Software Advice, a Gartner subsidiary, has developed a unified set of metrics that it is positioning as a tool to help companies purchase Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications.
Software Advice uses three metrics -- user adoption, search traffic, and social media presence -- to come up with a ranking index for what it's calling the "most popular" CRM apps. While the index is useful for any size enterprise, Software Advice is primarily looking to help small- and mid-sized businesses navigate the cluttered CRM landscape.
User adoption is the most heavily weighted metric, influencing 75% of the final results. SA surveyed 203 CRM users to arrive at these results. Daniel Harris, the analyst responsible for writing the report, said in an interview with InformationWeek that the firm was selective in choosing the sample for the user survey. "We vetted these people fairly extensively to get people who were using CRM at least on a weekly basis at their jobs," said Harris. "If we were looking only for the total installed user base, we would have bumped the sample size up."
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Search traffic was the next most important criterion, weighted at 15%. Search traffic metrics were derived by tracking brand name and related searches performed each month via Google and other search engines. The search traffic component is a new metric for these kinds of vendor rankings.
According to Harris, Google search was the primary channel studied for the report. "We looked critically at what users were searching for," he said. "We used Google's AdWords advertising tool to find the brand name, and then looked at the results for multiple general search terms that might be used as well. If a term wasn't directly relevant to the product, we would strike it. It's a difficult metric to calculate, requiring a lot of editing."
Social followers earned a 10% weighting in the final results. These stats were derived from researching the numbers of people who "liked" or "followed" CRM vendor profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Such actions were considered a vote of confidence.
"One of the challenges that we faced with this methodology in particular was coming up with something that would speak to buyers in smaller enterprises," said Harris. "We came up with a system more geared to how small businesses think about software."
The chart below shows the 10 most popular CRM vendors based on Software Advice's system:
Software Advice was acquired by Gartner in 2014. The company provides detailed reviews and research on thousands of software applications, along with advisory services.