There’s a lot of anxiety around B2B purchasing.
The truth is that we don’t know how any one decision will work out for us. Even in business (especially in business), there are a lot of unknowns. Despite this, we take a gamble, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t lessen the risk.
As a marketer, it’s critical that you understand that there is some level of perceived risk in every campaign. This is no different when it comes to proposals to your prospective clients. Every time a prospect makes a decision, they partake in a risky commitment.
If you want someone to hit that accept button and decide working with you is worth the risk, it’s up to you to reassure them that they’re making a safe bet.
Social proof is a fundamental part of B2B sales. Many businesses are already including customer testimonials in their proposals, which is a fantastic addition to the document. However, there’s more to effective social proof than just quoting a customer.
In this article, we will be discussing the impact of social proof in B2B and how you can formulate effective social proof to increase your acceptance rate..
The Psychology Behind Social Proof
Social proof is also known as ‘informational social influence’ and the term actually refers to the way that individuals tend to follow the actions of others around them. This process can be attributed to our innate “herd mentality,” and can explain why when people see a large group of people doing something, they become more likely to join in, whether it be a long line for overpriced ice cream or in purchasing the highest rated B2B services.
Social Proof in B2B
With B2B services being saturated more than ever, choosing between two options that are seemingly similar in every way can be challenging for a prospective client. The last thing any prospect wants to do after countless hours of meetings is to choose the wrong partnership for their marketing.
You can help facilitate their decision making process and prevent this from happening by leveraging social proof to establish authority in your niche and gain the trust of your prospects.
According to a study by G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after they read a trusted, positive review.
Every client you encounter is sure to be tight on time, so helping them make an informed decision in the quickest way possible will set you apart from the competition.
The Social Proofing Your Proposal Needs
Now that you have a full understanding of the impact of social proof in winning business and the psychology that drives it, let’s explore the many ways that you can incorporate this in your proposal creation process!
User, Download, or Purchase Count
Leaning on the theory of herd mentality, it becomes crystal clear that it’s in your best interest to display how big your user base or community is.
The bigger, the better, right?
While ‘more is better,’ there’s a good chance that you’re part of the many businesses whose expertise isn’t guaranteed by user count or community size figures.
That’s okay. Social proofing is still important.
If you’ve worked with reputable clients or have been featured by leading industry publications, this is your opportunity to showcase that your marketing services are credible.
Not every business has worked with an industry leader; so if you’ve done so, this presents a clear opportunity to strengthen your social proof.
Awards and Recognition
While marketing is often a thankless job, there’s a chance you’ve acquired some choice recognition during your years in service.
In highly competitive industries (like the marketing agency space), awards are given to businesses who execute best practices and are consistently setting industry standards.
Whether it be Mumbrella or SEMRush awards, this form of recognition not only validates the quality of your offering, but also serves as proof that you are a step above the competition.
A crucial element to successful social proof is trust. Whilst this can be built by using the herd mentality to your benefit, it’s also contingent on authenticity.
One way to communicate authenticity is through customer testimonials — these are transparent in nature and go a long way.
Adding to this, research on increasing “truthiness,” revealed that an effective way to strengthen the truth in customer testimonials is to put a face to the words.
Customer testimonials can be more than a few words summarizing what your business offers. Instead, your goal should be to dig deeper and paint a full picture of their entire experience. A great way to do this is by providing a case study.
If your marketing agency has conducted a case study, you can use this to present a story of how you identified their pain points and helped them every step of the way. You can also demonstrate the transformation between before and after working with them.
Stories are more persuasive and trustworthy than statistics because narratives prime us to imagine ourselves in the other person’s shoes.
Creating a compelling story helps your prospects realize their latent needs and helps to push them towards realizing that your agency is the solution.
Twitter is a fantastic platform for people who wish to openly express their experiences with services.
If you have a following on Twitter where customers have spoken highly about your service, utilize this to capture every customer experience.
People publish their own tweets, which means there are credibility and authenticity behind the positive experience.
While the B2B space can seem overcrowded — especially for marketing agencies, social proof has given businesses an edge to stand out.
Adding diversity and depth to your social proofing will facilitate conversation between you and your prospect — a must for a quicker lead-to-close time.
Ready To Win Your Next Proposal?
If you’re excited to create your next beautiful proposal, but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created some stunning marketing proposal templates — be sure to check them out!