BOSTON, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- PBworks, the leading provider of hosted collaboration solutions for business and education, today announced the launch of PBworks Customer Relationship Edition, which extends CRM solutions such as Salesforce.com by offering shared online workspaces for collaborating with customers and prospects throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
While existing CRM solutions have done a good job of tracking the sales funnel and customer support tickets, they have done little to generate the deeper customer engagement and information exchange that is so essential to complex sales. Most communications still take place using traditional channels such as email and telephone, with little context or permanent record. PBworks Customer Relationship Edition fills this gap by providing a persistent, shared environment that companies can use with their customer throughout the relationship lifecycle, from prospecting and sales to ongoing account management and support. Businesses can build a stronger relationship with customers and increase conversion, satisfaction, and retention.
"The big difference between what PBworks is doing and standard CRM is that PBworks is interactive for the customer," said David Coleman, Founder and Managing Director of Collaborative Strategies. "The customer interaction is where the rubber hits the road. The problem with regular CRM is that the rubber never sees the road."
PBworks Customer Relationship Edition incorporates new features specifically designed to enhance the customer relationship management process. Businesses can use the product to:
- Collaboratively author important content such as proposals and agreements
- Share key documents and files such as contracts and collateral
- Set meeting agenda, take real-time notes, and capture and assign action items
- Manage critical processes like RFPs with project management tools
- Communicate in real-time with built-in chat, instant messaging, and teleconferencing
- Track customer interactions to better evaluate engagement and interests
"Our customers tell us that one of the most important and valuable ways they use PBworks is to help them collaborate with prospects and customers," said PBworks CEO Jim Groff. "Traditional CRM systems treat a customer as just a few rows in a database. With our Customer Relationship Edition, businesses treat their customers like partners and can communicate and collaborate much more closely with them."
Chicago-based Objective Arts uses PBworks to manage its presales customer relationships. "Every time we put together a proposal for a potential client, we like to invite them to a PBworks workspace," said Steve Grant, President of Objective Arts. "Our sales process is very interactive, and PBworks gives us the environment we need to collaborate with our prospects to get a deal done. Using PBworks as part of the sales process helps us reduce the sales cycle and increase our sales."
IT consulting firm CBE Technologies has also made PBworks a core part of its CRM strategy. "PBworks is the key technology we use to work with our customers," said Alison Rossi, Project Manager. "We start the customer collaboration process during the presales phase, once we feel there's a greater than 75% chance the deal will close. We place PDFs of the statement of work on each client workspace, allowing a clean transition from sales to operations. Once a project is complete, we transition the workspace over to the support staff. With PBworks, everyone on the team has access and can present a unified front to the client. It's had a major impact on productivity and customer satisfaction."
The new product is focused on complex, high-value sales, where improved information and smoother processes can have a significant revenue impact. This makes it ideal for service providers such as agencies, consultancies, and law firms, which maintain a long-term relationship with high-value clients.
"PBworks truly focuses on solving specific problems and making us successful," said Courtney Franklin, Director of CRM Operations for Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle. "We're looking forward to using the Customer Relationship Edition to enhance our relationships with our clients."
PBworks Customer Relationship Edition taps into larger trends in the market. "Collaboration is far richer than traditional CRM approaches because it engages customers in trust-building conversations rather than merely tracking their intentions and activities," said Larry Hawes, Lead Analyst, Collaboration and Social Software for the Gilbane Group.
PBworks Customer Relationship Edition includes all of the functionality in the company's flagship Business Edition, such as unlimited storage for documents and files, full-text search of document content, Mobile Edition access via BlackBerry and iPhone, and 24/7 customer service. The new product adds a shared collateral library for publishing important marketing pieces and documents to all prospects and customers, as well as advanced activity tracking to let sales and support representatives judge customer/prospect engagement levels and see which documents are being viewed. Connectors with CRM platforms will allow 1-click creation of new prospect and client workspaces, starting with Salesforce.com.
On June 15 and 16, PBworks will be demonstrating the Customer Relationship Edition at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston (Booth #609).
Pricing and Availability
PBworks Customer Relationship Edition will be available in Q3 2010 at a starting price of $30/user/month. Unlimited customer/prospect workspaces and licenses are included at no additional cost.
PBworks (http://pbworks.com) is the world's leading provider of hosted collaboration solutions for businesses and education. Leading companies and organizations like FedEx, DePaul University, and the FDA choose PBworks to help teams work more effectively across geographic and organizational boundaries, including teams that span employees, customers, partners, and vendors.
Over 85,000 businesses have chosen PBworks to share knowledge, interact with customers, manage, projects, and support other forms of teamwork. We host over a million team workspaces, serve several million users each month, and 96% of users would recommend PBworks to a friend. Investors in PBworks include Mohr Davidow Ventures, Seraph Group, Sippl Investments, and Ron Conway.
PBworks is a trademark of PBwiki, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.