6 Ways to Integrate User-Generated Content in the B2B Sales Cycle

When you hear "user-generated content," it's normally because Marketing needs it for lead and demand gen.
Andrew Parker
12 Dec

When you hear "user-generated content," it's normally because Marketing needs it for lead and demand gen.

"We need to publish a testimonial for the new product launch."

But your sales team faces the same challenge with prospects and MQLs: they need to prove your product works. And buyers further along in the funnel use it to evaluate your product.

The more effectively you can use customer-generated content as a sales and buyer enablement tool, the faster you'll close deals.

That means integrating different types of UGC throughout the whole sales cycle.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to all the content your customers share about your brand or product.

Types of UGC include:

  • User stories
  • Quotes
  • Reviews
  • Video testimonials
  • Social media posts
  • Case studies

Since it comes from your customers themselves, UGC is authentic, unbiased, and relatable. It adds credibility to your brand and gives buyers context from a real user's perspective.

Why is user-generated content important for B2B sales?

In one word: trust.

UGC proves your product works like you say it does. Prospects are far likelier to believe endorsements from their peers than even the slickest sales rep or most inventive forms of marketing wizardry.

  • According to research from G2, 68% of VPs/Directors and 60.5% of C-suite execs need to see it before making a purchase decision.
  • 92.4% of decision-makers are more likely to sign the dotted line after reading trustworthy reviews.
  • 84% of buyers are more likely to trust your marketing if it includes user-generated content.
  • Websites with UGC convert 29% more than those without.

Beyond the fact that customers need it to make buying decisions, user-generated content is the best way to capitalize on an existing asset (your customers).

You're already asking for testimonials, right? You're already publishing case studies and creating videos. Customers are already reviewing your product on G2 Crowd.

Whether you intend it to or not, UGC is driving at least some of your lead gen and sales. Customers publish it on their own accord, and you can’t always control that. 

But, the ball’s in your court when it comes to capturing the voice of the customer. Let’s look at 6 ways to generate and publish user-generated content with intention.

How UGC fits into your sales cycle:

Share user-generated content on social media.

Social networks account for the most important touchpoints between customers and your brand — 75% of B2B buyers use them during the sales process.

Since your sales team almost definitely uses social selling, they're also generally the first.

Social media also feeds primarily on user-generated content. So using UGC for organic and paid content on these platforms is a no-brainer.

There's a lot of room for creativity here. Depending on the platform (and nature of your product), you could share...

  • videos of your product in action,
  • text- and video-based testimonials,
  • or branded reviews.

Meta for Business ran an ad to highlight business leaders using Meta's paid AI-powered services to grow their brands.

ClickUp uses videos its customers create while using the platform to share productivity hacks with current and prospective customers.

To encourage user-generated content for your social media pages, onboard your customers to your customer marketing platform.

From there, you can prompt them to record a short testimonial or write a review. And they can choose to grant you permission to use it.

Highlight reviews and testimonials throughout your web content.

Besides social media, search engines and direct website traffic account for the majority of your digital touchpoints.

Positive reviews on sites like G2 Crowd and Capterra are important because they show up first when buyers search Google for "best {your product category}" or "{your product} reviews."

But you need social proof on your own site. 

Most buyers are somewhere between 57% and 70% through the sales cycle before talking to sales. So you need tons of social proof in your marketing collateral.

Slack does an exemplary job of this. On every page, there are plenty of reviews and corresponding videos from real customers.

And right below them? A call-to-action to book time with a sales rep on the spot.

What's great about Slack’s content is, they don't stop at the sales pages. They incorporate customer feedback into their content.

Take this article, where they highlight three small business customers' feedback as the basis of a top-of-funnel post about general productivity tips:

By using customer quotes and experiences to get their point across, they’re differentiating themselves from the 1,000s of boring “workplace productivity” articles out there.

And, for the opportunities further down the sales funnel, it nudges them closer to a "Yes."

With Deeto's new "Smart Widget" feature, you can auto-connect and embed customer reviews onto your website.

Depending on user behavior, our algorithm will display a dynamic, contextually relevant testimonial for your prospect.

Smart-match content to prospects during sales outreach.

For cold email prospects thinking, "Why should I talk to you?" social proof is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.

But it's only effective when the value you drive for a customer aligns with your prospect's needs and goals. Otherwise, why should they care what you did for someone else?

When you integrate your customer advocacy platform with your CRM, it will automatically pull a prospect's firmographic data and current stage in the sales funnel.

From there, it'll compile a list of your customers with similar attributes and the stories/testimonials they've left in the system.

Since this works on a per-prospect basis, each sales rep can personalize their outreach. And they won't have to worry about missing the mark.

Capture customer value through reference calls.

For those further along in the customer journey, references are the ultimate form of buyer enablement. Talking directly to another person like them is the last nudge they might need to sign that contract.

Sharing reference feedback in real-time is as simple as having each customer set their availability and having your sales team schedule meetings with prospects.

Upsell customers during reorder and renewal processes.

Retention is arguably the most important stage of the sales cycle, especially if you use a recurring revenue model (i.e., you're a SaaS company). That's why upselling is ~70% more affordable than new customer acquisition and increases revenue up to 30%.

As you retain each customer, you'll get a better and better idea of how they use your product. After a few months, you'll also know how they feel about it — what they like and what they struggle with. 

Your CS team can use this data to their advantage every time someone's due for a renewal or reorder. They can share relevant stories from customers who integrated a new feature, or expanded their product use to multiple departments. 

Bring everything full-circle with a scalable advocacy program.

Customer advocacy is a positive feedback loop — when you feature them, they become more invested. This makes them better references and more valuable customers.

Your ability to use them as part of your sales strategy, though, banks on your ability to scale the advocacy process.

  • Can customers easily create and share content?
  • Is the process interesting and rewarding for them?
  • Is your team able to structure and automate it?

If not, you're missing tons of potential value from your customers.

Again, this is all 100x easier with a customer advocacy platform. Learn more about ours.