1- Freely give and receive recommendations:
The Internet is a world of views, likes, shares, and comments. But best of all is a heart-felt recommendation, which you can do on LinkedIn. Nothing boosts morale, loyalty, and friendship, like an unsolicited recommendation. Try it. And don’t be afraid to ask for it from co-workers, friends, and even customers.
2- Define your offensive sales strategy:
As an old football coach, I know you need both offense and defense. Offense on LinkedIn is sales, marketing, and recruiting. Defense is preventing your best employees from being recruited away and your customers stolen by the competition. Everything you learn to do here and elsewhere, recruiters and your competition are learning as well. Keep that in mind when accepting invitations to “connect”.
3- Find doorways to prospects:
Just like you want to focus certain people in your company to be Doorways (lots of connections), there are people at almost every other company who are naturally more connected than others. Connect to those that are highly connected in their own company and they open the doorway for you.
4- Teach 3×3 analysis to all inside sales people:
Before your sales reps make a call to a prospect, have them spend 3 minutes and find 3 things on LinkedIn to talk about. It’s much more compelling than talking about the weather. Steve Richard of Vorsight shares this LinkedIn technique with clients.
5- “Test and Invest” in premium services:
I have tested the value of Premium Services on LinkedIn (the packages that cost money for Sales, Recruiting, and Job Seekers.) We have found it to be one of the lowest cost, highest return values for lead generation.
6- Use InMail strategically:
InMail is a great service LinkedIn provides where they guarantee a response through a request for introduction, or they give you a credit to use another InMail.
I recently interviewed an industry training consultant by the name of Jamie Shanks, of Sales for Life who uses LinkedIn InMail to generate leads for himself and clients for about $20 a lead. He gets a 12% contact to meeting ratio on the first attempt with an increase to a 20% rate with a multi-contact approach.
In a world where Google Adwords leads often cost well over $100 (speaking from experience), LinkedIn is proving to be highly effective.
7- Knock response rates out of the park through LinkedIn:
At InsideSales.com we constantly test different media through which to send messages to prospects, in addition to testing the content of the messages themselves. In terms of response rates, emails range between .1% and .3%. The exact same message sent by LinkedIn in our early in-house tests responded 300% better. Recent tests are much better (but I have to keep a few aces up my sleeve.)
8- Have sales reps join industry and local LinkedIn Groups:
The old days of lunch clubs and breakfast networking groups are being replaced by online groups. I wrote a while back about Trish Bertuzzi, the Founder and CEO of The Bridge Group, in Boston. She formed a LinkedIn industry group called Inside Sales Experts. When I first joined there were 8,000 members. I checked today and there are 17,755. I don’t know anywhere else on the planet where that many inside sales professionals congregate. Over the years I have now met hundreds of them and I count them as friends. I got involved in their discussions and made friends and Over the years I have now met hundreds of them and I count them as friends. I got involved in their discussions and made friends and acquaintances.
Trish’s only rule? No self-promotion.
9- Use advanced search to target specific titles and industries:
Besides Groups, you can search for the exact title of people and industry of companies that fit your perfect target prospect. The Premium service lets you see many more profiles when you search, and it provides more powerful filters to search by. The Premium service pays for itself in saved labor costs alone.
10- Follow your customers:
Using the LinkedIn company accounts feature, post your own company information, but also follow other companies. Follow your customers. LinkedIn ties you into news feeds. It helps you meet the right people to offer a better experience.
11- Follow your prospects:
Information and sales intelligence often provide “trigger events” that help you know when your prospects may be expanding or growing and thereby needing more of what you sell.