Small companies trying to make a name for themselves in the CRM/Social CRM space are making efforts to get connect and collaborate with key players like investors, influencers, technology/strategic partners and media connections. But they are often thwarted in that effort by ineffective (or no) PR efforts, or by being drowned out by the incredible number of companies trying to attract the attention of influencers inundated every week with briefing requests.
This is why CRM Idol 2011: The Open Season exists.
The concept – the brainchild of Paul Greenberg  – is simple. If you meet the submission criteria outlined below, you’ll have the opportunity – on a first come first serve basis – to secure a time slot that will put you in front of some of the most influential people in CRM/SCRM. They will spend an hour with you in a demo to hear about your technology product – software only – and will write a jointly signed review of what they saw to be published in multiple venues. It can be a good review, a bad one, a mix or indifferent – but they will be opinionated and fair.
Forty companies from the Americas and twenty from EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) will get a shot at this. Four finalists from the Americas will be chosen, as will three finalists from EMEA.
Once finalists are chosen they will be voted on in two ways:
- Popular vote: All votes will be tallied from the public sites – in aggregate. That’s 50% of the vote.
- Extended Judges Panels: Each judge will select a specific winner from the finalists. That’s the other 50% of the vote.
Even if you don’t make the finals your company should receive some great media attention. If you make the finals, some prizes will go to you as well. The winners will get a major array of prizes, and be declared “CRM Idol 2011 Winner.”
This competition is for small companies in the CRMish/SocialCRMish world, meeting the following criteria:
- You have to have software that is commercially available by the time of the August demo. If you’re not commercially available, and you have a time slot, you will lose it.
- You have to have 3 referenceable customers that, if we care to, we can contact and ask about you.
- You have to have revenue under $12 million U.S. your last fiscal year. As far as disclosure goes, you have the choice of making the claim that you do – though that will have to be stated in your submission and we’ll trust you or you can disclose your revenue in the submission with the knowledge that only the permanent judges will know what it is. If you make the claim, please be prepared to back it up if we ask. Your call on how.
- You have to be willing to make a ten minute video if you get to the finals.
- You have to fit a category – though there is some leeway there.
The Software Categories
- Traditional CRM Suites
- Social CRM
- Sales – Sales Force Automation, Sales Optimization, Sales Effectiveness
- Marketing – Marketing Automation, Revenue Performance Management, Social Marketing, Email Marketing, etc.
- Customer Service – all permutations
- Mobile CRM
- Customer Experience Management
- Social Media Monitoring – requires the possibility of integrating with a CRM technology
- Customer Analytics
- Enterprise Feedback Management
- Innovation Management
- Community Platforms
- Enterprise 2.0 – collaboration, activity streams etc.
- Social Business
- Knowledge Management –requires the possibility of integrating with CRM systems
- Vendor Relationship Management
- Partner Relationship Management
If you don’t see yourself in this list make the case as to why you have some customer-facing possibilities, and the likelihood is that we’ll be cool with it.
- There will be 40 slots made available in the Americas and 20 in EMEA.
- The submission will be by email ONLY to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
- The submissions will occur starting today – Monday, April 25 and will continue until Friday May 13 or until all slots are filled, whichever is first (watch #crmidol on twitter for updates on that as it occurs).
- Each submission will include:
- Company contact and named person contact information. Two date and time specific slot requests.
- The category you feel you fit into.
- A description of what the product/company is and why it should be included in the contest
- The names of the three (3) referenceable customers – the company, the contact and their email and phone.
- A statement that says that you meet the revenue requirement. You can state the actual number with the knowledge that the primary judges in each of the Americas and EMEA will treat it as under non-disclosure.
- A statement saying you are committed to making a 10 minute video for submission if you make the finals.
- If accepted, you’ll be notified privately but it will be posted that you’ve been accepted on the Twitter #crmidol stream. The time will be sent to you privately.
- If you don’t include everything specified in the rules for submission, it means automatic disqualification and you cannot resubmit.
The standards for the video will be mentioned to the finalists once they are named. How much you spend and on what will be up to you as will the content and how you present it. We’ll issue guidelines when the time gets near.
The Prizes…So Far
These are the prizes as of launch today. There are several others in the works that will be announced as the contest rolls out.
