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Does your sales team have trouble meeting their sales goals? If so you aren’t alone. 67% of sales professionals miss their quota. Often this is because sales professionals chase the wrong prospects and can’t access decision makers. Using LinkedIn for sales lead generation can help your sales representatives meet (and possibly beat) your team sales goals.

Sales Professionals often Chase the Wrong Prospects

Salespeople spend more time pursuing prospects who aren’t a good fit for the organization than they do closing qualified deals.

40% of sales representatives don’t know how to qualify leads. If your salespeople don’t know how to generate leads that are a good fit for your services, then your sales team will continue to miss their sales quotas.

Understanding how to generate leads takes knowing who to target as well as understanding where prospects go to research potential vendors.

According to a recent Sirius Decisions study, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. SuperOffice.com learned that 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers use social media in the decision making process.

Using LinkedIn for sales lead generation helps answer the “where do I go to generate leads?” question for B2B companies. For while there may be multiple sites for B2C companies to utilize for converting prospects, there is one social media site that is the best for B2B sales opportunities. That site is LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn for Sales Lead Generation

B2B marketers and sales professionals alike are finding LinkedIn as a useful resource for lead generation. Over 80% of B2B social media lead generation results come from LinkedIn.

Some of the reasons why LinkedIn works so well for lead generation include:

  • 40 million LinkedIn users are decision-makers for their respective organizations
  • 61 million LinkedIn users are influencers for their respective organizations
  • 75% of people on LinkedIn are using it to research people and companies

LinkedIn is a robust platform for lead generation. If your salespeople don’t know who to target on LinkedIn, however, then a LinkedIn lead generation strategy isn’t going to be successful.

Social Media Lead Generation Has to Include Targeting

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Using LinkedIn for Sales Leads with Advanced Search

For any lead generation strategy to succeed, there needs to understand who the target prospect is. If your salespeople don’t know who the company’s ideal prospect is then sales efforts are wasted pursuing the wrong target.

Therefore, the first step to helping your sales team meet their goals is to teach your sales representatives who the company’s ideal prospect is. The information you deliver to your sales team needs to be translatable into an online search.

All social media lead generation strategies require demographic and psychographic details about a prospect to generate accurate search results. A LinkedIn lead generation strategy needs to start with demographic information but can include psychographic parameters with the right tools.

LinkedIn’s basic and professional service levels offer a search feature that will allow salespeople to do a basic search for target prospects. If you are familiar with  Boolean search, you can use Boolean on LinkedIn to help you refine your search to create a list of potential prospects.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Psychographics

If you or your sales representative purchase the Sales Navigator LinkedIn subscription, there are more advanced search parameters available that will allow your salespeople to create a more distilled version of a prospect list. These parameters can include psychographic aspects of a customer profile.

An example of advanced parameters include:

  • Search by company revenue: When you research accounts first then use those results to create a search for individuals
  •  Search by school: if your prospect profile includes the degree a prospect should hold then you can add the schools that offer that degree
  • Search by groups: If your salesperson is in groups that are relevant to your prospect, then the sales rep’s search can include those groups
  • Search by years of experience: If your prospect profile includes individuals in a specific age range, then your salespeople can search by years of experience in a given field. This isn’t exact but it can help.

Using these advanced search parameters helps to create LinkedIn search results that are a more accurate depiction of your company’s ideal prospect.

More to A Qualified Lead then Just the Prospect Profile

Teaching your sales team the company’s target prospect constitutes only the first step to qualifying a lead. Other elements of a qualified lead should include:

  • The prospect has some ideas regarding the solution they are looking for
  • They are either the primary decision maker or a key decision maker
  • They have a budget for purchasing the solution and can afford your solution
  • What you offer helps solve the problem the prospect is researching

Identifying the prospect as a key decision-maker helps your sales team qualify a prospect. However, as we discussed at the beginning of this post, many salespeople have trouble identifying and communicating with decision makers. In fact, 48% of salespeople can’t access decision makers.

