Morten Hansen's book helps consulting company Innovisor land major clients

From CNN

Why spotting influencers is good business

By Susanne Gargiulo

(CNN) — Finding out who talks to who and who can influence other people is an age-old marketing tool. Now, companies are finding a goldmine of valuable information by mapping networks of influence — both inside and outside their organizations.

Take Danish consulting company Innovisor — they took advantage of their employees' increased use of social media to land two major banks as clients.

After locating all their employees' LinkedIn connections to two companies they were targeting as clients, they divided the contacts into three groups: Information providers, Influencers and Decision Makers. Working their way up the chain from information providers, they then asked their employees to gather as much information as they could about their target companies....

The process was inspired by Morten Hansen, professor at the University of Berkeley, and his book "Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results." He calls the process "Swarm the Target" — in this case the target being the prospective clients and the swarm being information seekers coming from all directions.

In its essence, it's marketing. "If you want to sell new sneakers you pinpoint the two or three most popular people to buy them," says Hansen, and adds that when you map a corporation's internal network, "you pinpoint the most central people and contacts in a company."...

The mapping of a network can also highlight problems with collaboration, which according to Hansen can have a major impact on a company's bottom line.

Case in point is Apple. "The iPod 2001 was a collaboration across units in Apple and with partners outside," Hansen says. "It was put together by already existing technology. In hindsight we know how important that was. The company that should have done it, Sony, was in a far better position to do it but they failed miserably to collaborate."...

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