We live in the era of Social Media – The biggest ever revolution in terms of reach and exposure. You are just a few clicks away from connecting to the right person in the target company. Yet, you might not be aware of such possibilities. You may be launching email campaigns and banner ads, and hoping that the mass emails or banners are read and the target becomes interested in you. But all this while, you might not be optimizing your actions through social intelligence.
Remember, a fresh 20 year old sales person who is Social Media savvy has a good edge over you. He might not have the experience or contacts, but he knows whom to talk to and how to talk to them. One of them may just beat you in performance one day and say – “Why are you upset? Don’t you use Social Media, UNCLE?”
So what should you do to stay in the competition? All you need to do is – unlearn whatever you have learned so far in lead generation and start using Social Networks. Here are the reasons why you should.
- Your customers are on Social Media
- Your potential customers are on Social Media
- Their profiles are open and reachable (mostly)
- They are on Social Media to talk and listen
Changes brought by Social Media
The biggest of all is – Open Profiles. Reach anyone you want to talk to directly.
The era of emails, mass marketing, Tele-marketing, TV ads & print ads are slowly dying. The world is moving towards being social, engaging and empowering. In the media world, it is often said that the world is moving away from Paid Advertising to Earned Advertising. The change is big.
So, let’s get started on how we can use LinkedIn to generate Sales leads.
LinkedIn is the most important channel if you are in B2B Sales. The channel is more closed than Twitter or Facebook.
You have to be careful and not become too aggressive on LinkedIn. Yet, you will be doing a bigger injustice if you aren’t aggressive at all.
A) Find people
• Colleague search
• School mate search
• Search using Email contacts import
• Search for your target segment by his profile. It can be industry keyword like ‘Digital Marketing’ or job profile like “Chief Marketing Officer” or “Head of Marketing”.
B) Add contacts you find
• Understand the person by reading his/her profile.
• If he/she has more than 500 connections, you can just invite him choosing one of the relevant options.
• If he/she has fewer connections, you have to be cautious because the person does not accept any random invitation. So you will have less chance to connect and talk to him. You may send him in mails or ask one of your contacts to introduce you. You can do it using the “Introduction Request” feature of LinkedIn.
C) Once you have built a good friends list, do the following:
• Keep updating LinkedIn status with relevant news
• Keep sending emails every month with a new development with your contacts. This could be your new newsletter, eBook or research papers.
• Talk to folks who reply and try to understand his work; look for opportunity and pitch your offerings.
D) Use LinkedIn Groups
You may join 99 LinkedIn Groups. Find active relevant groups and join them. The best groups may not be your industry groups but where your clients and potential clients hang out. Participate in the discussions there.
Ask questions, answer existing questions, vote up answers etc. Remain relevant to the group.
Look for good opportunities to pitch products or service and do it. But do not over do the sales pitch, it will degrade your reputation.
People appreciate if you seek help. Questions like these “Guys, we have launched a new site. How do you like it? ….link ….” Do sell better than saying, “we have launched a new site. You may want to look at it”.
Always call for action.
E) LinkedIn Answers
Participate in Q&As, be relevant and make your personal brand. Company stuff can be sold later. You may ask for suggestions from people about the industry, trends and can talk about your products. Be receptive about people’s thoughts and don’t oversell yourselves.
** This is an extract from our e-book ‘Selling without Spending’. Download the complete version from here
“Lead Generation was never so easy. Sales people can never run out of leads in the Social Media era.”
Bhupendra Khanal, CEO – Simplify360