While the cold call has hardly disappeared from inside sales, social media tools such as LinkedIn give you the ability to warm up cold calls with research. While the uninitiated might view LinkedIn as a networking site for those seeking jobs, seasoned sales pros are already finding that LinkedIn can drive revenue when used as a sales prospecting tool. Here are some ways that top salespeople can use LinkedIn to add to their pipeline.
Start with Your Profile
When someone looks at your LinkedIn profile, this is often their first impression of you. This means that you should take care to present yourself as professionally as possible. Would you show up to an important meeting wearing shorts and a Panama hat? Make sure that you are using a high resolution photo that looks appealing, friendly and—most importantly—professional. You want people to see your picture and think, “That’s the sort of person I want to do business with.”
Next, make sure that your bio doesn’t just focus on what you do, but also gives good information about your company. If you live for weekend trout fishing trips you might slip it in there, but not at the expense of describing the products or services you are selling. Reach out to your first-degree network and make sure that they know what you do. A connection can only help you if they know how. For example, say you sell commercial property insurance. One of your connections might have a brother who just bought a building and is looking for an insurance plan.
Expand Your Network
When using LinkedIn, the more connections you have, the easier it is to make new ones. Start by making sure that you add every career-minded person you know to your network. Even if they aren’t in your industry, they might know someone very important who is. By adding them, you can view their connections and find out.
Once you’ve expanded your first-degree network to capacity, you can begin gaining access to your connections’ connections. We strongly recommend that if you’re seriously interested in using LinkedIn as a sales tool, that you invest in one of the premium packages. A premium account can give you access to features like:
- Contacting anyone directly through InMail
- Premium Search filters to find the right leads
- Allowing anyone to message you through OpenLink
- Viewing more profiles when searching
- Getting introductions to companies you are targeting
Investing in the ability to send InMail to contacts outside your network is especially important. I’ve found that prospects seem quite receptive to InMail.
Build a List of Leads
Another LinkedIn premium feature that is extremely valuable to sales professionals is the ability to build a lead list. Building a lead list helps you hyper-target leads. LindedIn makes it easy to search your list by prospects’ geolocation, industry, company size, title and more. LinkedIn also adds value to your lead list because it enables you to see if you have any connections to each lead. This makes it easier to connect through introductions.
Use LinkedIn to Have Smarter Conversations
Let’s face it – if you use LinkedIn to send out spammy emails to prospects, it’s not likely that you’ll get the traction you desire. The whole point of social sales is to get more data about potential customers so that you can spend more time talking to the right prospects and, more importantly, ensure that those conversations are successful. LinkedIn can deliver a wealth of insight about your prospects, but that insight is useless unless it’s readily available in the right context. That’s what makes InMail such a powerful tool.
But what about calls? Phone calls often deliver much higher ROI than other sales channels, and many reps spend the brunt of their day on the phone. Especially while on the go, it can be difficult to access LinkedIn data on your mobile device while on a call. When we were designing the RignDNA mobile app, we wanted to make sure that reps could quickly access prospect feeds from LinkedIn in the context of a sales call. Our app therefore delivers data from not only LinkedIn, but also Facebook and Twitter in the same elegant app as you use to make sales calls.