LinkedIn is the most important platform for salespeople to master. I can’t even describe how huge my crush is on LinkedIn.
There are a number of ways that salespeople can make great use of LinkedIn on a daily basis. Here are several strategies and tactics that you can put to use right away:
1. Research on prospective clients.
Before I call or email someone, I like to check that person out on LinkedIn. This allows me to:
- See their title (is this the right person for me to be reaching out to about a certain opportunity or not?)
- Know a bit about their background (perhaps we have something in common around past work or education)
- Look for their Twitter handle and follow them on Twitter, etc.
- See if they posted anything in their status update. This can give you insight into what they are working on and thinking about right now.
- If you have one of the upgraded accounts, you can have access to enhanced search, which is very helpful if you’re calling on larger organizations and you need some help sifting through the employee roster.
If you’ve identified the person you want to reach out to and you don’t have their email address, you can email them through LinkedIn using the InMail system. Depending upon what type of account you have (and I hope you have a paid account with a number of InMails at your disposal), you can send an email to someone you don’t actually know. Below are some quick tips and you can see more in my “Why Salespeople Should Stop Cold Calling” blog post on salesforce.com:
- You have a limited number of characters that you can use and you need to identify the email as either a “business deal” or “networking opportunity.” I believe in being straightforward so I choose “business deal” if I’m doing outreach about a potential sale.
- I also strive to be friendly and interesting but to cut to the point pretty quick. This works quite well for me. Explain why you’re reaching out, why you think they should care about your product and throw in something clever possibly about something you have in common.
- Always, always, always have a call to action at the end of your email. A classic would be something like “Would you have a few minutes to talk on Tuesday, March 3 at 10am PST?”
LinkedIn has discussion groups that you can join. Look for groups where your prospects are. If you are selling products for marketers, then look for some groups about marketing. Join some groups for sales people. As you connect with folks on LinkedIn, look at the groups they are members of, which you can see towards the bottom of their profile. Join some of these groups that you found through your network. There can also be great power in starting your own group, which will give you the ability to send mass emails to the members.
Membership in the same group as a prospect can be another touch point when doing cold outreach. LinkedIn Groups allow you to keep an eye on, and participate in, the conversations happening in these forums, which can result in some sales opportunities.
4. Status Updates.
This is very similar to a Facebook post, but it should always be professional. You could do these daily or weekly. If you work in a data-oriented field, think about sharing market updates regularly. Company announcements work great here, too. Some people like to have their tweets feed directly into their LinkedIn status updates. There are pros and cons to this strategy. I personally don’t do it because I don’t think my tweets are always appropriate for LinkedIn.
The beauty of status updates is that they show up in your contacts’ feeds on LinkedIn and they can also be featured in an email that LinkedIn sends to each member about activity in that member’s network. They also have the added bonus of showing up in searches outside of LinkedIn.
Some ideas for status updates:
- Post about positions that you or your company are looking to fill. I’ve found a couple fantastic people this way. These updates do make their way into Google searches, which is great.
- Upcoming product launches from your company.
- Blog posts that you or someone else at your company has written.
- Special offers on products for your company if written in a friendly way. I’ve posted things like “Looking for an awesome lanyard sponsor for Real Estate Connect. Know anyone trying to reach the real estate community and make an impression?”
- Great content that you found that your network might be interested in.
Do you have any more ways that you use LinkedIn on daily basis? Share your tips below!