CRM Idol – Crowd Wisdom for the Candidates

Paul Greenberg’s CRM Idol is a brilliant concept as competition with an initiative to both identify and showcase CRM and SCRM related start ups. Fortunate candidates gain exposure and support from investors, influencers, technology/strategic partners, media connections, etc.  But there is more to explore if we look at the contest from the inside of the industry outwards. In addition to the the unique opportunity that CRM Idol has offered these emerging companies, it’s also been an interesting example of what candidates should and should not be doing, with some startling preliminary results so far.

In short, many of the candidates could have done more to maximize their exposure with the related high value FREE PR.

Using start up Next Principles Event Monitoring offering, NP CEO Satya Krishnaswamy and I have  been measuring CRM Idol impact from the perspective of the event organizers and judges for several months now. While working in the spring with @NextPrinciples on some design/development/use ideas, I thought what better example to use for monitoring events via social channels than to select an event-driven by social business industry leaders?  There were some good reasons for picking CRM Idol specifically for this experiment:

  • The teams of judges, panelists, mentors, sponsors offer a rare grouping of many of the very best minds in the social business arena. How does that play out in their own event promotion?
  • The high level of interest in technologies and innovations geared towards bridging the gaps between traditional and socialized crm
  • The opportunity for the candidates to show their own social/crm savvy as participants in the event

The Basics

Adopting the persona of Paul Greenberg his very own self, we created an event template in April including several of the main influencer judges as ’employees’ tasked with running, promoting, monitoring and following up on the event.   Related blogs (10 ‘company’ and 14 ‘non-company’) were identified as key industry news sources, twitter keywords identified and began watching the results.  Here are a few of the preliminary highlights from the competition during its first week of demo judging:
  • Aside from the ‘company’ event tweeters, 570 more people tweeted about CRM Idol resulting in a 12% follower growth rate for the specific event handle ‘@pgreenbe’
  • Oddly, we would have predicted both social and SCRM to have been included in more related tweets considering today’s hash tag economy, but ‘latam’ made a surprisingly strong appearance, likely due to Jesus Hoyos influence

The Candidates ‘Social Event’ Performance

Interesting – and disturbing – was the lack of promotion participation by the real competition candidates themselves.  Using some of the measurement results along with good old-fashioned human observation it’s clear that many of these organizations missed the boat when it came to using this as a social PR opportunity to show that they’re walking their talk as part of their own strategies for CRM.  Relatively few pushed one or more blog posts about being selected to take part, or related their demo experiences so far, almost none tagged their demo videos on YouTube with CRM Idol to maximize hit results beyond their inclusion on the CRM Idol site, and the level of engagement with CRM Idol audience/fans/followers via twitter was astonishingly low. In fact, most candidates barely shared news or excitement about the event at all.
There was one noticeable exception in Aplicor’s response to the event chatter. Marketing Director Tracy Fawcett not only engaged with the RT’ing audience and other candidates, she followed up with personalized invites to advocates and candidates alike to connect on other channels like LinkedIn.  You know – cross pollinating and building relationships in a genuine way via social? Yeah, like that.
To some, the social crm (read business) community may seem to be a bit insular, and of course the candidates’ current focus is on learning from and impressing the influencers and investors, but I’m hoping they’ll be wise enough to spend time after the competition in building additional strategic partnerships, or just pausing to share their stories with those who expressed interest in their success during the competition. Never know who might help you build relationships with more leads and customers.

Advice for the Candidates

It’s a simple concept: For start ups participating in an event, especially one like CRM Idol that has a built in network of influential broadcasters – grab the free PR and run with it! Talk it up at all stages.

Pre-event

  •  Post blogs! Share your stories about being accepted to present, your demo prep, your expectations. Hell show your belly and admit to being nervous, if you are.
  • Get to know the other candidates/presenters.  Don’t just stalk them surreptitiously and mock their videos. Make an effort to explore commonalities and differences beyond their solutions. Who is their customer and can you share them?  Who are these other entrepreneurs who are just as eager as yourselves to be change agents? What can you learn from their experiences?

