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CRM Idol: Let the games commence!

15th Aug 2011
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CRM Idol 2011 begins today. Finally. And We're all ready. Contestants are. Judges are. Mentors are. The general public? Who knows?  But those that are in the thick of it know what they have to do.

So I figured we'd do one final update to get you up to speed and introduce the competition and let you know what's happening with it.
CRM Idol 2011 - What is it again?
The bulk of the details are on the website but to reiterate at least the short version. CRM Idol 2011 is the first year competition that is designed to help small "CRMish" software companies get not only a moment in the sun, but have access to some of the top influencers and thought leaders in CRM and, if they are lucky enough to make the finals and even win, get access to tools, publicity, subject matter expertise and potentially partnerships and money that could propel them to success. The stakes are actually pretty high as evidenced by the prize list. But even those who don't finish will have make connections that they otherwise wouldn't have made that they, of course, are welcome to follow through with after the competition, and also, hopefully, would have learned something that they otherwise might not have known in how to deal with influencers - and had that moment in the sun - which could be parlayed into something even bigger. Remember, most of the American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance alumni stars weren't necessarily the winners.
The Remaining Stuff
There have been three prior updates - all links to them available at the CRM Idol website.  So feel free to take a look. Also we've been continually updating things using the Twitter hashtag #crmidol - well worth following if you care at all about this competition. So there is no dearth of information. But we do have some significant stuff to pop onto the page so here it all is.
New Contestant
At the last minute, one of the contestants, who I'll let remain nameless, showed a good deal of disrespect for the whole competition and pulled out after very little activity during the preceding weeks, citing "a change in corporate direction away from the product" and "emails from (me) to junkmail."
Even though they were going to be at a disadvantage, we opened the remaining slot to the waiting list (thanks to a discussion on Twitter that turned the tide to that idea) and lo and behold, Nick Carter, CEO of AddressTwo jumped into the fray, despite the consequences, showing an admirable, "lets do this" spirit. So, welcome to AddressTwo who you can find on the CRM Idol website as the new 40th contestant.
New Judge
During the EMEA mentoring phase, we needed one more.  Admirably, Wayne Thompson jumped in.  He is now our newest (and final) Extended Judges Panel (Influencer) Judge.  Here's his bio in his own words.
"Wayne Thompson is Sr. Strategy Consultant at Knowledgetech Consulting, Inc. Previously, hemanaged his own consulting firm, advising start-ups and leading technology companies on media strategies, product development, and go-to-market execution plans. Wayne was a co-founder of Gartner’s Sales Automation and Mobile Technologies services. In his spare time, he hosts and produces monthly podcasts at"
Welcome, Wayne and thanks for jumping in, dude.
New Rules - Big Rule Change
Due to the growth of the contest and the amount of contestants, and to the fact since this is the first year we are still feeling our way around, the primary judges felt that an hour demo/briefing wasn't enough to choose the finalists, so we've changed the rules a bit. Following the 40 demos in the Americas and 20 in EMEA, we will choose 12 semi-finalists in the Americas and 6 in EMEA. Each of the semi-finalists will have a one hour further phone interview with a judge or judges to gather more detail about the company and from those interviews, the finalists will be chosen. The finalists requirement of the video will remain the same.
The good news is that 5 more companies in the Americas and 3 more in EMEA have a chance of moving forward than before. The bad news is that this is a last minute change but it is the first year and we are the judges so we have to do what we have to do to make this competition work.  The rule change is necessary because just a single hour isn't enough to really pick the companies that will have the best shot at winning.
New Prizes
We have several new prizes already in the hopper since the last update. Here they are:
For those of you who don't know them, Qontext is a solid collaboration platform and service with a real strength in how it integrates with other systems including of course, CRM.  They have generously offered the following:
Each CRM Idol winner gets the Qontext Enterprise Social Collaboration pro service FREE for up to 25 users for 1 year, including:
  • Document Management including MS Office integration with Click-To-Edit, check-in/out, versioning, previewing, etc.
  • Threaded Discussion
  • Shared Bookmarks, Photos, Presentations
  • Video Streaming
  • Online Polls, Surveys, Quizzes
  • Rich Text Blogs and Wikis
  • Desktop client
  • Mobile clients
  • Integration with NetSuite, SugarCRM,, Intel ECA360, LeadFormix, HRnet, et. al.
Mindshare is a sterling enterprise feedback management system. Richard Hanks, their President is an accomplished author - and pretty funny guy too.
They've offered:
The use of their Customer Feedback Management product/service free for six months.
What that means is that each winner will get a web based customer feedback survey, real-time analysis and reporting for 6 months.  The estimated value of this prize is between $20-$25,000.
BPT Partners
BPT Partners is a company that I co-own with Extended Panel Judge and industry thought leader Bruce Culbert (and several others). We do the industry training in Social CRM. We are offering 4 VIP seats to its social CRM training in any venue or combination of venues to the winner of each the Americas and EMEA. That means that the winner can use the seats to the 2 days of training one at a time in multiple venues or all four at once in a single venue. They can give the seats to customers or use it themselves. Est. value: $6000.00 U.S.
There are several more in the works that are actually incredibly cool and will be a huge benefit to the winners. Take my word for it. I'll announce them as soon as I can. Promise.
They really are cool.  Seriously.
So that's it for now - except for some more prizes, the next things you see will be the reviews of the contestants. They will be up 48 hours roughly after the demo is done.  Watch for them on multiple sites.
Enjoy the ride because its gonna be a good one!
Here we go.

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