking AppDynamics APM as their APM solution, while one area of improvement our community member noted was adding more support for next generation mobile platforms.

CA APM:

Our community members who have used the solution have highlighted a number of pros such as CEM and EP agents, Introscope, the transaction recording feature and the ADA which helps with the root cause analysis. Noted area for improvement by our users included better integration with other tools, and out of the box reporting.

New Relic APM:

Our IT Central users highlight real time performance metrics, on demand profiling and ApDex/ Error monitoring as key features of New Relic APM they like  while areas to improve include better configurability through the dashboard and the cost of the solution.

HPE AppPulse Suite:

IT Central users list user action response time, crash trail and stability as key features of HPE AppPulse Suite, while areas to improve according to our community are more reporting and analytics and separate views for the management and technical teams.

Dynatrace

This user comments that valuable features of Dynatrace include, “simple classic but effective UI (unlike some modern UI’s out there that have too much white-space), wide variety of dashlets available to monitor various services/components.” This user pointed out that an area where there was room for improvement was that, “they could increase the restrictions available for user-based roles.”

You can read more user reviews for Enterprise APM solutions, including the full top 10 Application Performance Management solutions of 2016 on IT Central Station.