Can Linkedin really help boost sales? Acclaimed sales strategist Jill Konrath answers this question with an unequivocal “yes”. We totally agree. But it all depends on how you play your cards on the professional network.
33% of B2B companies consider LinkedIn (with its more than 300 million users) as the most important network in their social selling strategy – outpacing FaceBook. One thing is sure: if you’re looking to support your sales force – and improve your sales management – LinkedIn is one tool you can’t afford to be without.
The study , by Jill Konrath and Ardath Albee, makes for captivating reading. They surveyed some 3,100 salespeople to find out how they leverage LinkedIn to create new business opportunities.
This is what they said.
1 Use LinkedIn as a strategic resource
Around 90% of respondents – considered “top salespeople” – view LinkedIn as an essential social network for their business. The platform offers numerous ways of creating qualified leads, allowing you to:
- Connect with your prospect
- Identify their needs
- Broaden your network
- Consolidate relationships.
In other words, LinkedIn is the ideal space for building an impeccable professional presence, conveying the trust necessary for making a sale.
Social networks provide opportunities for belonging to a group – and demonstrating commitment. This may not be easy to manage, but leading salespeople use this to their strategic advantage on LinkedIn. Here’s what you can do:
- Join groups to start conversations with people who could benefit from your products or services
- Check specific prospect profiles to see which groups they participate in and keep up with changes, comments and updates
- Analyse new ways of connecting
- Provide value by contributing to debates without expecting an immediate response.
2 Position yourself as a reliable source of information
Investing a small part of your day on LinkedIn accelerates the sales cycle in the long term. Top salespeople know first hand the importance of maintaining their social profile and activating their community. According to Konrath, the most valued activities on LinkedIn are:
- Sharing relevant content
- Showcasing professional experience.
One in three salespeople who follow this advice say that it yields results. Positioning yourself as a reliable source of advice multiples leads.
Being recognised as an expert in a specific aspect of the market requires learning how to stand out. You do this by posting interesting status updates, and interacting with groups to demonstrate your experience – and willingness to share high-value content. 87% of salespeople who participated in the study do this. And they succeed in building a lasting relationship with their prospect.
3 Research prospects
This is what LinkedIn is most used for. 61.4% of people surveyed said researching and identifying potential customers on the network guarantees the success of subsequent conversations. The study also revealed that leads expect salespeople to invest time in LinkedIn researching their needs. So if you haven’t already done so – start gathering information!
The key is to use LinkedIn as your own personal database of contacts. You can create and maintain lists of prospects, updating them regularly with valuable information that helps you mature the lead – and accompany them right through the sales funnel.