Four Areas Where LinkedIn Can Improve Your Sales Process
It may be time to get serious about using LinkedIn for sales, including prospecting. We all hear the buzz about social networks, and especially LinkedIn for business connections.
With LinkedIn network topping 200 million users, this represents a large group of prospects...and chances are good these days that your target prospect at a specific company is on LinkedIn.
We often hear the response from sales professionals in our Comprehensive Selling Skills and Comprehensive Sales Management programs that they know they should be using LinkedIn for appointment setting, but haven’t really made it part of their sales process. They feel like they should be doing more with LinkedIn, but don’t know how or don’t have the time.
What we forget is that every time we connect to a new LinkedIn contact, we are one email, phone call or LinkedIn message away from that person’s entire network. My question is, with 200 million prospects a few clicks away, can you afford not to make it part of your daily sales process?
Here are four areas to consider where LinkedIn can help answer important questions to improve your sales process.
1. Sales Prospecting
Who are we Linked to that can give us intelligence within an target account? What news is the target company reporting on LinkedIn that may be relevant to our discussion? Who are the key decision makers in our target accounts and who do we know that knows them?
2. Call Planning
What can we learn about our prospect on LinkedIn? Is there information to help us build rapport and/or gain access? Can we learn about their key initiatives by looking at recent updates and information in their profile?
3. Facilitating Access
Facilitating Access to decision makers – Once we identify our target decision maker, are we linked to someone who knows them? Can this person give us background/intelligence on our prospect and maybe even give us an introduction? What can we learn about this person by looking at the groups they belong to and the companies they follow?
4. Strategic Account management
Have we linked to everyone we know within our strategic accounts?
As an example, if the average LinkedIn contact in our Strategic Account has 300-350 connections, how many of those are within their current company? Probably a good percentage of them.
So every time we link to a contact in our existing accounts, we open up hundreds of new connections that are visible to us and we may be able to access through our LinkedIn Network.
These are just a few of the examples where we can effectively include LinkedIn in our sales process. There are dozens of more areas where it has become a critical tool in the new Sales 2.0 world.
About Ray Makela
Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.