4 Steps to Reach the Top of Your Software Category

February 9, 2023
Contributor: Amita Jain

Gain industry recognition and maximize the reach of your software with these steps.

Success as a top-tier software provider brings many rewards — from increased recognition to stronger ROI. For that acknowledgment to be meaningful, however, independent validation from trusted third-party sources, such as software review and recommendation platforms, is essential.

Software providers looking to stand out and prove their leadership should consider gaining accolades such as “top performer” or “category leader” from acclaimed software review and rating sites such as Capterra, GetApp and Software Advice

With 50% of businesses relying on review platforms when researching software, recognition from these sites can build your brand’s credibility and establish you as a market-leading option for buyers.

What does it mean to be a category leader?

In the software industry, being a category leader means possessing advanced capabilities, customer trust and operational excellence that sets the standard for all competitors.

You lead the pack. You’re among the first few software providers that prospects reach out to when they shortlist products. By being recognized as a SaaS leader, you can influence the direction of your category and dominate it by introducing innovative features. With such an edge, category leaders can easily outshine even those who invest heavily in marketing and promotion.

Being a leader means establishing authority in your software category. Being recognized as a leader means collecting software reviews and ratings to be placed in a branded research report that is trusted by B2B software buyers to make informed purchase decisions. 

Reviews sites often have proprietary ways of recognizing leaders; below is one example of how a review site, Capterra, recognizes leaders across its many software categories. 

Capterra’s Research Methodologies[2]

Where do you start? Here are the sites that B2B buyers trust the most:

Gartner Digital Markets comprises three leading software-search websites — Capterra, GetApp and Software Advice — that generate high traffic from B2B buyers looking to read software reviews, gain product information and compare products.

Each of these sites generates detailed research reports based on customer ratings, minimum review count and other factors to recognize leading products in various software categories. These reports are used by buyers to make informed decisions as they shop for an optimal solution. 

  • Shortlist by Capterra. Capterra serves buyers who are busy, have experience in purchasing software and are actively seeking a trustworthy, informational resource. It publishes “Shortlist” reports, which feature leading providers in multiple software categories. It evaluates products primarily based on user ratings and popularity. Read more about Capterra’s Shortlist methodology here[2].
  • FrontRunners by Software Advice. Software Advice serves buyers who aren’t tech-focused and prefer personalized guidance from software experts with deep experience in their industries to help them purchase products. It publishes “FrontRunners” reports that use recent and published user reviews to score products on two main dimensions: usability and customer satisfaction. Read more about Software Advice’s FrontRunners methodology here[1].
  • Category Leaders by GetApp. GetApp serves buyers who are tech-savvy and seek in-depth software listings to make informed decisions. It publishes “Category Leaders” reports, which evaluate products across five key areas: ease of use, value for price, functionality, customer support and the likelihood of a recommendation. Read more GetApp’s Category Leaders methodology here[3].

Check out: Gartner Digital Markets’ Research Calendar to stay on top of publishing timelines across software categories

How do you get on these lists?

The key to getting featured on these reports is by building a strong base of user reviews for your software. Here are some key guidelines to help you prepare your product page and position your product as a category leader.

Step 1: Create a free product profile and optimize it to increase visibility 

The first step is to make sure you’re listed on all three Gartner Digital Markets review sites. Start by creating a free product profile on each platform. It doesn’t cost anything to be eligible for inclusion in a research report, but experimenting with PPC or PPL campaigns can also help you gain further traction with your target market. Doing this will instantly connect you with thousands of in-market buyers and build presence among current leaders in your software category. Optimize your product page by incorporating the below characteristics in your profile.

Checklist to create a strong product profile

Pro tip:

If you’re a new or emerging provider trying to break into the software market, aim for recognition under a niche or advanced category with limited competition in that space. That way, it’ll be easier to stand out.

If you’re an established provider in a category or space with lots of competition, stand out from your competitors by highlighting your software value proposition. Think about what information your audience is looking for, why they are searching, and what stage of the buyer’s journey they are in to help craft your messaging. 

Step 2: When describing features, keep in mind buyer needs on each review site

Each review site is distinct in its approach to assisting buyers. For instance, Software Advice uses expert advisors; meanwhile, Capterra and GetApp facilitate a more self-guided purchase journey. Make sure your message caters to the platform’s needs.

Here are some tips to keep audience disposition in mind when describing the features of your software.

  • For Capterra, provide a clear, high-level overview of your product’s core functions and capabilities, focusing on overall benefits to users to capture visitors’ attention as its buyers are busy.
  • For GetApp, describe your product’s functions and specifications in detail, as its users are tech-savvy. Consider promoting integrations and data security-related features to show how your software will mesh with buyers’ existing tech stack.
  • For Software Advice, aim to humanize your product descriptions by including the product’s ideal user, unique benefits and support details, as its visitors aren’t too tech-focused. Keep your descriptions simple and easy to digest.

Customer success story: Auctria

The best way to cater to all types of buyers’ needs is by collecting a lot of reviews. Customer reviews allow users to read unbiased feedback, which is why Auctria implemented an endless customer review collection process. 

Gartner Digital Markets helped Auctria establish social proof for prospective users and further establish their presence on Capterra.

Step 3: Include purchase criteria buyers care about

Along with reviews and ratings, the user interest of a software product is largely determined by how it performs with key factors that buyers prioritize in mind. 

When shopping for software, buyers filter products based on desired features, price and other factors. Ensure your software’s profile serves what customers are searching for to ensure you aren’t filtered out from potential customers’ searches. 

Top factors buyers use to select or drop a software provider

Customer success story: TeamUp

Fielding recent, high-quality reviews can attract more prospects. With Gartner Digital Markets, TeamUp was able to collect 100 new user reviews in two months and showcase its strong user community as a differentiator.

Step 4: Build a buzz around your offerings

To be seen as a leader in a software category, it's critical for providers to actively establish an online presence and build relationships with existing customers and key influencers in the software market. 

Gain greater visibility in the software market by:

  • Being active on social media and in industry forums. 
  • Writing blog posts or white papers. 
  • Speaking at conferences or webinars.
  • Actively responding to both positive and negative user reviews.

Customer success story: RavenCSI

Customer reviews can also help you create a strong first impression and build brand reputation among software buyers in your industry. By collecting reviews, RavenCSI improved brand recognition, resulting in higher visibility in the marketplace, as well as an influx of qualified leads every week.

Get listed and reach millions of software buyers

As you prepare to reach the top of your category, take your time to implement the aforementioned guidelines to make sure your product profile is a success. Working towards becoming a category leader requires patience, but is very rewarding. Prepare to be seen by millions of customers, eager to find you and see what you have to offer. 

Get a free estimate of how a premium listing will connect you with your future buyers.

Amita Jain

Amita Jain covers B2B content creation and strategy to help businesses reach their marketing goals. She received her master’s degree from King’s College London, U.K. Exploring the world of art and reading fiction are some of her usual happy distractions outside of work. Connect with Amita on LinkedIn.



  1. FrontRunners Methodology, Software Advice
  2. Capterra Research Methodologies, Capterra
  3. GetApp’s Category Leaders, GetApp
Get the Gartner Digital Markets Newsletter

We value your privacy. By submitting this form, you agree we may use your information in accordance with the terms of the Gartner Digital Markets Privacy Policy.

Connect. Convert. Thrive.

Connect to millions of in-market software buyers around the globe with our all-encompassing suite of marketing services.