Friday, January 31, 2014

How Reviews and the Comparison Ring Empower Software Buyers

Purchasing software is time consuming and fraught with challenges. Peer input can be extremely helpful to speed time to a decision and increase confidence that you’re making the right choice in four key areas:
  1. Defining requirements
  2. Understanding your options
  3. Choosing a short list
  4. Making a final decision
1. Defining Requirements
Before you fall in love with features, define your business objectives and map them to functional requirements. In-depth reviews can help you understand what other users find most useful, and what limitations they’ve encountered. Here’s a great example of such a review

2. Understanding your options
It’s easy to be drawn to the most prominent options but less well known ones are often worthy of consideration. For example, we list 32 different marketing automation products on TrustRadius. Some are “whole” solutions while others perform discrete functions like building/managing landing pages. Reviews can help you identify options you might not have considered otherwise.

3. Choosing a short list
It’s a purchasing best practice to evaluate at least two options to ensure that you make the right choice and get the best price. Most buyers have at least one solution in mind as they build their short-list, but often struggle to determine who else they should evaluate.

The Comparison Ring from TrustRadius allows you to select a product, and understand which other products are most commonly compared by other software buyers. The Ring is updated quarterly and based on over thousands of comparisons run on TrustRadius. A majority of comparisons are based upon search traffic, and hence the Ring represents a proxy for product comparison searches on Google. 

Below is a view of the Ring for the marketing automation category for a buyer considering Marketo. The Ring indicates that the most commonly compared solutions are Eloqua and Pardot, indicating that those are the most likely candidates for inclusion in a short-list.

Marketo Competitors
Click on the picture to access our interactive Comparison Ring 

4. Making a final decision
Once you’ve built your short list, reviews can help you make your final choice. The Ring gives you access to side-by-side comparisons based upon multiple end-user reviews.  See below for an example of a comparison for Marketo vs. Eloqua. While star ratings are indicators of satisfaction, they are not the “be all and end all”. Buyers should evaluate more granular metrics and most importantly the comments by other users about the products.  

software review, marketo, eloqua

After reading comparisons and full in-depth reviews, many buyers find it helpful to contact and speak to reviewers to discuss concerns.

software review, marketing, sales, analytics

In addition to making your best product decision, reviews and peer conversations can help inform related decisions like how to implement, staff, and plan for integration.

In summary, peer reviews and conversations provide an objective way to make better decisions, feel more confident in your choices, and learn from the experiences of others in similar contexts. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Enter the Marketing Automation Comparison Ring

If you’re shopping for marketing automation software, then you’re probably wondering which vendors you should consider and how they compare? Software evaluation is time consuming and the consequences of a bad decision can be costly -- so what’s the best way to begin your search?

At TrustRadius, we have access to a vast and growing body of data on the software solutions that potential buyers are comparing. With the new Marketing Automation Comparison Ring, we are making this data accessible to end-users for the first time in a way that we think gives buyers better insights into which vendors to evaluate than traditional vendor "scoring" systems.

Click on the picture to access the Interactive Comparison Ring

Analysts like Gartner place vendors on a 2x2 for completeness of vision and ability to execute. Some software review sites rank products purely based on average customer satisfaction rating. The challenge with both these approaches is that they fail to match buyer needs to solution choice. What may be right for a global enterprise is likely wrong for a small business. Furthermore, customer satisfaction ratings alone are not that meaningful. Less expensive, simpler solutions tend to score higher than more complex and expensive solutions, but that doesn’t always imply that they’re a better fit.

Many buyers turn to their peers for advice. This can help identify preferred solutions and even some pros and cons. However, to run a rigorous evaluation, we recommend evaluating 3-4 solutions and accessing more perspectives. But what’s the best way to do that?

The new Marketing Automation Comparison Ring from TrustRadius helps you understand which vendors to evaluate and is a gateway to in-depth comparisons:
  • Build your short list.  If you have a product in mind that you think might a great fit, the Ring will tell you which other alternatives should probably be on your list. The Ring highlights the products most commonly compared by your peers in the TrustRadius community. In the example below, Act-On is most compared on TrustRadius to Hubspot, then to Marketo, Pardot and Infusionsoft.

