Clutch is the go-to resource for discovering and validating the best service providers to help drive results and impact.
Clutch is your one-stop-shop to search, find, and decide on a perfect match based on verified reviews from 280K+ global companies.
For many years, the #1 global B2B marketplace has been a powerful lead generation channel for many IT companies. Clutch has a worldwide network of trusted partners from 1,500+ business categories, allowing buyers to find the right company or service in minutes.
During an exclusive interview, Tim Condon, Clutch’s Chief Revenue Officer, engaged in a discussion with Irina Dubovik, Digital Marketing Director at Intetics, sharing insights into the pressing issues surrounding the platform.
Irina: Tim, please tell us about yourself and how your journey at Clutch started?
Tim: I’m Tim Condon, the Chief Revenue Officer at Clutch. I joined the company about a year ago. It’s been a great time! Given my previous roles in various marketplace-type businesses, joining Clutch felt like a seamless and natural transition.
Irina: For many sales and marketing experts in the IT sector, Clutch is still a legend. Could you just give our readers a few words about Clutch?
Tim: One of the reasons for me to join Clutch was because it is such a valuable marketplace, and there are few good alternatives for companies in the IT sector.
When our founder launched the company, he felt that there was a gap—there needed to be a better place for companies in the IT and marketing sectors to present themselves to potential customers. This would enable buyers to make informed decisions and hire companies they may not even know existed.
Irina: So, Clutch is a place where business leaders make decisions?
Tim: Exactly. Clutch was conceived with the notion that buyers should have the ability to visit the platform and reach a definitive conclusion about their preferred choice. By offering multiple options for comparison, buyers can gain a clear understanding of which partners are most suitable for their specific projects.
With over a million buyers visiting Clutch every month to make decisions about which companies to engage, it represents a substantial number of individuals making choices regarding IT sector hiring.
Irina: There are so many channels through which service providers can communicate with buyers. Take, for example, corporate websites, social media, and so on. But why is it important for IT companies to be represented on Clutch?
Tim: Buyers prefer to have information that allows them to compare and decide who will be best for them.
It goes beyond just providing the best reviews. It’s about each unique case when a company has a specific project or need and wants to understand which providers are best for that exact project. Our reviews help buyers understand: “This provider has done a project like this before, so that’s somebody I want to reach out to.” That is why our reviews are so in-depth.
With over a million buyers visiting Clutch every month to make decisions about which companies to engage, it represents a substantial number of individuals making choices regarding IT sector hiring. As an IT company, it’s crucial to position yourself in front of this audience.
We capture between 70-80% of the share of searches related to the IT sector or marketing sector, which are the two core services we offer.
Irina: How do you stand out among other marketing channels and other similar resources in the United States? How do you rank Clutch among competitors?
Tim: We examine various sources. Firstly, we analyze the share we receive on the largest search engines: Google and Bing. Additionally, we engage with our clients to understand where they see results.
The recent estimation on the major search engines reveals that we capture between 70-80% of the share of searches related to the IT sector or marketing sector, which are the two core services we offer. This is a crucial metric for us.
Our goal is to ensure that we aggregate buyers efficiently, so as a service provider, you don’t need to be present in 20 different places. We firmly believe that if you’re on Clutch, you will get the most bang for your buck.
Irina: Could you confidently say that Clutch is a leading marketplace of IT service providers in the United States?
Tim: Yes. Clutch is the number one platform by far.
Irina: That is cool. One year ago, we talked with your management about the following situation: IT companies operating under the “distributed remote teams” business model cannot be ranked in the U.S. Even though they have US-based headquarters, they are not featured as they lack local resources. It seems that something has changed, and international IT providers have new possibilities. Could you tell me a little more about those new opportunities?
Tim: New rules for geo-ranking are a fascinating topic because one of the factors contributing to Clutch’s success is maintaining integrity in determining who can appear on specific directories. This benefits both buyers and search engines, which are both crucial to us.
Simultaneously, we acknowledge the desire of both buyers and providers for a clear and straightforward selection process. Many providers are often not physically represented in the US, which is appealing to buyers. These buyers may seek to outsource projects to different locations for reasons such as cost savings or specific expertise.
To strike a balance between preserving the integrity of our directories and allowing for advertising in such cases, we introduced our featured program. This program permits a limited number of providers in a category to promote themselves on geo-specific pages and directories for regions where they lack physical representation.
So, an international provider can now advertise on US directories to get access to US buyers.
But we did it in a limited fashion so that as a buyer, if that’s different from what you’re looking for, you’re not overwhelmed by providers who don’t match the search you want.
Irina: Why didn’t you introduce this program before? Why now? And what is the difference between sponsorship and free ranking?
Tim: Sponsorship means you as a provider are organic to that page, meaning you do the service that the page represents, and if the page is geographically focused, you’re in that geography.
And that helps us both with buyers and search engines to ensure we service and serve the buyer.
The feature program actually existed for a long time. Still, it was very dormant, and to be honest, sometimes a company is just going along and being successful, and they don’t think about the things that they’re missing out on.
At a certain point, we looked at it and said, “Holy cow, we’ve got all these clients telling us they want to be in these places.” Companies like you were saying, “Hey, you’re missing out,” then we had to think about how we do this in a way that still aligns with our values and what we offer to the buyer but also meets the service provider’s needs.
So that’s how we came up with it. The best time would have been to do it three years ago. The second-best time was today.
