Getting Awesome Testimonials for Your Early-Stage Startup

Struggling to get better testimonials for your SaaS product? Learn what questions to ask to get powerful customer testimonials to improve website conversions and support your sales team.

7 min
May 3, 2023
Jacob Miller
Marketing & Brand Manager

In the early days of your product, credibility makes selling it way easier.

But what really makes something “believable?”

Social proof is one way to help with that and testimonials are a simple way to capture it.

Let’s talk about the different types of testimonials and how they can create credibility for your product.

How testimonials fight skepticism

When you don’t have testimonials on your website, people will wonder…

“Does anyone even use this thing? And if they do, is it any good?”

Here's how people may think and feel when they view your homepage.

Levels of believability

  1. “Does anyone even use this? I don’t see any testimonials or companies”
  2. “Hmm. These testimonials are kinda generic. And I’ve never heard of any of these companies.”
  3. “Oh dang. They use this!? Maybe I should share this with my team.”
  4. “This is exactly what I’m dealing with too! I’m gonna sign up for a free trial.”
  5. “Wow. I wonder if I can get those results? We should give it a try and see!”

Notice how the person’s inner dialogue slowly gains...

  • Confidence that it’s a product used by companies they trust
  • Fear of missing out on getting better results with their team
  • Clarity it’s for them and will solve their problem

This is why getting great testimonials from customers is key to improving conversions on your website.

So what separates the bad testimonials from the great ones?

Poorly written testimonials can cause skepticism

We all start somewhere with getting testimonials for your product.

But when testimonials are vague, it can still create distrust.

What can this look like?

  • They don’t mention your product or brand
  • They don’t mention a problem your product helped solve
  • They don’t share results your product helped them get

I did a little digging to find an example for you.

I found this on an AI company website:

It has no mention of the company, any type of results, or even mentions who said it.

Is this even a real statement by a real person!?!?

What causes this problem?

1. Asking questions that are ambiguous or too open ended

If you send a simple request via email, don’t just say,

“Can you send me a quick testimonial about the product?”

This question can make people feel uncomfortable or put them on the spot. They won’t even know what to say. You need to give them guidance.

Bad testimonial survey questions

  • What do you like about our product?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?
  • Can you give us a testimonial?
  • What do you think of our product?

2. Asking too soon

Avoid asking for a testimonial in the onboarding process.

They haven’t even used the product yet!

30 days out is probably the earliest you could ask. 90 days is probably the sweet spot for most products. That way they have time to use the product, get it implemented into their workflow, and actually see some results.

Always take into account the context of your product, your customers, the industry, and time it takes for results to happen.

Testimonials that resonate and build trust

Great testimonials commonly mention

  • A specific problem that your product helped them solve
  • How previous solutions didn’t work and how your product is better for them
  • The benefits the product has created for them
  • A capability it gave them that they couldn’t do before
  • Peace of mind with the product they’ve never had before
  • How it’s helped their team (feeling or metric)
  • How it’s grown their business (metrics)

So what can great testimonials look like?

Example 1

screenshot of a great testimonial example for a saas product

Why it works

  • Product is mentioned
  • Talk about how easy the product is to use
  • How fast the product can create results
  • How it has specifically helped their team

Example 2

screenshot example of a great testimonial for an ai product

Why it works

  • Product is mentioned
  • Talks about support documents being helpful
  • Conveying how it helped them be more confident in their work
  • Portrait of person
  • Verified by third party (G2)

Example 3

screenshot of a great testimonial example for a fintech product

Why it works

  • Big recognizable brand
  • Shared problem they had before
  • Mentioned product
  • Portrait of person

Better questions create better testimonials

Being specific is the key to getting the testimonials you are hoping for. Use the list below to craft your own starter template to test with your customers.

Try to keep your questions to less than 10. Five is kind of a sweet spot if you’re just getting started.

If you find that one of the questions doesn’t give great results, take it out or switch to another one.

Consider creating custom questions if you know more about the customer and want them to share a specific story. This could also lead to creating a case study.

