Partnerpedia Adds Basic CRM Features

By Jamie Bsales | Posted August 17, 2009

Constructive continues to add new features to its Partnerpedia family of online partner-community solutions. The latest is lead-management capabilities for the Partnerpedia Open Community and Private Networks offerings that let companies track and manage sales opportunities and activities. The new feature is designed for small businesses looking to step up from an informal lead-tracking system but not ready to commit to a complex customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

Constructive bills Partnerpedia as an online community designed to help companies increase business through partner networking. The goal is to help members leverage the community to present their businesses’ products and services, and to increase each company’s exposure. “Partnerpedia is designed to help companies not only promote themselves, but also easily connect with customers and partners,” said Mark Sochan, CEO of Constructive.

Open Community is the company’s free offering, while Private Networks is a fee-based version that allows businesses to brand the portal with their own name. Both Partnerpedia services provide a portal for content, communications and collaboration. According to the company, Partnerpedia leverages the power of social networking and online media to maximize business opportunities through channels and partners.

Partnerpedia lets entrepreneurs create an online profile for their companies, and provide their clients and colleagues with a central point of access to content and programs. In addition, Partnerpedia provides a way for an organization’s community of partners to collaborate on joint projects and solutions. For example, members can launch marketing programs to their partners and also gather feedback on those programs from customers and other Partnerpedia members. Members can also conduct private online conversations with colleagues and clients (to discuss an RFP or ongoing project, for example), as well as share documents online.

With the lead-management feature, Partnerpedia lets members manage sales activities without implementing a CRM solution. “Many small businesses are managing leads in an ad-hoc way, such as with Excel spreadsheets, because they don’t want the cost or complexity of a traditional CRM package,” noted Sochan. Partnerpedia members who currently use the site’s portal and social networking features report already seeing business coming from the community, making the lead-management feature a natural extension.

The Partnerpedia implementation delivers basic CRM functionality, providing a secure way to manage leads across sales teams and partners. Members can enter sales leads into the system and track those prospects throughout their lifecycle.

Members can also track an unlimited number of contacts, manage their opportunity and sales pipeline and share leads within an organization and with partners. As a relationship with a prospective client progresses, sales team members can turn a contact entry into an opportunity entry, create a timeline of activity to pursue with that prospect, assign a chance of closing the deal and so on.

Sales managers or business owners can receive notifications as the status of an opportunity changes, which gives them a window into the sales pipeline. Partnerpedia can even be used to generate pipeline reports to instantly create sales forecasts. The lead and pipeline data in Partnerpedia can also be exported to another system should the business move to a more robust CRM platform.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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