Using Linkedin for sales is gaining a critical B2B tool that can make your prospecting faster, smoother and, ultimately, more profitable as a primary source of new leads and tangible revenue because you can’t always wait on marketing to generate leads for you.
Here are some tips from Anna Bratton, one of Salesforce’s top salespeople on the possibilities for Using Linkedin for sales:
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 1: Never miss a chance to connect
Anna Bratton suggests taking a long hard look at your contacts. Contacts are the currency of LinkedIn, but they shouldn’t be predominantly family, friends and old school pal because connections breed connections. First level contacts open up a route to a wide range of second and third level connections. Whenever you meet anyone (online or off) always follow up quickly with a connection request while you are still fresh in their mind.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 2: Discover a better way to map your prospects
One of the main things Anna Bratton refers using LinkedIn for is mapping out the decision makers within her target prospects, dealing with some very large multinational companies, so there can be numerous people involved in making and influencing a purchase. But even for smaller B2B sales, you’ll often need to influence a number of individuals.
People put a lot of valuable information in their profiles – which team they’re in, which office they work out of, what projects they’re focusing on. With a little detective work, you can quickly build up a picture of who you should be talking to, what they’re like (check out their recommendations) and what they’ve done before.
You can also build up a map of who reports to who and gain a clearer picture of the people you’ll need to influence to make the sale.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 3: Never make a cold call again
With LinkedIn, you can almost always learn enough about someone to make your call, or sales pitch (if you’re further into the process), more relevant and useful to them. Having looked at their LinkedIn profiles helps break the ice. Pay particular attention to changes in profile, status updates, connections you have in common and anything they’ve posted to a group (which can be reason enough to call them in the first place).
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 4: Get past the gatekeeper with InMail, LinkedIn’s internal email system (only available on paid accounts)
Senior decision makers are a tough group to get through to: since they get besieged with calls and emails every single day, to protect their time they screen calls, ignore most of their mail and have gatekeepers to prevent unwanted sales approaches from getting through.
InMail, LinkedIn’s internal email system, allows you to send an email to any LinkedIn user without requiring an introduction and they claim that an InMail is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call.
InMails are only available on paid accounts. Anna Bratton explains that the higher level the account you have, the more you InMail ‘credits’ you get each month, that you may want to reserve for when everything else fails. (The good news is that if you receive a response to an InMail within 90 days – even a “not interested” response – the credit you spent to send it gets refunded).
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 5: Unlock a smarter way to search
LinkedIn has a good internal search engine. With their advanced search, you can find people by title, company, location or keyword. By intelligently mixing the different filters you can get really deep and identify key individuals quickly and easily. You can also save your search criteria and get a weekly report listing anyone new who matches the customers you’re looking for. Anna suggested as an example that you can save a search for Procurement Managers in the pharmaceutical industry within 50 miles of Dublin. Then, each week, you’ll get an email with anyone new who matches your search (and who deserves a closer look). This is a tool you can actually use it all the time.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 6: Learn what’s happening in your prospect companies
Change creates opportunity, you know. LinkedIn makes discovering these changes easy. Following any company that has a LinkedIn page, you’ll see anything that changes directly in your updates, staying up to date and spotting new opportunities.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 7: Use groups for more than simply keeping up to date
Like most people, Anna uses LinkedIn‘s groups to learn more about the industries she focuses on, but they can also be a great source of new sales prospects. Member questions are great for telling you about frustrations and unmet needs. They can actually give you the perfect reason for making contact with a prospect.
LinkedIn‘s groups also give you further insights into what’s happening within a prospect company, allow you to see more of an individual prospect’s details – this is usually restricted to first level contacts (which reinforces the importance of tip 1) – and group membership is one of the criteria you can select when you send a connection request.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 8: Make your profile work harder for you
If they’re interested, your prospects will look at your profile, so make sure it is 100% complete and delivers a professional impression of both you and your company, including current links to your company site and your other social network accounts.
Getting some high-quality recommendations, especially from existing happy customers, will give visitors a better idea of what you’re like as a person. Your photo will have to be a good quality shot in which you definitely are smiling.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 9: look and look back
A free account limits how many times you can see who’s looked at your profile while paid accounts give you the whole list. The fact that someone looked at your profile is a good excuse to reach out with a connection request and if you look at other people’s profiles, a certain proportion will always look back.
- Using Linkedin for sales Tip 10: Integrate LinkedIn with Sales Cloud
You can use Salesforce Sales Cloud to track and manage your sales pipeline and you can easily integrate your LinkedIn contacts with your Sales Cloud records and tag where they came from.
Using LinkedIn intelligently, you can gain a tangible advantage over your competitors. It gives you a crucial edge that can translate into improved sales performance.