Testimonial questions to start with

  • What was the problem you were trying to solve when you started using [product]? How did it help solve it?
  • How has [product] compared to other solutions you have tried in the past?
  • How has [product] helped you achieve your business goals?
  • Can you describe a specific feature or functionality of [product] that has been particularly helpful? Why has it been helpful for you?
  • What benefits with your team or business have you seen since implementing [product]?
  • How has [product] improved your team's productivity or efficiency?
  • Would you recommend [product] to anyone else? If so, why?

Getting permission

Always ask this:

“Do you grant us permission to use your answers as testimonials in our marketing materials?”

Just need a simple yes or no. If they say no, you still learn something from their answers, but shouldn’t share them publicly.

The problem with metric questions…

“Can you share any specific metrics or results that demonstrate the impact of our [product] on your business?”

Odds are they won’t know this off the top of your head. Asking for specifics like this on the spot can be hard for any team and can catch them off guard.

They may have not been even tracking this number before using your product.

Metric-based testimonials are harder to get. But it can be really powerful.

Get metrics before and after if you can

Joel Klettke of Case Study Buddy has a great video presentation on this topic if you want to dive deeper into having a strategy for this in regards to case studies.

Being intentional about tracking these things with a specific customer can solve this problem.

If you have someone onboarding with your product, see if you can get them to share their current metrics related to your product during onboarding.

Check in every 3 or 6 months or so to see if progress has been made and ask for permission to use in a testimonial.

Ways to gather testimonials

Sending out a survey via email

Below I have an example of how we set up a Typeform survey we use with clients at Headway. We’ve made small improvements to it over the years. As we understand what questions work best for us.

screenshot of a testimonial survey in Typeform

Sales-led startups

Consider curating and sending these surveys individually. They could be done via email, but consider how much this testimonial would be worth to you and treat it that way.

If you’re a B2B SaaS company with bigger contracts or a complex product that has a thorough onboarding process, you should go this route with custom questions based on their unique story.

I would even recommend doing a private video interview to record and capture the story. A zoom recording is good enough for that.

Product-led startups

If you don’t have an extensive sales process, you can batch with similar questions and send to many customers at the same time through email.

If you have some big name customers, go for the video calls too! You can always turn those into text-based testimonials.

Using notifications within your product

This may not be the best way, but it is an option to gather attention and ask customers if they are willing to share their experience. This could be done within your product notifications area or support messaging.

Appcues has a great article on gathering reviews and feedback inside mobile products.

Video testimonials

You can use the same questions I shared above to capture great video testimonials. Getting customers to do them can be more difficult. Not everyone wants to be on camera. 

You can easily use tools like Zoom or most video call tools to record them.

Preparing a customer for a video testimonial

  • Make sure they are in a quiet space and potentially alone so they are more comfortable sharing their thoughts
  • Remind them that there are no wrong answers—This is a conversation, not a script
  • Let them know that they can start over if they feel like they want to say their response again or in a better way
  • You can give them a few questions ahead of time to help them prepare, but I find it good to have a few they don’t know about to get 

Testimonial gathering tools

I’ll let you dive into these tools on your own and discover what you think would work best for you and your current needs. I have used some of them myself or would recommend giving them a try.

It’s always best to start simple with text. Asking for video can be intimidating for customers. But if you can get them, and they are engaging to watch, go for it!

Text based testimonials



Google Forms

Video testimonial tools



Vocal Video


Find people already talking about your product

Your product may already have public reviews out there. G2 is like Yelp for B2B software. People can leave reviews. Your product may already be on the platform getting reviews. You may also find people talking about your product on social platforms. When you find them, reach out and ask for permission to use them.

Testimonials also reveal new insights and patterns

Testimonials are an easy way to learn how people talk about your product. The words they choose to use and the stories they tell are valuable for your entire product team to learn from. They can inform messaging improvements for future campaigns.

Talking to customers is at the core of product growth. 

Actionable UX audit kit

  • Guide with Checklist
  • UX Audit Template for Figma
  • UX Audit Report Template for Figma
  • Walkthrough Video
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