LinkedIn is a diverse tool used for all forms of professional and business development, especially in the area of gaining a sales prospect and link building for sales teams. Here’s an in-depth look at how you can use LinkedIn for sales efforts for your business:
Develop Your Profile
One of the first things you should develop is your basic LinkedIn profile. Details like your name, title, and company are a must have, but you should also list a brief description of the responsibilities you have in your company and what your goals or targets you aim to have with others. Having a headline and summary for your audience, attached with appropriate keywords, can help potential partners or customers know who to search for on LinkedIn.
According to LinkedIn’s 2017 State of Sales report, more than half of high performing sales professionals credit social media integration as an element for their selling success. The majority of B2B prospects start with a simple Google search, and may often avoid direct interaction with you at the start of the process. The goal is to showcase yourself as a valuable resource and trusted advisor for the ideal opportunity.
Evaluate Your Connections
Taking the time to generate a comfortable rhythm on LinkedIn with who you connect with and how you do so can mean one step closer towards a hot sales prospect or new sales lead. One way to tread carefully for your connections is to avoid mass-adding your email contacts to your profile since LinkedIn tends to ask you often. Instead, use the “Skip” button, and audit if you’ve been in personal contact with someone either regularly or within the last month.
According to Linkedin Sales Solutions, people are five times more likely to engage with you if the outreach is through a mutual connection. Aim for those individuals within your network that are your 2nd or 3rd-degree connections and request an introduction.
Utilize Sales Navigator
You can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to see your contacts’ most valuable connections before asking them for an introduction, to help streamline the process of identifying paths to the next sales prospect. With LinkedIn’s Advanced Search and TeamLink function, it is easier to discover people with specific job titles, roles, etc. within an account and identify who in your existing network is connected to a sales prospect.
Once Sales Navigator knows what you’re looking for, it will generate relevant lead recommendations that you might have missed, and mark potential buyers based on a pre-established signal in your buyer journey. When you’re more active in Sales Navigator, your results become more relevant since the tool learns from your past searches and automatically sifts LinkedIn for lead recommendations that are relevant to your search criteria.
Follow Other Pages
Join and follow company pages and other groups (like major industry associations or trade groups) to take full advantage of the discussion involved. When responding within the group page, avoid being heavily commercial and self-serving. Listen to how the conversation flows before you comment on any threads. The max number of groups you can join on LinkedIn is 50, so plan beforehand where you’re more likely to generate more discussion with sales prospects.
The cold call is one old-school tactic that simply doesn’t work in this social media age since no one likes to be on the receiving end of those calls. An insightful collection of data from Hubspot shows that this tactic is one of the least effective ways sales teams can spend their time.
With LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform, you can combat the unfavorable cold call by sharing long-form posts and other content for your company. All content becomes part of your profile, which ends up being shared with everyone, even those outside of your network. Share information tailored around what prospects may consider valuable. Generate engaging content on trigger events – such as leadership changes, mergers and acquisitions, or market/product expansion – that can peek the eye for a potential sales prospect.
Plant Rooms For Growth
Sales is about people and relationships. Nurturing relationships takes time, so it is crucial to find faster routes to spur growth in your relationships. Start by planting opportunities to recommend and endorse others. You can also keep tabs on your contacts’ interests and updates by following their companies accounts, so you can remain in the loop and provide them the necessary information.
For referrals, reach out to target contacts and make offline meeting requests valuable and interesting. One way to generate more probable connections for sales is to make it easy for them throughout the conversation, by first identifying the connection and sending a warm and simple intro and template with them to follow through and make the introduction. Once you are introduced, follow up right away, and keep it friendly and brief to better close on a clear next step.
Other Key Habits
A few routine habits you should follow daily to stay active for sales on LinkedIn includes:
- Maintaining at least 15 min of productive time per session
- Responding quickly to any triggers (potential customers may be eager to do business)
- Connecting after a networking event within 24 hours. If you need more time, follow up with your contact through InMail by identifying something personal about the person that you can reference to, then send a new message 1-2 weeks after your first message. Sending a follow up this way increases the response rate by 500%.
- Setting your email preferences to something manageable, like a weekly overview of your activity.
- Avoid spamming ANYTHING. Try not to seem self-serving and overeager. You want to appear credible and respectful of others in every interaction.