6 tips for using LinkedIn to prospect

Using LinkedIn to boost sales is not a secret. With over 238 million users in over 200 countries and territories, “LinkedIn is the defacto social network for business”, said Joel Marans from TheSocialWhat.com. Many salespeople use LinkedIn to warm up leads, avoid the dreaded cold call, and collect intelligence that can help them sell better! Harvard Business Review ran a study on 54 top salespeople who sell to IT departments of mid to large size companies; asking them how they use LinkedIn to research accounts, prospect for leads, and generate sales. Here are their results:

[Image: Steve W. Martin from Harvard Business Review]

We want to share with you 6 tips for using LinkedIn to prospect:

1. Contacts are the currency of LinkedIn: LinkedIn has three levels of connection that allow you to branch out and scale your network. Take advantage of it! Basically, your 1st level connections are the people that you are connected to, your 2nd level contacts are everyone that the people you are connected to are connected to, and finally, your 3rd level contacts are the people that your 2nd level contacts are connected to. When you make a new 1st level connection, its impact on your network is amplified, because of the new 2nd and 3rd level connections you have access to. So reach out to new people and always take the initiative to connect with new contacts. Use LinkedIn’s tools to find people you’ve worked with and those you’ve just met. Whenever you meet someone online or offline, be proactive by sending out a connection request while they still remember you. Be an “Open Networker” on LinkedIn, and make sure your email address is easy to find on your page, so everyone can add you as a connection.

image2. Polish your online presence:

  • Cover the basics: Make sure your profile is 100% complete (as you fill out your profile, LinkedIn will show you how completed your profile is)image
  • Make it easy for your connections to sell you and make it easy for your prospects to find you. As advised by Entrepreneur.com, tell your network “whom you have helped and how you have helped them. Explain the benefits you can provide because that’s what really communicates who you are and what you do — not a title. Next, write a clear, concise call to action in the summary section, telling people in your network exactly what you’d like them to do. It may be a phone call, an email or just a visit to your site to sign up on the mailing list.” In this example below, I used my profile to generate a call to action for Badger Maps, but you can use the same logics for your personal summary.image

3. Use Search to map your prospects and collect intelligence: You can find and filter people by different attributes including title, company, location, keyword, company size and seniority level. I’ve used LinkedIn to map out the decision makers within my target prospects. You can also use LinkedIn search to gain a clearer picture of your prospects. As reported by Harvard Business Review, top salespeople use LinkedIn prior to customer meetings to “find out more about the people they will meet. Specifically, they are interested in where they have worked in the past and who they might know in common,” they also use LinkedIn extensively to verify a person’s title and research their competition. In addition, they mentioned, “they will monitor a prospective customer’s connections to find out which competitors and salespeople are working on the account.”

4. Be genuine and provide value to your network: People respond to genuine human interaction, they don’t respond to cold, generic prospecting. They respond even more to contacts that bring them value. So be genuine and provide value to your network. Value can come in any shape and forms. It can be sharing content (like article, white paper, etc)  that you think will be beneficial for your network or it can be facilitating an introduction between two contacts in your network. In the world of LinkedIn, being genuine while bringing value to your network works like a boomerang. Because everyone you know knows someone else, your contacts will more likely to refer to you for potential opportunities once you have built up some good will.

5. Follow the kool kids! Identify and follow influential individuals and groups in your industry. This will allow you to stay current with the industry, spend quality time, and have engaging conversations with your prospects. Top salespeople also use LinkedIn to focus your time and effort on a deep and narrow approach to build influence, enhance credibility, and generate new connections. Besides being active in targeted discussions in each group, you can also start your own group to build influence and add new connections.

6. Put your data to work and integrate your LinkedIn data with the Badger Map: Once you collect data on your prospects, put it to work. LinkedIn allows you to export your contact data into an Excel spreadsheet. Go through your contacts in LinkedIn, tagging people in your network if they are prospects. Next, simply follow these three steps to export that list of tagged prospects:

  • Step 1: Hover over the “Network” link to get to the Contacts tab
  • Step 2: Click on the “Manage” button for the targeted tags
  • Step 3: Click the “Export Connection” link at the bottom right of the screenimage

Once your data is imported into the Badger Map, you can enrich the data by filling in other information you know about your network. Add other lists of customers and prospects to your map. You can use the Badger Map Lead Generation tools to find more prospects, or get more information on your current prospects, such as address, phone number, website, or stage in the sales process. You can link up your CRM with your Badger Map as well.

Turn leads into prospects into customers by reaching out to them to tell them about why your product or service is valuable. As leads show interest, make plans to visit them. Build routes for the day that you are making your sales visit right in the application. Build your schedule for when you’ll be out in the field in advance, and build your routes to have more meetings based on Geography. The goal is to see as many qualified prospects as you can, while wasting as little time as possible behind the wheel.  On average, salespeople get 20% more meetings while driving 20% less using the Badger Map.

To learn more about how find new leads with the Badger Map, watch this 45 sec video:

Steve Benson

Co-founder | Badger Maps

[Image: here]

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