Why LinkedIn Isn't Just for Marketers
As marketers, we all know the value of LinkedIn as a marketing tool.
From the use of individual profiles to represent the business, to groups for networking and conversation, to company and showcase pages to show off your products and services, it's a veritable goldmine of marketing opportunities.
But whilst B2B marketing teams are working away on LinkedIn to great effect, too many salespeople are missing out on the sales opportunities therein due to a misplaced belief that social media is just for marketers.
Why Salespeople Need LinkedIn
Did you know, 73% of salespeople who use social media outperform those who don't? It's a huge statistic that, as sales manager Jake Elliott describes in his article on using LinkedIn as a salesperson, shows how big an opportunity those sales people who don't use LinkedIn are passing by. As Jake says, with such a positive impact from social media use, even if you're not using it, chances are your competitors are - and that's quite the competitive advantage.
As marketers, we're also missing out if we don't encourage our salespeople to use LinkedIn. Imagine how many more website hits, follows and enquiries you could be getting through LinkedIn if your sales team was sharing your content, posting their own status updates and connecting with more people.
How Salespeople Can Use LinkedIn
Salespeople can use LinkedIn in many ways. The most valuable in terms of delivering them results (and the elements of LinkedIn that are most likely to get your salespeople to buy in to LinkedIn) are prospecting and research.
Using LinkedIn for Prospecting
LinkedIn is a great tool for prospecting. A network of over 300 million professionals at the time of writing this article, LinkedIn is a treasure trove of potential customers.
Advanced search is the best way to prospect on LinkedIn, allowing your sales teams to search for people based on very specific criteria, such as location, industry, name, past and current company, school and keyword queries. LinkedIn premium even allows you to search by years of experience, interests, groups and seniority.
This means your sales teams can generate lists of prospects based on criteria that you set together.
For example, if you're targeting a specific sector in your business, your sales teams can use LinkedIn to find prospects in that sector. If you have a great blog post relevant to that sector, or perhaps a whitepaper you can share, a video that you've made that might be of interest to someone in that sector, share it with your sales team and it gives them a great reason to get in touch with each prospect on the list - a good 'in' if you will.
Using LinkedIn for Research
Of course, much of the sales process is about building relationships and your sales teams will love the research element of LinkedIn for this.
For example, let's say you wanted to get in touch with Hallam Internet's MD Susan Hallam. You could navigate to her profile on LinkedIn, you'd see that she has the title of 'Freeman of the City of London' as shown in her accolades when you scroll down her profile:
This is a great accolade for Susan and a fantastic snippet of information to talk to her about. It gives the salesperson trying to sell to Susan something to start a conversation about - something that will have Susan talking about herself, which is very important in the sales process.
As well as being a great research tool for your sales team, it's a valuable insight from a marketing perspective too. One way to make use of this is to regularly liaise with your sales team on who they've been speaking to through LinkedIn and anyone they feel is a particularly hot prospect. As a marketer, you can use LinkedIn to better understand those hot prospects, what they talk about and what they're interested in, which allows you to then refine your marketing activities accordingly.
For example, if you found that a lot of your sales teams 'hot prospects' from LinkedIn were members of your local Chamber of Commerce, you'd look to advertise in the Chamber of Commerce magazine, be featured in their email or to speak at one of their events, thus enabling you to meet more people like your existing hot prospects.
LinkedIn for Sales and Marketing
LinkedIn is a hugely valuable tool for salespeople and marketers alike. As marketers, you should be encouraging your sales teams to make use of LinkedIn.
For more useful tips and advice for using LinkedIn in your business, visit the Hallam Internet blog.