Kicking Off CRM Idol – Season 2

Small CRM players have a chance to get their names out in the market if they win top spot at the second annual CRM Idol competition, which kicked off Monday.

Hopefuls have until 6 p.m. Pacific time on May 25 to file their submissions.

Contestants will be assigned a mentor to help them prepare the briefing or demo. The main caveats: Contestants must be small, they must have actual customers, and the software must be something being sold in the market — beta versions won’t make the cut.

There’s “an incredibly large number of small companies out there who can’t compete with large companies when it comes to market visibility, and there’s a lot of small, really good CRM companies out there who have really bad PR people who assaulted the intellects of the analysts, as opposed to getting to know them, and consequently these companies get shafted,” CRM guru Paul Greenberg, owner of The 56 Group and the man behind the event, told CRM Buyer.

Prizes will range from meetings with Tier 1 venture capitalists to “tens of thousands of dollars worth” of free software and free consulting with thought leaders, Greenberg said.

Who Can Play

This year, the event has been expanded to include Asia/Australia as well as the Americas and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). One company from each of the regions will be selected as the winners.

“One of the important take-aways from last year was that companies in different parts of the world do business a bit differently from those in other areas, and their CRM software must support those differences,” said Denis Pombriant, principal at beagleresearch and a member of the media team for CRM Idol 2012.

Contestants must be emerging technology companies that are less than seven years old and have less than US$12 million in revenue. More requirements are available from the CRM Idol website.

Contestants must qualify in one of the listed categories. These include CRM suites for the enterprise, for small business, and for medium business; marketing resource management; sales force automation; social CRM; mobile CRM; customer analytics; and vendor relationship management.

What You Gotta Do

Hopefuls must fill in and file a submission form. They must be able to provide at least three referenceable commercial customers, all of whom are paying for their commercially available products.

Contestants must provide a use case of how a customer is employing the product and explain briefly why they should be selected by the judges.

Other information is available from the website.

Other Useful Stuff

There will be 40 slots in the Americas, 20 in EMEA and 20 in Asia/Australia.

The contestants will be selected by a panel of judges who will take into account the specialty of contestants in their relative areas rather than absolutely compare their products in terms of CRM functionality.

Submissions must be emailed to [email protected] by 6 p.m. PST May 25. No extensions will be granted.

Last year, submissions were accepted on a first come, first served basis, but “we had a waiting list of about 50 companies who didn’t have a chance simply because they came five minutes later than someone else,” Greenberg said. The rigid deadline this year will eliminate that.

What to Do Next

The judges will announce the candidates selected on June 1 on the CRM Idol website and email them to notify them. Once selected, candidates must send an email to [email protected] by 6 p.m. PST June 5 to acknowledge their candidacy. If they fail to do so, their slot will be given to someone else.

Selected candidates will give judges a briefing for 30 minutes and there will be an additional 15 minutes for questions and answers. Product demos must be live.

The finalists will be announced Oct. 8 and the winners Dec. 5.

CRM Idol 2012 will help buyers “be aware of new technologies and approaches they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of,” William Band, a vice president at Forrester Research, told CRM Buyer.

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