Today, someone in my office was discussing a bid with a potential supplier. During the conversation, the supplier raised a concern that it appeared our company is already partnered with one of their competitors, because one or two people from my company were “Linked In” with one or two people from the competitor.

Is it reasonable for a supplier to assume some kind of partnering arrangement when looking at Linked In connections? Probably not, and this supplier was either unclear as to what Linked In is or trying to leverage the information to find out more about our company or the competitors in the bid.

Still, it brings up another interesting question. Is Linked In giving away an advantage that buyers sometimes leverage - keeping suppliers in the dark about who the competition during a bid? Linked In can be a great resource to stay connected with people regardless of what company they work at, stay up to date on industry changes, and basically to see who you know that other people know. I personally have used it to see who my competition was during an RFP scenario. But as a buyer, you should be careful who you are Linked In with and who can see that information. Sometimes it might be giving a supplier information you didn’t want them to have.
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Joe Payne

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