Software Decisions

Survey Reveals In-Depth End-User Reviews Becoming Significant Factor in Software Evaluations

Earlier this year, we announced poll results of its online visitor and member base that underscore how significant independent peer reviews are becoming in B2B software purchasing process.

Business software buyers use in-depth reviews before vendor contact

The study reveals that 42% of visitors to TrustRadius have not yet contacted a vendor, despite the fact that the vast majority (90%) are in an active evaluation cycle and 58% of them are planning to buy software within 90 days.

The online visitor and member polling also found:

  • 86% of members come from workplace functions outside of IT
  • 40% of visitors or members are researching a vendor shortlist

“Search and social are now fundamentally changing how business software buyers research products,” said Vinay Bhagat, CEO of TrustRadius. “They often begin their research through a web search and also use social networks to gather feedback. End-user based review sites like TrustRadius are rapidly becoming key information resources for them.”

Many use in-depth reviews to refine their evaluation lists

Of those polled, 40% of visitors to TrustRadius are researching vendors on their short list

  • 14% are developing a long list
  • 21% are narrowing their short list
  • 10% are preparing questions for a demo with a vendor

A Senior Marketing Director at a mid-sized technology company used TrustRadius early on in a marketing automation systems evaluation. Over three months, she accessed TrustRadius three times to read reviews primarily about her short-listed solutions and to connect with other users. She also had a phone call with one reviewer to probe deeper.

“Hearing from actual users is invaluable. It really matters to me to see who the reviewer is to understand why they’re saying what they’re saying” she said. “Some things in the reviews start to jump out to you. They allow you to read the vendor website with an educated perspective. After a demo, TrustRadius allows you to go deeper.”

Others use in-depth reviews to prepare RFPs and questions

An IT project manager at a large healthcare company recently joined TrustRadius to research Talent Management solutions. She used TrustRadius to aid with early requirements gathering in advance of creating an RFP. TrustRadius supplemented paid research from Gartner and provided the background information she needed to discuss pain points and requirements with internal stakeholders. She also intends to rely heavily on user perspectives on TrustRadius in prepping questions for vendors in follow-up to RFP responses and especially for demos.

In-depth review sites appeal to all users regardless of size and functions

Reviews aren’t just for SMBs. 14% of TrustRadius members are at large companies with more than 5,000 employees. 25% are at mid-market companies with 200 to 5,000 employees. 39% are at smaller companies with up to 200 employees.

company-size-graph-2014

The study also revealed widespread interest across functions. Notably, 86 percent of TrustRadius members are in functions outside of IT, commensurate with the trend that business software decisions are increasingly led outside out IT.

member-function-graph-2014

Bhagat concluded, “Just as review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Amazon have become ingrained in consumer decision making, business software review sites are becoming a critical information source for technology buyers who crave unbiased insights. It’s easy to foresee a future where accessing in-depth peer reviews will be an integral part of every software evaluation process.”

Study is based on 4,000+ members and online survey incepts conducted in Q4 FY13.

Bertrand Hazard

Bertrand Hazard TrustRadius, where he leads all marketing functions as the VP Marketing. He has over 15 years of experience in product marketing, demand generation, brand and community efforts. Previously, Bertrand held leadership roles at Solarwinds, Troux Technologies, Universal Weather & Aviation and NetIQ. He has a Diplome d'Etudes Superieures Europeennes de Management from CESEM Mediterranee in Marseilles, France, and a bachelor of arts degree from Middlesex University in London.