Just as large businesses cultivate a network of professional partners that extend their reach into new markets and broaden the professional skill sets of their internal staff, so can web workers. As the availability of new projects continues to tighten due to the economy, it’s time for web workers to consider partnering with other independents and small- to medium-sized companies to go after new and bigger business.
Enter Partnerpedia from Constructive, a developer of partner management solutions. It combines social media, online collaboration and partner management, and is available free online. It targets freelancers and small businesses wanting to better manage their partner relationships.
The value proposition for web workers for partnering is rather simple — you can pursue deals that require multiple skill sets and larger staffs than an independent freelancer typically musters. Think of classic partnerships like the writer and graphic designer, or the web programmer and the web designer, that fill crucial skills gaps for a project. Partnerpedia aims to be the management tool of choice for these sorts of partnerships.
Set Up Your Partner Network
You don’t have to be a partner marketing manager to take advantage of this service. In fact, you don’t even need to be a marketing person! After creating a login on the home page, there is a simple process to go live and start managing your partner relationships:
Add My Company. You have the option to find and connect to your employer if it’s already live on the service. If your company’s not there, you can create a company profile through an easy-to-use, wizard-driven process, up to and including creating a partner application form for your company.
Find Contacts. Search site members for contacts that you know personally and professionally through this simple search form. There is also the option to invite contacts who aren’t already on Partnerpedia.
Find Partners. You can search Partnerpedia for potential business partners via a detailed and decidedly non-IT centric search form. I see this as a real plus, because there is a whole big world of partner requirements out there not in the IT industry.
Manage Partners. Your partner community requires proper care and feeding. The Manage Partners feature lets you monitor all your partner relationships throughout the full life cycle of your working relationship.
Start a Collaboration
The strength of Partnerpedia is its collaboration tools. Starting a collaboration with a partner enables you to share documents and hold online discussions.
You also have the option to make the collaboration public. However, all stakeholders should have input into the security you put in place with any online collaboration tool. This is especially true with potential and existing business partners, because in many cases you’ll be dealing with sensitive corporate information.
Final Thoughts on Partnerpedia
This is a well-designed service and I had a positive experience with it during my evaluation. My two lingering concerns are its potential reach to build a robust partner community that can benefit web workers and the lack of help content for members who aren’t badge-carrying partner marketing people and as such, may need guidance constructing their first partnering agreement. However, I want to give Constructive the proper amount of time to cultivate the Partnerpedia ecosystem before I pass final judgment.
How do you find and manage business partners?