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. 

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