With over 600 million active users all over the world, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet today. In the US alone, as of 2020, LinkedIn boasts 167 million users, offering a tremendous opportunity for salespeople looking to find prospect leads in the professional pool.
The key to success on LinkedIn from a sales perspective is building your own personal network of connections – the larger your network is, the greater the opportunity there is to connect with and contact others through LinkedIn.
In addition to organic growth, LinkedIn offers a number of premium packages to further improve marketing through the platform and the sales process s a whole. Through talking with clients in training sessions, I’ve even seen sales professionals go s far as paying for premium subscriptions out of their own pocket as their companies refuse to let them expense such bills. This shows just the amount of power LinkedIn has managed to generate in the corporate world in terms of sales.
But how are sales professionals using LinkedIn? What is their recipe for success? To get you up to speed, I’ve pulled together ten tips to show you how:
LinkedIn offers sales professionals a tremendous opportunity to prospect leads through the advanced search function, accessible by clicking the link to the right of the search bar.
The advanced search bar gives you the ability to either conduct keyword searches based on fields such as Job Title, Name and Location as well as defining specific criteria based on elements such as seniority and industry area.
As a basic member of LinkedIn, conducting a search will only return 100 results, but you can easily increase this number to 700 by upgrading your account. Keyword filtering allows marketers to narrow down their searches and only focus their efforts on worthwhile leads.
TIP – To get more accurate results, be sure to use quotes (speech marks) when searching for keywords. This returns exact phrases from your search rather than the individual keywords (broad match)
Saved Search is a great function that allows sales professionals to save a number of search results and get emailed when the search results change, meaning that you never miss an opportunity
Setting up saved searches is easy; simply click on the “Saved Searches” tab on the search page and voila! As a basic LinkedIn member, you can save up to three different searches, a number that can be increased to ten by upgrading to a premium package.
LinkedIn allows its premium members to send messages to anyone using their platform – no introduction or contact info required. What’s great about InMail is that if you don’t get a response in 7 days, LinkedIn gives you another InMail to send as a followup.
With response guaranteed, InMail offers sales professionals a mechanic to directly contact potential leads without having to go through gatekeepers.
Similar to InMail, as a premium LinkedIn member, you are allowed a selected number of introductions to other LinkedIn users. Introductions allow you to send targeted messages to users that share a connection with you, adding an element of trust and familiarity to your sales approach.
Introductions also give you an opportunity to use your creativity for a good first impression, which goes a long way in turning cold leads into warm or even hot leads. Like a demure shy woman, a good first impression can help you generate a lot of interest in the LinkedIn community.
By targeting priority LinkedIn groups, sales professionals can actively prospect leads based around a shared interest or industry. In addition, if a member of a group has stated that they are open to messages from other group members, sales professionals can send messages to them for free.
As you extend your group, you’ll start to see familiar faces reappearing. So, to save yourself some valuable time, start off with 3 – 5 priority groups – chasing the long tail can be a timely business and doesn’t always yield the best results.
Exclusive to premium account holders, OpenLink lets users find and contact other professionals who are interested in meeting new people.
OpenLink acts as another mechanic to allow sales professionals to send messages to targeted users. All you have to do is look out for the unique symbol visible on people’s profiles when using LinkedIn.
Profile Organiser/Lead Builder
Built within LinkedIn are two powerful tools that are used by sales professional to manage their connections and structure a lead pipeline – Profile Organiser and Lead Builder
These tools allow you to assign notes to each of your contacts and group contacts into categories, allowing you to successfully manage your relationships with leads overtime.
Third-Party CRM Plugins
A number of CRM platforms used by sales professionals actually have LinkedIn apps built into them, allowing you to view profile information on the leads that you are targeting. This helps in making your sales approach more targeted. Some of the top CRMs with LinkedIn integration are Salesforce and Highrise
As mentioned previously, the key to using LinkedIn is building your own personal network.
If you regularly meet with customers, LinkedIn is a great platform to re-engage with them online. Being a professional community, LinkedIn allows your customers to sift through the junk (unlike on other social networks like Facebook). This presents a good opportunity for you to showcase your company’s corporate values
Outlook Social Connector
If you are a Microsoft Outlook user, the Outlook Social Connector comes with a LinkedIn Plugin.
As a sales professional, Outlook Social Connector allows you to not only see if the people you email are listed on LinkedIn, but also lets you seamlessly connect with them without having to visit LinkedIn.