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 an habit to send invitations while in the meeting or back to 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 very closely your competitors :
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. Read the full story here