Have you purchased a new car lately? You can find out everything you need to know about any make or model without ever stepping foot on the lot. All data on features, colors, and accessories are available from the manufacturers' sites, and detailed pricing information is readily accessible from sites like Edmunds.com.
You can also find out about particular dealers. Better yet, that information comes from actual buyers. These folks will tell you about their entire experience buying and servicing their new cars. A simple Google search led me to these candid reviews of my local VW dealer on Yelp!
Some they should be proud of...
I went into the dealer with all these worries, and the sales guy, John, was quick to show me that there nothing to worry about there. No sales pressure whatsoever. No haggling, no tricks, and they were very nice and patient through the whole process. Brandon V.
Others not so much...
Super rip off and no customer care - this place charged me 2 hours of labor for a 0.5 hour job, and were unapologetic when I argued about it.... I talked to the service manager and he defended the 2 hours to bolt two pieces of metal to the frame. This place is worthless. I'd never go back. Ken H.
SaaS providers should let their customers talk to prospects, too
As you might expect, most of the customer opinions you'll find online relate to B-to-C businesses. But there's an opportunity for companies selling to enterprises to jump in here, too. In fact, for SaaS companies it might make a lot of sense.
For one, SaaS providers should be conscientiously attending to the needs of their existing customers as a on-going imperative. Renewing existing customers when their subscriptions expire is usually critical to the success of the business. If they're doing their job properly, SaaS providers should have a large pool of satisfied and well-informed customers willing to express positive opinions.
Relying on happy existing customers to help sell new customers should also help SaaS companies with another business requirement: cutting the cost of customer acquisition.
Let your prospects connect directly to existing customers. Don't ask your Sales folks to carry the entire burden of closing a prospect. SaaS providers should open their customer forums to anyone, and actively encourage their prospects to log in and ask questions. Besides the usual link to Sales - "Contact us for more information", why not add "Contact our customers for more information," and provide a direct link to the Customer Forum?
I know that can be a scary notion, and you shouldn't expect customers to shill for you. But they will tell a credible story. And if, on balance, they report that their vendor (that's you) has treated them fairly and delivered good value, you've got nothing to fear.