Meet Companies, Start Relationships, Do Business – Get Kobling!

That sounds like an advert, which it is partly, but only because we think it’s a pretty neat piece of procurement software, linking buyers and sellers. And although we’ve talked about it before - as a ‘new’ idea – it’s been developing.

So what is Koble really all about? What’s new? And what is Kobling?

Basically it’s a free-to-use app (with upgrades for enterprises if you want them) that lets suppliers find buyers and buyers find the right suppliers, using targeted, relevant content about your organisation, which you post yourself - just like using a social sharing tool, but for companies. So it’s actually very simple, but clever, because it avoids wasting time, effort and expense on targeting the wrong businesses.

Once you’ve joined, and expressed your interests, what you are looking for and some company details, Koble will show you just the businesses that match your requirements. And, you can choose to stay anonymous until you decide you want to interact and start a conversation, which is unique in the social sharing world, we think. Then, you can use it to manage your business relationships. So it’s not like networking, cold selling or endless searching and reaching out – it’s all about the content you post and who reacts to it. Needless to say, you want to make your content as appealing as possible – but that’s another story!

Companies have control of their connections, posts, and communications. Using social-network-type tools, like feed, chat (now displacing e-mail for doing business), notifications and analytics (which you are very probably already very familiar with), you can target specific groups or individual companies. Then, the analytics function means you can compare your performance against your peers, analyse your network, the attractiveness of your content and your level of engagement, with real time data.

Speaking of analytics, there is a new feature available to buyers on the platform – a risk analysis tool. Koble is good at getting smaller firms in front of buyers as potential providers, but, no matter how keen procurement teams are in the larger companies to engage more SMEs, using lesser known suppliers can bear significant supply chain risk.

You may not know enough about a new supplier, whether they are financially secure and stable, for instance. So, linked with risk data firm Experian, Koble now provides a ‘stability’ score for all suppliers on the platform - this is initially for US users but we hope it might spread to Europe too before too long. Buyers can dig deeper into the data for individual firms if they choose. There’s more on that feature here in Peter Smith’s latest analysis of the tool over on our US site.

We haven’t tried and tested the solution from a buyer or seller perspective, but we have joined and used the software – and we can say it’s really logical, and easy to navigate. The website also has some good tutorials and user experiences, which are relevant not just to users but to anyone wanting to learn about how to shortcut the inefficiency of online searching to find potential or new market players.

Once you start Kobling, you can create and configure your own network, decide who to invite and who to connect with, and use invitations to connect directly with new people inside the platform. As we said, it’s growing, and some really big names have joined (such as Sprint and Merck) – so the possibilities are really starting to open up.  We will be watching its progress - and you can find out more here.

PS  Koble won a place in the 2017 Red Herring North America “Top 100 winners,” which lists innovative and exciting tech firms. Gartner has also recognized Koble as a “cool vendor in procurement and sourcing technology,” one of just four firms listed in this report.

PPS  Peter Smith wants me to point out that he is a small investor in Koble...

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