Trust is crucial to doing business. It's even more critical for B2B software businesses.
The last year has been overwhelming — there's rampant misinformation, and many businesses are worried about the impact of COVID restrictions, travel bans, and economic instability.
As a result, trust is falling.
An Edelman study found trust declined drastically in the world's two largest economies, dropping 18 points in China and five in the US.
Yet, there's good news.
The Edelman report also found consumers actually trust businesses more than other information sources.
Consumers want to trust the businesses they buy from — and that provides software companies with an opportunity.
In fact, we grew Leadfeeder from 0 to 150K in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) without the help of a sales team by using trust.
Building trust helped us compete when we didn't have funding (we do now 👏🏻) and when our marketing budget was tiny.
Today, I want to talk about how we've built trust over the years and why I believe it's the future of software marketing.
Note: Leadfeeder is a buyer-intent tool that uncovers hidden leads on your site. Sign up for a free 14-day trial and start finding more leads today.
Why does trust matter for B2B SaaS companies?
Today's B2B consumers are more educated than ever. While that might seem like a good thing (hey, you don't have to engage until they’re almost ready to buy!) It's creating new challenges.
B2B buyers are bombarded with ads, options, and features. 🔊
All that information makes it harder for buyers to choose the right option. Plus, many software companies make side-by-side comparisons harder by hiding their pricing or splitting off features.
Businesses have money to spend — but getting buy-in and going through onboarding is time-consuming. Unlike B2C consumers, who can return an item they don't want, B2B customers often pay for software a year or more at a time.
They may spend hundreds of hours in meetings going over security challenges, ensuring a tool fits integrates with their current systems, and getting their bosses on board.
B2B buyers need to be more secure in their purchases than B2C customers.
This is why trust is so crucial. When consumers know that you're honest, they’re more likely to trust your tool will solve their problems.
Building trust in B2B software space
When we started Leadfeeder, we decided to put trust and transparency at the center of our business model and our company culture.
Here's how we did it.
Pay attention to reviews on online platforms
This one might seem obvious, but I see a lot of companies ignore it — usually because they’re overwhelmed by the number of platforms. There's Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business, etc. Software companies also need to pay attention to the software comparison sites like G2 and Capterra.
It can be a lot to track, especially when you're launching a new feature, revamping your marketing strategy, or trying to get another round of funding.
However, people rely on real reviews to decide which software to purchase, so this isn't something you can ignore.
Good or bad, you need to respond to reviews to show customers you're listening.
Rather than tracking it manually, use a social listening tool to track brand mentions. You can build a template for replies, but make sure to customize each response to the review.
Be transparent in everything you do
Transparency is one of the most powerful ways to build trust. When your business is transparent, employees, customers, and investors know you will do the right thing.
At Leadfeeder, transparency is at the core of everything we do. That’s why we’re upfront about pricing — we don't hide our plans behind a demo request. When things go wrong, like when Google removed the network domain and service provider from GA, we talked about it.
Transparency can also increase customer retention and boost employee morale, which can cut costs.
Here are a few ways to be transparent:
Be clear about pricing
Don't mislead on features
Make customer service easy to reach
Share your challenges and your triumphs
Admit your mistakes
Being transparent as a company allows other businesses to see the human side of your company. They'll trust you to do the right thing, even if you slip up from time to time.
Create valuable, authentic content
Creating valuable content is a marketing strategy, but it can be so much more.
Authentic, real, useful content isn't just about nailing SEO best practices or adding a keyword enough times. It's about creating real, honest content that helps your customers.
Take this article, for example. It's probably not going to land on the first page of Google for our main keywords like buyer intent software.
That's okay. The point of this article isn't to sell software.
My goal is to connect with other people facing the same challenges we have and share what works for us.
Maybe this helps you; maybe it just opens up a conversation for your team. Either way, I hope it's useful.
Content can also be both useful and SEO-friendly. For example, we create comparison guides with our competitors that break down the differences between features, pricing, even customer service options.
Obviously, we think our tool has a lot to offer, but we don't say, "Oh, they’re terrible! We're the best."
We (try) to be even-handed and explain what types of business might benefit from our competitors over Leadfeeder.
That's not just from the goodness of our hearts, it's better for everyone. If we sign up a customer who isn't a good fit, they won't stay with us. We'd rather them find the right tool.
Consider content as more than just a marketing tool — use authentic content to build trust with your buyers.
Pay attention to how users interact with your site
How users interact with your site tells you a lot about what they need and where they are in the buyer funnel.
However, that data is good for more than just marketing — you can use it to build trust as well.
Say you offer two different tools: one for marketers and one for sales teams. If you see a specific company visit your sales team page, you have a better idea of what they need.
You can use that data to send them an ebook about sales best practices or pass that information on to your sales team to use when they contact the company.
Or you might see they visit a page about a specific problem — say getting more leads. You can use that information to address their pain point.
This information is good from the marketing and sales perspective, but it also builds trust by showing them you understand their company and their needs. (Just don't be weird about it and say, "Oh, I saw you visited X page on June 15th...")
When customers feel like you understand them, they trust you more.
The future of software marketing is trust
There are more software options than ever before. This makes it harder for businesses to decide which platform to choose.
While marketing strategies like landing pages and lead magnets have their place, I firmly believe trust is the future of software marketing.
The best part? Building trust doesn't have to cost anything. Be clear, be direct, and be honest. When you make mistakes, own up to them.
You'll stand out from your competitors and earn the satisfaction of knowing you're doing the right thing.
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