Using LinkedIn for Competitive Intelligence

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I just learned about a cool new competitive intelligence tool for LinkedIn and other social networks called IKO System. Its founder, Nicolas Woirhaye, put together an excellent quick guide to using LinkedIn for keeping track of your competitors. If you use LinkedIn for competitive intelligence, I highly recommend checking out IKO System – the basic service is free and pretty useful, with premium options that larger enterprises may be interested in.

How to Monitor Competitors on LinkedIn

by Nicolas Woirhaye

pigeon Almost all sales reps do engage with prospects and invite their clients to connect on social networks. The gain of being in direct relationship with clients and prospects is so valuable (monitoring job updates, leverage #2 connections, …) that it outmatches the fear of exposing this relationship.

It is now a habit to send invitations while in the meeting or back at the office. We drop the business cards and keep everything online.

LinkedIn offers a fantastic opportunity to monitor your competitors.

With very little tactics on LinkedIn, you can now monitor your competitors very closely:

1. Follow competitive companies on their LinkedIn page : new hires or executives leaving the company give you hints on their strategy and health. Browse the profiles of new hires; this can show a lot. Be alerted when there are news and tweets issued by the corp…

2. Spot the sales reps of your competitor and see who you know in common. Even better if you can take a direct connection with these sales people; you may then monitor each of their new connections.

3. Browse their connections (if open or close enough) to identify the connections they have, and thus their potential clients or prospects. This can take time but it is worth the effort.

4. Connect to your clients and monitor their new connections. They will probably connect with your competitors at one time or another, probably just after a meeting. You usually know how to react to such an event; is there a new need/budget worth this meeting ? is it time to ring your client’s bell ?

On our side, we’ve automated the whole process to leverage the value of competitive monitoring without spending time processing this manually.

IKO System re-builds the networks of your clients and competitors’ sales reps and analyzes all existing and new relationships to issue warnings and opportunities.

– When your client enters in relationship with the salesman of your competitor : you instantly receive a « competitive threat » alert ;

– When your competitor’s sales force enters in relationship with someone who fits your targets (similar positions, industry, location of your clients) : we issue a « potential new client » sales alert ;

– When you tag a company as a competitor : we analyze all relationships and display the global list of « potential clients » ;

– And when you prospect a new account, we map all contacts who are connected to the competitive sales force. Your competitors may have spent weeks to identify the right executive and you know him right away.

Challenge IKO System, it’s free : http://www.iko-system.com

Disclosure: Linked Intelligence currently has NO affiliate or other direct or indirect financial relationship with IKO System.

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4 Comments

  1. I think IKO is an excellent tool for keeping a tab on competitors. It is wonderful how much information it delivers. I feel that the most useful advantage it provides is giving information about our client’s new connections. That way, we can be more alert in our approach towards the client.

  2. Hi!

    Thank you for the informative article. It is very important to keep a tab on the competitors to get ahead in the race. What I like the most about IKO is that it analyzes everything related to a company that is tagged as a competitor. This can be an effective strategy.

  3. If this is a way to keep tabs on your competitors, don’t you think they’ll use it to keep tabs on you?. Now everybody is spying on everybody. Linkedin is how I got in touch with my competitor’s client. That client is now giving me work (because we’re better!) that normally would have gone to him. My competitor would never have lost part of his market if I wouldn’t have looked through his connections.He’s pissed as hell. Thank you Linkedin!…but this is why I keep my contacts to myself.

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