BUSINESS SOCIAL NETWORKS

LinkedIn – Essential Tool For B2B Prospecting

linkedin-b2b

Today, the sale also goes through social networks. Cold door selling has lived. A first contact with a prospect, especially a decision maker, without preparation and without connection is almost mission impossible. This is the new “social selling” approach, the codes and best practices of which must be known in order to know which network to favor according to your activity and how to use it effectively.

Why And How To Use LinkedIn For Your Prospecting?

1. Introduce Yourself

Your LinkedIn profile is more than just a business card or CV. It is your virtual showcase in the B2B world. It announces who you are, what sets you apart from others, what your background is and your credibility. You are the first ambassador of your company.   

Each prospect you approach will go to your profile. Even before you start a conversation or negotiations, it will form an opinion of you and your business through your social profiles. Taking care of your profile is therefore vital and involves a few key points:

  • a professional photo (LinkedIn is not Facebook)
  • a clear and optimized title (think about the keywords searched by the customers you are targeting)
  • an introduction that makes you want to meet you or learn more about your business
  • a detailed professional background (this is the guarantor of your credibility)
  • a personalized url (for your referencing)
  • editorial content (to show your expertise and reassure)

When you have created your personal profile, you will then create a company page to highlight your offers, products and services. Do not “sell” on your profile.

Later, when you hire your first people, make sure they all link their profiles to your company and that the way you present your business is always consistent.

Finally, don’t forget the last step of your presentation, which is often neglected: you have to promote your profile on your site, on other social networks, in your email signatures, business cards, etc.

2. Build Your Network

The strength of LinkedIn is that it makes most of the companies and decision-makers you want or could do business with in just a few clicks.

After creating your profile, your priority will therefore be to build and develop your network. This of course starts with loading your personal and professional address book. Close or distant, these first-level contacts will open other doors for you and may, if necessary, introduce you to certain contacts in their network.

Joining multiple LinkedIn groups is a great way to spot people with similar interests. And you will be able to come into direct contact with all the members of a group to which you belong, even if they are not part of your network.

Exceeding 500 contacts is the basic goal of any salesperson. But be careful to prefer quality over quantity and always personalize your invitations.

3. Target Your Contacts

Stop wasting your time prospecting blind. Start by defining your ideal clientele and your core target. Then use LinkedIn’s advanced search to filter the profiles (by industry, by type of activity, by region, by job level, etc.) that you will extract from this fantastic pool of prospects. This will increase your chances of finding prospects interested in your products / services and you will be able to personalize your communications.

A good salesperson is, above all, looking for the best ways to generate prospects that he will be able to engage, with whom he will be able to work. It is obvious that on the networks, you have a pool of prospects, but these are potential prospects. It will therefore be necessary to drain these prospects from the network, to tools that you fully master, so as to be able, then, to get in touch with these various prospects to bring them commercial proposals that will be made in a much more complete way, or even in face-to-face, and therefore, outside the networks. (source: LinkedIn)

You will then contact the selected people. The technique to be used often depends on the degree of accessibility of the person. Some profiles are public and you can contact them directly. Others – and this is often the case with decision-makers – are more difficult to reach. But there is a solution …

Any salesperson will tell you: key decision makers are usually inaccessible! No wonder, when you think about it. They are harassed with emails and calls all day long. To avoid wasting their time, they screen their calls, ignore most of their emails, and have assistants to rule out unwanted business approaches. But today, InMail brings a new solution! (source: Salesforce)

So the best way to reach someone who is not part of your network or to whom no one can introduce you is InMail. LinkedIn internal messaging is a form of email on steroids. Indeed, LinkedIn claims that an InMail is 30 times more likely to attract a response than a spontaneous canvassing . But since In Mails are only available with Premium accounts, you will need to consider this investment to boost your prospecting.

4. Get Informed And Prepare For Appointments

Every good B2B salesperson spends a lot of time on LinkedIn not only to find prospects but also to prepare a first contact or a meeting. And it is true that he would be wrong not to take advantage of the mass of information available on trends in his market, on the development of companies that interest him or on the people he will meet (their careers, areas of interest, their skills, etc.).

A detailed knowledge of people and companies makes it much easier to initiate and guide contact and develop convincing arguments.  

Every salesperson knows that change creates opportunity. People arrive, others leave, companies make important announcements … Any change offers a good reason to make contact and offer to help.

LinkedIn makes it easier to be aware of these changes. You can follow any company with a LinkedIn profile. In this way, you will be able to see all the updated information directly. It’s a simple way to stay informed and spot new opportunities. (source: Salesforce)

5. Dialogue, Engage, Interact With Prospects

Social Selling incorporates a new dimension to prospecting: e-reputation and the valuation of expertise. How to take advantage of it?

  • By participating in discussions within targeted groups
  • By posting articles that you have written on your website or blog
  • By relaying and commenting on interesting articles for your future customers.  

In doing so, you will inspire confidence while rendering service to your target. Your notoriety will grow over the course of your interventions: publication of reference content, information or relevant positions.

Be careful not to “sell” your expertise or “spam” your network. This would be the best way to grill yourself with your prospects. On social networks, you have to know how to give (your time, your knowledge) in order to then gain visibility and acquire a certain notoriety. It is only then that you will be able to offer your help (and therefore your services or products) to people who are already receptive and open to your proposals.

The best way to know if someone is interested in your profile or your business is to regularly check who has viewed your profile.

Unless your visitors have set their profile to “anonymous”, it is possible to click on the “Who viewed your profile?” Link. And display a list of these people. The free account limits the number of people visible to five, while paid accounts provide access to the full list.

When you know this trick, consulting the profiles in question can become a very time-consuming activity. Most importantly, this can be useful in two ways:

> The fact that someone has looked at your profile is a good reason to send a connection request.

> If you view the profiles of other people, a certain proportion of those people will view your profile in return. (source: Salesforce)

In Conclusion

Of course, LinkedIn won’t make a sale for you, but if used properly, it will give your prospecting a tremendous boost. There is therefore no longer a minute to lose!

Also Read: How To Generate Leads Via LinkedIn?

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