My quick recap of this article:
- LinkedIn can be an asset to discover quality prospects and get introductions.
- You can use LinkedIn to capture insights about your competition and target market segments.
- Stay up to date with your network that is constantly evolving.
LinkedIn is the most extensive professional network with more than 500 million active members. It offers several advantages for business development, sales lead generation, and expanding business relationships.
ONE: Discover Quality Prospects & Connect
A famous study was done in 1967 by Stanley Milgram and Jeffrey Travers, known as the small world problem. It showed that we could be acquaintances with strangers on the other side of the world with six degrees of separation.
So, when you think about your friends’ friends and their friends, in turn, there could be a wealth of business connections potential. The challenge is that you don’t know what you don’t know: who those people are and how they might be connected to your immediate network. LinkedIn can help you with this: the LinkedIn Sales Navigator search allows you to customize search criteria to your specific objectives and provides search results with detailed contact info. Now, you know who they are. It is much more reliable than a third-party contacts list.
LinkedIn also shows whether an individual is a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection and your connecting links to them. It allows you to pinpoint the potential prospects precisely.
- First-degree connections: you have already connected with them on LinkedIn. You can send direct messages to these contacts.
- Second-degree connections: people directly connected to your 1st-degree contacts.
- Third-degree connections: these are people who are directly linked to your 2nd-degree relationships.
For 2nd and 3rd degree connections, you can use introductions or use LinkedIn’s InMail messaging capabilities.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides a much higher bang for the buck you invest in sales prospecting.
Technology, AI – Intelligent Lead Generation
There are technology tools designed to leverage LinkedIn API that can help with automated prospecting:
- Cultivate a targeted LinkedIn network on autopilot, focusing on companies and professionals specific to your target industries and markets.
- Implement personalized, automated messaging over LinkedIn connections with unparalleled ability to segment target audience and customize messaging: It has a much higher success rate than email marketing. Generate, cultivate qualified business leads.
- Identify senior named contacts and get introductions with a 15% success rate: the AI technology helps automate and simplify the process with a track record of 15 successful conversations for every 100 identified contacts.
- Expand your LinkedIn network with professionals in the targeted areas (industries, market sectors, functional areas, etc.)
TWO: Proactive Introductions
Consumers and professionals do online research and typically get to 75% of their buying cycle even before contacting anyone. There is more value now than ever in reaching out to them and making warm introductions: it can be your differentiator in business development.
Digital media and marketing and customer relationships/interactivity can play a massive role in the strategy. LinkedIn can be an empowering component: it can help you with direct target messaging and warm introductions to the prospects.
There are technology and tools that can automate and simplify this, helping you maximize the LinkedIn advantage even more:
Other empowering allies in business development:
- Exposure on the search engines using SEO and paid advertising
- Media advertising that programmatically connects to the specific target audience profiles/persona
- Social media interactivity
- Online customer service channels and email marketing that expands the power of word-of-mouth
How credible do you come across online when someone finds you online or looks you up from the outreach? You can tap into LinkedIn for this in several ways:
You can tap into LinkedIn for this in several ways:
- Get endorsements and testimonials from customers, managers, colleagues, and business partners.
- Look for groups discussing ideas, challenges, and questions that might interest you or your target prospects. Join those groups and be a credible resource: it can help you cultivate credibility and relationships that can bring returns rest of your career. LinkedIn effectively educates potential clients: share insights about your products and services, other thought leadership articles, or ideas from your other creative outlets. Start your group, answer questions from customers: this can help you foster customer satisfaction and the potential of word-of-mouth. Twitter can be an empowering tool coupled with this to cultivate a customer experience/service channel.
- Create a LinkedIn business page: develop a living, breathing ecosystem using it. Linkage with employees on this page brings immediate credibility and authenticity. Get customers, prospects, business partners, friends to follow your business page. You can use it to publish career opportunities and attract talent.
- LinkedIn allows you to include links to the landing pages on your company website: this can be used to engage further with your prospects. With a straightforward remarketing tag (a tiny piece of code) integrated with your web analytics, you can understand the prospects’ behavior that started engagement on LinkedIn.
- You also may need social proof that clients and potential customers recommend your business; hence do not forget to include the “recommend with the LinkedIn button” on your site. Additionally, you can check out the ‘share on LinkedIn’ plugin to enable visitors to share your website content.
- Advertising: Coupled with remarketing, you can cultivate fully customized advertising campaigns on LinkedIn, search engines, and other social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
When you combine and seamlessly integrate different options to leverage LinkedIn, it can become a powerful channel to reinforce your company culture and brand credibility.
FOUR: Market Research, Competitive Analysis
LinkedIn has rich search functionality. Following a screen-shot from a search using a specific topic: #InteriorArchitecture
The column on the left shows different posts on LinkedIn: click on any of them, and see more details on it on the right: the right column shows more options to refine the search to an industry, a company, etc.
The LinkedIn search brings a wealth of information about potential market segments, the activity of competitors, etc.
The LinkedIn business page has a wealth of information about the profile views:
To see how your page is performing relative to competitors, check the Companies to Track table. This section lets you compare where your page ranks when it comes to total followers and new followers. You can also see how many updates each page posts over a selected period and the overall engagement rate.
Competitive intelligence using LinkedIn:
FIVE: Evolving Network
Your professional network is continually evolving with individuals transitioning to new opportunities and companies. Your LinkedIn connections keep up with it, always being able to tap into professional relationships you might have developed over time.
It is much easier than maintaining email addresses and business cards.