Fill Your Sales Pipeline with LinkedIn

3 keys to using social media to gain potential prospects.

3 keys to using social media to gain potential prospects.

By Wendy L. Wilson

In between holiday parties and Christmas greetings, December can be a great time to take stock of your sales pipeline and determine what worked this year. Part of that evaluation means looking at how you connect to existing customers. If your outreach doesn’t include using the business and networking tools on LinkedIn, you may be overlooking big sales and new leads.

“Entrepreneurs and business leaders need to realize the change that’s happening in buyer behavior,” says Kevin Ryan, marketing director at LinkedIn. “They do research online, looking at your company on social media, researching your website, or put out a post looking for referrals.”

Ryan combines his passion for marketing, sales, and technology into working for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, a business unit that includes products to enhance sales productivity. If you’re ready to go beyond cold calls and email marketing, here are three suggestions on how to use a LinkedIn networking strategy to boost your sales in 2018.

Perfect Your Profile: Your LinkedIn profile is your first introduction to customers, so it’s best to build one that professionally represents your business acumen, your products, and what long-time customers think of your services. “Optimize your individual and company’s profiles by including a professional photo,” says Ryan. “A professional photo considerably increases your search rates on LinkedIn.” He also encourages entrepreneurs to completely fill out their company’s profile so that it’s up to date and includes information about the products sold. Include tags to current employees and links to your website and other social media accounts so that people can easily communicate across social platforms. Lastly, make sure you have a headline and summary that are inspiring, interesting and resonate with your customers.

Take Advantage of Your Network: Nothing impresses new customers more than an indication that their satisfaction is guaranteed. Ask existing customers or other business partners to contribute written recommendations to your LinkedIn company profile. Then start building your LinkedIn network by connecting to former colleagues, former classmates, or those who share similar business interests. “Really look at the type of connections that you and your employees are building,” says Ryan. “The beauty of LinkedIn is that we have 530 million members on the platform—a huge, global professional network.” Join groups or LinkedIn communities that are going to allow you to share information and content on a topic so you gain social proof. “It makes you a valid, authenticated thought leader in this space, which can be highly beneficial to you and your company,” Ryan adds.

Consider LinkedIn’s Business Tools: Tapping into tools such as LinkedIn Small Business or LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can both help entrepreneurs and their sales teams build stronger relationships with prospects and existing customers. Small Business is a paid subscription service that assists with branding your company, marketing, and selling your products and hiring the right team.

More established entrepreneurs may want to consider Sales Navigator, which is designed for the entrepreneurs or sales teams specifically to enhance their sales strategy with personalized outreach and specialized search experience.

According to LinkedIn, companies have seen a 35 percent increase in securing larger deals by connecting with key decision makers through Sales Navigator. “It makes it easier for you to understand and engage buyers with information that’s valuable to them,” says Ryan. “Rather than just a cold call, it allows you to take time to understand what motivates a buyer. Then, as a seller, you can be more thoughtful in your outreach to create a more personal buying experience.”

By year’s end, reviewing your profit and losses, reevaluating your sales goals, and creating a LinkedIn blueprint can be the game changer for your company in 2018. The insight you receive may help you avoid repeating an assortment of mistakes, but most of all, it will help you uncover an untapped world of potential customers ripe for new business.

Wendy L. Wilson is an award-winning content creator, editor, and public speaker who knows a little about a lot of things. Follow her Twitter raves, rants, and reviews @WendyLWilson_.

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