As the CrossFit industry has matured, thankfully so to has the supporting software industry. This includes competition software which has improved in both number and quality of solution versus a couple of years ago. While it’s a blessing to have more options, it can be a curse because there are so many.
You want your competition to be perfect and it starts with the software that is perfect for you.
Choosing the right software can seem like a daunting task, but rest assured there is a simple process. Luckily, one of our team members was a systems analyst for years at a Fortune 50 company and has shared his process below to make it as easy for you.
STEP 1 – IDENTIFY WATCH OUTS AND ELIMINATE
Every time we made software choices, we made a list of watch outs that led to immediate elimination. Think of these as signals that things won’t go well. In the world of competition software we’d recommend at least 3 watch outs for your list:
- The use of “CrossFit Competitions” in marketing.
The only actual CrossFit competitions are the ones run by CrossFit and they have proprietary software they use to support them. No software company is allowed to use that terminology and can actually be sued by CFHQ for doing so. It’s why Reebok is the only one that can use the term CrossFit shoes—they have a special agreement with HQ to do so. Why you should care: If a company overlooks a major issue like this, what other issues have they overlooked in their software and/or customer service?
- It’s not a competition software only company.
If you were in a competition and got to choose an athlete for the upcoming gymnastics only WOD, who would you choose? Your gymnast athlete that eats, sleeps, trains, and breathes only gymnastics? Or the great generalist that divides time and attention across all disciplines? Without a doubt you go with the specialist.Software is no different. Many of the larger membership management companies have added on competition software as an extra revenue stream…NOT the primary one.
This means if the quality is low, they fold the division and the company still goes on. Conversely, the competition software only company lives and dies by their success in this area. They are true experts in the area and will be obsessed with you having an excellent experience.
- No try before you buy.
If you can’t know what you are getting before you buy it, steer clear. It makes me wonder if they are trying to hide something and calls into question overall quality of customer service. Competition software exists to make your life easier. If you can’t see what you are signing-up for, there are plenty of other solutions where you can.
STEP 2 – CREATE A CRITERIA MATRIX
Now that you’ve quickly narrowed the field, it’s time to decide how you’ll evaluate the rest. The process is simple. write down the criteria that is important to you and rank the importance of each. Then put these in a matrix and use it to evaluate a handful of solutions. To save you time, we’ve put together one for you. Honestly, use this one verbatim and you should land on the right solution.
We still recommend giving it some thought though. You will likely want to tweak the importance factors based on your competition and potentially add some of your own criteria.
STEP 3 – TEST AT LEAST 3 SOLUTIONS
Now it’s time for the fun part—testing. The good news is that these days, all of the software solutions do the basics of athlete registration, payment, and scoring well – they have to or they’d fail. The substantial difference comes down to usability, automation, and support. Start with three solutions that interest you. Talk to the companies and try out the software. Then record your findings in the matrix. As an example, we’ve filled in our own information but encourage you to demo it for yourself of course!
STEP 4 – MAKE THE DECISION
After filling the matrix with the data from at least 3 solutions you will likely see a clear winner. If two are close, then go with the one that checks off more of the most important criteria. If it’s still too close then simply go with your gut. And of course, if you aren’t sold on any of them then go back to step 3 and test other ones! If you’d like some help, feel free to reach out to us or schedule a free 15 min. consult. We don’t sell, we simply answer your questions and help you ask the right ones.