Using Linked In For Sales Prospecting - 4 Strategies For Account Managers

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This eBooklet contains four (4) strategies that all sales account managers can implement in order to use LinkedIn as a sales prospecting tool / resource. The strategies include: …

This eBooklet contains four (4) strategies that all sales account managers can implement in order to use LinkedIn as a sales prospecting tool / resource. The strategies include:

1. Make it a habit to send a LinkedIn connection invitation to customers after every meeting

2. Get introduced to LinkedIn “Super Connectors”

3. Search for prospective buyers using the “Advanced People Search” functionality on LinkedIn
4. Regularly deliver value to your first-degree LinkedIn contacts

More in: Business , Technology
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  • I very much enjoyed your slideshow. It gave me a solid overview on how to benefit from LinkedIn. Thanks for the post. i hope you don't mind if I share it with others who could also benefit!
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  • Very good article for sales and novice sales maangers
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  • Excellent presentation ... concise and effective.
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  • The key to a decent prospecting call is research and preparation and LinkedIn gives me most of the information I need.

    Thanks for sharing :0)
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  • Excellent. I am just starting with about 50 contacts in Linked In. I had only thought of this a job-finding tool in the past. Good stuff.
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  • 1. Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting Four strategies for account managers by Roch Gauthier The copyright of this work belongs to Roch Gauthier, who is solely responsible for the content. Please direct content feedback or permissions to roch.linkedin@yahoo.ca. You may not extract or re-use any of the images in this document. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 1 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 2. Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting Introduction • Two Important Questions • 1. What color is your LinkedIn network? Contents 2. Do you use the “Advanced People Search” functionality on LinkedIn? Four LinkedIn Strategies for Sales Account Managers • 1. Make it a habit to send a LinkedIn connection invitation to customers after every meeting 2. Get introduced to “Super Connectors” 3. Search for prospective buyers using the “Advanced People Search” functionality on LinkedIn 4. Regularly deliver value to your first-degree contacts Conclusion • © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 2 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 3. Introduction Recently, I had coffee with three former colleagues who are all sales account managers working for different software compa- nies. We had not gotten together for a number of years, so it was nice to see everyone. Eventually we started to talk shop and I inquired about the health of their sales pipelines. I learned that they were all facing similar challenges. As new- comers in their sales organization, they had been assigned chal- lenging accounts with little to no account penetration whatso- ever. They were all struggling to break into these accounts. I asked my colleagues if they were using LinkedIn, a social net- working website for professionals, to identify sales prospects within their accounts. They each gave me a puzzled look and asked me what I meant. Although all three of them had a LinkedIn account, they had not considered how they might use it to find sales prospects. I told them that I would share with them my LinkedIn strategies, but first I needed to ask them two ques- tions. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 3 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 4. Two Important Questions Question #1: What color is your LinkedIn network? I grabbed a napkin, drew a stick-figure in the middle of it, sur- rounded it with eight circles, and then proceeded to connect the figure to the circles with straight lines. “These circles represent your first-degree contacts on LinkedIn”, I told them. “They are all the people that are connected to you.” (Figure 1) I then asked them to imagine assigning one of two colors to eve- ryone in their first-degree connections: Yellow for former work colleagues or school friends; Figure 1: Stick-figure on the napkin • Green for existing and prospective customers • “These circles represent your first- degree contacts on LinkedIn” “So what color dominates your LinkedIn connections?” I asked. After some reflection, all three said the majority of their connec- tions could be represented as yellow circles. I grabbed two highlighters from my bag, one yellow and one green, and up- dated the picture on the napkin. (Figure 2) © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 4 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 5. Two Important Questions This did not surprise me. As a general rule, most people use LinkedIn to keep in touch with work or school colleagues. This means that most LinkedIn users probably have a predominantly yellow-colored first-degree network and use it exclusively as a career networking or contact management tool. Don’t get me wrong, LinkedIn is a great contact management tool but it can be used for a lot more than that. However, most people don’t take the time to imagine how else they can use LinkedIn. “You