What are Industry Directories?
More and more B2B clients (68% according to a Forrester research) prefer learning about products and exploring them independently online, instead of talking with salespeople.
With the proliferation of B2B software solutions, clients are having trouble selecting the products that fit them the most. As a result, many websites have been created over the last several years for the purpose of comparing between products and providing opinions and reviews. These websites are also competing amongst themselves and are part of a market which can be referred to as the Choice Industry.
References are also related to this field – references from clients and other recommenders, which are critical in B2B sales. So, no wonder websites with users and experts’ opinions on their products are gaining popularity.
Many of this type of websites offer the option of listing the company or product free of charge, while also offering a sponsored registration for promoting the product’s placement s so that it will stand out against the competitors. In addition, they offer a wide range of advertising and exposure channels and an option to request clients’ opinions and reviews.
These websites constitute rich and important sources of information regarding suppliers, products, categories that the products are attributed to, professional articles and opinions of users and experts. These websites usually come up first in the search engines, therefore the presence of B2B software companies in these websites is critical.
The Benefits of Industry Directories
The Use of Industry Directories as a Source of Knowledge and Information
These websites have rich content, which will help you conduct market research for planning the go-to-market strategy and collecting competitive intel such as:
- Familiarizing with different product categories and classifying your product into the appropriate solutions category
- Realizing who are the competitors in your field/category
- Market and product overviews and shopping guides, which are a good source to learn the recommended way for a company to purchase a product in the relevant field
- Comparing different products and competitors – both at the company level and the product level
- Competitors’ prices
- What are customers saying about the competitors
- What are experts saying about the competitors
- Competitor ratings and mapping of the competitive landscape
- Customers’ feedback on your product in order to improve it
- Investment information
Exposure, Advertising and Strengthening the Brand
These websites can be part of your marketing channels. For example:
- Registering (mostly for free) indicates you’re an active market player
- Payed registration – aids in positioning you as a prominent or leading player
- Traffic to your website – these websites attract a lot of traffic and they can bring traffic to your website
- SEO contribution in terms of building backlinks
- Customer review collecting tool which also provides confidence in you as a recommended supplier to potential costumers
- Variety of marketing channels:
- Pay Per Click – Paying for every click leading to your website
- Pay Per Lead – Paying for every qualified lead the website sends you
- Access to general analytics tools and visitor analytics tools
- Ordering an expert review
- Appearing in industry reviews and articles such as “List of Top 20 CRM Software” or receiving awards such as:
What are the Leading Websites for the B2B Software Field and What Characterizes Each and Every One of Them?
Who are the leading websites? What are they focused on and what differentiates them? What are the services they offer? And how will you be able to benefit using them or being listed in them?
One of the first and most popular websites in the field. It is now part of the Gartner Digital Markets Insights. The website is rich and extremely versatile, and it has about 700 solution categories. There is in-depth information about the products, filtered by functionality and features, user ratings and reviews (liked and disliked). In addition, it has buying guides, a blog, and articles.
There is an option of free registration or you can benefit from payed advertising which allows a direct link to your website (instead of a link to your profile on that platform) or PPC advertising which is payment per click and includes campaign analytics reports. This campaign can be defined per category (in case your products belong to more than one category) and country.
There is also a great module for customer review collection.
Of the first directories which is also part of the Gartner Digital Markets Insights.
The website is known for its leads service. It contacts customers who visit the website and asks them for help with choosing a supplier. That means the leads are already in a pretty advanced buying stage and are more likely to purchase. Based on a phone interview made by the company with the customer and a lead qualification process, the website generates hot leads to the relevant suppliers who have signed up for the service. The supplier pays per lead and the customer receives a recommendation email with a list of recommended suppliers. The process looks like this:
This review site includes over 128,000 products and services spread across 2,100 product categories. It is used by buyers in small and medium-sized companies who can not afford to purchase expensive analyst reports.
The site gives great value by defining the category of products as well as the Inclusion Criteria section which lists the conditions that a product and company are required to meet in order to be eligible to be included in the category. In addition, they present a “buyers guide” according to which they teach buyers how to examine solutions in the relevant field and from which you can also learn about gaps that you need to fill.
One of the things that differentiate them is the Competitors Grid, which was developed using a point system which allows it to showcase and rate the competitors on a diagram, where the X axis displays the level of customer satisfaction and the Y axis displays the level of market presence.
The level of satisfaction is determined by customer ratings and reviews they provide while the degree of market presence is determined by the size of the company, its growth rate, its market share, traffic on the company’s website, level of presence and activity on social media including company employees and the number of reviews.
For a category to be eligible for a grid its has to have a minimum of 6 products in a category with at least 10 reviews each and a minimum of total 150 reviews for each category. The grid is developed and managed by a team of analysts and is dynamic and varies according to the inclusion of suppliers and products and their rating.
They also provide an Index report that includes an analysis of customer reviews on selected parameters such as user-friendliness, the implementation process or the supplier-customer relationship.
Their premium services include a campaign to collect reviews and ratings from customers while providing incentives to get a high response rate. They also provide a buyer intent report that includes information on customers who have compared products in the category or who have been thoroughly researching the category or competitors and which may indicate that they have a high or immediate purchase intent.
What makes this website special is its focus on financial solutions – which means if your solution is part of this category, this is the right place for you to be in.
The website includes an expert review section with reviews from technology and SaaS experts.
The information about the products, reviews and ratings is displayed in a clear and detailed manner, providing an easy way for the products to be compared to other products.
