Are you using LinkedIn for business? Our brave new cyber-world is dominated by social networks. Therefore, the right question isn’t do you use a social media, but rather, which one? LinkedIn or “social network for business” has been recognised and used by more than 400 million professionals worldwide. The “grandpa” Microsoft expressed its admiration with a mind-blowing sum of $26.2 billion for one of the most significant takeovers in the entire cyber-history. Yet, how aware are we of all the advantages when harnessing the power of LinkedIn for your B2B sales process? Did you know that you can use this business-oriented social network to boost your B2B sales? How? Well, here are some tips on using LinkedIn to supercharge your B2B sales process in an effective and most importantly profitable way:
Tip #1 – Contacts are LinkedIn’s currency.
LinkedIn is Facebook for business. This well-known definition doesn’t have to be explained or justified in detail, does it? However, this also doesn’t mean that you should “interpret” it – literally. Meaning, if you have too many family and childhood friends among your contacts, then you definitely need to get some tips for using LinkedIn for business. Microsoft didn’t pay billions of dollars to LinkedIn to make new friends, but rather to get in touch with business-oriented users of social networks. Yes, our beloved grandpa Microsoft plans to supercharge its B2B sales process with this takeover, and so should you. Focus your attention to LinkedIn users that are closest to your ideal customer’s profile. This network’s search options certainly allow you to do so.
Tip #2 – LinkedIn can help you identify the decision makers.
What’s the first question a salesman always asks as soon as he or she walks through your door? Who is in charge here? Who makes a decision whether or not you’re going to buy what I’m offering? Sounds familiar? Well, here is our next tip. This is undoubtedly one of the most important advantages of using LinkedIn. This business-oriented social network can help you identify the decision makers in all companies of your interest. When it comes to large corporations with the complex management network, LinkedIn shows its true power. It shows you where are the right “button” to press in order for your sales to work for real. It is really hard to believe how much sales-relevant information people willingly put in their LinkedIn profiles. This way, you can build an entire company hierarchy structure for your sales approach to adjust properly.
Tip #3 – Forget about cold calls, send a warm LinkedIn message instead.
One of the great tips when you're learning to use LinkedIn for business is that you should forget about those annoying cold calls both salesmen and customers hate so much. Feel free to use LinkedIn not only for exploration and identification of prospective future customers but also for communication. At the first glance, it may seem that LinkedIn is narrowing the field of your sales influence. However, the truth is that it actually helps you focusing on the most relevant leads. In addition, you should pay a great deal of attention to all changes associated with profiles of your targeted LinkedIn users, such as the most recent job changes, new positions within the company, their new posts, status updates, and similar.
Tip #4 – Facebook for business is LinkedIn, email for business is InMail.
What’s the best way of using LinkedIn for your business when it comes to most effective communication channels? Well, we have already mentioned the notorious cold calls. The same goes for emails. Here’s something worth remembering about LinkedIn’s “emails.” An InMail you send to the right LinkedIn address is 40 times more likely to be rewarded with a response of a relevant decision maker. For what is worth, there’s a catch. The more InMails you want to send, the more you have to pay to LinkedIn for this service. Yet, you’re always free to balance your sales strategy based on InMails. Fair enough?
Tip #5 – The search force is strong with LinkedIn.
If you are serious about your decision of using LinkedIn, then you have to familiarise yourself with its powerful search options. The great thing about LinkedIn is that it allows you to search business people by their company, location, title, or a particular keyword. With paid options, you can even include company size and management level as your search criteria. Additionally, you can achieve quite a lot, if you learn how to thoughtfully combine different filters and keywords. And, this is not the end of your LinkedIn search “fairy tale.” LinkedIn allows you to set your search criteria in such a way to get regular updates about new contacts that match your ideal customer profile. This option can come in handy when people change their companies and job functions quite often.
Tip #6 – If you want to lead, first you need to follow.
We live in an extremely dynamic business world. Sometimes, keeping a track of all the changes seems like a true mission impossible. Well, if you’re serious about using LinkedIn for your business, there are some things you can do to improve your sales perspectives. Use the “following” option and stay in touch with all relevant changes. This way, you can easily spot new opportunities on time and stay up to date with your customers’ most relevant changes and developments.
Tip #7 – Using LinkedIn for business is all about groups.
LinkedIn groups are simply great and too valuable to be ignored. They give you a perfect “excuse” to make a new contact and get a new potential customer. There are so many things you can learn about your targeted contacts by examining their particular LinkedIn groups. For instance, you can see how active a company of your interest is, who and how often they hire, are they expanding, and similar. Sometimes, one single contact can open you a door to an extremely important group for your B2B sales plans.
Tip #8 – Want more business, then promote your own business first.
If you’re going to sail in the LinkedIn waters in search for more sales, you need to make sure that your profile speaks for itself. One of the great advantages when using LinkedIn, is a unique opportunity to promote your company, products, or services. You can associate links to your company web page, relevant social networks, and contact info, with your LinkedIn profile. The most important thing, you can improve your chances for top quality leads and customers by improving your profile with relevant recommendations. Just imagine what an impressive number of recommendations of your former and existing customers on LinkedIn can do for your sales plans.
Tip #9 – Who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile?
Maybe you don't feel comfortable about an extra pair of unwanted eyes checking your Facebook profile, but with LinkedIn, the situation is completely different. LinkedIn can inform you on a regular basis about other users who pay a visit to your profile. This is one of the great advantages of using LinkedIn for business. You can get a feedback and evaluate the effectiveness of your sales activities. Of course, if you want to know more about your “visitors,” then you have to consider the paid options. Either way, you will certainly benefit a lot from this great LinkedIn feature.
Tip #10 – Integration is the key factor of success.
How do you feel about an opportunity to integrate LinkedIn with your existing CRM system? This is undoubtedly a great way of using LinkedIn for your business, isn’t it? So, you combine your CRM and LinkedIn in order to create a powerful sales pipeline. All of your relevant contact details can be quickly and efficiently synchronised and processed by your CRM. It’s all about finding the perspective matches for your particular sales goals. Both LinkedIn and your CRM tool can do a lot for them.
The list of tips for using LinkedIn can go on and on. However, it is important to accept the fact about LinkedIn effectiveness and start using it for boosting your sales process as soon as possible. Using LinkedIn for business is going to become even more important in the near future. You just got an invitation for the exciting LinkedIn world of new business and sales opportunities. Don’t let your customers waiting and don’t allow yourself a luxury of allowing your competitors to get a strategic advantage thanks to LinkedIn and its powerful business-oriented features.