Reviews For B2B SaaS Startups

How B2B SaaS startups can gather their first reviews and turn their earliest users into advocates

Why do B2B Startups need reviews?

The number one task for the founders of B2B SaaS startups in 2024 is to generate demand for their product. The most important thing is to get the product in front of users, and to get them to use it.

As a founder of a B2B SaaS startup you'll find that a question that frequently comes up is "who else is using this product?" and "does it actually work?". The ideal answer to these questions is usually "yes, it works, and here are some case studies and testimonials to prove it".

It's a chicken and egg problem where the answer is to hustle in a way that will work for you business. That could be leveraging your existing network, ads, cold outreach, or a unique method that will get your product in front of users.

Once you've got your first customers you then need to turn them into advocates. Word of mouth is the most effective way to generate demand for a new B2B product, particularly because the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) needs to be low startups, and the leads you get through advocate marketing are highly qualified and have a high conversion rate.

Reviews are also a great way to generate demand because they are a form of social proof. Reviews are a social proof that has a proven psychological effect where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation. In other words, people are more likely to buy your product if they see that other people are buying it.

It's true: people are more likely to buy your product if they see that other people are buying it.

  • Users are 73.6% more likely to make a purchase from a website that displays reviews on-site. (TrustPilot survey)
  • 92.4% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review (G2 and Heinz Marketing survey)
  • 85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews (vs. 92% in 2013) (BrightLocal survey)
For SaaS, this has been true since the beginning: read how SalesForce acquired users as the first SaaS.

How do B2B Startups get their first reviews?

Do things that don't scale. Send emails - manually - to your first users asking them to leave a review. If they don't, then call them on the phone. When you see they are online using Intercom, send them an in-app message. Start a conversation and offer something of value (such as a discount) in exchange for a review and a case study.

At the early stage you want as little automation as possible between you and your users. When you have fewer than 50 users you shouldn't use a tool to automate conversations - you should be having them yourself with little to no barrier between you and the customer.

Pretty soon you'll have reviews on G2 and Capterra and you can start to leverage them to generate demand. Put the G2 and Capterra score on your website as a vote of confidence, and link to case studies. To gather more, add the G2 and Capterra "Review Us" buttons into your app. Your earliest users will be pretty positive, so don't be afraid of negative reviews.

Scaling review generation

The manual approach scales better than you think! You can get a lot of reviews by sending emails and having conversations with your users.

Where things get harder is when you have many accounts and a small team. You may find you're neglecting advocate marketing as a practice in favour of other tasks.

This is generally when teams start to automate their efforts, so they can continue to generate demand without having to hire a huge team to achieve it. Generally startups have an advantage over larger companies since they can try new user advocacy tools and experiment with what works faster.

If you're at that stage, and want to generate leads from G2 I recommend starting a free trial of RateHighly. We offer discounts for startups who are just getting started, and we'll help you get your first reviews and case studies.

RateHighly will help you identify your happy users, automate the process of asking them for reviews, and help you track the results of your demand generation efforts. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions — or book a meeting.

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RateHighly offers a 14 day free trial of our Growth plan to new users, and a forever free Starter plan, which will immediately start to grow your profile on G2.