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Effective Sales Prospecting Using LinkedIn: A Step-By-Step Guide

Effective Sales Prospecting Using LinkedIn: A Step-By-Step Guide

The world of sales and marketing is vibrant and constantly transformative. Every day produces new trends, technology, and tactics that we need to keep up with. To effectively maintain homeostasis in this dynamic environment, it is essential to have a few tricks up your sleeve. One such trick is learning how to prospect efficiently.

Prospecting is the most crucial part of the entire sales process. Having a robust pipeline is extremely important for any salesperson. But, how do you do that? It’s done through effective communication and helping the prospect solve a problem. One has to polish the art of reaching out and scoring meetings effectively to crush your quota.

Having said this, most salespeople say that generating new prospects is one of the most challenging items in their to-do list. But before you surrender and give up on prospecting completely, here is a simple guide on how to use LinkedIn to prospect effectively for your organization.

All you need to know on LinkedIn prospecting can be simmered down to these 3 steps:

Step 1: Perfect your Story!
Step 2: Build a View!
Step 3: Be a Relationship Architect!

Step 1: Perfect your Story!

How do your prospects get to know you? Well, most likely by taking a look at your LinkedIn profile. When you schedule a call with a prospect, they will inevitably look at your LinkedIn profile before speaking with you.

Get connected with someone through a mutual acquaintance and they immediately find your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t already realized it, then in this competitive virtual sphere your profile is your bread and butter. So, the first move is to work towards setting up a sophisticated profile. When revamping your Linkedin profile, here are few things to consider: 

  1. Design a thought-provoking headline – Ever had to define what you or your company can do for someone with a 120 character limit? Well, LinkedIn requires you to do just that. These 6 to 8 words are the most crucial part that will define what you can bring to the table. Here is another kicker – this headline appears almost everywhere in LinkedIn – with your news feed, in search results, recommended for you results etc. Be sure to make your headline engaging enough to leave your prospects wanting to learn more about you.
  2. Use a professional headshot for your profile picture – This allows your prospects to put a face to your name. By using a picture that is taken in a professional setting, it will increase your credibility by letting your prospects know that they are dealing with a real person.
  3.  Utilize the background image for your benefit – This is a quite large and valuable piece of real estate at your disposal. Use this space competently to maximize its potential. Pick an image that allows you to display the sparkle that you possess.
  4. Construct a striking summary – Here, you can elaborate on your work life and other achievements. Keep in mind to construct an engrossing start since LinkedIn provides a preview of about 300 characters while displaying your summary. One has to expand the collapsible section to read the summary completely. Display your strengths, targets you have achieved, customer needs and issues addressed etc. While it is easy to say this, a fine control between emotion and profession should be maintained. If you fail to set the right tone using the first two sentences, then you might as well say goodbye to your prospect. 
  5. Add some relevant media – Get the most of this section by uploading relevant media such as videos, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs etc. to as testimonials to some of your career highlights. 
  6. Fashion a brisk experience section – This section is the most resume-like section it will ever get. Recap your career here and always be sure to fill it up and not leave it blank. Provide a brief introduction of the companies you worked at and use bulletin points to outline the tasks completed during that job.
  7. Augment your profile with a few good recommendations – A sure way to beef up your profile is asking for recommendations from your previous clients. Positive testimonials from clients whose needs you have solved will allow your future prospects to gauge your experience and expertise.

Step 2: Build a View!

LinkedIn boasts a total of 650 million users (if not more). So, there exists a high probability that the prospects you are looking for are already LinkedIn. They devour content, post updates, write blogs and make connections on a day-to-day basis. It only makes sense to take a stance with your own views on various topics ranging from everything inside your comfort zone to everything out of it. Let’s take a look at some of the ways this can be accomplished.

1. Join and flourish together with LinkedIn groups

Get curious! One of the ways to accomplish this is to join the millions of groups that are present on LinkedIn. It is not enough to just join a group; you have to continuously illustrate your views and beliefs on conservations happening in the groups. Draw from your extensive experience and troubleshooting skills to provide remedies without directly mentioning your product. This will illuminate your presence to your prospects.

2. Partake in Content Sharing and Conversations

“Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” – Jay Baer, keynote speaker, emcee, author and entrepreneur.

Only by sharing content can you spark a conversation, share an opinion and create a revolution. However, do not go overboard. Make sure to share relevant content. It could be something that your company produces such as blogs, whitepapers, videos, eBooks, etc. You can also share content from industry experts, links to research papers, current news etc. Refrain from just dropping links and disappearing. It is extremely vital to present your own set of opinions and views to spark a conversation and stay relevant.

3. Put Out Original Content

From time to time, it is essential to put out your own personal and original content. It can be a problem that you tackled at work, or just a simple thought you had for the day. This will allow you to seal your presence as a thought provoker.

Step 3: Be a Relationship Architect!

After completing the above steps, don’t just wait in vain for prospects to come to you. Instead you need to strategically reach out to them as well and start a conversation. Here are a few ways to do this. Relationships are extremely tricky to architect when you are face to face with the other person. You can only imagine how delicate it can be while trying to establish a virtual one. Always make sure to choose your words and language wisely. Some of the tools and tactics you can use to generate a prospect list is as follows-

1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

A tool as LinkedIn says is custom-made for sales professionals that allows them to target the right buyers, analyze key insights, and create personalized outreach. With this tool you can –

  • Add personalized set of preferences to search options by using advanced lead and company search. This is where all the thrill happens. With over 20 pre-existing filters, one can modulate a highly amplified prospect list.
  • Using these preferences, search history and other interactions, LinkedIn provides prospect recommendations.
  • Provides diversity and ability to reach out to various decision makers in different hierarchical positions.
  • In mails and Insights can be used to start a conversation with your leads and also keep a track of their activities.

2. Boolean Google Search

This is a free alternative to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. By using the commands AND, OR, NOT and quotation marks one can create a list of relevant LinkedIn profiles. For example –

site:linkedin.com usa “VP of sales” OR “chief sales officer”

3. Contact Decision Makers

The only way to get your prospects to respond back to you is by being genuine. Do not be in a haste to talk about or sell your product. Establishing a rapport with your prospects is extremely important before you start to send them information about your company and product. Be aware and make sure that your product is actually going to provide the solution to their problem or act as ad hoc to enhance their own product. Be polite when engaging with them. Another tip is to always send a thank you note whether the lead was successfully converted or not.

In conclusion, your dream prospect is out there on LinkedIn, waiting to be found. Find them to create a synergy that allows for the business growth of both you and your prospect. Use this guide while adding your own flavor to create a perfect formula for generating a successful prospect list.  Happy Prospecting!

Sushmitha Malali Ramesh

Sushmitha Malali Ramesh

Sushmitha, has been a wanderer most of her life. Having spent her life in a plethora of countries - India, Kuwait, Muscat and the United States of America, she enjoys learning about different cultures and discovering new languages. She wrote her first poem at the age of 13 and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has dabbled in Medical Writing and Education Content Writing and has decided to become a freelance writer for the next unforeseeable future. She is an avid reader and when not writing, loves curling up with a book and hot chocolate. She adores thrillers although they scare the living daylights out of her. She enjoys singing loudly to BTS songs in Korean when no one is looking. She currently lives in Bangalore, India.

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