Now that you understand how to organically attract traffic on LinkedIn and to your website, it’s time to focus on the outbound side of the rodeo. In this article, we’ll teach you four ways to use LinkedIn’s tools to identify, connect and interact with the right companies and people.
1. Build your network with a purpose
Being successful with business development on LinkedIn is all about building relationships with the right people. That means you need to start with clear objectives. Who are you trying to attract and why? What do you know about their needs, challenges and aspirations? What solutions do they seek to improve their business?
Once you have identified your ideal candidates and what matters to them, brainstorm ways to reach out to them on LinkedIn. Find something relevant to make a personal connection when sending a connection request. For example:
Comment on a piece of content they’ve written,
Congratulate them on an achievement,
Mention a mutual connection or colleague, or
Send them a link to a resource that’s focused on their needs.
If you lead by providing value to them, they’re much more likely to accept your connection request.
For best results, practice and refine your outreach approach with your B-level prospects. You don’t want to waste your early efforts on your A prospects. Why? Because if you inadvertently alienate them, your opportunity to connect with and influence them may be gone forever.
2. Following prospects: An alternative to connecting with them
Often, trying to get busy decision-makers to connect with you on LinkedIn is challenging. Why? Because most businesspeople have had the experience of accepting a connection request on LinkedIn, which is quickly followed by a hard-sell sales pitch. As a result, these gatekeepers tend to be very cautious about who they accept into their personal networks.
One way to sidestep this challenge is to follow them on LinkedIn. This enables you to see and comment on their posts without having to request their permission. It’s an excellent way to gradually build trust with them.
3. Leverage events to grow your network
Another powerful way to grow your network of ideal prospects is to leverage trade shows and conferences as opportunities to connect. Reach out to prospects prior to the event and ask if they will be attending. Offer to meet up on site. Once again, the usual rules of engagement apply: Build a relationship first. Lead with value. Sell later.
While on-site, use the cool “connect nearby” feature on the LinkedIn smartphone app to instantly connect to key people you meet there. This works best if you’re attending a meeting where the attendees have a shared interest or are working on a common project. Don’t use it to “stalk” people.
4. Build trust and stay engaged with Sales Navigator
Most executives “get” that they need to build the number of contacts in their LinkedIn network, and that they must be the right people. But many of them don’t realize you need to have a strategy to STAY engaged with your ideal prospects. Craft a strategy and a cadence for reaching out and following up with your ideal prospects.
A tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help. This amazing toolset enables you to identify potential customers and buying influences and to build and nurture trusted relationships with them.
Here’s how you can use it to support your outbound marketing efforts:
Advanced lead and company searches: Granular search options enable you to zero in on the most relevant and promising companies that meet your search criteria. You can then drill down to identify key stakeholders within each target organization. You can search by seniority, function, relationships to your connections and other parameters. You can then save searches, effectively converting Sales Navigator into your personalized CRM database.
Lead recommendations: When you save accounts or leads in Sales Navigator, it uses that information to generate recommended leads to help streamline the prospecting process. It learns from your past searches and automatically scours LinkedIn for leads that match your search criteria.
This data can be especially valuable if a contact at one of your sales leads suddenly stops responding. LinkedIn can help you find alternate contacts with whom you can continue the conversation. It can also be useful for account expansion by alerting you to key people you should connect with in other business units of the company.
Real-time updates: One of the biggest advantages of Sales Navigator is that it flags connections who are sending out buying signals. For example, it can alert you when they share a piece of content, are mentioned in the news, are promoted or comment on an article. The insights you gain from these alerts enables you to craft engaging, insightful messages that are likely to spark conversations with them. Showing that you are up to speed on what they value can help you establish credibility and build trust with them.
Sales Navigator even provides a series of “icebreakers,” intelligent suggestions that can help you generate engaging conversations and interactions with your leads.
PointDrive presentations: This powerful feature of Sales Navigator enables you to package content in a visually elegant online repository and share it with your leads using personalized links. Once your lead accesses a PointDrive file, it tracks how they’re engaging with it. This enables you to gauge their buying intent and follow up more effectively.
On a larger scale, PointDrive enables your team to understand which content types and topics generate the greatest engagement, so you can get better at serving up the most relevant resources at each step of their buying cycle.
For only $65 per month for an individual and $99 a month for a team, an investment in Sales Navigator is a no-brainer. It will pay for itself many times over by helping you identify, connect and interact with the right companies and people.