How Demand Gen Views User Reviews – With Tara Robertson

This interview was conducted by Professor Joe Kevens, who yo can find @ @Joe

This interview is with Tara Robertson, Senior Manager, Demand Generation, at Chili Piper.

Tara Robertson has repeatedly risen to a tall task: marketing to marketers.

She’s marketed for B2B MarTech companies such as ScribbleLive (now part of Rock Content), Uberflip, and Chili Piper.

As the Senior Manager, Demand Generation at Chili Piper 🌶, she’s now the Host of Demand Gen Chat 🎙 and Editor of The Sauce newsletter.

Her peers and colleagues know her as:

  • …curious, passionate, deliberate, focused
  • …a roll-up-your-sleeves marketer that delivers on-time and on-budget
  • …a swiss army knife for marketing teams
  • …an absolute delight to work with.

The demand generation world is lucky to have her.

Without further ado, here are Tara’s views on reviews.

1. To kick things off, tell us a little about your podcast, Demand Gen Chat.

Answer: Working on the podcast has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but has been such a fun experience! I decided to take over as host when our previous podcast host, Kaylee Edmondson, left the Chili Piper team to pursue another opportunity. The format of the show is interview-style but very casual. I interview a new demand gen leader every couple weeks, and I usually decide what topics to cover with them by looking through their recent social posts to see what they have strong opinions about.

2. In the Demand Gen Chat episode with Dev Basu of Powered by Search, Dev spoke about how review sites fit into creating high-converting competitor pages. Specifically, he said, “if you even realize that there are these directory websites (i.e. business software user review sites like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius others), you (as a B2B SaaS vendor) are being compared all day long (to alternative products). It’s just a matter of whether you’re controlling the narrative or not.”  What’s your perspective on Dev’s point here?

Answer: I definitely agree with Dev here, and I know from my own experience that this is true. You can hand-pick all the positive testimonials you want for your website or landing pages, but I’m still going to do my due diligence and check out review sites for unbiased reviews (along with asking my peers to hear about their own experiences with the tools I’m evaluating).

3. Can you elaborate on why you think reviews matter to a B2B SaaS vendor?

Answer: Social proof is very important in B2B, but testimonials and quotes on a vendor’s website can sometimes get dismissed as biased. Review sites allow all types of users to leave reviews (good and bad). Reviews left on these sites can also be useful for gathering feedback on (your) product or support since not all customers want to communicate their concerns directly with a vendor.

4. How do you get internal buy-in to spend resources on review generation?

Answer: Maybe I’ve been lucky but so far this has not been a challenge. The team here at Chili Piper was sold on the value of reviews and testimonials before I joined, and I haven’t been on a team yet that didn’t see user reviews as a priority.

5. Your former Uberflip customer marketing colleague, Alana Merdzan, shared a review generation example with Influitive: “We ran a Valentine’s Day Campaign called ‘Spread the Love’ in the A-list (Uberflip’s Customer Advocacy program) and we received a total of 21 positive reviews across TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, and Capterra in just five days!” What’s been your experience working with Customer Marketing on review generation? What have you found works?

Answer: Working with customer marketing is critical to success in generating reviews. Having someone own new review generation and have a goal is super important. In my experience, marketers often agree that reviews are important but don’t agree on whose role it is to generate new reviews. Unless your team has a dedicated customer marketer, this can often get deprioritized for more short-term initiatives and programs that tie directly to generating pipeline.

6. What advice do you have for B2B SaaS vendors who want to get more reviews?

Answer: The most important step is to just start asking! I think a lot of us vendors are hesitant to ask our customers to do something for us because it feels selfish, but realistically if your product is helping them solve a problem or making their job easier, they will probably be happy to share their experience.

7. Do you have goals or OKRs on or related to reviews? If so, what are they?

Answer: I personally do not but at Chili Piper our Community and Customer Marketing team do set goals for reviews monthly, along with goals around content creation (customer stories, video testimonials, etc.)

8. Have you used buyer intent data from review sites? If so, how?

Answer: Yes, we currently use G2 intent data at Chili Piper in two key ways: 1) Build retargeting lists for our paid social ads (this is automated via the G2 > Metadata integration; we run our paid social ads in 2) Alert SDRs if an account they’re working on takes specific actions on G2 (visits our company profile, visits a competitor’s profile.)

9. Are you seeing any change in where you or your advocacy peers go for user reviews? i.e. not to review sites, but to your own personal network directly, or to peer networks in Slack communities?

Answer: I’ve definitely noticed a trend of asking for reviews and feedback in communities. On Slack communities for sure, I’m also in the Exit Five community on Facebook where there’s a post almost daily asking for feedback on a specific tool or vendor. I do think there’s still a place for sites like G2, but I can’t see the popularity of communities slowing down anytime soon.

10. What do you have in store for Demand Gen Chat for the rest of 2022 and beyond?

Answer: We’re planning on recording a few more episodes and will be releasing them through October. I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus from the podcast in the winter but keep an eye out for a couple new short-form video series that we’ll be working on for Youtube.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Leverage buyer intent data from review sites to build retargeting lists for paid social ads and alert SDRs (and AEs and CSMs while you’re at it) if an account they’re working on takes specific actions on the review site (such as visits our company profile, visits a competitor’s profile, etc.) Consider if you use G2 buyer intent data and want to automate the process of using it in your audiences for paid social ads.
  2. Generate reviews on third-party review sites to create less biased social proof than testimonials and quotes on a vendor’s website. Review sites are less biased because they show a spectrum of user perspectives, good and bad. Still use testimonials and quotes on your website, but don’t stop there with your social proof. Leverage the third-party review sites for added credibility.
  3. Have someone own review generation and set a goal. Marketers often agree that reviews are important but don’t agree on whose role it is to generate new reviews. A dedicated customer marketer is often the answer. In the absence of one, be mindful of the risk of review generation becoming deprioritized for things your colleagues may perceive to have a more short-term and direct impact on pipeline and revenue (in part due to the limitations of how we attribute and measure marketing success).
  4. Talk to your customers about the communities that they’re in. Increasingly, software buyers are turning to review sites and their peers in community groups to get a well-rounded perspective on what it’s like to use the software in question.
  5. Start asking for reviews. Don’t overthink it; you can adjust as you go.

Do you have follow-up questions for Tara? Add and message her on LinkedIn.

To learn more about Chili Piper, visit their site and reach out to their team.

Listen or watch Demand Gen Chat 🎙 and subscribe to The Sauce newsletter for helpful tips and marketing insight from Tara and her guests.

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