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No one questions just how important the process of gathering business intelligence is. Knowing about the folks you are working with, or selling to, is always a key component to good relationship building. Those who do it well can have a considerable competitive advantage.
With the proliferation of distribution channels and the sheer abundance of information available though, this process is getting more difficult. We’ve discussed some helpful tools in the past and there are companies that will charge you a small fortune for their research, but a recent launch by Seattle based Gist aims to make compiling and reviewing relevant information about your contacts a whole lot easier.
Gist is an online service that connects your inbox to the web. With it you gain the ability to view current and relevant information about the folks you communicate with. While Gist is targeted primarily at business professionals and executives in the area of sales and recruiting, anyone with a large network of folks outside of their own organization can benefit.
Getting started is easy. Connect it to your Gmail account (you must provide username and password) or upload your Outlook or Linkedin csv and let it get to work. Almost immediately you’ll start to see results on your dashboard, which is your starting point when working with Gist. It gives you an overview of latest news, as well as recent links and attachments tied to all of your contacts.
Each contact has an importance rating slider. By adjusting the importance of your contacts, you’ll be sure you’re seeing the news that is most relevant, to the folks you want to be following. Preparing for a project or meeting with someone, bump up the importance for maximum visibility and then re-adjust when you are complete.
Clicking through on a specific person gets you a more detailed dossier of that particular individual. Like the dashboard, the people page gives you a list of your most recent correspondence along with any attachments or links received but filtered to be relevant for only that person. The links are automatically parsed from your email content to highlight those things that you have shared with them, or conversely, them with you.
These pages are updated frequently to include the freshest information and various functions are available to further tweak what is displayed.
The benefit of having this information so easily available is obvious. If you’re in the business of building relationships, and aren’t we all, staying on top of what is happening in your contact’s world is crucial.
This news gives you a reason for a touch – “I saw the announcement about..”, “I liked your post on…”, “congratulations on your recent…” makes your communication personal and timely. A share this option makes the process of passing on information easy.
Gist also lets you see how your contacts are connected at the company level. Leverage the power of Linkedin to find coworkers and those you may have met, or would like to meet, through your primary contact.
The nice thing about Gist is that it doesn’t require you to use new tools for your day to day work. It isn’t an email client so you can continue to work the same way you always have. Gist just adds a whole new way of mashing together and presenting your data in a logical fashion. Sure, all of this information is out there and readily available. What is revolutionary is how well Gist pulls it all together in such a clear, concise and useful manner.
Gist just launched a very small private beta phase earlier this month but we’ve managed to get some invites to pass on to Web Worker Daily readers. If you want in, please fill out their beta request form for a chance to participate.
Would Gist help you with your relationship building? What sort of competitive advantage does relevant news about your contacts bring you?