Top B2B sales reps have already discovered how valuable LinkedIn can be during B2B sales prospecting. Best-selling author and top sales strategist Jill Konrath reported that reps can massively accelerate their sales pipeline by spending less than an hour a day using LinkedIn. In fact, Konrath states that LinkedIn offers better sales ROI than any other channel she’s witnessed. There are several reasons why. First, LinkedIn can supplant cold calls with referrals. It can also be used by sales reps to help qualify leads, so they can spend more time speaking to the right decision makers. Another fantastic thing about LinkedIn is that it offers increasing returns.
As reps’ networks expand, LinkedIn becomes an increasingly powerful prospecting tool. Each new contact grants access to an exponentially larger network of second degree connections that are one introduction away from a sales conversation. Here are seven quick tips that can help your reps use LinkedIn to book more appointments and close more deals.
Connect to Prospects on LinkedIn
This might seem like common sense, but it’s amazing how many sales reps don’t do this habitually. But by adding a prospect on LinkedIn, it not only increases your reps’ network of connections, it also offers a chance to reach out to prospects with a friendly follow-up message. In B2B sales, it often takes north of six contacts to close deals. But talking to prospects on LinkedIn can accelerate the sales cycle.
Follow Prospects’ and Customers’ Companies
As mentioned, it’s important to follow prospects on LinkedIn, but it’s equally important to follow their companies. This can give you insight into important details like when they get funding, how many people they are hiring (which gives insight into their resources) and can also help identify other key players within an organization.
It helps to follow your customers’ companies on LinkedIn as well. There are too many reps who seem happy to end a relationship with a customer the moment the ink on a contract goes dry. But the best B2B sales reps understand the power of continuing relationships with clients even after a deal closes. It can help gauge what is important to that company. Monitoring a company’s social feeds can help reps identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.
Search for Common Ground
I remember a time that I was interested in renting a particular house. When I met the landlord, I happened to be wearing my UCLA sweatshirt. I had no idea that the landlord was going to be a fellow UCLA alumni, but the fact that he was made him take an instant liking to me. We briefly talked about Bruins football and it wasn’t long before he offered me the lease to sign. If you can find common ground with someone, they will virtually always be more likely to do business with you. LinkedIn is a great tool for quickly searching for common ground with a lead before calling. You can see where they went to college, where they worked in the past, what content they’ve shared and browse their summary for other valuable nuggets of information. Of course Facebook and Twitter are also great places to search for common ground with leads. In truth, any common ground you find can be usable.
Ask For Referrals
Managers should also encourage reps to ask for referrals from customers. A Bain and Company Study showed that 87% of customers are happy to give a referral, but only 7% of reps ask for referrals. According to sales expert Colleen Francis, a referred lead has a close rate of 50%! In my own sales experience, this figure seems about right. The difference between a cold call and a referral is basically night and day. During a cold call, it feels like you have to scale the side of a cliff just to get on sturdy footing with a lead. But with a referral, you can hit the ground running.
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for getting referrals. You can quickly identify whether someone you have done business with in the past has a connections to a company you are interested in selling in to. And needless to say, the more happy customers you have added on LinkedIn, the greater the chance that one of your LinkedIn connections will know a key decision maker at a target company.
Pool Contacts with Co-Workers
LinkedIn offers several premium tools that are tailor made to help B2B reps sell more. One of my absolute favorite tools they offer is called TeamLink. At every company I’ve worked for, sales have been highly collaborative. Reps pool knowledge and work together in order to close deals. TeamLink is a great way for your sales team (and entire organization) to pool connections together so that each user gains access to a much larger network of contacts. Every rep can benefit from enhanced prospecting power. With TeamLink, reps can gain introductions through:
- Common connections
- First-degree connections of team members
- Colleagues and ex-colleagues of team members
This feature can be especially valuable if you have a member of your team, CEO or other executive who has a significantly larger network of LinkedIn followers.
Promote Events, Conferences and Webinars in Groups
Even as an inside sales rep, I still attend in-person events and conferences. When executed correctly, events can move B2B leads through the revenue funnel at light speed. LinkedIn can be a great way to promote both real and virtual events such as webinars. While LinkedIn pulled the plug on their Events feature a couple years back, LinkedIn can still be a fantastic way to promote events. By participating in relevant groups you can not only prospect for leads but also drum up interest in webinars and conventions. We recommend that all of your reps join a minimum of 5 LinkedIn groups.
Integrate LinkedIn Data with Salesforce
As a Salesforce user, the more data I have in my CRM, the happier I tend to be. LinkedIn offers a premium integration with Salesforce that enables you to see LinkedIn information right inside of Salesforce.While it’s helpful to be able to see a lead’s LinkedIn data appended to their lead record, what is far more valuable is the ability to view company data right below the lead’s individual LinkedIn data. This can help reps identify key decision makers in an organization. This enables reps to quickly prioritize who to contact within a company. According to a CSO Insights study, 81% of reps believe this functionality improves their ability to identify key decision makers.
To learn more about RingDNA’s Intelligent Dialer for Salesforce or to see a demo, contact RingDNA Sales.