Don’t just wait for the event to jump into tagging – add ‘CRM Idol’ to videos, images, tutorials early on so that the chatter starts – and the impact will last long beyond the event.

During the event 

  • Carve time out each day to respond to people who’ve tweeted about your participation. Especially those who’ve expressed further interest in you or your products.
  • Wish the others luck. Did I really have to say that? Good sportsmanship is always a sign of a good leader.
  • Tweet, write, update at least a few times a day. Interested people who aren’t watching in real-time will surely check the social channels for updates, won’t they?
  • Thank the organizers. And the judges. And the panelists. And anyone else who has shown the slightest bit of attention your way.
Post Event
  • Thank the organizers/participants again – in detail. Write about it again in 1, 3, 6 months and share the impact it’s had on you and your company.  Did one key conversation or insight radically change your strategy?  How’s that working out?
  • Provide the organizers real feedback. Did you have an increase in sales? Did you form new partnerships? Let them know if you got results, even if you didn’t ‘win’.
Paul and the rest of the CRM Idol team have done an outstanding job of providing real value to the enterprise ecosystem.  I’d like to hear their own observations on how candidates are using this opportunity to their best benefit to build relationships directly and indirectly. But for now, I’ll just issue this challenge to the contestants:
Walk your talk. Demonstrate that you do understand all aspects of social impact on your own business. Work it.
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7 thoughts on “CRM Idol – Crowd Wisdom for the Candidates

  1. We were the first contestant to present and I did put out blog posts (which were picked up on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In). But I noticed Tuesday that the judges were asking people not to spam the #crmidol hashtag and that made me hesitant to use it to promote our company’s involvement beyond saying we were in it, we had started and thanking the judges after. Also, I have interacted with a couple of our competitors. Like everyone else, this is our first CRM Idol and we are feeling our way along.

    • I certainly can’t speak for the Judges, and I have no affiliation with CRM Idol as anything other than a keenly interested observer, but I wonder if there was some confusion as to the Judges’ point? There were a few entirely unrelated folks who were using the hash tag to further their own aims, which had nothing at all to do with the contest or being a contestant.

      From back here in the peanut gallery, it looks like you guys struck a healthy balance.

  2. We are very excited to be a part of the first CRM Idol competition, and have tried to figure out the best way to be visible without overdoing the self-promotion angle. We agree with you, Kelly, that social media is important, which is why we have been promoting the competition via Twitter and Facebook. I also agree with Jody, since this is the first time, we were a bit conservative in our approach ~ but we can most definitely change that as we move ahead! 🙂

    We appreciate the statistics and the information and will continue our campaigns. We’ll also incorporate your insights and advice as we move forward! Thank you!

  3. Kelly,
    Thanks for your kind words and key social insights! It’s been awesome connecting with everyone and seeing the great technology everyone has been so hard at work on. I particularly enjoyed your “post event” challenge to us – and agree, it would be a waste to “go dark” beyond the main event and that important opportunities DO exist way beyond winning 1st place. To the point: CRM Idol is a game changer and certainly a seeding ground for potential and future strategic partnerships and the like….I very much look forward to your updates and insights – Tracy

    • Hi Tracy,

      Watch this space. I’ll provide more as the competition continues.

      At the moment, I am working my way through the product reviews and very grateful to the Judges for their clear insights on each of the presentations they’ve seen so far. High value – this is what we in the industry have been waiting for as an outcome of the competition.

  4. CRM systems provide companies with huge benefits, however, businesses must select the best customer relationship management system for its needs. This can be a difficult task.

    There are over 200 CRMs in the market. Many of them are very good. This is a short, but not exhaustive list of some of the top CRM systems.

    Regards

    http://pe.ofermedia.com

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