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Jarmal Richard

SmartCompany /

Wikis, so commonly used by software development teams, would be perfect for business. So where are they?

Wikis anyone?

I have a question. Can someone tell me why wikis are commonplace in global software development teams but not used more to help business development?

For those of you who live under a rock, a wiki is a secure, collaborative web portal. It is commonly used by software engineers to coordinate projects and source code development, where developers are dispersed around the globe.

Many companies grapple with how they maintain visibility of the business development efforts of their distribution channel, which includes the usual suspects: sales staff in satellite offices, agents, resellers, distributors, franchisees.

Many distribution contracts call for the parties to develop a collaborative business plan, including a sales strategy, within days of the relationship starting. However, once the selling efforts start, executives find that they don’t actually have visibility of the sales efforts, and are only left with the limited comfort of a monthly or quarterly Excel spreadsheet that records the hard numbers.

How about a real-time access point for global business development?

An emerging trend that I see in international distribution contracts is to include requirements that the parties record their business efforts in real time, in a collaborative environment, so that global sales channels can quickly and incrementally share their respective war stories, general market research, customer prospect demographic information, daily and weekly sales tactics (such as wins and losses), customer feedback and marketing approaches (from PowerPoint presentations to suggested 30-second elevator pitches).

A business development wiki could also be used for more collaborative training and mentoring of new sales staff as a company brings them into their organisation.

A wiki can give a global sales team an ability to collaborate on the run, on a daily basis. Management can also use it to drive new marketing initiatives and make faster strategic sales shifts when necessary.

Oh, the possibilities!

PS: If you have any recommendations on how to convert a wiki to a business development resource, let me know.

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