Finalists get to choose one day of consulting from the list of influencer consultants. The order of choice will be based on the popular vote on the video which will be kept confidential but used for the choosing.
The Americas and EMEA Winners
Each winner will get to choose four prizes from the list. A few of the prizes are listed below. Use this link to see the complete list.
- Getting in front of Accenture for possible partnership and/or possible investment.
- Capgemini (for EMEA winners only)
- A half day workshop to explore joint go to market opportunities and help you refine and test your value proposition.
- Social Media Today
- A blog post featuring the winner of the contest to run on both The Customer Collective and Social Media Today
- A single blast to the Social Media Today opt-in list (approximately 50,000 names) which will conform to their minimum standards (valued at $10,500)
- 12 mos. of CRM Online Free for developing extensions to CRM
- 12 mos. of Windows Azure Free for developing web-based portals and BI solutions
- Access to the Office 365 Beta for building collaborative applications and services
- Access to the BizSpark One program  -a program designed to connect emerging businesses and their investors with a Microsoft advisor to help them identify unique opportunities and expand its business presence
- Free 10 user subscription to SugarCRM Professional or Enterprise
- Membership in the Sugar Exchange and free consulting on product integration with SugarCRM
- CEO Larry Agustin, a successful venture capitalist in his own right, does a mentoring & VC matchmaking session with the winners
Dates and Times Table for the Americas and EMEA
We’ve put together an easy little table with all the relevant dates and times that you’ll need as you progress through the competition.
|Submission Dates||August 15-19; August 22-26||September 5-9|
|Submission Times||3pm ET; 4pm ET; 5pm ET; 6pm ET||3pm GMT; 4pm GMT; 5pm GMT; 6pm GMT|
|Finalist Video Submission Date||September 30||October 14|
|Winner Announcement||October 17||October 31|
Judges will be involved in the one hour reviews each and will jointly sign off on each review which will be posted to multiple media sites. They will also choose the finalists.
- Paul Greenberg  – Managing Principal, The 56 Group, LLC
- Jesus Hoyos  – Managing Partner, JesusHoyos.com, LLC
- Esteban Kolsky – Principal and Founder, Thinkjar LLC
- Brent Leary – Managing Partner, CRM Essentials
- Denis Pombriant  – CEO, Beagle Research Group
- Laurence Buchanan  – Vice President, CRM & Social CRM, EMEA, Capgemini
- Silvana Buljan  – Founder & Managing Director, Buljan & Partners
- Paul Greenberg – see above
- Mark Tamis  – Social Business Strategist, NET-7
Each executive below has volunteered a day of their time – two during the finals and one with the winners – to provide the benefit of their experience to the contestants.
- Anthony Lye (SVP/GM Oracle CRM) – will provide one day for the Americas finalists and one day for the EMEA finalists for consultation on how to best do the content for the contending videos and other pertinent advice.
- Joe Hughes (Social CRM Lead, Accenture) – will provide one day for the Americas finalists and one day for the EMEA finalists for consultation on how to best do the content for the contending videos and other pertinent advice.
- Larry Augustin (CEO of SugarCRM) – This is a prize for the winner of EMEA and the winner of the Americas. Larry was recently featured in our One on One conversation series .
Extended Judges Panels
The influencer panel is made up of well known experts including Robert Scoble, Brian Solis and Jeremiah Owyang. Use this link to see a list of the complete influencer panel.
The Vendor Panel
The vendor panel includes executives like Microsoft Director of CRM Product Management Bill Patterson, Salesforce.com VP of Market Strategy John Taschek and Cisco GM of Customer Care John Hernandez. Use this link to see a list of the complete vendor panel.
The Journalist Panel
The journalist panel includes CEO of Social Media Today Robin Carey, Sift Media Group Editor Neil Davey, and Small Business Trends Publisher Anita Campbell. Use this link to see a list of the complete journalist panel.
The current partners and links to their sites:
- Call Center News (Argentina) 
- CRM Magazine/DestinationCRM 
- CustomerTalk (Netherlands) 
- Mundocontact (Mexico)
- MyCustomer.com/Sift Media 
- SearchCRM 
- SmallBizTrends.com 
- Social Media Today 
Dates, Hashtag and Email
If you have a problem submitting to that email send your submission and a report of the specific problem to Paul Greenberg at email@example.com .