CRM Idol 2011 Declares Its Winners and...Guess Who Voted?

Alright, I'm not going to keep you in any kind of suspense.  I'm going to let you know from the get go who won.
Written by Paul Greenberg, Contributor

Alright, I'm not going to keep you in any kind of suspense.  I'm going to let you know from the get go who won. Though please go to the CRM Idol website for more coverage of the winners.

The Winners

In the Americas - Get Satisfaction!

In EMEA -BPMonline!

The Americas contest was particularly hard fought with Get Satisfaction edging out two of the three other contestants. Edging out was the operant phrase. It was a tough race and there were differences of opinion between the judges and the popular vote.

If you remember, back in April, I made the statement that this is an "easy contest to enter, but hard to win." Exactly what this proved to be. The process was long, though not grueling. There was a lot of interactions, mentoring programs, a lot of questions that had to be answered. We had to learn some things on the fly - like incorporating a semi-final round before the finals. It turned out to be absolutely necessary and important to have so we could learn more about the companies that were (and weren't) ultimately chosen for the finals.

Congratulations to both Get Satisfaction and BPMonline. Well played, teams, well played.

The Judges

The Primary Judges - me, Brent Leary, Esteban Kolsky, Denis Pombriant, Jesus Hoyos, Silvana Buljan, Mark Tamis and Laurence Buchanan functioned as the brain trust throughout this process and were responsible for making whatever changes were made to the process and deciding on things that had to be decided on - even beyond the voting - when it came to companies who did good things and bad things.  All are back on board for next year which is totally exciting.

Breaking Down the Vote

Ha! You thought you were going to get a breakdown of the vote totals for the finalists.  Not going to happen.  Too bad.  That would be prurient. Instead, let me tell you a few other things that would be prudent, not prurient.

The voting for CRM Idol exceeded our expectation with several thousand votes coming in.  I'll tell you a little about who voted and what it indicated. We had a series of additional (optional) questions that roughly 22% of the voters answered which gave us a flavor of who was voting and how they understood and implemented CRM. The results were interesting for sure.  Here's a few stats:

The voting was geographically pretty well divided with:

  • The Americas - 44.0%
  • EMEA - 38.4%
  • Other - 17.6%

It was mostly users and manager/execs who voted with 29.9% and 27.9% respectively.

In the question that was "My Company uses the following CRM(ish) modules (choose all that apply) the results were a bit eye opening really - a little surprising. The top 5:

  • Contact Management - 50.5%
  • Sales Force Automation - 49.0%
  • Help Desk - 41.9%
  • Social CRM - 37.1%
  • Marketing Automation - 36.2%

What is surprising here is that the #1 CRM application is contact management - which indicates a small business presence typically or a confusion between contact management and sales force automation which is something that has existed for years. (e.g. some people use salesforce.com for contact management. But others use ACT! for sales force automation).  Most surprising, to me at least, is that #4 is social CRM as distinguished from social media monitoring which was #9 on the list. Meaning there was an understanding that there is a difference. Also that so many companies feel that they are deploying it. That fascinates me because if it is any indicator at all, there is considerably more usage of SCRM technology than I had imagined. That's something that I'm going to dig into early in 2012 to find out about the actual usage of Social CRM technologies in business - and what people think that Social CRM is.

What people felt that they really liked about CRM Idol was overwhelming one of the actual reasons we created the competition.  Over 63% felt it was "learning about other companies" - by far the biggest reason. That means as far as what we wanted to do for these small companies vis a vis the general public - we did (pat, pat, pat on the back for us.)

What did the voters want to see more? That was pretty close.  Top choices - greater focus on CRM categories - a conclusion that we are taking to heart - and one that we've been talking about a lot as far as modifications for next year. The second most - more commentary from the judges. That one I'm not so sure of. If they mean more commentary from more judges - maybe.  If they mean more commentary from the primary judges - well, some things you just don't get in life. We were pretty stretched to have to review nearly 60 companies within 7 business days (or so) of their reviews and we did it. But it wasn't easy. More commentary from the 8 primary judges is highly unlikely, even if was a popular suggestion. I'm just sayin'.

Finally, we asked what would you like to see more of or less of for CRM Idol 2012? Interesting result. The biggest answer overwhelmingly was "None of the above (48.8%). Since "Other" with room to specify was also a category, and was the least answered, we have to assume that people who voted for none of the above were happy with what we provided and the way that we did it. That's a reasonable assumption, right? You would think so.

#2 on that, though, was CRM categories (though in a bit of a flaw in the questioning on our part, we don't know if less or more is what they meant). However that dovetails with the answer to "Next year I'd like to see" greater focus on CRM categories as the #1 thing. So we hear it LOUD and clear.

Coming Up

There's a lot to be done in the period between contests and I'm sure that next year, the preparation will be starting a lot earlier than it did this year. We learned a lot along the way and will be taking our lessons from the streets - though not mean streets, nice streets - and the feedback we get. We'll be making changes accordingly.

In the interim, we are going to encourage all companies that have been participants to keep participating. First, because we have a community now of the competition organizers who are influencers in the industry and subject matter experts par excellence and companies that are now emergent, whether they won or not. Plus the prospects for the 2012 competition will be invited in to join the community in advance of next year so they have a shot a some visibility and great interaction with the influencers and this first graduated class of CRM Idol participants. Our slogan/mantra has been "once a participant always a member" and we will take that seriously.  To that end, the inestimable Kelly Craft has volunteered to be our Community Manager and we all gratefully took her up on her generous offer. The woman has mad skills, passion, enthusiasm, and serious chops when it comes to all this.

I can assure you of one thing. Next year we are going to take paid sponsors for the contest so we can hire someone to handle some of the logistics which was massive. I spent 2-3 hours a day for 7 days a week from late April thru now - with some hiatuses - doing this and it was more work than I ever anticipated. Plus financed the bulk of it out of my pocket. Though I have to say that Brent Leary generously paid for some of the costs and DRI, the Portuguese open source solution company did the website for nothing, saving thousands for us and doing a brilliant job.

I'm not complaining. I chose to do it that way. But honestly, I'm going to need help for the logistics and sponsors will be important to helping finance that.

So, I'll keep you posted of course on the things upcoming and I'm sure I'll be trying to wangle some participation time out of you to help out next year so that we can keep highlighting these companies and their great potential.

Stay tuned here.  Thank you to the primary judges, our media partners, our extended judges panel, our voters and of course, those that spent the time and effort to participant in CRM Idol 2011.  It has been awesome - and will continue to be.

Editorial standards