LinkedIn has more than 332 million users around the world and is the largest professional network on the Internet. Although you might think of LinkedIn in terms of professional networking, it's also invaluable for sales. Savvy sales professionals know how to use LinkedIn to find and connect with thousands of potential leads.
With its robust search capabilities, LinkedIn makes it easy for your sales team to find and target relevant leads in your industry. LinkedIn even offers premium and "Sales Navigator" upgrades to sales "power users." However, there are many salespeople who fail to take advantage of LinkedIn at all – or if they are using it, it’s only for cold connecting with prospects, rather than forming meaningful relationships.
If you're looking for strategies that your sales team can use to boost their numbers, make sure they’re taking advantage of their LinkedIn networks. Here are tips from top experts on tactics for using LinkedIn for sales.
Expert #1: Anna Bratton
Anna Bratton is an account executive at Salesforce.com. She writes in this article that she spends up to three hours each day on LinkedIn to better target large accounts for her company. Here are a few of her favorite tips for using LinkedIn for sales.
- Grow personal networks. Bratton says that connections breed connections. First-level contacts open your salespeople up to potential customers in their second- and third-level connections. When they meet a new contact, they should follow up quickly with a connection request.
- Focus on targeted prospects. Your sales team can use LinkedIn to pinpoint who the decision makers are at the companies they want to approach. This helps them determine who to talk to about your company’s services and products.
- Review prospect profiles before cold calling them. Your salespeople should note any changes in their prospects’ profiles, including their status updates. Before they meet with potential clients in person, they should read any content that contacts have posted to make a warmer connection.
Expert #2: Alex Pirouz
Alex Pirouz is a business advisor and journalist who’s a fan of LinkedIn’s search features. He recommends using LinkedIn for sales as a marketing tool that can help your sales team gain more customers.
- Use “Advanced Search” features. Pirouz writes here that before your salespeople begin searching for connections on LinkedIn, they should take time to consider their ideal customer. That includes knowing an ideal client’s location, company size, industries, roles, job titles and keywords. They can enter those search terms into LinkedIn’s advanced search for a better view of potential customers.
- Create content. LinkedIn blogs allow your sales team to get greater exposure to their networks, since content they publish will show up on their connections’ news feeds. Creating content that resonates with their potential client base can establish your salespeople as valuable thought leaders in their field.
- Segment leads. Your sales team can classify their LinkedIn connections to help them reach out to a targeted audience group and speak to a particular group’s specific needs. This is called “tagging,” which can be carried out by industry or subject.
Expert # 3: Jeff Molander
Jeff Molander is a LinkedIn and social selling trainer. He focuses on using social platforms to get more interest from customers, with a goal of setting appointments with prospects.
- Use InMail. Molander recommends using InMail to request permission to start a discussion with potential leads. He suggests drafting a message that makes the contact want more information, and even provides a template in this blog.
- Invest in Sales Navigator. Molander maintains that Sales Navigator, if used correctly (he explains further here) can help your sales team spark prospects’ curiosity and turn that interest into a sale.
- Connect carefully. Be sure that your sales team avoids trying to connect on LinkedIn with people they don’t know. They’ll only end up being restricted or banned, so it’s not worth the risk. Molander recommends that they connect off of LinkedIn first, by phone, email or InMail, and then by LinkedIn, where your salespeople can nurture prospects.
There are many reasons for using LinkedIn for sales. Your sales team can target potential customers, publish content that establishes their expertise and better connect them with prospects. Use our experts’ tips to teach your team how to boost their sales and keep their numbers growing.
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