CRM Idol

Rules of the Game

CRM Idol has been more successful than we ever thought was possible and actually has become a defining event for the CRM industry (if we do say so ourselves.) What remains consistent, regardless of success is its mantra: "easy to enter, very hard to win." While you get a shot at becoming a winner, what you have to go through to prove that you are the winner is not a simple or easy task.

The Scope and Geography

This is open to all continents on planet Earth and if there is life on Mars and a qualified company there, Mars too. (Sorry Saturn). From here on, we will call the geography represented by the United States, Canada, Central America and South America, "Group A." We will call the geography represented by Europe, Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, "Group B."

The Categories

These are the categories that you must qualify in.  If you do not, you are welcome to create a category and make the case on the submission form.  But please realize that it will be considerably harder to justify your entry since we are providing a wide latitude of choices here. "CRMish" is the standing concept for the competition. 

  1. CRM Suite – Enterprise
  2. CRM Suite – Medium Business
  3. CRM Suite – Small Business
  4. Social CRM
  5. Marketing Resource Management
  6. Marketing Automation (Revenue Performance Mgmt.)
  7. Social Marketing
  8. Content Marketing
  9. Sales Force Automation
  10. Sales Intelligence
  11. Sales Optimization
  12. Sales Enablement
  13. Sales Operations
  14. Customer Service
  15. Web Self-Service
  16. Mobile CRM
  17. Customer Experience Management (CEM, CXM)
  18. Social Media Monitoring (must be integrated w/at least one CRM package)
  19. Customer Analytics (including text/sentiment analytics; voice based analytics; social media analytics, influencer scoring, etc.
  20. Enterprise Feedback Management
  21. Reputation Management/Engine
  22. Innovation Management
  23. Community Platforms
  24. Gamification Platforms
  25. Collaboration Applications/Platforms
  26. Social Business
  27. Knowledge Management (requires at least one completed CRM Integration)
  28. Vendor Relationship Management
  29. Partner Relationship Management
  30. Insight Solutions (Enterprise Search, Sales insight, etc)
  31. Other


The CRM Idol 2013 criteria remain pretty much the same as last year.

As before, the game plan is that we will read the submission form you send us and decide on which companies will be contestants, announced on the schedule mentioned below.  There will be NO exceptions for late submittals on the date mentioned.  We allow you a lot of time, because we want you to be part of this, but it's a lot of work and we need the time to go over what we have.  Plus, we expect that you can meet deadlines. LOL.

Here are the criteria for 2013. If you don't meet them, please don't bother to submit. If you do, as they say on Broadway, break a leg. For those of you who are horrified by that expression, it just means "do great," okay?

  1. Revenue:  Your revenue must be less than $12 million for your prior fiscal year. You will be required to attest to a declaration to that effect.  You will be required to provide us with the actual revenues of your prior fiscal year to confirm. The revenue figures will be kept confidential. If you don't want to tell us, please don't apply.
  2. Product: You must have at least one product commercially available. Products in beta will not be considered. You have to have a pricing model in place that you are currently using to sell your commercially available product.  You will be asked about it in your briefing.
  3. Customers:  You must be able to provide three referenceable commercial customers. All three must be customers who are paying for your commercially available product(s). No beta customers will be considered as references. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this.
  4. Company Age: It must be seven years or less from your company's launch. 

The Rules

  1. There will be a three plus week submission period for potential contestants (see calendar below). Judges will select candidates based on submitted responses.  Late submissions will not be considered. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS. Judges have sole discretion over the selection of candidates and the judges' decisions are final. There is no process of appeal.
  2. On the submission form you will have to provide:
    1. Categories – The categories are CRMish, not strict or traditional CRM.  The judges will take into account the specialty area of the company, rather than absolutely weigh against CRM functionality. However, to clarify, it will be taken into account but there are no category winners. Only one winner in each geography.
    2. Financial information – You will be required to sign a declaration stating that you're under $12 million (U.S.) in revenue; it is required that you give us your actual revenues from the prior fiscal year (it will be kept confidential. You are also required to reveal whether or not you have investment dollars and if so, how much and what round (this is also mandatory but will be kept confidential).
    3. Use case – You must provide a one hundred words or less use case of how a customer is using the product. It can be one of the referenceable customers. The customer's name must be exposed in the use case though will be kept confidential.
    4. Why I should be chosen – You must explain in 3-4 sentences why the judges should select your company for the contest.
    5. Video Declaration– You will have to sign a declaration that your company will do a video should you become a finalist.
    6. Declaration of Adherence – You will have to sign a declaration that you will adhere to the contest rules.
    7. References – You will have to provide three references, which will be checked. They must be commercial customers – not beta customers. They will be part of the submission process. We will need the name, address, company, phone, and email and confirmation that they are aware that you have made them a reference and have agreed.


