Using LinkedIn can be the most impactful Demand Generation tool in your arsenal. As sales and marketing technology create more efficiency – so has the resistance to these tools. There have been numerous tools that have sprung up of late that automate the LinkedIn connection and communication process. It can be effective – but it can also destroy your brand within your network if you use it incorrectly. Try these steps to create meaningful conversations within LinkedIn:
Optimize your Profile
Make a good first impression and complete the information on your profile, adding skills, certification, causes, and education helps strengthen your profile making the first reaction a good reaction. I share a complete Bio about myself and my company as well as upload any videos or documentation the company has published.
Don’t let your Headline become a Billboard! That is a turn-off. Tell the world your title and your company – then provide a small value prop. Not the other way around. Use a banner that is specific to your business and your branding. Have a recent, professional picture for your bio with you alone as the subject. Try not to have a wedding picture or something cropped out.
Define your target using ABM
Account-Based Marketing isn’t new – but it is en vogue. Quite simply, it is a methodology that focuses an organization’s sales and marketing efforts on a select number of accounts that are most likely to buy your products and solutions. The process is white hot. SiriusDecisions has reported 91% of sellers that use Account-Based methodologies have indicated a larger deal size
The first step is to identifying ideal prospects is to look in the current customer base by firmagraphic details. Most companies will look for customer accounts by similar size, location, industry, revenue, and tech stack. Stated otherwise, if your best customers are in a specific industry, have a certain number of employees, and deploy a competitive or complimentary technology – then companies that also fit that profile will be your best prospects.
The second step is identifying the people that are making decisions at your targeted accounts. While it might seem intuitive, a great exercise is to reverse engineer your sales process to uncover all the stakeholders.
I receive a lot of LinkedIn Connections and accept the ones I think are sincere. How do I know if someone is using boilerplate messaging – it reads something like this invite I have waiting in my LinkedIn Inbox:
“I’m reaching out because I see that we have some shared connections. I always like expanding my network so I thought it would be great to connect.”
I recommend a much more tailored and sincere approach – even if you are automating the process. Always address the invitee in the invite – Hi Scott! Next, tell the invitee you are looking to connect because you work with other (title) in the (industry) and wanted to see if you could help with (problem common to title.) Always finish the invite with Thanks and take care to humanize the message. Here is an example:
“Hi Scott, I am looking to connect because we work with marketers in the software industry to help them find contacts globally. Thanks and take care, Scott”
This approach is honest, tailored, and most importantly effective.
Once the invitee accepts your invitation – DO NOT pitch them. Simply thank them for the connection with a simple one-word sentence. Thanks for connecting – Scott. LinkedIn will notify when this happens and even encourages the same messaging. Then let the new connection see you as an active participant in LinkedIn – be social. You can also follow their company to be notified of any triggering events or headlines.
Participate in discussions to raise your profile to your new connection and their connections, but more importantly start your own. I make it a point to post something everyday that is relevant to my connections even if I didn’t write it. You also want to set up daily notifications for people within our network that have a new job or birthday – congratulate them.
Once you are connected within LinkedIn – you can usually get access to the connections email and phone number. Create a profile for these new connections within your CRM and set up a reminder for the initial solicitation. I recommend waiting two – four weeks before you solicit your new connection for an appointment. Set up a notification to add these guys to a multi-touch campaign. There are numerous methodologies around the proper medians and steps to a demand gen campaign, but I like this one the best:
- LinkedIn Message – VERY short message about any evaluations or obstacles you can help with. Try the Challenger model of guessing the problem they may have.
- Email – Similar to the Linkedin Message but add a calendar link and redirects back to your website.
- Phone Call – Most likely a VM but saying that you wanted to see if you could catch the connection.
- LinkedIn Message – You don’t want to be pushy – but you do want to see if there is any interest.
- Email – Dear John Email telling the connection you understand it might not be a good time, but you are available if they need anything.
Add LinkedIn to your Microsoft Office
Outlook’s new LinkedIn integration lets you connect your Microsoft and LinkedIn accounts. By doing so, you share basic info between them (like your contacts and calendar) to make both work even better. For example, if you want to email someone you’re connected with on LinkedIn but don’t have their email address in your Outlook contacts, you won’t have to open the LinkedIn website and copy their address. The Outlook integration will auto-complete LinkedIn contacts for you.
Another use case is letting you learn a bit about people you haven’t met yet. If you’re scheduled for a meeting with someone you don’t know, the LinkedIn integration with your calendar will let you see a bit about that person before you meet them.