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CRM Idol 2011: The Winners

Ahh,so much to do, so little time. I’ve got at least one more blog to put up this week, a column to write (two actually), and a pipeline to keep moving. But I have got to take a few minutes to report on the winners of CRM Idol 2011—not because somebody’s making me do it, but because it’s important and we all had a lot of fun.

Congratulations to all the contestants, but especially to the two winners: Get Satisfaction (Americas) and BPMonline (EMEA). If you tend to think of my blog as tl;dr (and you should tell me if that’s the case), here’s a link to the CRM Idol page, including the winning videos and the reviews each company earned. No muss, no fuss.

But the muss and fuss are warranted, and I’ll tell you why. If you’ve ever wondered why so much of the news in CRM is about the same handful of companies, it’s because they’re generally the established players with enough market presence and marketing acumen to get the word out. Smaller companies, especially startups, have a tough time getting the ear of influencers and reporters—no matter how good their product, there isn’t enough time to meet with them if somebody we’re familiar with has an announcement or event.

CRM Idol, launched and led by Paul Greenberg, is an attempt to fix that. Just as the (usually) talented singers on American Idol get a shot at the national exposure they’d normally never hope to receive, CRM Idol provides a spotlight for some great up-and-coming CRM providers whose messages would be drowned out by Oracle, Salesforce, or even comparatively modest companies like Zoho. The contestants get a chance at spreading their message the way the big kids do, and receive advice and mentoring along the way so that they have better odds of making it on their own.

It works both ways, too. Over here on the influencer side, it can be hard to spot a new trend or a potential superstar because of all the competing messages. The exposure the contestants got is just as important to us, because I can promise you I’d never have encountered half of these companies if it weren’t for the contest. My knowledge is enriched, and I can improve my practice.

Work has already begun on CRM Idol 2012, apparently because the main judges and coordinators aren’t interested in having regular sleep patterns. I was thrilled and honored to be part of the 2011 process, and I’m really looking forward to playing a role in the next one.