can use LinkedIn as a powerful sales prospecting tool”, I told my old colleagues, “but to realize that, you need to under- stand and be able to visualize what I refer to as your extended Figure 2: Stick-figure on the napkin LinkedIn network.” “After some reflection, all three said the majority of their connections could be represented as yellow circles.” © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 5 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 6. Two Important Questions I drew two additional orbits of circles on the napkin and con- nected some of them. The network now spanned a total of three degrees of separation from the stick-figure in the center of the napkin. (Figure 3) “This represents your extended network”, I told them. I asked them to guess what color would now likely dominate the Figure 3: Stick-figure on the napkin extended LinkedIn network on the napkin – yellow or green? “The network now spanned a total of three degrees of separation from the stick-figure in the center of the napkin. This represents your extended network.” © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 6 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 7. Two Important Questions “What you said earlier about the general rule of social network- ing should apply here as well. People tend to use LinkedIn to connect to former work colleagues or school contacts. Since we’re looking at the network form the stick-figure’s (sales per- son’s) perspective, his colleagues (yellow circles) are likely con- nected to their own networks of colleagues and associates who work in similar roles and/or industries (more yellow circles). By that same rule, customers (green circles) in the stick-figure’s network are also primarily connected to colleagues and school friends. That means that a customer’s contacts may be poten- Figure 4: Stick-figure on the napkin tial sales prospects for the stick-figure (more green circles).” “Because the stick-figure is primarily connected to yellow figures, I would My former colleague continued: “Having said all of that, I will an- guess that his extended network will be primarily yellow.” swer your question regarding what color likely dominates the network on the napkin. Because the stick-figure is primarily connected to yellow figures, I would guess that his extended network will be primarily yellow.” (Figure 4) © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 7 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 8. Two Important Questions “That’s right”, I said. “The extended network is probably domi- nated by yellow circles.” Now that my former colleagues had a new way of mentally visu- alizing their LinkedIn extended network, I asked my second question. Question #2: Do you use the “Advanced People Search” functionality on LinkedIn? They all said no. They did not realize that LinkedIn has an “Advanced People Search” capability. Given that this functional- Figure 5: Advanced People Search functionality on LinkedIn ity is somewhat hidden on the LinkedIn website, I was not sur- prised. (Figure 5) © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 8 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 9. Two Important Questions “The Advanced People Search allows you to conduct highly spe- cific searches for people who also have a LinkedIn account (Figure 6),” I explained. “For example, you can specify the per- son’s: First name • Last name • Industry • Company (current or previous) • Job title (current or previous) Figure 6: Advanced People Search • City • It allows you to conduct highly Country specific searches for people who • also have a LinkedIn account. Keywords contained in the user’s online profile. • The best search results are ob- tained by using a combination of In my experience, the best search results are obtained by using industry, job title and keywords. a combination of industry, job title and keywords. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 9 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 10. Two Important Questions “Because most people use LinkedIn primarily to keep in touch with existing and former colleagues, they will likely have com- pleted the following fields in their online profiles: First name • Last name • School(s) attended & degree(s) completed • Job title (current) • Company (current)” • “The search results can be displayed in one of four ways: rele- vance, relationship, relationship + recommendations, and key- word. (Figure 7) I tend to sort my searches by relationship because it allows me to quickly determine who in my extended network can introduce me to people of interest.” Figure 7: Advanced People Search Search results can be displayed in one of four ways © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 10 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 11. Two Important Questions I pointed back to the napkin with the drawing of the stick-figure and his extended network. “Assuming that you have some green circles (your customers’ work or school contacts) in your extended network, you should be using LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search capability to locate prospective customers.” “Given that you all know the job titles and industries of your ideal sales prospects, you can search to see if anyone in your ex- tended network is connected to someone that fits your profile. You can also try searching for prospects using very specific key- words related to their expertise (e.g. financial modeling, six Figure 8: Advanced People Search sigma black belt) or job accountabilities (e.g. responsible for de- veloping cash flow forecasts for the business unit, responsible You can also try searching for for maintaining the SAP system) in order to locate prospective prospects using buyers.” (Figure 8) very specific keywords © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 11 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 12. Two Important Questions “That’s really neat!” one of my colleagues said. “I had no idea that LinkedIn allowed you to conduct such targeted searches. I can see how this would be of use to me to locate prospective buyers.” Now that they understood how they can use LinkedIn for sales prospecting, it was time to share with them my four LinkedIn strategies for effective sales prospecting. