If you’re a professional who is simply too busy to figure out how LinkedIn can help generate leads and grow your business, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by Jill Konrath, nearly 60% of respondents don’t really understand how to use LinkedIn, and 41% lack the time to use or learn it.
I get that.
We are inundated with advice about why the latest social media channel is the magic bullet to life’s problems. But, LinkedIn is different. It is the Number One professional networking tool in the world, and research shows that it leads other social sites when it comes to B2B sales conversions. If you are targeting a B2B audience, I strongly encourage you to consider LinkedIn as part of your sales success arsenal.
1. Member Demographics
The demographics for LinkedIn’s 200+ million members are impressive! This makes it a valuable tool for companies that want to target an educated, influential, accomplished and affluent audience.
- 80% of LinkedIn members drive business decisions
- 93% are more likely to be a college graduate than average online user
- Average U.S. household income of LinkedIn users is $86K – about 23% higher than the general U.S. population
2. Lead Potential
According to LinkedIn, 212 million leads were generated via their site in 2011. Top salespeople leverage LinkedIn to build their network and secure introductions. Take a look at results from a recent study, Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code, in which more than 3,000 salespeople were interviewed.
How Leading Salespeople Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation
Get Introduced via Connections (often or always):
- Top Sellers 34.7%
- Others 15.2%
Get Referrals from Customers:
- Top Sellers 39.3%
- Others 10.5%
Always Use LinkedIn to Identify Potential Contacts:
- Top Sellers 76.7%
- Others 20.4%
Create Highly Targeted Prospect Lists (often or always):
- Top Sellers 80.0%
- Others 23.0%
3. Personal Branding
Top salespeople leverage LinkedIn in ways that their peers do not. Nearly 90% of the high performers view it as essential. According to the study, top sellers use their LinkedIn profile to:
- Build their professional brand
- Share expertise
- Demonstrate thought leadership
- Grow their network.
4. Intelligence/Research Capability
Today’s prospects expect salespeople to invest time learning about them prior to making contact. Your client or prospect’s LinkedIn profile can reveal:
- Common interests, connections
- Past employers
- Volunteer interests
- LinkedIn group participation
- And more.
Viewing client/prospects’ profiles can also tell you if they have a personal blog, website or Twitter account. You can review their status updates to see what new contacts they’ve acquired. Do this before calling, emailing or meeting with them.
According to Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code, other ways top salespeople use LinkedIn to research clients/prospects includes:
Always Research Prospects Before Making Contact:
- Top Sellers 86.7%
- Others 26.7%
Always Learn More About People They’re Meeting:
- Top Sellers 86.0%
- Others 29.3%
Always Gather Competitive Intelligence:
- Top Sellers 40.7%
- Others 9.4%
Now that you understand how leading salespeople use LinkedIn, it’s time to plan how you can leverage it for your own success. Walker-Stanley Communications can help you learn how to make LinkedIn a daily part of your sales generation. LinkedIn can show a strong ROI by shortening your sales cycle, reducing competition and generating more sales ─ and that’s definitely worth the investment!
Tricia Akins is managing director of Walker-Stanley Communications. The company develops integrated marketing plans that drive growth for small and mid-sized businesses. Tricia has over 20 years of corporate marketing and communications experience which she leverages to help B2B clients optimize their online presence to digitally attract their target market and generate website traffic and leads. Tricia can be contacted at TriciaAkins@walkerstanley.com or 720.218.0370.