LinkedIn.com is one of the internet’s largest social networks with over 467,000,000 members. With it being such a large and influential business-oriented platform, it’s no wonder people flock to it to build business relationships. Due to its large size and many features, some people find the site to be confusing at first. Luckily, using LinkedIn is easier than one might think, and here are 5 simple ways you can use LinkedIn to find new prospects.
A complete LinkedIn profile is crucial for drawing in potential prospects who search LinkedIn. There is a list on the LinkedIn Official Blog that details simple yet specific ways that a profile page can be optimized. For example, users who have a professional profile photo are 21 times more likely to receive views on their profiles, as well as 36 times more messages than those without a professional profile photo. Members who update their current job and job title are 18 times more likely to be discovered. Maintaining a list of your relevant work skills is also important as members who list five or more work skills are 33 times more likely to receive messages than those who don’t. When looking at those numbers it is easy to see why having a fully completed and optimized LinkedIn profile will help you attract potential prospects.
Prospecting is easy with LinkedIn’s sales tool, the Sales Navigator. Features like InMail allow you to contact decision makers directly, even when you are not connected to them. TeamLink allows you to use the network of your employer to find potential prospects more effectively. The CRM-Widget allows you to view LinkedIn-related information where other sales activity is already being tracked (though it is only currently available for Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce). Lead Recommendations will give you custom suggestions, helping you to discover more people on targeted accounts. Real-Time Sales Updates all you to receive insights on your leads and accounts (including relevant information such as news mentions, job changes, and new potential leads). Using a tool like this gives you not only more flexibility, but also gives you more utility when it comes to LinkedIn lead prospecting.
Though the site has such a large user-base, LinkedIn has somewhat of a low engagement rate when compared to other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This means that integrating your Linkedin account with other social media sites can be important. To see whether you have common connections between LinkedIn and sites like Twitter or Facebook, you can use Discover.ly without ever leaving LinkedIn. Brisk can be an invaluable tool for those wishing to transfer data from Salesforce. Conspire will integrate and analyze data from your other communication-platforms in order to determine how well you know any particular contact. Most people have their business website linked to their social media profiles and LinkedIn users are more likely to visit your website’s homepage. There are many different ways to incorporate different social sites into LinkedIn, each with its own tangible benefits.
InMail is a way for LinkedIn users to directly contact other users who are not 1st degree contacts. It can be an invaluable tool when trying to contact important decision makers, who usually have gatekeepers protecting them from spam. According to LinkedIn’s InMail Overview, on their Help-Page, Basic (Free) users cannot use InMail and one must upgrade to a Premium LinkedIn account in order to use the InMail service. LinkedIn also has a page filled with advice on how to properly use InMail. Among other things, they mention to adopt an enthusiastic and conversational tone, while still being brief and to the point. They recommend that you should use InMail as a conversation starter while focusing on finding out about the prospect’s availability and interest in the product/service you are selling.
The amount of InMails you can send varies depends on the LinkedIn account type you have, as indicated on LinkedIn’s InMail Crediting page. Business accounts, for example, can only send 3-5 InMails per month, while a Recruiter Corporate account can send 50-150 InMails per month. You can accumulate Inmails over months, but they will expire after 90 days. Luckily any response received from an InMail you send (even a "I'm not interested" response) within 90 days will credit that InMail back to you. In order to make the best use of the InMail service, knowing whether your InMail has been opened can be invaluable. Tools such as Attach.io, ClearSlide, and DocSend allow you to link documents and track their engagement.
InMail is a great tool for lead prospecting and setting appointments when you use it correctly and you are not too pushy. Remember, nobody likes to open a LinkedIn message that is immediately trying to sell them something, especially if you don't know the person who sent you the InMail. Instead, consider offering the person a link to download a white paper or an ebook -- something of value for them that they don't have to purchase and that will introduce them to your company and your product/services. In other words, give before you try to get.
LinkedIn groups can be an invaluable resource for lead prospecting. Using LinkedIn groups allows you to gain valuable insight into a prospect's company activities. It also allows you to make more connections with new prospects. You can use LinkedIn groups to see more information about your potential prospects (e.g. their full names, job titles, and the companies they work for). Another advantage to joining a LinkedIn group is that it can help bring more prospects to you by allowing you to leverage your influence in the LinkedIn Group's community. There are clearly many ways to network in LinkedIn groups. Take advantage of these groups and become a friendly and helpful member sharing helpful information and resources and you will attract prospects to contact you. Again, you need to give to get.
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