Blog

by Danielle DiStefano
on January 8, 2016

3 Reasons You Should Be Prospecting on LinkedIn

When it was founded in 2002, LinkedIn’s primary function was professional social networking. Today, the company – which has more than 400 million active members – provides more functionalities than just networking. It’s a platform for recruiting, personal branding, and the topic of this blog post: sales prospecting.

For a sales professional, prospecting is likely one of your most important activities. And it’s one that has serious influence in the short- and long-term. But technology has rendered many traditional prospecting methods inefficient and ineffective. To be successful (and not waste your time), you need to be open to strategies that will maximize the benefit of your efforts. LinkedIn can help.

Here are 3 reasons you should be prospecting on LinkedIn:

1) You’re probably already using it

If you have yet to embrace the prospecting potential LinkedIn has to offer, it’s likely you’re using the social network for another purpose. (Hint: if you aren’t, you should! And if you are, here are some tips to ensure your profile is in tip-top shape.)

The busy salesperson is inundated daily with technologies promising to help improve productivity. In a blog post, SiriusDecisions research director Steven Silver said he met several people at Dreamforce ’15 who shared the sentiment that sales technology is overwhelming. The great thing about LinkedIn is that many business professionals use it as a part of their daily routine. You already know the environment, so taking advantage of one its most useful and underrated features makes for a smoother transition than starting from scratch with an unfamiliar product.

2) Cold calling is dead

It doesn’t mean you’ll never have to pick up the phone again, but using LinkedIn to do research can bring back the value of the prospect call. The platform enables sales professionals to gather some serious insight about a prospect before ever dialing their number.

If you think a prospect’s profile is just a resume, think again. Here’s what else you can learn and leverage:

  • Professional history – check out their experience section for history in their current company and past jobs. Get to know your prospect before you call to eliminate uncertainty.
  • Interests  – knowing where a prospect spends their time on LinkedIn helps you generate tidbits of info to build rapport on the aforementioned phone call. Which groups have they joined? See if they are actively participating in group dialogue to glean insight about…
  • Goals and challenges – this is the gold mine. It’s why you’re calling that prospect in the first place, right? Look for a prospect seeking guidance from other LinkedIn members about pain points in their business to make your call valuable for you and them.

3) Everyone’s on it

40% of LinkedIn’s 400 million members check into the site every single day. That’s a lot of distracting people, chatter, profiles, groups and messages to sort through. More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to prospecting if you don’t know how to filter out the important stuff.

Sounds like a bad thing, right? Wrong. One of LinkedIn’s greatest aspects is its Advanced Search feature. It makes it easy for you, as a sales professional, to weed out the background noise and get in front of important people – fast.

For example, while doing prospect research, you might discover the person you initially planned to call isn’t a decision-maker. And then, you might find the person who is. The few extra minutes you spend with Advanced Search, digging into the depths of LinkedIn members’ titles, companies and keywords, is the difference between making one, tailored phone call and multiple unsuccessful shots in the dark.

 

Prospecting doesn’t need to be more difficult than it already is. Embrace LinkedIn for access to millions of businesspeople. You never know who could be your next prospect.

To learn more about how to leverage LinkedIn now to improve your sales process, check out our most recent webinar