LinkedIn is changing the world of sales as we know it. Gone are the days where people rely solely on exchanging business cards and keeping them handy in their rolodex. With this ever-expanding professional social networking site, people can stay connected with essentially anyone that they have met/work with on a professional basis. In a nutshell, LinkedIn is a salesperson’s new best friend.
Here are some tips for using LinkedIn to your full advantage:
- The (somewhat) obvious tip: Ask everyone at your company and previous companies to be in your network. Remember, the more people you are connected to (1st connection), the larger your overall network will be (1st, 2nd and 3rd connections). As an outbound prospector, when searching for people in the future you will have a greater chance of this individual being a 2nd or 3rd connection, which will give you greater access to their profile information.
- If a person is not at all in your network (not a 1st, 2nd or 3rd connection), chances are you will not be able to see their name and other personal information. You more than likely will only be able to see their title and company. Here’s the best trick in the book to get the anonymous person’s info: copy their title and name directly from LinkedIn and enter it into Google… more than likely the search results will produce the name of this person, and will route you directly to their LinkedIn profile. As a sales person, this trick made my life a lot easier.
- Join groups that are relevant to your target persona. By joining these groups, you will be able to send group members direct messages (you aren’t able to send direct messages unless someone is your 1st connection). Also, you can start discussion threads and join in on other members’ discussion topics, prove your expertise in the space, and engage with people who could help you drive your business forward. Trust me, your cold call will be a lot less “chilly” if you reference some of the ideas that your prospect made reference to in your shared group.
OpenView Venture Partners, one of the top venture capital firms in Boston, invests in expansion stage high growth-software, Internet, and technology enabled companies. The Labs team, the operational support arm of the VC, works with the portfolio to strengthen their sales teams, marketing teams, finance teams, legal teams, etc.