TL; DR: If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by choosing the right product, you’re not alone. G2 is the world’s largest software marketplace featuring peer-to-peer reviews on business software and services. Since its inception in 2012, G2 has been at the forefront of the software industry. It was founded by a group of BigMachines employees who noticed a shift in how consumers purchased software. We had a conversation with Tim Handorf, Co-Founder of G2 and Head of G2 Labs, to delve deeper into how G2 and its customers built a comprehensive one-stop database.
We live in an age where we check reviews for everything. Just as you rely on Yelp for food reviews, Google for business reviews, and TripAdvisor for destination reviews, G2 understands the importance of the trust that user-generated feedback holds — especially in the world of software.
In today’s digital landscape, software is the heartbeat of organizations today. Without it, even the most basic tasks would be impossible to complete. It helps manage projects, teams, and customers to ensure everything runs smoothly.
(In fact, you’re using software right now to read this.)
This is the reality of the internet and advancing computer technologies, which may be why around 1.35 million tech startups are started yearly. And no, the market isn’t oversaturated; it’s actually growing. Tech jobs are incredibly high in demand, so it’s obvious that more solutions will continue coming out over the next few years. But even so, having the wide variety at your fingertips can be overwhelming for anyone.
G2 simplifies your software buying journey – enabling people to research on their own without having to talk to a salesperson. Tim Handorf, Co-Founder of G2 and Head of G2 Labs, put it simply: “We thought it was interesting that you couldn’t get as much information on a $100,000 piece of software as you could on a hotel.”
G2’s Journey of Simplifying the Software Buying Process
Before G2 was founded in 2012, its founders belonged to BigMachines, a company (now owned by Oracle CPQ) that specialized in integrating different software to automate the B2B sales process.
While at BigMachines, Godard Abel, Mike Wheeler, and Tim realized the market was changing.
“We noticed that software buyers were taking on consumer behaviors,” recalled Tim. “They were asking their peers for advice.”
This means that buyers weren’t just purchasing what was available or in their price range anymore. They were undergoing an entire buyers’ journey with heavier research and sticking to trusted brands.
“We thought it was interesting that you couldn’t get as much information on a $100,000 piece of software as you could on a hotel.” — Tim Handorf, Co-Founder of G2 and Head of G2 Labs
When consumer behaviors change, so do market trends – and if you don’t keep up, you have no chance of staying current.
“So we thought there was a real opportunity to provide real advice to software users or buyers based on their peers’ opinions,” said Tim.
And so G2 was born. Although G2 has prioritized its platform as a peer-to-peer review forum for software, it also prioritizes putting its customers at the forefront. Transparency is critical, so reviews can’t be taken down at the seller’s request.
Reviews can only be posted if users log in via LinkedIn or a business email, like your Google Workspace account. Once signed up, you can post a review.
Be ready to answer a few questions on the chosen product. Let’s take the project and team management app, ClickUp, as an example:
- How likely is it that you would recommend ClickUp to a friend or colleague?
- What do you like and dislike about ClickUp?
- For which purposes do you use ClickUp?
- What problem is ClickUp solving, and how does it benefit you?
- Rating ClickUp’s ease of use, quality of support, and price on a number scale
Yes, it’s in-depth — but that’s to be expected when telling others whether a product is worth their time and money.
Speeding Up the Software Buying Process with AI-Powered Assistance
G2 recently introduced Monty, the platform’s first virtual assistant (and mascot). Simply open a chat with Monty and ask him to help find you the exact software you’re looking for.
“We’re really excited to have created our own version of a chatbot that helps customers optimize their experience with G2,” explained Tim. “Monty is trained to provide expert guidance based on the information on each company’s profile.”
Not only does the chatbot help find users what they’re looking for in a fraction of the time, but it leverages the millions of reviews while understanding each customer’s unique use cases. It can also engage in back-and-forth conversation with the user for a seamless stream of thought.
In other words, talking to Monty isn’t far from talking to a human expert.
Here’s how it works: In the video above, Tim tells Monty he’s looking for specific software.
Tim: “I’m looking for software that turns text into voice in real time.”
Monty: “The software you’re looking for is a type of text-to-speech software. There are many TTS options on the market, but some of the highest-rated on G2 are Amazon Polly, Google Text to Speech, and IBM Watson Text-to-Speech.”
Tim: “We are a midmarket company. It needs to turn text to speech as the user types. In addition, we would like to use a free trial to test before buying.”
Monty: “Based on your requirements, I would suggest checking out Amazon Polly.”
Monty is trained to help customers discern the type of software they need. Then, based on the 2 million reviews and 150,000+ products in G2’s database, Monty will make a few recommendations. You can also narrow your search if you have specific requirements or preferences, such as budgetary constraints.
But Monty didn’t come to fruition overnight. Tim has expressed that he’s been skeptical of AI since G2 tried incorporating it before with “lackluster results.” But now, it’s different: The early results of Monty’s integration have been very promising.
“Our customers have really enjoyed being able to interact with Monty in a conversational way,” said Tim.
Monty aligns with the ChatGPT chat model, so teaching the machine right and wrong is part of the challenge. To mitigate this, Tim says the G2 team relies on its data and whether Monty is really using that data to make accurate recommendations.
Driving Customer Success through Continuous Innovation
G2’s culture is deeply rooted in a passion for continuous innovation, customer-centricity, transparency, and reliability. This is evident in the release of Monty in Q2 2023.
In addition to Monty on G2’s frontend, it’s also been incorporated on the back end. G2 has already released internal tools, such as the chatbot for vendors and software providers, which is designed to help them optimize their profiles on G2’s platform.
“We’ve done a good job guiding our customers down the path of software to consider, but I think the next step is to think about how we can make the chatbot an expert on each individual piece,” Tim explained. “This way, users can ask him any questions about that software and get as detailed of an answer from an expert from that company.”
So, for example, when a customer interacts with Monty and asks a specific question about the software ClickUp, Monty can pull particular information from ClickUp’s internal tool and answer those questions.
Many companies say they’re customer-focused and, well, aren’t. But G2 is a true exception.
The company’s dedication to meeting market demands, fostering growth and innovation, and prioritizing its peers is a testament to its customer-centric approach and the remarkable success of its user-driven database.