Last month, the leading business software review platform G2 Crowd took a giant leap in the industry by raising $30 million in Series B funding. Coming on the heels of a phenomenal year that saw the company grow by 300%, G2 Crowd’s position in MarTech expounds the paradigm shift occurring in B2B buying market where buyers are increasingly behaving like consumers. Avinash Duduskar spoke to Tim Handorf, CEO and Co-founder at G2 Crowd, to understand how the company prepared for the funding round and how it plans to use the new capital.
How much has the B2B buying landscape changed since 2012?
The buying and selling of software have evolved dramatically since G2 Crowd came along in May 2012.
Tim elucidated what it took the G2 Crowd team to change the whole process of B2B buying in just over five years, with an obvious reference to his stint as an early employee on the leadership board at BigMachines, a CPQ provider (acquired by Oracle in 2013 for $400 million). With a flamboyant entrepreneur at the helm who is leading a super-efficient team of content managers, product reviewers, solution consultation, and marketers, the company guides management on a range of functions to ensure optimum adoption of technology across the organization.
Tim provides a clear explanation —
“The buying process has changed and we are proud of the role G2 Crowd has played in democratizing the B2B market. When we founded G2 Crowd we noticed in the consumer marketplace that people wouldn’t rent a $100 hotel room without reading reviews. But, they were buying $10,000 pieces of software based on a referral and sales person’s word. It was clear that the B2B marketplace was behind the times!”
Tim appraises, “Fast forward five years and the buying process has changed. More than 12 million professionals have used G2 Crowd to help them make a buying decision. Currently, 900,000 visitors every month use our 175,000 verified user reviews of B2B products and both these numbers are growing rapidly.” He adds, “But, this is just scratching the surface. Our vision is to bring transparency to B2B buying.
Core Values for G2 Crowd Evolve around “Buyers First” Vision
In an article, Tim provides an apt premise to engage buyers in the B2B marketplace. He states, “In a Buyers Come First environment, rather than focusing on what might bring in the most revenue, we focus on what will benefit buyers. It is a long-term philosophy that is focused on achieving our vision.”
Staying committed to the “the buyer comes first” value is the basis of all of the decision making at G2 Crowd.
This commitment to respecting the buyer’s sentiments means that the research and reviews cannot be influenced by a vendor. Reviews on G2 Crowd website are always verified for quality and author, and Tim postulates why B2B buying reviews remain free for global consumption.
“Every verified review is available for the world’s consumption, free of charge. The management team reinforces these at our all-hands and team meetings. It is part of our language at G2 Crowd,” explains Tim.
Bringing Transparency to B2B Marketplace Part of Exponential Growth
G2 Crowd, as an extension to their ‘Buyer comes first’ mission, will be leveraging the Seris B funding to accelerate efforts in bringing greater transparency to the B2B marketplace.
As Saas market continue to hold onto its position with a stable adoption rate among customers, newer technologies running on the cloud, AI and automation are also growing at a phenomenal pace. Tim suggests the most logical path to how the new capital would be used to bring transparency. He responds,”We have more than 25,000 products on G2 Crowd and we are adding more every day, but all of these products don’t have enough reviews to be helpful in the buyer’s decision. The first work that the world will see will be focused on gather reviews for products with fewer than 10 reviews on the site. These verified user reviews will add exponential value to our site for the world.”
G2 Crowd is an Ally in the B2B Buying Journey
Fast-forwarding to the future, G2 Crowd is set to invest in introducing the “G2 Crowd brand to the world.” But, the foundation will remain the same — SEO. “To date, the vast majority of our site’s 900,000 monthly visitors come to us through our strong SEO. We need to help people understand our value proposition and help them to choose G2 Crowd as their ally in their buying journey,” mentions Tim.
G2 Crowd has so far raised $47.55 million in five rounds of funding since February 2013. The leading business software review platform also released the “Spring 2017 CRM All-in-One Results Index” last week. The company used a proprietary algorithm that factors in real-user satisfaction ratings for a number of user-related review questions.
Is G2 Crowd ready to transform B2B buying benchmarks for product comparison and market trend analysis using Artificial Intelligence (AI)? We will set that piece for some other time. Stay tuned…