Yesterday's launch of PeopleLinx version 3 represents an important evolution for the company, as they shift their platform from being LinkedIn-centric to broader platform for helping Sales Professionals do their job.

When I first met with PeopleLinx, the company was focused on helping businesses improve their employee's LinkedIn profiles. The idea was that employees are embassadors of the company they work for and therefore their LinkedIn profiles should properly represent their employer. That never resonated well with me, as in my opinion, my LinkedIn profile represents me, not the company I work for.

With V3, I'm happy to report that PeopleLinx has now evolved their vision and product to be part of the fast growing "Social Selling" market. What that means is, PeopleLinx examined the end-to-end workflow that Sales Professionals go through from lead generation to signing new customers, and is providing tools to help various steps along the way.  At the moment the company is focused on the areas of content distribution and employee training or guidance, but their roadmap includes much more.

For content distribution, PeopleLinx is providing a way for employees to share content with their connections on various social networks.  For example, say the Marketing department creates a new product brochure. They can upload that content to PeopleLinx and each Sales Professional can then share (via social media) the brochure with their prospects and customers.  PeopleLinx then tracks the sharing of that content, providing a dashboard for monitoring the combined activity.

Image:PeopleLinx Pivots To Social Selling

On the employee training side, PeopleLinx guides (and tracks) employees through a set of steps that their company has configured.  As you can see below, each step has an action for the employee to take, which they can either dismiss or mark as completed.

Image:PeopleLinx Pivots To Social Selling

MyPOV: The Challenge of Yet-Another-Tool

There are several impressive things about PeopleLinx. They have invested a lot of time with their customers to understand what they need to make their sales teams more organized, better connected, and consistent in delivery. V3 is a step in the right direction in delivering on those needs. They have also invested heavily in user experience / design. The product is simply yet powerful, clean yet highly functional.

The challenge I see is that PeopleLinx is "Yet-Another-Tool".  It is not the company intranet, email client, social network, file-sharing tool, project management platform, CRM package, social media monitor, etc. It's an additional tool that Sales Professionals will have to add to their ever expanding toolset (both on desktop and mobile) and that may not be something people are looking to do. I'd like to see PeopleLinx partner with some of the key social business vendors, enabling them to surface their content sharing and guided tasks inside the company intranet, social network or task system.  

There are several players in the Social Selling market, including vendors like Nimble, Contatta, Tellwise, RelateIQ (now owned by, Crushpath, TinderBox, Clearslide and many more. The product that can offer the most seamless (integrated) experience across all the tasks that busy sales professionals have to do, while at their desk and on the road, is the one that has the best chance of winning.