  1. There will be 40 slots made available in Group A and up to 30 in Group B for a total of up to 70 slots. However, the primary judges reserve the right to exceed or reduce the number in a region.
  2. Requests for the submission form will be taken starting May 6, 2013 and until May 31, 2013 at 6pm Pacific Time.
  3. The submission will be by email ONLY to:  There are no exceptions to this unless there is a clearly identifiable problem with an attempt to submit to that address. Then you can submit to (do not send submissions to this address first) (see below for how to do that).
  4. The form must be submitted by May 31, 2013 at 6pm Pacific Time. NO submissions or requests for forms will be taken after that point.  No exceptions.
  5. We will announce the candidates for CRM Idol 2013 on June 10 on the website and through various media properties. Check via the CRM Idol website, the Facebook page, the Twitter hashtag and Twitter IDs for where the candidates will be posted and who they are. Each candidate accepted will receive an email to their primary contact on June 10, 2013. If chosen, you must respond by returning an email to an address in the June 10 notification by June 14, 2013 at 6pm Pacific Time. If you haven't responded by that date and time, your slot will be awarded to another company.

NOTE: You will be notified ONCE of your candidacy by email. It is incumbent on you as a chosen candidate to be aware of what is going on in the contest. You will have to be proactive in your efforts to accept your candidacy. It will also be up on enough sites and places in the industry media so that there are no excuses about not seeing the email or the lists.

The Briefing

Needless to say, once you are chosen as a candidate for CRM Idol 2013, the key event in the contest is the briefing.  The idea is that a contestant will prepare a briefing that highlights the strengths of their company and their commercial product(s) that will convince the judges that they are awesome and the CRM Idol 2013 winner without a doubt.

  1. There will be three judges assigned to each demo from a contestant
  2. The briefing will be 45 minutes long and it will entirely interactive. It is at the judge's discretion to make it longer. It will be no shorter. So prepare for that.
  3. The briefing will be recorded.
  4. The product demo portion of the briefing is expected to be live, not on slides.
  5. The judges can ask what they want. The candidate has the right to refuse to answer it (though not on 5th Amendment grounds.  A U.S. only joke).
  6. The mentors can help the contestants prepare for the briefing.
  7. The briefings will be scheduled according to the schedule below.  There is no flexibility in the weeks though there will be some obviously on the dates and times, as we set up the individual competitors briefings. However, time slots for candidates will be chosen by judges. Time will be made available to ask for a changed time slot so the initial time slot assignments will be considered tentative until a certain date.
  8. The login information will be provided once the schedule is set up.

Choosing Semi-Finalists and Finalists

There will be 14 Group A semi-finalists with the judges' option to add a 15th. There will be 7 semifinalists in Group B with the judges reserving an option to add an 8th. 
Following the demos, the primary judges will choose the semi-finalists according to the schedule below.  Each of the semi-finalists will be interviewed for an hour by a judge or judges.  Based on those one hour interviews, the judges will choose the 7 finalists who will be required to make video no longer than five minutes in length.

The Video

The standards for the video will be provided to the finalists once they are named. There will be a ceiling for the expenditure on the video. The judges reserve the right to check the receipts for the video expenditures. The content will be up to you. How creatively you do it will be up to you.  We'll issue guidelines when the time gets near, including how the video is going to be distributed for posting and voting.

The hardcore stuff:

Things to Know

  1. It might be useful to look at the videos of the 2011 and 2011 CRM Idol finalists. They will give you ideas on how you may want to proceed – or not. That is, presuming you make the finals. The finalist videos can be found on the CRM Idol YouTube Channel  (
  2. Keep in mind, we are not only scoring the contestants on their demos but on a number of other factors that are not on the surface of things.  Last year, one contestant who would have made the semi-finals didn't because of a lack of adherence to the basic ethical standards of the contest.  There are human factors that are always being watched throughout the entire life of this competition, from the day that the submission form comes in to the declaration of the winners. Your citizenship and participation matters.

Dates and Times Table

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.

  • May 9 – Announcement for Submission
  • May 31 – Submission period closes
  • June 10 – Contestants announced for all three venues
  • July 29 – August 9 – Group 1 Briefings weeks
  • August 19 - Announcement of Group 1 semi-finalists
  • September 2-13 – Group 2 Briefings weeks
  • September 23 – Announcement of Group 2 semi-finalists
  • September 30 – October 4 – Semi-finalist interviews
  • October 7 - Announcement of finalists
  • November 25 – Video submission
  • December 2 – December 9 – Voting (popular & judges)
  • December 11 – All CRM 2013 Winners Announced (both regions).

Good luck to all of you! We can't wait to meet you!