Business leaders and owners often need a quick way to assess the skill level and capability of a technology consultancy, custom software company, or technology vendor. With so much information available on the internet and social media, it’s entirely possible to be over informed while simultaneously being inundated with reviews and statistics. Here are a number of sources for business leaders to research availability of products for CRM, AP, ERP, and HRIS platforms.
[editted March 27,2018 with G2 Crowd]
Best Places to Find Reviews for CRM Software and Companies
Finding a quality software vendor can be the difference between resources well invested or squandered. A number of publicly and free web resources try and offer this services. In general there are two main themes that tend to emerge. First either the websites have an overwhelmingly positive tone for every listed vendor, which means the vendor vetting process becomes equally muddled. Another prevalent theme is the lack of information or reliable content.
CRM Vendors on Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Better Business Burea is a non-profit organization specializing in accrediting business in terms of sound business practices and legitimacy. One of the platform features allows for transparent resolution of consumer complaints against a company. Based on their set of criteria they provide a graded rating for the company from A+ to F.
- Great for general business inquiries
- Relevant source for detecting employment scams
- Better information for small medium enterprise software and consulting companies
- Great for researching a tech company near you
- Customer complaints offer a detailed depiction of the challenges faced
- Limited information pertaining to major / large software and technology consulting firms
- Performance of the website for Canadian visitors seem to be sluggish
- Older disputes may not be available based on the date of their submission
Takeaway: most appropriate for small enterprises
BBB.org is best for determining employment scams or minor disputes between consumers and professional services companies. But for larger more complex IT projects there appears to be sparse data or simply a lack of input. It seems larger software project failures were settled privately between organizations. Consumers use BBB.org as a last attempt to recuperate consumer to business losses or to air their negative experiences. As a result the general input offered by client’s are negative with a far fewer positive stories to offer.
G2 Crowd (SalesForce, Zoho, SAP, SugarCRM, Hubspot)
G2 Crowd is a rating platform for users of enterprise software. Their business model involves helping an organization determine the right software and taking a fee for referring customers to product vendors. The company is based out of Chicago Illanois and was previoused known at G2 Labs Inc.
- High density of reviews with verified LinkedIn profiles for subsequent follow-up and commentaries
- Ability to sort solutions by size of enterprise (small, medium, large)
- Combines ratings and review for technology services and vendors
- Provides a section for expert / industry leader perceptions on technology products
- There are also Q&A sections for visitors with LinkedIn profiles confirmed to post questions
- Some reviews incentivized by G2 Crowd given the number of reddit threads with users sharing ways to make money from participating in a review process
- G2 offers paid content for in-depth reviews of CRM content and industry documents
- Less mature listing for technology consulting profiles that offer CRM products
Takeaway: great for organizations that need to narrow down their short list
G2 Crowd can be helpful when a company is looking to narrow down a list of product vendors. Starging with G2 Crowd is also feasible but less technically astute leaders will find run into similar issues we’ve mentioned before. Namely that there is far too much to tackle without guidance from technology that can help reduce or effectively process all the information.
CRM Company Reviews on Glassdoor (SalesForce, Zoho, SAP, SugarCRM, Hubspot)
Glassdoor’s main content offering is the anonymous review by current and past employees who have worked at the organization. Organization leaders may consider using Glassdoor to get a better sense of what are the internal working of their proposed vendor. Also whether the prospective vendor takes talent and people management seriously. This is often deduced by how open they are to criticism and responding to reviews. The site features review for all of the major players including Oracle (ERP), SAP (ERP), SalesForce(CRM), and Sage (AP).
- Unbiased reviews from employees helping you better understand internal dynamics
- Ability to detect unethical or negative behaviours being raised
- Visibility into talent and management prowess
- Determine alignment between your team’s people values and the vendor’s
- Lots of data available on an expansive number of organizations
- Ability to filter reviews based on location to determine the geography of delivery capabilities
- Organizations can ethically source expertise, or choose to not work with sweatshops
- Clarity in how staff and resources are used and how to avoid low “value” services and projects
- Geared towards the employee’s experience versus a client’s experience
- Limited insight into small and medium enterprises
Takeaway: a solid destination for custom software company internal dynamics to determine fit of vendor
For the discerning Glassdoor is a great way to understand how your prospective vendor operates, its business model, and common pitfalls that an organization may encounter during the course of working with a consultant.
