Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor with a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing.
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For B2B purchasers, the impact of reliable reviews is immense, with 92.4% expressing a preference for businesses backed by trustworthy feedback. In fact, 23% of decision-makers rely on peer recommendations or review sites, while 24% look up information about providers on social media. So without social proof and a robust online presence, you risk being invisible to potential clients.
We at Belkins understood this from the start. So today we’ll share how a solid digital footprint on websites like Clutch brought us over 100 opportunities monthly and how you can achieve similar success by maximizing your presence on review websites.
How it all started
Belkins’ inception in 2017 brought forth challenges as we worked tirelessly from home for 20 hours daily. Yet the biggest one was establishing visibility so that we could earn the trust of potential customers.
This was one of the reasons we decided to look up possible ways to grow our brand awareness and establish expertise. Besides, even in the early stages, we cherished the idea of omnichannel lead acquisition.
These 2 factors led us to explore independent review websites. We bet that in addition to bolstering trust, they held great potential for lead generation — and we were right.
We promptly decided on Clutch because it stood out as the largest online directory for service companies. It still offers the most extensive array of opportunities for service providers compared to similar platforms, which primarily cater to product companies.
Unleashing the potential of Clutch for lead generation
As newbies to listing our company on a review site, we encountered some challenges in our rise to the top. Reflecting on that journey, we can confidently say that it was worth it. Over the last 6 years, Clutch has become a crucial part of our growth story as it allowed us to:
To achieve such results, our team navigated a series of obstacles and had to re-imagine the processes of building relationships with clients.
1. Zero chance for negative feedback
The real challenge lies in getting a good heap of positive reviews, especially considering the natural inclination of people to only share the negatives. Clients, even when genuinely pleased with our services, often hesitate to drop a review, deeming it an unnecessary extra task.
Here’s where we stepped up to change their minds. While handling negative feedback is standard business, managing positive reviews demands just as much attention and effort.
At Belkins, we went all out to craft experiences that practically ruled out the chance of negative reviews. It involved a lengthy process: analyzing each negative case, tweaking internal processes, refining communication, and forming genuine bonds with our clients.
Another hurdle we faced was securing a spot in the coveted Clutch Leaders Matrix, particularly at the pinnacle. The good news is that you can’t buy your ranking there. The bad news is that this top listing is hard to earn. Yet its organic nature bolsters trust and drives an influx of leads.
So the second part of our plan was to get to the top solely by organic search. This required extra effort inside our team and workflow.
2. Building up a customer success process
Recognizing the potential of review platforms as a robust client source, we designated a key individual within the customer success team — a marketing operations manager — to focus on Clutch reviews daily. This specialist ensured that we met all the criteria to maintain our leading position and handled negotiations with clients.
Then, our task was to develop a functioning process to encourage clients and collect reviews. Here’s how it looks today.
Find the right clients. Our marketing operations manager keeps tabs on project performance using our client success platform. They pick projects that nail 100% KPIs or exceed expectations. Then they chat with the account manager (AM) to request a review. Sometimes, the AMs spot winners and proactively dive into quick sync-up calls with the clients.
Get the necessary info. Our AM finds out how happy the client is with our service. If it’s all smiles and they’re pleased, the account manager pops the question: “On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate us?” A solid 5 gets us to the finale: “Mind leaving a review on Clutch/G2/etc.?” In our experience, about half say yes. Once they do, the AM connects them with our marketing operations manager.
Stay in touch and assist. Our marketing operations manager reaches out to the client through email, creating personalized sequences with follow-ups. Weekly check-ins and regular updates on the review status go to the dedicated AM. The whole process can sometimes stretch out over a few months.
Make it easy for clients. Our manager’s emails always have a direct link to the review form. And if clients run into any issues or questions, the marketing operations manager takes care of them.
Handle the details. Given the many steps in this workflow, we use a Trello board to keep everything on track. The marketing operations manager creates a card for each project, keeping tabs on review statuses, gathering updates from AMs, and ensuring timely follow-ups.
This detailed process allows us to receive up to 60 new Clutch reviews every year and stay on top of the categories we plan to be included in.
Of course, review platforms can’t serve as our sole lead source, but they carry significant value for our sales team. Reviews are pivotal in facilitating deal closures and steering client discussions in the right direction. When a sales representative presents a prospect with a client’s appraisal from one of the largest independent international platforms, it lends them authority. Many of our clients promote their business on Clutch and understand the effort required to secure a top listing.
