“Are you on LinkedIn?” This is a question we often hear at trade shows, networking events, and even business meetings. But it’s more than just a networking tool – LinkedIn offers the potential to improve your sales prospecting process. As with any tool, though, the real question is not “what does it do” but “how do I make it work for me”. Let’s dig into that.
1. Connect and Engage
The first thing we recommend anyone starting to use LinkedIn for prospecting do is review your contacts – are they mostly friends from school, family, or business contacts?
When you connect to someone on LinkedIn you unlock second and third level connections to the people they’re connected to, exponentially expanding your reach. To scale up your efforts, make sure to connect with anyone you meet in person, at a trade show, or online while you’re still fresh in their mind.
2. Understand your prospects better
Before reaching out to your prospects, look their profiles up on LinkedIn. Read through their profile to get a feeling for what drives them. Look at what kind of language they use to describe themselves and their position, what kind of articles they read and engage with. Use this insight to help craft better sales follow up emails and generate more engagement.
Have an inbound lead? Use LinkedIn to fill in the blanks. Look up their job title, location, and find out more about the company they work for. Either use this information yourself or pass it, along with the lead, to the sales rep working this lead.
3. Find (and connect with) the right contacts
LinkedIn is the perfect tool to find the person you should get in touch with at a company you’re targeting. Because LinkedIn profiles are used for business networking and maintained by the user themselves, this data will be more accurate than any other source you come across.
Do you manufacture LNG process equipment? Find out who the lead process engineers are. Do you provide safety services? Introduce yourself to the HSE supervisor. LinkedIn lets you bypass the gatekeeper and gives you a direct line to decision makers.
4. Follow Your Customers’ Network
Are you looking for more customers like your existing ones? Start following your customers’ companies, and your contacts at these companies, on LinkedIn. Then follow the trail of their actions and comments to find similar companies. Use this as a virtual referral – prospects are more likely to start a relationship with a company who works with someone they know.
5. Use your Profile to Generate Leads
Use your LinkedIn profile as a lead generation tool. In the same way that we’ve recommended finding out about your prospects on their profiles, you should expect that your prospects will be doing the same to you. Make sure your profile offers information on your company, what you do, and links to your other social media profiles, and especially your website.
Include positive recommendations from happy customers in order to earn trust and build relationships. Be sure to add a picture on your profile in order to give your prospects a sense of familiarity and make you seem “real” in their minds while they’re interacting with you by phone or email.
6. Find Hidden Opportunities
Look at your connections’ past working history – they may have previously worked at a company that could be a perfect fit for your solution.
Another way to find new companies and prospects is to check out the endorsement feature on individual profiles. These endorsements most likely come from other people in the industry and often from those in higher positions.
These free ways to leverage your network on LinkedIn give you new opportunities to build long-lasting business relationships and partnerships. So start getting social and make some connections!
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About Fred Yee
Fred Yee is the founder and CEO of ActiveConversion, a company that makes online marketing work for industrial companies. Fred was voted as one of the 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management in 2017, and his work with ActiveConversion has helped hundreds of businesses succeed online. ActiveConversion is Fred’s third successful company, and he continues to explore the possibilities of technology in industrial sales and marketing.