Accelerating your #Socialselling Program with LinkedIn – Part 1

LinkedIn Connecting People

LinkedIn Connecting People

Accelerating your #Socialselling Program with LinkedIn – Part 1

Recently came across article suggesting that LinkedIn will in the future take the place of CRM systems. I’m not so sure about that, but can understand the principle. Why?

LinkedIn recently announced that there are now 300 Million people on it’s platform. When I started using it in February 2005, it was in the days of the Filofax about 30% of my contacts were on it.   It was quirky.  Now LinkedIn is my Rolodex and if you are not on it, do actually exist?

Social Selling Scary Stats – How LinkedIn can Help You

67% of decisions are already made by the time the company talks to the sales person. Customers now only get 20% of the information they need to make a decision from the supplier. If you want to buy a new computer system, you will go to Google first? The world has changed and this is how LinkedIn can help you.

When I first purchased a car I would spend weekends touring car forecourts listening to car sales people telling me the features and functions of their cars. Now I talk to my colleagues (whose opinions I trust), maybe use Google, and the manufactures website.

The manufacture will have a configuration tool, which allows me to configure the car I want, or when I have purchased second hand, searched on the cars available. I email the salesman saying I am interested in a car. Once we have sorted price, finance and a test drive. Decision. Is made. Where I live in London, car prices are cheaper up north. Purchasing a BMW recently I only met the salesman on the day I picked the car up.

Another Article about LinkedIn? No! Practical Advice.

There has been many articles written about LinkedIn about why you should use it and there seems to be some magical jump to the how.  The point of this blog is not to sell you Social Selling, I already assume you are sold.  The point is to offer practical advice.  The rest of this Blog explains the power of LinkedIn, or putting it better, how I, as a B2B sales person have used LinkedIn for success.

Should I Pay for LinkedIn?

I’m a big fan of the free version, have successfully launched two B2B products using the free version. In a recent survey 81% said they used the free version.  I was lucky my employer recently gave me paid for version and I now “get” what you pay for.

Who has Looked at your Profile?

Maybe it’s vanity but the “whom as looked at your profile” is significantly enhanced. This works well if you use “look at me” techniques (rather than send Inmail) for getting prospects attention. It is also just Interesting to see what searches people use to find your profile.

The Age of the “Buyer Centric Profile”

This is the age of the “buyer centric profile”. Forget the online CV for Headhunters you now need to look like a person your customers wants to talk to. Rather than the opposite.

It is clear in today’s market that the average B2B buyer is pretty savvy and will go onto to the net to research any considered purchase. You need to make sure that your profile is pulled into that search.

When writing your profile think of the key words a prospect might use to search for you. Don’t use Jargon, does anybody know what an ERP system is? An Accounting or Finance system maybe. This will allow you to picked up more in searches.

Getting Found on LinkedIn / Getting Prospects to Come to you!

Getting higher up Google searches is a subject for another Blog, but you need to spend some time on how to attract prospects.  Surely such a smart Lead generation idea is worth a monthly hour investment?

Why Enterprise License? – Team Link

My Enterprise copy of LinkedIn gets me access to “Team Link”‘. Here LinkedIn treat all your company as one “contact lump” regardless if I am connected to them or not. This means I get access to everybody in my companies contacts.  This means you immediately get access to your C-Suite of contacts, which should get you pretty wide and high into your accounts.

The people make about LinkedIn is it is about contacts. It isn’t. It’s about your contact, contacts.
Remember your warmest contact is your best contact.

TIP:  Get all your senior execs to put their contacts in. Will come to this later on, but it draws more and more senior contacts into your 1st and 2nd networks.

No More Cold calls?

In my opinion the Cold Call is not dead, but we can use technology such as LinkedIn to help us in getting to people in organisations.

The point of LinkedIn is to use your contacts to get to the people you want to speak to.  You are more likely to have a 30 minute coffee with somebody a friend recommends than a total stranger. Yes?

How have I found potential prospects on LinkedIn?

When I picked up a new Territory or had closed a big deal and needed to prospect quickly I always turned to the Sales Navigator.

Other tips to try include, following your prospects company pages on LinkedIn and Twitter to see if there are any mergers etc on the cards. It also gives you a feel for how “Social” a company is.

Sales Navigator (SN) – Speed to Quota

SN allows me to laser filter contacts by Function, job title, country (useful as I had a UK Territory), years of experience (view on seniority vs job title seniority). This allowed me to build up a potential target list. Yes I would always go and see the known contacts, but picking up a new Territory is about getting wide and deep. And quickly.

Searches can be saved.

Time to Revenue / Profit

Also if I am picking up an existing customer it is about incremental revenue. The previous sales person will have probably sold has much as he can. You therefore need to talk to people outside of the previous sales person’s “comfort zone”. Being naturally competitive I always wanted to show the previous salesperson I could get more from an account than they had.

Each week or month find and pick ten people to contact and save the profiles.

(You can have details on changes pushed to your inbox. So every change is pushed to you. I don’t do this as I use a Social Media listening tool, see my Blog on Social media listening.)

Part 2 goes into detail on how to use Sales Navigator, writing InMail that don’t come across as Spam (value based selling) and who is a decision maker.

Hope you have enjoyed that, if you do have any questions as to the usage of LinkedIn please contact me on LinkedIn @timothy_hughes tim_hughes1@hotmail.com or leave a comment under here.

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One thought on “Accelerating your #Socialselling Program with LinkedIn – Part 1

  1. Interesting article. I don’t think Linked’in will ever replace cold calling – it is often a resource to find the person to cold call. Very few people respond to Inmails (despite how much Linked’in charges) or contact you after a post (except for sales guys trying to sell you something) but often when you Inmail someone or ask for an introduction and then follow up with a cold call the person will say ‘yeah I saw your Inmail’. Years ago working at a competitor of Linked’in, we found that the main users of the network were (i) recruiters (ii) business development/sales guys (iii) freelances. Few of the buyers with big pockets sit around on Linked’in waiting to be contacted and a lot of the C-level guys try to stay hidden (no photo, closed account no accepting invites, Inmails etc). The main use of Linked’in is to stay in touch with people you met – given people often move job every 2-3 years you would lose contact with those people if you just kept a business card. Best use is to try and get everyone you had a meaningful business conversation to link with you on Linked’in and then do a quick audit of your contact base every 6 months or so to see who moved where.

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