Therefore, using LinkedIn for sales lead generation can help your sales representatives overcome two major obstacles in the lead generation process.

Finding Decision Makers on LinkedIn

Including the title of your company’s ideal prospect in LinkedIn’s Advanced Search bar will help your sales team identify potential leads in their first, second and third degree LinkedIn network. Once you have that information, you can use a mature  LinkedIn lead generation strategy to find additional decision makers at the same company.

Clicking on the company name in the Experience Section

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Company Page with Sales Navigator

Once your sales rep has a list of likely prospects in the LinkedIn search results, they can click on a person’s name to review the individual’s LinkedIn profile. Clicking on the organization in the Experience section of the contact’s profile will do one of two things:

  • If the company created a LinkedIn Company page, clicking on the company name will take you to the Company page.  On the company page, there will be a hyperlink titled “See all__ employees on LinkedIn.” Clicking that link will take you to a results page that lists the other people who work at the organization and are also on LinkedIn
  • If the organization didn’t create a LinkedIn Company page, then clicking on the company name will take you to a LinkedIn results page that will list other people who also list that company on their LinkedIn profiles and the title they hold at that organization

Once your salesperson has the list of other people who work at the organization they can click on each individual’s name to view the different LinkedIn profiles.

Looking at the People Also Viewed

Another option your sales team has for finding multiple decision makers at a specific organization is to look at the “People Also Viewed” section located on the right side of a LinkedIn profile. Scanning this list of people will help your salespeople locate decision makers at the same organization and other organizations that the sales team can use to expand their list of potential leads.

Sales Navigator Additional Options

With a Sales Navigator subscription, your salespeople will have some additional ways to view additional decision makers:

  • Leads Similar to: If the potential lead is a first or third-degree connection, scrolling to the bottom of the contact’s LinkedIn profile will bring you to a section titled “Leads similar to (prospect’s name).” This section offers details on other leads at the prospect’s organization and other companies
  • Recommended leads at: If the prospect is a1st or 2nd-degree connection, towards the bottom right-hand side of a LinkedIn profile, is a section titled “Recommended leads at:” If there are other leads at that organization, LinkedIn will list them here for the salesperson to view and save
  • “_ decision makers at__” If you have Sales Navigator, viewing the company page in regular LinkedIn will also show you a list of the number of decision makers at the organization on the upper right corner of the screen

Strategies to Contact Decision Makers

 

Shared Connections

All LinkedIn subscription levels will allow you to see mutual connections with a LinkedIn contact who is in your second-degree network. Mutual connections can help your sales representative increase the likelihood that an executive will accept a salesperson’s request to connect on LinkedIn.  

If your salesperson reaches out to a mutual connection and asks that acquaintance to introduce the sales rep to the second-degree connection they want to meet, then the prospect is more likely to accept a connection request.

Once your salesperson develops a relationship with one contact at an organization, then that contact can introduce your sales rep to the other decision-makers at the organization.

Sales Navigator Offers Additional Insights and Strategies

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Use Highlights in Sales Navigator to Connect with Decision Makers

A LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscription offers your sales team additional ways to find and connect with decision makers at a specific organization if the prospect is a second-degree connection.

When you review a second-degree profile of a contact who is a potential lead in Sales Navigator you will see a Highlights section. In that Highlights section you will see:

  • “What you share in common”
  • “Your best path in”
  • “(Prospect’s name) recent activity on LinkedIn”

These insights can help your salesperson be more successful when they reach out to decision makers on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn for sales lead generation helps your sales team solve major issues salespeople have that prevent them from meeting sales goals. Your sales team will be able to create a laser-targeted strategy for searching for the company’s ideal prospects. Sales representatives will also be able to locate and communicate with multiple decision makers at an organization. Finding and communicating with the right prospects is an important step to meeting individual sales goals.

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