The question of how to effectively establish business relations on LinkedIn looms large in many salespeople’s minds. Finding people who match the profile of your company’s ideal client is not all. The most important thing is to reach them at the right time with the right message. It is possible, it only takes a little effort. So let’s get to work. Let’s start with a bit of theoretical knowledge on how to generate sales leads on LinkedIn.
1. Why LinkedIn?
Over the last few years, LinkedIn has seen dynamic growth. It is currently used by 530 million users in 200 countries. The average number of contacts per user is 400. According to data provided by LinkedIn, social selling activities:
- give 45% more chances of a successful sale
- increase the probability of reaching the target by 51%
LinkedIn distinguishes four components that make up effective social selling:
- Creation of a professional brand
The ability to personally answer questions from potential and current customers, creation of an image, and increased brand visibility.
- Focus on the right target
LinkedIn user profiles allow for the identification of the sector in which people operate, their function in companies, and the possibility of establishing direct contact. Profiles also contain information about the career history of these people, their contacts, and the communities to which they belong. This information can serve as a way of breaking the ice when making the first contact.
- Industry innovations
63% of B2B customers appreciate the opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the industry from people who are specialists in a given topic.
- Building relationships based on trust
By sharing your knowledge (articles, opinions, infographics, videos) and answering questions you build up your image as an expert. This method, in which sales are a further step, allows you to build long-term relationships and gain the trust of your customers.
2. How to start social selling activities on LinkedIn?
- Profile creation
The LinkedIn profile has long ceased to be just a place for a CV. An excellent source of information about what should be included in your profile is William Aruda’s article “The Best LinkedIn Summaries And Advice On How To Make Yours Shine”.
LinkedIn creates networks of contacts that are divided into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree contacts and people who belong to the same groups as you. You are authorized to do certain things depending on the degree of “proximity” of the contacts: You can send a personal message to 1st degree contacts, an InMail message to 2nd degree contacts, and an invitation to a contact or an InMail message to 3rd degree contacts. This also varies depending on your individual account settings. You can send a message through the group to people who belong to the same groups as you and a personalized invitation to the rest of the people who are not in your contact list.
Use these possibilities to create your network of contacts. Find people or companies that meet your criteria (customer profile analysis) and make contact.
There are several criteria you can rely on to find the right contacts on LinkedIn. For example, if you have a clearly defined industry you want to refer to, it is best if you use it as a criterion, then you will choose the right decision makers from the companies you categorize as suitable. Examples include manufacturing companies, software houses, marketing agencies, or e-commerce.
If your product is used in many industries, it will be easier to find someone who is responsible in companies for a given area, for example, new technologies, HR, marketing, or sales.
3. Sample messages to people you want to establish a relationship with:
People outside your network:
- common industry as a way of breaking the ice
- career path a way of breaking the ice.
- acknowledgement for accepting the invitation to join the network
People who already belong to your network:
- next message
4. Lead nurturing
What is Lead Nurturing about? What to do when you start receiving replies to your messages and people start joining your network?
- Start the conversation
The aim of the first message – an invitation to contact – is only to get acquainted. And you will receive answers like this. People to whom you send an invitation to contact will reply that they accept the invitation or not. There is no question about your product or attempts to sell it yet. There may be questions about your business, your business partners, and the benefits of your product. Answer them in a matter-of-fact way, this way you build up your image as a professional. Your task, when it comes to people who ask questions in order to understand the problem, is to make them aware that your product can also make their lives easier. First, quench their thirst for knowledge and only then move on to present your offer.
- Do not try to sell on LinkedIn
Your goal is to make an appointment for an interview. One of the biggest mistakes made by LinkedIn salespeople is sending sales pitches to people asking questions. Imagine someone inviting you to their house to meet you. You accept the invitation, you come and this person puts a whole array of products before you that you have no idea about and tries to convince you to buy them. What do you do? You go out and don’t come back because you feel cheated. Look at the first point – start the conversation, answer the questions, then move on to invite for a phone call or meeting.
- Do research on your potential clients before you respond
Have you got answers from people who have received an invitation from you? Great! I know that the temptation to write one general message to everyone is strong. This would be quicker, of course. However, it is worth focusing on the goal and effectiveness of the strategy of pursuing it. You will achieve a much better effect if you take a moment to learn about the recipient and personalize the message. There are no universal solutions. This is precisely why, if you find a person who is actually interested in talking to you, you will achieve much more by sending a dedicated message: you have a chance to gain that person’s trust and start a more natural and friendly relationship.
- Ask questions about the specific needs of the recipient
What kind of specific needs? You’ll find out by analyzing your target group and creating a client profile. The shortest way to end the relationship on LinkedIn is to send a sales pitch. It is definitely better to ask questions about the problems you are able to solve by delivering your product, ask about the course of specific processes in your customer’s company or about their plans for the near future. The questions also make the conversation go on. Remember that the conversation should be more about your potential customer, not you!
5. Lead generation
When it comes to LinkedIn, the definition of a lead is not clear. A lead can be a person who will accept your invitation, respond to your next message, thank you for attaching an article, or agree to a phone call or a meeting. In general, it is the person who accepted the invitation to the network of contacts, but it’s up to you where you set the threshold.
6. Sales automation tools on LinkedIn
What if you want to run a lead generation campaign for your business on a larger scale? Yes, I know, I wouldn’t be happy if I had to send messages to as many as 1000 leads manually, either. Fortunately, there is a way to avoid it. There are a lot of tools that automate some of the activities related to establishing business relationships on LinkedIn.
These are, for example, Useorca.com, LinMailPro, or Dux-soup.com. They make it plain simple to:
- Perform efficient target group research (thanks to the search criteria).
- Invite selected groups of people with one click.
- Create a sequence of messages consisting of the main message and follow up.
- Set the number of invitations/messages to be sent and schedule the automatic sending for a specific date and time.
- Visit profiles of selected people to attract their attention (LinkedIn shows people who have entered our profile).
- Tag your leads.
- Group leads profiles in a database (e.g., dividing contacts into hot and cold leads or according to industry, location, etc.).
In this case, to personalize the content on LinkedIn, you can use keywords while searching. In this way, you will find a common topic with the leads, which you can refer to during your first contact. These could be programming skills in Python or a passion for electric cars. The choice is yours, just think about what words may appear on a given profile and which of them are worth referring to.
You can also divide your target group into several smaller ones. A personalized message in this case will contain specific keywords that are relevant to the recipients’ interests.
Such a solution allows you to reach a large group of people with a message of good quality that does not look like spam and is not bothersome.
As InStream Group we generate B2B leads by LinkedIn Automation and Cold Mailing campaigns. Are you curious what we can do for you? Write to email@example.com.