CRM Company Reviews on Clutch
Clutch.co is a review and rating sites for professional services organizations. This website is focused on helping companies find firms that deliver. Their team is primarily based out of Washington, D.C. and based on a review of their home page on March 22, 2018 they have over 7000 professional services firms listed on their website. They also provide a Gartner styled quadrant reviews for a quick way to determine leaders and laggards in an industry.
- Website has a great UI for quickly finding custom software, marketing, and other professional services
- Clutch offers in-depth and validated reviews from vendor’s clients
- Profiles provide a way for clients to understand vendor capabilities and industry focus
- Clutch offers a snapshot of vendor pricing to help technology buyer’s estimate costs
- Overwhelming majority of reviews for companies listed are positive, meaning more noise than insight
- The leaders quadrant is determined by Clutch’s methodology but does not include first hand experience with these vendors
- Default presentation of vendors is sorted by sponsors, which means buyer’s may be missing out on qualified vendors
- A hot bed for outsourcing countries to source leads for their outsourced development services
Takeaway: Clutch.co is a great way to do some background research on the potential vendor and their areas of focus, but because of the lack of balanced reviews (as a result of only positive input) and a lack of critique it’s difficult to understand which firms stand above the rest
CRM System Reviews on Capture (SalesForce, Zoho, SAP, SugarCRM, Hubspot)
The companies on Capterra features packaged software vendors, with clients providing a comprehensive and balanced review for each of the products. The companies listed aren’t officially custom software providers but often can be found offering customizations. For that purpose we’ve included Capterra as a potential outlet for software company analysis.
- Provides pros and cons from past and current users of packaged software, helping buyers understanding strengths and limitations
- Extensive contribution from user community, with most representation from US buyers
- Ability to reach out to reviews for more details, since they list reviewer names, organization, and sometimes LinkedIn verification
- Capterra offers ratings on over 500 software product categories.
- Provides user reviews for large and small scale packaged systems (i.e. SAP, Oracle, Workday etc.)
- Common grievances with features could be dated and may warrant further research to confirm whether they’ve been patched or released
- Organizations may once again find the abundance of information overwhelming
- With so many packages having similar star rating or volume or reviews, again creating noise versus insights
- Limited Canadian presence and input for software packages
More Information is Perhaps Less
Despite the seemingly useful amount of information available, due to the expansive nature of data available choosing the right CRM or HRIS may actually be harder. With so many companies offering similar products its often difficult to assess which vendor or company will be the best fit. Having developed, managed, and designed technology system for two decades Mindfield’s perspective is that choosing the right software requires much more discipline than looking for the most starred reviews.
It is important to assess fit with the vendor and also your organization’s strategic capabilities and whether that is a good fit with a packaged or custom software. Business leaders must understand their industry’s experience with a platform and common gaps. This is also why there are CRM or AP platforms that are focused on specific industries. It simply isn’t enough to make a decision by. Organizations should consider having a clear vision for their platform and how it will make a difference in their day to day and strategic objectives. Without that all the research and data points will fall by the wayside, resulting in a just enough system instead of a leading technology platform.
Before Buying Packaged CRM Software Ask these Questions
Though package software is easy to subscribe to and register for, organizations often spend significant portions of time configuring their packaged software. In fact some larger packaged software can take years to configure where as building a custom solution may offer comparable timelines with greater flexibility. This is just one of the many consideration as part of a decision process to adopt new technologies.
Here are some other great questions to ask before getting a packaged software:
- Does my team desire differentiation in this capability (CRM, AP, ERP, HR, Recruiting, etc.)?
- Is this a mission critical system to my organization?
- Will the system be storing sensitive data with jurisdictional storage and retention rules that our team needs to comply with?
- Will the organization suffer significant losses if all the data in the packaged system is lost?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a packaged CRM, AP, ERP, or HRIS technology platform may not be the right choice. Not sure of the other question your team should be asking feel free to contact the Mindfield Consulting team.