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 12 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 13. Four LinkedIn Strategies for Sales Account Managers Make it a habit to send a LinkedIn connection invita- tion to customers after every meeting Your goal is to grow the number of green circles in your direct and extended LinkedIn network. This will allow you to search for people across your contacts’ extended network. Remember that your customer’s LinkedIn connections likely in- clude other people working at the same company and col- leagues working in similar roles (as their current one) at other companies (where they previously worked). When you connect to a customer on LinkedIn, you gain visibility to their first-degree network (provided they keep this option en- abled, which most people do) and will benefit from their ex- tended network when you conduct searches. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 13 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 14. Four LinkedIn Strategies for Sales Account Managers Get introduced to “Super Connectors” When you connect to a customer on LinkedIn, take the time to browse their direct connections and identify what I refer to as “Super Connectors”. Super Connectors are people who have hundreds of contacts in their first-degree network. By connecting to a customer with so many connections, your ex- tended network will grow much more rapidly than if you connect to a customer with fewer connections. Your goal is to find ways of getting introduced and ultimately connected to these Super Connectors on LinkedIn. Even though a customer Super Connector does not fit your ideal sales prospect profile, it is worth getting introduced to these people because they can greatly help you expand your extended LinkedIn network. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 14 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 15. Four LinkedIn Strategies for Sales Account Managers Search for prospective buyers using the “Advanced People Search” functionality on LinkedIn Now that you’re being deliberate about growing the amount of green circles in your direct network, use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search capability to identify prospective buyers or influ- encers. Once LinkedIn shows you how you are related to these prospective buyers, your task is to figure out how to get intro- duced to them. Here are some ideas on how to do that: Do you both know someone in common via LinkedIn? If so, • ask that person to introduce you. Explain the value that you may be able to provide to their contact. Do you both belong to a common LinkedIn group? If so, • send them a LinkedIn message to discuss your common in- terest / membership. If their LinkedIn profile shows their employer, find the com- • pany’s telephone number and cold call them. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 15 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 16. Four LinkedIn Strategies for Sales Account Managers Regularly deliver value to your first-degree contacts Remember to nurture your first-degree network. If you plan on asking your contacts for favors, please remember to keep in touch with them and to deliver value to them (e.g. sending a web link to a resource that you think they will find useful). Oth- erwise, they will see you as very utilitarian and it will ultimately hurt your online and offline reputation. © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 16 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 17. Conclusion rs! ome st d cu “Thanks for sharing these LinkedIn strategies with us”, one of an my old colleagues said. “I’m definitely going to develop a habit of sending a LinkedIn invitation to every customer and prospec- tive customer I meet. I can now visualize the power of being able to tap into other people’s networks in order to locate pro- spective buyers.” (Figure 9) Figure 9: Add customers to your network “I’m definitely going to develop a habit of sending a LinkedIn invitation to every customer and prospective customer I meet.” © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 17 rochgauthier eβooklet
  • 18. Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting About me: Roch Gauthier I am a marketing and management consulting professional currently working in the software industry. I have been using LinkedIn for just over a year and have 412 people in my first-degree network. This in turn connects me to an extended network of 2,225,900+ people. In the past 2 days, my extended LinkedIn network grew by 3,292 people. At this rate, my network will grow by over 1,000,000 people over the course of the next year. Isn’t that amazing?! Contact me at: roch.linkedin@yahoo.ca “At this rate, my network will grow by over 1,000,000 people over the course of the next year. Isn’t that amazing?!” © 2009. All rights reserved. Page 18 rochgauthier eβooklet