Are you still just using LinkedIn to plan happy hour excursions with your former co-workers? New evidence from HBR shows that LinkedIn is much more than just a social network for the career-minded. It’s a powerful tool that top sales reps are already using to generate revenue.
The HBR study interviewed both inside sales reps and field reps about how they used LinkedIn to research prospects and generate leads. All of the sales reps interviewed were in the B2B sphere, selling tech products to mid-to-enterprise-level businesses. The study found four types of LinkedIn users:
Enthusiasts: LinkedIn enthusiasts (25% of those surveyed) use the network continuously throughout the day. They tend to be outside sales reps prospecting for new accounts. Enthusiasts average around 700 contacts on LinkedIn and half have even paid for a premium subscription at their own expense.
Casual: Casual users (40%) tend to have an average of 250 connections. They see LinkedIn as a powerful way to learn more about customers.
Personal: 15% of those surveyed only had personal accounts that had ample information about their job history. They only use LinkedIn for job-related networking rather than sales.
Nonusers: 20% of those surveyed do not use LinkedIn at all.
The study showed that 40% of enthusiasts have used LinkedIn to drive revenue while only 20% of casual users have been able to close sales via LinkedIn. This indicates that getting serious about LinkedIn as a sales channel pays off. So how are top sales reps using LinkedIn to close deals?
One of the best ways to build connections via LinkedIn is by joining groups. The average LinkedIn Enthusiast belongs to 12 groups, while a casual user only belongs to 4. When signing up for groups it’s important to think like your customers. Imagine which groups your prospects would belong to and then join those groups.
More than 90% of enthusiasts use LinkedIn to research customers prior to meetings or calls. Compare that to the fact that only 65% of casual users use LinkedIn to find out more about their customers before meetings. Monitoring prospects’ LinkedIn activity can pay off. They might communicate a need for a new solution in one of their groups. You can also use LinkedIn to decipher key decision makers within an organization.
Maintain Relationships with Existing Clients
B2B sales is relationship-centric. LinkedIn can be a valuable channel for sharing marketing materials with customers and prospects. 70% of LinkedIn enthusiasts have used the network to send press releases, whitepapers, analyst reports or product videos to their clients. Only 18% of casual users have used LinkedIn to keep clients informed on new product offerings. LinkedIn can therefore be used to up-sell customers as well as to nurture hot leads.
The Bottom Line
The HBR study proves that LinkedIn Enthusiasts are twice as likely to drive revenue through the network than casual users are. Here at RingDNA, we firmly believe that LinkedIn can be a powerful social sales prospecting tool. That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’re about to roll the ability to monitor your lead and contact LinkedIn feeds on iPhone and iPad. In a single view, you’ll be able to monitor a prospect’s activities in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Chatter from your iPhone or iPad. RingDNA therefore helps mobile sales reps leverage the power of LinkedIn before, during and after every sales call as well as in advance of crucial sales meetings.