Irina: And one complicated question. People trust Clutch for its strong reputation. But this year we faced a problem. Every day we receive at least three to five proposals to place fake reviews on Clutch. “Review brokers” provide real examples of companies paying $30 and placing a review. We always report on such cases to the Clutch team. It’s interesting to know how you deal with this.
What is your policy on fake paid reviews? And how do you manage to guarantee integrity?
Tim: We hear from our service providers that they’re getting solicited. Reviews’ integrity is one of the most essential things to Clutch. It’s one of our core differentiators. Clutch publishes thousands of reviews each month. We have continued to intensify our review verification process and capture a small percentage as “fake reviews.”
Our reviews are very in-depth. We don’t allow somebody just to come in and give a five-star and say, “Hey, this provider was great.” We expect them to detail the job that they did.
So, it’s vital that our providers, who do the hard work to get their clients reviews, feel confident that others aren’t able to shortcut.
We have two steps in our process.
One is a review verification process, which is very simple. We verify who the reviewer is and that they are at the company. If the process is successful, it goes into a verified review, which impacts the provider’s ranking.
If we can’t verify, then it goes into step two, which means finding evidence that this is a fake review. A whole team does this for every single review that shows up on Clutch.
The distinction here is unverified will exist on the site, but it won’t help the provider.
If we find evidence of a fake review, we’ll remove it. And then if we find providers doing this multiple times after warnings, we will punish them on the site. We drop the ranking and make it so that they’re almost invisible on Clutch.
Clutch appreciates every time you report about fake review cases. That helps us because the more of these review brokers we know about, the more we can identify and prevent.
Irina: How do you identify and check fake reviews from real ones? Could you please provide numbers.
Tim: I’m unable to discuss the specific methods we take to detect fake reviews. Our approach involves a highly sophisticated process that continually evolves, with various touchpoints and the latest technologies. We even conduct tests by attempting to place fake reviews to assess our system’s effectiveness.
Irina: Clutch recently launched a new award within Clutch Global—the Clutch Champion in B2B. What are the benefits? What is its value for marketers, sales representatives, and maybe for developers? You report only 10% are nominated as winners. Basically, how do you choose Champions?
Tim: Yes, we are excited to launch our newest award this year —The Clutch Champion Award. The folks named to this list are the top 10% of our global winners who received new, verified reviews within the past six months. Many of our providers come to us to generate leads for new business. However, the providers who have been with us the longest understand that a significant part of Clutch’s value lies in their ability to showcase their Clutch profile when conversing with potential clients. Demonstrating that Clutch has recognized them adds substantial credibility to their pitch and enhances their appeal to prospective clients.
As a result, we aim to formalize this aspect further. We will explore additional ways to assist companies in setting themselves apart and utilizing Clutch as an independent source to bolster their credibility. While every provider may claim to be the best in their presentations, having a third party vouch for their excellence is a valuable asset.
Irina: You mean Clutch acts as a guarantor of the company reputation?
Tim: Yes, a significant portion of our value lies in our reputation, not only for companies locally but also on a global scale.
Irina: Please give our readers 3 top tips on improving Clutch profile of an IT company providing custom engineering services.
Tim: The number one is reviews. Quantity isn’t as crucial as quality; at a certain point, once you get past four, five, or six reviews, the quality is much more important than the quantity.
Recency is also a significant factor that many providers need to realize. We rank providers more favorably for reviews they’ve gotten in the past three months. We recommend that our clients aim for one review per quarter. This approach is beneficial because prospective buyers prefer to access current data rather than information dating back five years.
And finally—we put a lot of stock in industry recognitions. There are our internal Clutch awards, but we know that providers get a lot of recognition from other organizations. Whether they’re marketing or IT organizations, all awards play a role into the Clutch rank.
We proactively search for other awards and attach them to the profiles. But you, as the provider, should be doing that.
Ultimately, this is the path to achieving a favorable ranking on Clutch, as all these factors contribute to a positive experience for the buyer.
Clutch was built for the buyer first. We ultimately want them to come to Clutch and say, “Oh, this is a great resource for me to find a partner.” So, as an IT company, you need to ensure that you represent yourself in the best possible way when the buyer shows up.
Example of an optimized Clutch profile: https://clutch.co/profile/intetics
Irina: Let’s talk about some secret updates for the IT industry professionals. What new features are coming to the platform soon?
Tim: One of our most exciting projects is in beta right now. It’s pretty hidden, but you can find it on the site.
We are giving the buyers an AI-based tool to create a project brief quickly. Many buyers struggle to answer, “What do I need to tell the provider to help ensure they understand my project?”
With the new tool Clutch users can answer questions, it prefills in what is required for the buyer.
But it’s about a five or six-question process, and then they get a whole brief and can send it to the providers that they think would be represented from that. And we make recommendations after they fill it out.
Seamless client experience is our priority. While we leverage AI in transforming client inputs into comprehensive project briefs, we don’t explicitly communicate the use of AI to buyers. The focus is on delivering a refined project description, ensuring each client’s unique needs are accurately represented without them being aware of the AI involvement.
Irina: Is there something specific you’d like to share as a message to IT industry representatives? Any insights or wishes you’d extend to enterprise tech professionals?
Tim: Any provider can create a free profile on Clutch and get reviews. It’s a valuable step to enhance your visibility and reputation. For those curious about Clutch, I recommend exploring it firsthand to understand its benefits—for you and your potential clients’ businesses.
Clutch will continue to develop tools that not only drive traffic to your website but also enhance interactions between you and the buyers, ultimately resulting in increased business opportunities for you.
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