LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. Its business positioning (B2B) is its greatest strength, and no other social network has managed to compete with LinkedIn. Think of it as a massive online Chamber of Commerce. Not only can you interact with prospects that are ready to buy, but you also have the opportunity to interact with people much earlier in the buying cycle. Adding value to a prospect’s research and decision-making processes makes them more likely to keep you in mind as a vendor.
Reaching out to peers, prospects, and customers on LinkedIn is easy to do on a professional basis, since everyone is there to connect professionally, network, and do business. This is in stark contrast to platforms like Facebook and Twitter that focus more on socializing and casual marketing. Nevertheless, hard selling is not the way to go here; LinkedIn is there for you to nurture, start conversations, educate, and inform – the IT sales will follow.
As part of your general marketing and branding strategy, you need to set up your personal profile and your business page in line with all of your other social media profiles. Once you do that, use these five ways to take your IT Sales Strategy and overall sales process up a notch:
LinkedIn Groups: Look for niche/sector groups, consumer groups, and local groups where you can add value to the discussions. This will help to heighten your profile, expand your network, and increase your reach to a targeted audience.
LinkedIn Answers: Jump in and start answering questions. Remember, this is your opportunity to educate and inform. This builds trust, improves your reputation, and gets your brand out there.
LinkedIn People Search: Use “people search” to connect with your existing clients, research your leads prior to talking to them, connect with your peers, and reach out and make new contacts.
LinkedIn Company Search: Follow a variety of companies, including both prospects and competitors. Following a company on LinkedIn enables notifications of changes in personnel, news updates, and so on. Changes in job title or project assignments can also give you valuable business insights. It is also a useful research tool for background information prior to making IT sales calls.
LinkedIn InMail: Use InMail efficiently to make contact with leads, prospects, and peers. Delivery of these messages is guaranteed. The likelihood is that the recipient will open the message, and if he doesn’t, you get another InMail free. This is very useful for sending targeted messages to specific people. It should not be used for mass mailing or hard-selling, but rather for providing information that’s useful to the prospect. This method ensures that it gets in front of them.
The main aim of using LinkedIn as part of your IT Sales Strategy is to educate and inform prospects. LinkedIn allows you to do this in a more tailored and meaningful way by obtaining demographics and carrying out research at the individual, business, and group levels.
There are many ways to use LinkedIn to aid your sales process. Starting with these five will give you a great foundation to build upon.
We would really like to know how LinkedIn has improved your IT sales process and which sections of the platform you use the most with the greatest success. Feel free to share your experiences in the Comments section below.
And to follow-through on the strategies introduced in this article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on 7 IT Sales Secrets for Attracting High-Lifetime-Value Clients.
Image Source: LinkedIn Press Center