It has a unique scoring model for buyers that rates and calculates the level of customer satisfaction. The rating is done according to various parameters, which are not related solely to the product’s functionality, but rather to other important things such as integration with 3rd party systems, information security, customer service, mobile support and more:
This is how the final score looks like – based on customer reviews, comments and opinions throughout the internet and social media:
They offer paid services and other services including:
- Ordering supplier reviews and providing a quality badge
- Lead generation
- Advertising content and articles about the product
Other than offering free registration for a company profile, this index offers a variety of paid services:
- Premium registration
- Pay Per Click service
- Leads service – where you pay only for leads who filled out their questionnaire
- Drip Campaigns
- Banner advertising in their website
They are also part of Gartner Digital Markets Insights.
The categories are clearly organized and are displayed elegantly:
They have a recommendation engine which allows searching by functionality and price ranges and filtering results according to the individual needs of the person conducting the search.
This website is actually more focused on costumers and geographically-wise in the United States and in England – but can also be relevant for small customers.
They have a team of 30 investigators, writers, editors, and developers, covering and checking products in fields of VPN, password management, ID theft protection, Antivirus, internet suppliers and streaming.
The analysis and comparisons that they offer are very detailed:
This website has different characteristics and it is more focused on investments and raising money. It has great information about companies, including fundraising, when the fundraising was done and who are the investors, revenue periods, exhibitions they participated in, websites they are registered in and news about fundraising. If you are into fundraising, this website is relevant for you.
There is an option for free registration of a company. And they also offer a paid service, Crunchbase Pro, which allows advanced searches, personal notifications, database charts, data extraction and more – all without ads.
What makes this website special is that it includes a list of companies that are developing software, and IT service providers. Thus, it can be a highly effective tool for tracking down business partners in the IT field.
The website incorporates diverse information about companies including ratings, case studies, videos and more. It includes reports of competitor/specific companies’ analysis and offers showcasing an award.
In addition, they offer marketing and exposure services:
One of the characteristics differentiating this website is that it includes hardware.
In addition, there is an option of purchasing the software online which means in most cases the prices are visible– however it doesn’t always fit to all kinds of software.
They provide an expert consultation service which is designed to help customers compare and select the right product that will later enable them to purchase from the website.
They also provide paid advertising services including banners, customer testimonials, product articles and more.
Offers free company profile registration.
Their uniqueness is in the level of validation they conduct on the reviews, where they verify the customer’s identity, and they are actually proud in the fact that there are no paid options – this means only the best are promoted in an organic way.
Specializing in the SaaS field.
The website’s editors provide reviews and ratings but also allow users, companies, and experts to indicate what they like and what they dislike. The information about the products is incredibly detailed.
Suppliers can register their products without paying.
The review displays a LinkedIn profile picture of the reviewer – which clearly shows that it is a real person.
The advantages and disadvantages of the products are nicely detailed and there is a clear comparison between the products, that is based on filtering criteria by the users needs.
They offer a variety of paid services, including reports and analytics, a favored directory spot, links to the supplier’s website, landing pages for lead generation, and consultation.
It is not exactly a directory, and as the name suggests, this is a magazine in the field of security information, which can also be used as a diverse marketing platform for events and conferences, podcasts, webinars, advertising, professional content, newsletter, E-Reviews, and an option for registering the company – which is the reason why we included it in this review.
Needless to say if you have a product in the field of information security, this platform would be more relevant for you.
This is a website providing reviews for solutions in the IT, network and monitoring fields.
You can advertise or order tests and professional reviews. The test is real, and it is done either in a real environment or in lab conditions.
This website’s focus is on providing solutions to small businesses.
Their team includes experts such as accountants, insurance agents, lawyers, loan officers, investment officers, and small business owners.
In fact, it is not really a directory but rather a website providing reviews such as the “6 Best VoIP Apps for iPhone for 2020” in the form of field review and comparisons.
This website provides a tool for selecting products by category, field, and product features – according to the user’s needs.
The website displays a variety of product pages, case studies, reviews, or recent studies available for download.
In addition, they provide free consultation from their US based offices for the potential buyer, that includes a list of recommended products. The lead is offered for sale in a cost per lead model.
They also have a service for content publishing and lead qualification and development.
PeerSoft (previouslyIT Central Station) is a product review site for enterprise tech marketers in cybersecurity, DevOps and IT. They focus on the requirements of enterprise customers and therefor its an appropriate channel for larger vendors, typically with at least 100 employees and with at least 10 enterprise customers. Among their clients: Microsoft, Net App, HP, IBM and Cisco.
They provide in depth analysis and comparison between products, which can be freely downloaded as their Buyer’s Guide and Reviews. The pricing model is based on PPL (Pay Per Lead) by sharing with software vendors the details of the users, who have downloaded the aforementioned reports.
Required leads can be filtered by country, company size, industry and more. Primary markets: North America, the UK, and Europe.
This well-established familiar website and magazine operates in the field of software and hardware, providing expert reviews (not by users).
uCompares provides technology news and reviews of leading advertising, IT, marketing, software, tech products, and business services companies.
They provide comprehensive reviews on businesses, services, and marketplaces in various areas like Ad Networks, Affiliate Programs, Web Hosting Sites, VPN, Software, Tools, and other specialist areas. Their editors analyze, research, test and interview vendors and they often get support via an affiliate commission from the vendor when the reader buys the product.
Their site reaches a global audience of over 200k technology industry professionals a month. Most of the traffic comes from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, Pakistan, Russia, and other English-speaking countries
Advertising options include: listing such as “Top 20 best X lists”, paid reviews, banner ads and even, sponsoring a post on their website.
*This article was also published on Medium.com