Disclaimer: This post is based entirely upon my initial evaluation of this application only and should not be interpreted as being 100% accurate. Please contact the vendor to confirm or discuss your particular needs. Thank you!
I had an interesting opportunity last week to connect directly with this company and their Vice President of Marketing, Sam Liu. Why they reached out to me still remains largely a mystery but how is a testament to how hard these folks work at engagement. Rachel Marshall, found this site via one of their PR folks, Tory Klaubo Patrick, and they apparently found something to be of interest and ….. relevance? That, in itself, is astonishing! LOL.
Prior to our call I did have the opportunity to get on the site and sign up for their free account. My first impression was that this is a well designed application and I am a sucker for a pretty face… My free version of Jing does limit these videos to 5 minutes in length. After watching, you will likely wish to send them a thank you card in grateful acknowledgment of this small blessing (smile).
Still, I would also have to say that those same first impressions were that this was just another business networking site and, at first glance, perhaps most resembled BizNik. BizNik is very nice, and worthy of your attention but Partnerpedia is an animal entirely unto itself and an impressive one at that! While the aim of all business networking sites is to facilitate connections, Partnerpedia takes that mission to an entirely new level with a bevy of tools designed for partner collaboration. In it’s unique way, it does provide elements that meet the definitions for being both social and CRM.
The most accurate way to view Partnerpedia may be found in their name itself. This site is designed to help you find and establish partnership relations with other firms, or strengthen your existing ones, (partner) and then share specific information with those partners through rich content management modules that can include documents such as your literature and channel agreements (pedia). It goes further than that by integrating a leads management system that, once again, allows you to collaborate on those opportunities in your shared efforts to secure that business. This, my friends, would be CRM. I am not certain if this is yet available, and even then perhaps will be only with the paid version but, their website does tout integration with Salesforce. Definitely CRM. While Partnerpedia certainly exhibits aspects of a business-social networking site, it really is more of a serious business tool and a very different tool at that. I have never personally encountered anything quite like it.
I am at a slight disadvantage as, at present, I do not have any partners on the site to collaborate with and this makes it difficult for me to actually field test the tools. I will be looking to change that. However, let’s talk a little bit about what I am able discern …
The home page is well designed and easy to navigate. The predominate features are community shared articles and a forum where you can add content or start a new forum discussion or collaboration. You do have the ability to rate content, leave comments, or share it on Social Media. You can join discussions and follow their updates. There are also feature articles by Partnerpedia’s Community Managers. Community Managers are there to assist member companies with any questions that they may have about the site and also to share helpful tips. Now, when was the last time you were on LinkedIn or FaceBook or any other site and found someone lurking around with nothing to do but to help you? How about … never! What if you needed help? How easy was it to even find where to ask for it? Not very. Partnerpedia gets extremely high marks for customer service. Their community managers are Responsive with a capital “R”.
From my home page I also have the ability to invite my contacts to Partnerpedia or upload partners that are already in my channel. I can also search members who are already on the site as well as seek to initiate new collaborations. These tools are quite powerful and will allow you to share documents as well as have access to a variety of other options. Once a connection has been made, you then have the ability to control what information or documents that you may have on file and how those are to be shared with each individual partner or connection. For example, a VAR may have access to forms and agreements that a standard reseller would not. As far as Partnerpedia’s tools to give you the ability to control areas of access, and your privacy …. very flexible, very detailed, and very complete. In my experience, these controls are generally all or nothing and that goes for everybody, therefore, these individual levels of control strike me as being huge.
Of course, you do have the ability to establish profiles for yourself, other members of your company, and your company itself and have those linked altogether. Throughout Partnerpedia you will find a pretty nice word processing tool for creating and editing content. This module also has the ability to establish hyperlinks which I used to direct folks to my LinkedIn, Twitter, and FaceBook sites. What the word processor does not have is any kind of spell check. What is up with that? And, if you think that your FireFox spell check will take care of that little problem, guess again. If your spelling skills even remotely resemble mine, this is a serious bummer and one I hope that they will correct. You will also see on the home page prominent links to Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia. Unfortunately, these are not your links. Each of them connects to Partnerpedia’s respective sites. Bummer part deux. However………..
Partnerpedia does a paid version which they call Private Networks. Looking at their literature, Private Networks allows you to create and brand your own private online community and it appears to be very very powerful. It is likely best designed for larger firms and they did throw out some well recognized names during our conversation. I honestly have no idea of the necessary investment that might be required to use this service but, it could certainly be worth your inquiry. You will even get the social media links on the home page that will take folks to your sites (smile). Here’s a comparison chart of the free and paid versions ……
So, how close does Partnerpedia come to my definition of the “Holy Grail of Social CRM”? I haven’t quite decided yet. If CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management”, this is exactly what Partnerpedia is designed to do. It may be one of the most interesting tools that I have evaluated to-date . And, it may also be forcing me to reevaluate my previous definitions.
I am going to end this here but I am also going to promise you additional posts once I have had an opportunity to put this application through its paces. There is no way that even a fraction of its capabilities can be explored in one writing. I have to say that this site, at least on the surface, may not be well designed for my specific business model which does not meet what I perceive to be Partnerpedia’s target market. However, I do have a certain talent for taking unusual tools and adapting them to fit my twisted needs. My tiny brain is already churning on the possibilities (smile).
Thanks for visiting!