As we now all know, LinkedIn is a great tool for building your professional network. By leveraging the power of LinkedIn, you can use it to enhance lead generation and come closer to reaching your sales goals.
As with any business process, preparation is just as critical as actual implementation. Therefore, you need to first
1) Get your house in order
Are your customers clearly defined? Are you clear about their challenges/needs? Are your key messages targeted to each customer role in each niche about how your solution addresses their specific challenges/needs? How do you help them do a Who are you appealing to (CEO, IT administrator, bookkeeper, etc) do abetter job/make life easier?
2) Align your outreach to your business goals
What are the goals for this quarter? Have you broken down the goals by geography, role, and type of business? How can your LinkedIn activities support your goals?
3) Research & lurk
What groups are your target roles/industries participating in? Join them to discover: What topics are they discussing? What customer trends do the discussions reveal? How does your technology directly address the problems they are discussing? Getting a sense of the tone and history of discussions will tell you how best to approach them.
- Divide the relevant groups among your critical team members. You must show how this is worthwhile to secure their buy-in. Include every customer-facing individual, from inside sales to sales engineers.
- Update everyone’s individual profiles to reflect the corporate goals – Review their job description and skill set – Ensure that they feature your company’s key messages, as it relates to their specific role
- Plan discussions to initiate, based on the trends and tones you are seeing by lurking
- Create objective comments that allow you to interact without blatant selling
- Plan four relevant surveys you can launch each quarter
- Offer objective comments where appropriate
- Initiate a new discussion every week or two
- Post relevant, objective materials that would be of interest to the group
6) Reach out
- Review the membership list. Who has been very active in the group (thought leader/influencer)? Following the flow of comments after a post will give you an indicator.
- Who are your potential customers? (The combination of your initial definition, their job description, and any discussions they have initiated).
- As you share groups and/or have connections in common with someone who can make introductions, send a generic link request.
- After the link is accepted, wait a few days/week and follow up with a brief note asking for a call: “We seem to have similar interests; I’d like to speak with you and explore them further.” Make sure you send the message via LinkedIn. The open rate will be much higher.
- As for your content, do NOT focus on you. Your message should focus on what’s in it for the client.” Make it clear that you understand their challenges/needs. Offer specific times/dates for the call – do not simply ask when they are available. If they are interested, they will respond.
7) Start your own group
- Your customers are using your technology to solve similar solutions; give them a forum in which to discuss their issues.
- This provides you with not only specific customer insights, it also offers you the opportunity to cross- and up-sell.
Case Study Two: Speaking opportunity in front of the exact target audience
K2 uses LinkedIn as a critical relationship-building tool for networking on its own behalf. Our target audience is VPs of sales and marketing. We noted that one influencer/group owner had a strong focus on increasing sales. As K2’s philosophy is that public relations and marketing communications must be geared toward lead generation, we realized that she was accessing our target audience.
First we requested a link. Afterward, we sent an introductory email suggesting the idea of mutual cooperation, which was of interest, as she, too, seeks potential partners for cross-referrals. Based on a subsequent discussion, K2 was invited to put together a four-speaker event about using different online and in-person tools for lead generation, including Using LinkedIn to Generate Sales Leads at the Sales Summit conference on May 30 in Tel Aviv.