This interview was originally conducted by @Joe and can be found at B2BSaaSReviews.com.
Views on Reviews is a new series of interviews with B2B SaaS professionals who will provide a real-world perspective on what it’s like working on reviews. My fourth interview is with Dan Kalmar, Managing Director at Upshot By Influitive.
Dan Kalmar is the Managing Director at Upshot by Influitive, a customer story service provider.
He has produced customer stories for some of the largest B2B tech companies in the world. From household behemoths such as Cisco and HPE, to unicorn startups like Dropbox and Gong.
Part interviewer, part story crafter, Dan manages a team who make B2B marketing material you’ll actually want to read. He’s interviewed everyone from CEOs, doctors, and IT professionals, all in the name of bringing their stories to life—and to the masses.
With a background in agency-style work and in-house teams, he has experience producing content that translates highly technical subject matter into engaging, lead-generating narratives.
Let’s see Dan’s views on reviews.
1. You’ve been telling customer stories now for over a decade. How did you get into it? And what keeps you in it?
2. For over 5 years, you’ve been telling customer stories through Upshot. What are some of the top customer advocacy lessons you’ve learned along the way?
3. There are many ways to share the voice of the customer: online review sites, testimonials, references, and case studies. As a customer storyteller, what’s your take on where and how to best tell a B2B customer story?
4. What is one mistake you see customer marketers make with customer stories?
5. You helped Valerio Battelli, Head of Global Advocacy and Operations at Cisco, tell the story of how Cisco “Increased Content Engagement 1,600% by Giving a Voice to Our Customers.” Valerio said, “we all want to learn from people who have faced the same issues as us, to hear about ways to be successful from someone who’s been in our shoes.” How did you / Upshot help Valerio apply this customer-centric approach at Cisco?
6. You’re the host of a new-ish podcast for Influitive, All About The Customer, talking with customer-obsessed people about best practices. You recently spoke with Jane Menyo, Head of Customer Marketing at Gong, and you asked her about getting user reviews on business software review sites. With Gong’s eye-popping 4,700+ reviews on G2, what did Jane share about Gong’s approach to review generation?
7. Why do you think reviews matter to a B2B SaaS vendor?
8. What have you found works—and what doesn’t—in review generation (when asking for reviews)?
9. On the Upshot site, you say, “Unlike traditional case studies, Upshot stories can hit anywhere from the top to bottom of the marketing funnel.” Can you elaborate on why Upshot stories can span the funnel?
10. What’s next for Upshot?
- Get out of the way and let your customers do the selling for you. Help your customers tell their stories.
- Make your customer, not your solution, the hero of your customer success story.
- Don’t believe the BS on a supposed lack of attention in this day and age rendering long-form content ineffective. Don’t cut your customer story short to meet an 800-word content length standard. Your audience will still consume long-form content if it’s engaging.
- Ask for reviews when customers are at their happiest. Don’t wait for customers to become experts on your product before asking them for a review. Ask a satisfied customer while onboarding for a review. Their review can cover why they chose your solution, their onboarding, and their initial product impressions.
- Think about how you can tell customer stories that serve a purpose above the bottom of the funnel, such as having a customer share a thought-leadership story about a common industry challenge, and they subtly bring you into the conversation.
More Upshot by Influitive Stories on Reviews
Over the years, Upshot by Influitive has also told the review stories of QuickBase, Clinicient, LivePerson, Dundas Data Visualization, and my personal favourite, PowerDMS. Ray Lau, who launched and led a customer advocacy program for PowerDMS that drove $410,000 in less than a year, found that the most significant area where advocates helped had been online reviews. Click on the linked company names above to read their reviews story.
Do you have follow-up questions for Dan? Add and message him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Upshot by Influitive, visit their site.
If you’d like to share your experience generating, leveraging, or measuring B2B SaaS reviews, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org