The winners of what may be the most time-consuming and demanding business competition in the world—CRM Idol—were announced this week. Taking the prize for the Americas was brand advocacy builder Crowdtap, while the victor in the Europe/Middle East/Asia/Australia sector was sales intelligence provider Artesian Solutions.
Each company started out the competition, founded by noted CRM consultant Paul Greenberg, along with 58 other entrants eight months ago. All competitors were assigned mentors who helped guide them through the process, which included putting together a one-hour presentation and—for finalists—producing a five-minute video. Along the way, contestants were rated by judges for their abilities to market themselves, as well as add new dimensions to the practice of CRM. Nine primary and 80 “extended” judges determined finalists, and the winners were selected by the judges, as well as hundreds of CRM professionals who vote online.
“The process we use is pretty tough on them. The contestants want to think it’s a lab, but it’s not. It’s an enormous vetting process,” Greenberg says.
New York-based Crowdtap helps brands identify customers most likely to act as brand advocates and provides marketers with tools to motivate them to keep advocating. These include dashboards clients can use to launch actions, polls to obtain instant feedback, and advance offers sent to advocates to share with friends via social media. In a project for Old Navy, Crowdtap identified 20,000 advocates who quickly produced a thousand blog posts, more than 9,000 photos, and over 100,000 Facebook posts in support of the brand.
“The trust friends and family have in peer influencers is exactly what the brands want to tap into, which is why we think Crowdtap has a bright future ahead of them,” said one judge who’s comments were posted on the CRM Idol website.
UK-based Artesian provides personalized, filtered sales intelligence from social media to B2B salespeople, who receive morning emails allowing them to filter information about people, companies, markets, clients’ customers, and cleints’ competitors. Its solution, sold as an add-on to traditional CRM suites, is used by four of the five leading banks in the UK.
“Artesian impressed us with their professionalism, creativity, and the passion they have for their product and customers,” noted a judge. “They are very well prepared for the future, and they have the right people on board to fulfill their ambitious company goals.”
Crowdtap and Artesian can choose up to six prizes from a menu of opportunities and services provided by noted CRM industry professionals. They range from free consulting by the likes of Greenberg to an opportunity to make a presentation to Bain Capital for investment to a three-day social CRM program at the University of Toronto. The CRM Idol competition accepts no named sponsors and is funded entirely by industry supporters.
“We do this to give something back to the industry,” says Greenberg, who thinks the CRM world will be the biggest beneficiary of the awards program. “Of the 60 initial entrants, 45 of them had a shot to win the whole thing. That’s a strong field.”