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Ten reasons why B2B sales managers should take LinkedIn seriously

Gill BarstowDo you need to build your pipeline?  Do you need to win new business, or penetrate existing accounts?  You might have a profile on LinkedIn – you might even have a company page – but the real goldmine is in getting all of your customer-facing team to engage in using LinkedIn as a business generation tool.  If you are in B2B why should you take LinkedIn seriously?

1.  To give leads to your sales team…

Sales people continually need leads of the right quality and quantity. LinkedIn can be a highly effective way of generating new senior-level opportunities.

We won a deal for £1m for a major financial company – LinkedIn played a key role in getting us onto the tender list.’

2.  …because the old ways don’t work so well any more

Cold calling is getting a bad name. It takes more effort, and cost, to generate each lead. Even old-style networking isn’t as effective as it used to be. LinkedIn is a more intelligent and focused approach to prospecting

3.  Your clients and prospects use LinkedIn…

LinkedIn is the most prominent, and most trusted, social media tool for business users, with 28% of its 200 million members at director level or above.

4.  …so make use of your sales team’s LinkedIn profiles …

When your clients are about to meet one of your sales people, they may well look them up on LinkedIn. So encourage your team to use LinkedIn as a client-oriented portal, not a recruiter-oriented one, to give a positive image to customers.

5.  …and their personal networks

Your network of business contacts, and those of your sales team, constitutes a valuable resource. It’s like a massive emotional bank account. Are you leveraging your relationships to gain introductions?

‘I got in to see the IT director at a major target company through LinkedIn.’

6.  To speed up the sales cycle

Personal recommendations leapfrog the barriers that stand in the way of getting through to prospects, especially at senior level. The warmth of a personal referral can dramatically speed up the sales cycle.

“I found out through LinkedIn that their chairman and I had a mutual friend. So rather than a cold first meeting we started discussing how we could work together.”

7. To make sales meetings more effective

Encourage your sales people to look up clients on LinkedIn before meeting them for the first time. The quicker you can build trust with a new client and get onto serious discussion of business challenges, the better.

‘I looked through LinkedIn and was connected via a colleague at a previous company. He contacted the client and recommended me. When I met the CIO, he said “You must be Sean – I saw your profile on LinkedIn”. It made the meeting much warmer and more positive.’

8.   To network effectively and map their accounts

There are some powerful search tools on LinkedIn that help your sales team identify exactly the people they need to talk to – e.g. by vertical, geography, and seniority level.

9.  To send targeted messages

LinkedIn offers many different ways of sending out promotional messages: targeted inmails, status updates, and groups.

10. To be ahead of the game

Although many companies use LinkedIn, most are unaware of its real power and don’t use it to the full. There is a window of opportunity to use it before it becomes saturated. Be an ‘early adopter’ and get ahead of your competition

Orbit Business Development are running a series of Open trainings to help you find out more – readers of the Kirkpatrick Hope newsletter can claim a £50 discount on the per delegate fee.

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