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CRM Idol update #3: Prize, calendar and mentor news

1st Jun 2011
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Okay. We're locked and loaded. Reference checks done. Programs being put into place. Website in progress. A new prize. Final contestant list in place with times and dates complete.

Here's what's happened since we last talked.
We have new prizes.
First, Donal Daly CEO of The TAS Group, has generously provided his sales deal software, Dealmaker Sales Performance Automation, to a winner. Not one, but ten licenses for a full year with setup thrown in for free and no strings attached. This is a $12,000 value. Not too shabby.
Then, Brent Leary, one of the most influential folks in CRM and small business and a CRM Idol primary judge is offering for the Americas only
  1. inclusion in his 2011 coming in September 2011 CRM-Ish List of companies to watch that can provide products/services to the small business community.
  2. an invitation to be a featured participant (speaker and/or panelist) at the inaugural Social Business Atlanta conference in September 2011 (details coming soon)
  3. a featured spot on One-on-One conversation series
And finally, for seven finalists, Brent Leary and I are offering an interview on CRM Playaz, our widely watched and of course wildly popular lets-just-say "funny" show. Though they may not consider that much of a prize since we get the chance to not just give them exposure, but mock them if we care to.  But the offer is there to all seven finalists.
More large prizes are in the works. We'll be working on those until the date of the competition so stay tuned. Now that Scottie won American Idol, what else do you have to do with your time anyway? We're way more interesting than "So You Think You Can Dance?".
We knocked it out of the park on this one. Soon, though I can't give you an exact date, we're going to be the proud recipients of a Drupal-enabled social site for CRM Idol which will allow you to do a lot including:1.
  1. Learn something about all 60 companies participating in the contest.
  2. Be able to rank and rate and comment on the videos and other uploaded content that might be provided by the participant companies
  3. Get the latest updates.
  4. Get all links you need for the participants, the vendors, the influencers, the media and even communicate with them - publicly
  5. Communicate with the judges.
  6. Plus lots of other stuff.
What makes this a home run is that the company doing this for us is Dri, a premier web design company who specialises in open source. The owner, Diogo Rebelo, is making sure that we get a Drupal social site, so that we can communicate with each other throughout the CRM Idol process. A first iteration focused around content management will be up in about 2 weeks. Watch for it at
One thing that we want to provide throughout the CRM Idol process is mentorship. For example, as simple as it might sound, it isn't that easy to impress an influencer/analyst with your product or company, given that its likely the influencer/analyst has seen it all already - being asked to take demos between 10-50 times a week. So, in the spirit of preparation for the demos the 60 candidates are going to have to do for the primary judges, we are announcing the Mentor-60 program. This will consist of two pieces:
1. A 45 minute webinar by primary judge and top CRM analyst Esteban Kolsky on "How to Demo". This will be given once at a time that will be convenient to both the Americas and EMEA and all 60 of the contestants will be invited to join. However its strictly optional when it comes to signing up and not signing up will have no impact on how the voting/judging on the 60 goes later on in August.
2. Many of the extended judges panels have volunteered their time to be mentors who during the month of July will make time available for communicating with the 60 participants to answer questions on how to handle the demos. This won't include a full review of the demo but more in the "should we do something like this" or "does it make sense to include this" mode. What channels and dates and whether we are going to assign judges to specific companies or have them be generally available on a specific day remains to be determined. As of now, 32 of the judges have already volunteered and many others are in the process of responding.
Final Calendar
The reference checks are done. That was the final step in the process. We have only one change. We are adding Crowd Factory to the list of contestants. Congrats to them! (Whoo! Hoo!) They were able to be first in line for the waiting list. If others drop out for reasons that are driven by them, the next in line on the waiting list will be chosen. And so on and so forth. See the final (and this is the final final final) calendar below for the dates and times of your favorite CRM Idol participant.
he Americas Calendar - FINAL
The Americas (all times are Eastern Time)
EMEA (all times are GMT)
All the Rules, We are not Fools
We are now working on the finalizing the processes and rules for the actual judging of the competition. As you know there are five judges for the Americas and four for EMEA as of this update. (No changes are expected but one never knows). We recognize that all the judges might not be able to do all the demos due to client conflicts etc. and we are working from that premise to make sure that there is fair and adequate representation and a set of minimum standards. We are also working on defining the scoring system that works in this environment. Some of the criteria will be made public; the weight placed on the criteria will not be made public. We are discussing what to do with the results also.
Additionally, in an entirely optimistic vein, we are discussing how to handle the awards of the prizes. The winners won't get all of the prizes, they will choose from a selection of prizes (the number is TBD). There will be prizes that all 7 finalists (the video makers) get because it won't be an easy thing to get there. There are other models under discussion on the award. Watch here for the results soon.
In the next update we'll (if the spirit moves us) reveal the judging criteria and the prize awards model. Stay tuned. The ride starts here. We're ALL going to Vegas -except me. I don't like Vegas. I'm going to Barcelona. Or New York. Anyone wanna come?

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