Still, we can’t ignore the fact that it’s a solid source of new, high-quality leads and future clients. Here’s what we get monthly with Clutch:
Up to 1,800 unique views of our Clutch account (mostly coming from different company listings)
Up to 1,600 website visits
Around 100 high-quality contacts (with an average of $140 per lead)
Around 65 opportunities
Between 2 and 5 closed-won deals
Below, you can see our lead-generation progress over the last 15 months.
The lead-to-deal conversion from Clutch reaches 3%.
What’s more, we got some awards from Clutch that prove our commitment and trustworthiness. They are:
Top B2B Companies Global 2019
Top 1,000 Service Providers Global in 2020
Top IT & Business Service in 2020
Top Voice Services in 2021
Top 1,000 Global Service Providers in 2022
We mention these reviews and awards on our website, in our marketing materials, and even in relevant case studies and email signatures. Thus, we use not only our authority on Clutch but also the authority of the platform. Even if someone hasn’t heard about Belkins, they know what Clutch is.
How to get the most from your Clutch account
We’d like to share a few tips on how to build up an attractive profile and use Clutch for lead generation. But first, let’s explain some platform specifics to give you more context.
On Clutch, the listing position plays a pivotal role. The top spots are typically secured through payment. The platform operates on an auction-type system where higher bids result in better promotion. It’s a dynamic competition as anyone can outbid the current highest bid at any moment. Each position secures a specific amount of traffic, directly influencing pricing — a system somewhat akin to Google Ads.
There are different categories where you can bid and get various traffic and leads. For instance, Belkins secures its position in lead generation, call centers, appointment setting, B2B sales outsourcing, and other listings relevant to our services and target audience.
Achieving a top-10 position for free is feasible if you put in significant effort. Several factors influence this promotion, including:
Review quantity, relevance, and average score. We consistently aim for a 5.0 score. Both Clutch and potential clients pay attention to this. This meticulous approach resonates not only with the platform’s algorithms but also captures the attention of potential clients, resulting in more promotional opportunities.
Track record. A compelling portfolio is the cornerstone for a favorable rating on Clutch. Furthermore, weaving engaging case studies into our account renders it more persuasive for potential leads.
Company’s marketing efforts. Proactive engagement defines the company’s marketing efforts. As for us, instead of passivity, we advocate an active approach, ensuring that our presence is felt rather than relying on accidental discoveries.
Dynamic online presence. This isn’t just about keeping our website up and running. It’s also about being everywhere on social media. And you know what adds some extra life to our online vibe? When the media gives you a nod and mentions you on their sites.
Size and quality of clients the company works with. The caliber of clients you collaborate with is a big deal for many companies. A list of reputable and well-known businesses is a testament to the company’s excellence and strengthens its standing in the industry.
Other metrics. What people say about us, where our headquarters are, how many offices we have, and the awards we’ve snagged are also important. It’s a good way to measure how you’re doing as a company.
Clutch promotes a company account based on 3 main parameters:
Clients and experience
Market presence (awards, media mentions, etc.)
From our experience, these metrics also influence the conversion rate.
Here are a few hints to make your account more attractive so that it generates more leads:
Get your profile in gear. Fill in all the blanks and make the most of every chance to showcase what you’re about. Remember to toss in some examples and link up your socials.
Show off what you’ve done before. If you can swing it, toss in some video reviews to spice things up.
Highlight any awards you’ve won. And if you’re running low on those shiny trophies, go chase after them! Place those awards in your email signatures, especially if you’re dealing with big shots — it boosts your chances of getting a reply.
Carve out special lead magnets on your website for each platform. Craft messages that resonate with decision-makers ready to dive into serious discussions, like we did below. Our contact form is front and center for those eager leads.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. Hit up your loyal customers and drop them a line about their experiences. With a solid email, you’ll likely get a thumbs-up and a testimonial.
Work with negative reviews. Don’t ignore them. Try to figure out why the client wasn’t satisfied with your service. Once you’ve sorted it, nudge them to reconsider the score.
The most important thing behind all those tips is to provide a service of such quality your customers will be eager to leave positive reviews on their own.
Keep those reviews coming to get high-quality leads on Clutch
When we first joined Clutch, companies typically had around 30–40 reviews. However, through our sustainable and systematic approach to utilizing this platform, we’ve surpassed the 150-review mark, setting an example for others in our industry and moving our category ahead.
We take pride in sharing our experiences with fellow companies, empowering them to grow and improve their digital marketing, user experience, and buying journey. We will continue actively contributing to the progress of our industry and support listing platforms that help companies grow.
Likewise, these insights will catalyze your exploration of review platforms as a valuable source of high-quality leads. These tips should aid you in crafting an impressive company profile and securing a steady stream of opportunities from Clutch.
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Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.