by Nathan Snelgrove
Published on 29 October 2013
CONNECT on Channelplace Review - Where tech providers and resellers meet
The digital world has made networking a double-edged sword. While it's easier to connect with friends, family, and businesses than it's ever been before, it's also harder to get noticed when your own business is one of millions vying for attention. This is the problem that CONNECT on Channelplace aims to fix.
CONNECT is a place for businesses of any sort to find each other and interact, which Channelplace is hoping will lead to new business partners and consistent growth for their users. In this CONNECT on Channelplace review, I will take a look at it's potential for your business and how easy it is to use and deploy.
CONNECT started as a solution to a problem Channelplace had internally. They needed a way to communicate properly with their partners and keep working relationships as friction-free as possible. With that in mind, they developed CONNECT, which was a SaaS that let them do just that. When Channelplace used CONNECT with their customers and prospects, they were consistently asked if they would make it available for everybody. Their customers voiced concerns with the limitations and frustrations of services like LinkedIn for establishing real connections.
Since 2011, CONNECT has slowly become more available to the public. Although it's not yet reached critical mass, Channelplace now feels it's the time to slowly expand their marketing efforts - and I understand why. CONNECT is a powerful way to meet new business partners and vendors, and a great way to continue working relationships with them.
CONNECT can easily be compared to LinkedIn, but that sort of comparison would be short-sighted. Volker Wiora, Channelplace's CEO, says the more apt comparison is Match.com. Like Match.com for business, CONNECT lets you find exactly the right sort of partners for your business with a sophisticated search engine and intelligent matching system.
Comparing to LinkedIn, there are a couple differences you'll want to be aware of. Unlike LinkedIn, CONNECT doesn't assume you know everybody you want to network with. In fact, CONNECT's goals are to ensure you can easily find new partners and customers. Creating new relationships is much harder than maintaining established ones, and CONNECT tries to simplify that.
CONNECT is also different from LinkedIn because it ensures continuing relationships by linking companies, not people. If a person leaves a company, his/her connections do not go with him/her. Instead, the person's successor is able to pick up exactly where they left off. In that sense, CONNECT is truly about relationship discovery and development in ways that no other service is.
A third key difference is privacy. With LinkedIn you need to shout out loudly that you are looking for partners and what their profile would be. This exposes your business strategy. On CONNECT you can do this privately and present your plans only to those who match to you.
The main benefit of using CONNECT is obvious: its company-focused operations allow your business to grow and diversify, while also creating and maintaining long-lasting relationships. Communication is more focused than LinkedIn or popular alternatives like Basecamp, and it offers better long-term solutions as well.
When it comes to staying in touch, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention CONNECT's ability to handle further communications. With CONNECT, you can assign your partners to groups and manage communication with them much more easily. CONNECT doesn't just offer the ability to message your partners. It offers the ability to organize them and facilitate them, which in turn makes sure you'll never forget about them.
CONNECT's biggest benefit is that it's an end-to-end solution for creating and developing relationships. The service requires the least maintenance out of any that I've tried, and blows the competition out of the water. By focusing on doing one thing well - relationships - CONNECT is a tool that surpasses its competitors.
CONNECT has a really smart interface and a dashboard that puts all of the pertinent information you need right in front of you. Unlike other social services, CONNECT isn't about sharing status updates or other information. It's not about sharing a photo from the conference your team recently attended. Instead, the interface works hard at simplifying communications.
Present your business
The rest of the website is as streamlined as the dashboard. It's really easy to add information about your company and change it. In fact, thanks to CONNECT's simplicity and appealing interface, compiling your business's information can be a lot of fun. After doing a lengthy comparison between CONNECT and LinkedIn, not only did I think CONNECT was much more intuitive, but it was a process I actually enjoyed.
Connecting with partners
Different members in your company can have different levels of access, but what's key is that the interface makes everything very easy to use. I couldn't be happier with it.
The CONNECT support team is a small one. They've provided an email address and promise to get back as soon as they can. In my experience, I haven't had to wait to long. That being said, they know support is important, and they've attempted to be as conclusive as possible with all their documentation. I don't see anything missing that makes me wish support was more conclusive than what it is, but I of course hope their support team grows with CONNECT.
CONNECT is available at three subscription prices: Free, a Standard Subscription at $142/year, and an Advanced Subscription at $250/year. All subscription costs are per company, and not per user. While the free account has no trial limitations and access to all of CONNECT's core features, the Standard and Advanced subscriptions allow you to enhance your account by providing additional information about your company. They also allow you to more conclusively search for potential business partners.
The prices are reasonable for companies of any size, meaning I don't believe there are any financial barriers to entry. You have no excuses not to CONNECT.
We have seen with this CONNECT on Channelplace review that is a smart service that a lot of businesses are going to use. I feel fairly confident that it will hit critical mass, and this is going to be a situation where not being on CONNECT could end up costing you much more than being there. The service is easy to use, available at accessible price points, and dare I say it, fun. Sign up for CONNECT before your competitors do.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 5/5