 Act-On competitors

  • Compare products head-to-head. The Ring links to product comparisons which aggregate hundreds of detailed end-user reviews so that you can quickly understand the relative merits of different solutions and compare them on the criteria that matter most to you: features, usability, customer support, or other factors.

marketing automation, business software reviews, vendor comparison ring

The Ring is based on over 20,000 page views including over 10,000 comparisons run on TrustRadius from October to December of 2013. 

To get started, select a vendor on the Marketing Automation Comparison Ring to see which other vendors they are most often compared to by your peers on TrustRadius, then click on the “Compare” link to see a detailed head-to-head comparison.

You can also embed the Ring on your blog or website by copying and pasting this code:

<iframe scrolling="no" seamless="seamless" width="550" height="954" src="http://www.trustradius.com/categories/marketing-automation/embed-comparison-ring"></iframe>

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Survey Reveals In-Depth End-User Reviews Becoming Significant Factor in Software Evaluations

Austin, Texas, January 15th, 2014 – TrustRadiusthe leading site for business software users to share real-world insights through in-depth reviews and networking groups, today announced poll results of its online visitor and member base that underscore how significant independent peer reviews are becoming in B2B software purchasing process.

Business Software Buyers Use In-Depth Reviews Before Vendor Contact

The study reveals that 42 percent of visitors to TrustRadius have not yet contacted a vendor despite the fact that the vast majority (90 percent) is in an active evaluation cycle and 58 percent of them are planning to buy software within 90 days.

The online visitor and member polling also found:
  • 86 percent of members come from workplace functions outside of IT
  • 40 percent of visitors or members are researching a vendor shortlist

“Search and social are now fundamentally changing how business software buyers research products”, said Vinay Bhagat, CEO, TrustRadius. “They often begin their research through a web search and also use social networks to gather feedback. End-user based review sites like TrustRadius are rapidly becoming key information resources for them.”


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

5 Fabulous Software Reviews to Start 2014

Each month, we feature 5 reviews that we believe epitomize the characteristics of great reviews.

This month, we are pleased to highlight 5 more reviews that bring transparency to business software decisions.

As we kick off 2014, we are especially grateful to our 1,000+ reviewers and 45,000+ professionals who use TrustRadius every month to make better technology selection, implementation and usage decisions.

You've made TrustRadius the #2 fastest growing start-up in Austin.

Here are the "Fab 5" reviews published in December:

SuccessFactors: A Beautiful Baby But Delivery Was Painful
By Susan Zheng, Area Talent Management Manager USA at Panalpina Inc
"Easy and simple for the general users. Also improves the efficiency of training management and global recruiting. New adopters should be aware that even though the end product is great, the implementation process can be very painful" - read more

GoodData: Brings Data To Life And Can Make BIG DATA Small by Robert Moreau, CEO at Zyphias Group

"A very easy to use tool that provides excellent time to value. It provides excellent dashboards and visual analytics and scales very well. A cloud-based system which may not be appropriate to all kinds of organizations like banks and financial institutions." - read more

"DAx has very advanced features that a power user needs, and is highly customizable, but doesn't require additional software or hardware ownership" - read more

Kenexa: A Personal Experience  by Cj Masopust, Recruiter, Disney Consumer Products at The Walt Disney Company  

"Kenexa's Boolean Keyword search, ability to customize and store questions, make it a great tool for improving employee efficiency. Areas for improvement include compatibility with Macs, addressing system outages, and current inability to compose and edit offer letters quickly" - read more

By Reza Shirazi, Director Business Systems at CLEAResult
"Good integration with other Microsoft products makes this tool easy to learn. The user interface can however be quite clunky, and it does not have a good out of the box mobile functionality." - read more

As always, make sure to check our latest business software reviews or even better, share your own software expertise with our community and raise your online visibility.