PBworks Gets Into The CRM Game With Customer Relationship Edition

Startup PBworks, which was formerly known as PBwiki, specializes in helping businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions collaborate via wikis. The startup has steadily added innovative, real-time features to its platform, most recently integrating Twitter-like microblogging and tapping into the real-time stream. Today, the company is merging realtime collaboration with CRM in the new 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.

PBworks Customer Relationship Edition offers a 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 use the new CRM edition to collaboratively author content such as sales proposals and agreements, share 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, and communicate in real-time with built-in chat, instant messaging, and teleconferencing.

The Edition works as a standalone product, and PBWorks’ API allows integration with any CRM product. In fact, PBWorks has already built a Salesforce.com connector that allows 1-click creation of PBworks customer relationship workspaces from within Salesforce.com.

PBWorks, which had an overhaul of its user interface and features in 2008, offers businesses with a project management application and a customized wiki workspace, with mobile support, document management, access controls and more. Currently, PBworks manages 1 million hosted workspaces, with over 3 million users and has accumulated a loyal client base. The company serves teams at over a third of the Fortune 500, and was home to three presidential campaigns, the United Nations, The Financial Times and Harvard University.

Like Salesforce, PBworks is a paid subscription service, with no advertising. The company has raised nearly $2.5 million in funding, with its most recent funding round of $2.1 million announced in 2007. Competitors include Microsoft Sharepoint, Jive, and Socialtext.