Why Customer Testimonials Are Your Best Marketing

Wouldn’t it be great if happy customers could sell your product for you? Customer testimonials are a powerful marketing asset, and video makes them even more compelling.

David Peltz David Peltz is the founder of Credible Customers, which creates and manages customer testimonial videos. He honed his process increasing sales for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, and shares his vision for the future of marketing:

Modern technology and social media have created so many ways to market products and services. What makes customer testimonials the most compelling?

Customer testimonials are highly credible, honest and easy to connect to – especially at a “persona” level.  If I can see myself in the person giving the testimonial – same industry, similar jobs, similar age – I’ll have a natural affinity.

Storytelling in general is much more compelling and memorable than facts and figures. After a presentation, 63% remember stories, only 5% remember statistics. A customer telling his own stories of his success with your product or service is great, and a really good story multiplies its impact.

Within customer testimonials, you’ve really focused on video. How does video give marketers more leverage across channels?

Our focus on video is as a tool to gather great content. We ultimately produce marketing materials with leverage across channels. Once transcribed, great video content also becomes direct mail, collateral, website text, trade show materials, and more.

The dynamic of a video testimonial with a customer is quite unique.  The interviewer and the interviewee are naturally aligned. Both want the customer to appear bright, articulate, and knowledgeable. Both want the company to grow and continue making the customer successful.

That partnership is something I’ve only seen during video interviews.  The interviewer coaches the customer to be his most articulate, creating succinct sound bites. We teach customers and marketers how to make the most out of their own words and stories.

Salesforce.com and CRM software has extended from the sales cycle to ongoing customer service and relationships. Where do you see companies using that customer data to drive testimonials?

Great testimonials come from your best customers. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in their CRM is a good initial indicator. Customer service teams can log information about promoters and other customer heros.

This is a key discussion with marketing and CRM administrators. You need a specific place for this data, and an alert to marketers when a customer testimonial is identified. That alert could come from a favorable comments made to customer service, or a great success story from sales.

All those great testimonial statements need to be stored and accessible. Adding customer quotes to CRM records makes a lot of sense. You’d want to add metadata to those quotes – origin, categorization, tagging, and more.

Testimonial Manager™ is a SaaS solution for customer testimonials available free to our customers. It’s proof-of-concept now and will be re-built on the Salesforce.com platform as a both an app and stand-alone product.

Your new company Credible Customers helps marketing teams create, manage, and leverage those video testimonials. What’s a typical workflow that’ll make marketers more effective with Credible Customers?

My original intent was to be a coach for marketing teams.  I spent the last 6 years leading marketing at a successful software-as-a-service company (SaaS), honing a very specific process for capturing and organizing customer content. Both marketing and sales used that to ultimately increase business.

Early market research revealed a demand for full-service video production of customer testimonials as well. We now offer that and we’ll grow the business along whatever lines the market tells us. The general workflow is to create great video content and organize it for multi-channel leverage. Our specific workflow is a trade secret, but we’ll willingly teach it when officially engaged!

You’ve been in marketing for a long time, and customer testimonials are just the tip of a new iceberg. What’s the broader marketing movement you want to create, and how can people get involved?

We use “leverage” as a verb and we’ve adopted into Credible Customers tagline:  “Leverage Your Best Marketing Asset.” The movement and hashtag #LeverageYourCustomers is marketers, salespeople, and business leaders recognizing their success and creating more leverage from customer testimonials.

Buyers advance further in their journeys and investigations before engaging sales. Surveys suggest B2B buyers are engaging vendors at 57-70% through their buying process today. We’re seeing evidence that it’s sometimes as high as 90%. Buyers value the opinions of their peers first, subject matter experts second, and vendor sales people a distant third.

Our new LeverageYourCustomers.com blog is a rallying point for the sharing of actionable information, ideas, experiences and resources. We invite like-minded marketers and sales executive join the discussion as guest bloggers, commenters, and curated resource list providers. You can email me directly at david@CredibleCustomers.com to get involved.

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