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    Finding Leads on LinkedIn: A Channel Partner's Guide

    Kaitlan Whitteberry

    Social sellers create 45% more lead opportunities than those that don’t, and 78% outsell their peers who don’t use social media as a sales tool. What’s more, 75% of B2B buyers consult social media before making their final purchase decision. Convinced it should be part of your strategy? You’re right. Effective social selling is all about these three stages of interaction: Find, Connect and Engage.

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    You need to find prospective customers who are open and a good fit for your product. You should focus on connecting with them on a personal level, and find out how you can help them. Eventually you should be educating them with relevant information, not direct sales pitches, that will help them trust you and look to you for future help. Who knows, they just might trust you enough to look to you when they’re ready to buy. 

    Tip #1: Look Your Best

    This is one of those tips that people often over look. You get so busy making meaningful connections that you neglect your own profile! This can make you appear lazy, and uninformed. It will only take a few minutes to do this, but your entire approach will come across in a better light if you do. Here are some actions you can take to make your profile really shine:

    Add a professional photo Screen_Shot_2016-02-26_at_10.43.21_AM.png

    You may not like having your photograph taken, but studies show others appreciate it. You’re 11 times more likely to have your profile viewed by others if you have a photo. See if your company offers headshots during the year, or have a friend take a photo of you at work in a clean, well-lit area preferably with a blank background or solid colored wall.

    Complete your summary

    Why are you here? You may know why, but others looking at your profile for the first time may not. Take a few moments to add in your goals and what your current position entails. Make it personable and relatable, but feel free to mention your accomplishments too. 

    Upload work examples and media

    Show off all of that hard work! It’s one thing to talk about how great you are, but entirely another to show it. In your summary, you have the opportunity to add “media” to your page. Feel free to add reports of your progress, successful customer stories, or blogs you’ve written. If you need guidance, take a look at our blog post on optimizing your LinkedIn profile.

    Tip #2: Leverage Your Mutual Connections

    No one likes to be stalked by someone they don’t know, and especially not approached just to be sold to. However, someone is five times more likely to accept your connection request if you have a 1st or 2nd degree connection. If you’re still not comfortable taking that first step, ask one of your connections to personally introduce you. It will come across as less abrupt and more genuine if you take the time to reach out through mutual party instead of directly approaching the prospect. Leads_On_LinkedIn_Channel_Partner_2.jpg

    Connecting with the right people matters too. There are an average of 7 people involved in the purchasing process of a B2B sale. It’s much more beneficial to send fewer of the right message to the right people than spreading a generic message to everyone. Your job is to discover which executives matter most, and spend your time advising them and helping them directing their team towards an informed decision everyone will be satisfied with.

    You can also connect with people you meet at FM conferences, work functions or just people you’ve met throughout your career. If you upgrade to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Professional level, you will gain additional access to connections you may not have been able to reach before. It also gives you 15 inmail messages per month and unlimited profile searches. However, this is a paid service. Take a look at the other benefits to see if it might be a good investment for you and your sales team.

    Tip #3: Be a Source of Information

    Build your credibility by establishing yourself as a key member in the workplace management community. Join groups like IFMA, Facilities Management Group, and International Facilities Management Professionals. Spend 5-10 minutes each day looking through your connections' activity, and take a peak in LinkedIn groups to find what’s trending in the industry that day. All you have to do is “like” or “share” an article to spread it through your connections’ newsfeed. This will help you appear knowledgeable and active in the marketplace - and will only help build your credibility.

    If you really want to go the extra mile, try publishing a LinkedIn Pulse article. This is LinkedIn’s virtual newspaper - where influencers from around the globe publish articles they write about a range of topics. If you have something valuable to say, try writing it down and turning it into a post people want to share. To do this, click “Publish a Post” on the section below your name on your newsfeed page. Be sure to add images to your Pulse article, and include a few methods for individuals to contact you. Also, it is strongly encouraged to keep these articles helpful, not sales-driven. Use this as an opportunity to showcase what you know, not what you can sell.

    Leads_On_LinkedIn_Channel_Partner.png

    Tip #4: Make it Personal

    Sales is only getting more personalized, and there is no exception when it comes to selling on social. People expect a certain level of attention when being sold to, especially online. Utilize your Salesforce or other sales management software to keep track of your interactions with potential leads. LinkedIn also has a handy reminder section that shows you when you first connected with another user. It is located right beneath their personal information on the connection’s page. You can add notes, reminders or tags to that relationship. Know that any information you place in this section is only visible to you and not the connections themselves.

    Also, once you become a connection you can follow their activity in real time. It will appear in your newsfeed, so you can see what types of articles they like and what groups they are active in. Try adding an insightful comment to a blog post they share, or answer a question they asked in a LinkedIn group. Remember, be helpful, not salesy.

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    Tip #5: Take it Offline

    This is one step many people forget. Even though social selling is done primarily online, the final stage is of course to connect with your prospects face-to-face if you can! Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go out to lunch right away. Once they've shown interest in your product, schedule a demo to teach them more about the program, or ask if a what time would be best to schedule a quick call to answer any questions they have. Continue to be helpful, insightful and always be listening. You'll find that the connections you make on social media are some of the best resources to not only finding potential buyers, but having them refer you as well. 

    Don't be afraid to venture out into the world of social selling! With technology on our side, connecting with people all over the globe is now possible. Your customer is out there, now go find them!

    Kaitlan Whitteberry

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kaitlan Whitteberry

    Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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