If you asked any B2B sales professional to create their dream social media platform, they would probably build something like LinkedIn. This site has over 575 million users, including almost all your potential customers.
Clearly, this is an opportunity too good to ignore. However, success is not guaranteed. Just like any other sales channel, you need to invest your time and resources wisely when using LinkedIn.
In this post, we are going to look at what makes LinkedIn such a goldmine, and how you can start generating B2B sales via this professional network.
Why LinkedIn Is a Powerful Tool for B2B Sales
Conferences have always been one of the best places for sales teams to find and connect with prospects. It makes sense really; you’re in a massive room full of prospects, with the opportunity to walk over and start a conversation.
LinkedIn is the virtual equivalent. Except, instead of a few hundred delegates, this conference room contains an entire planet full of decision makers.
What’s more, all of these people are searchable. That means you don’t have to wander around aimlessly in the hope of bumping into a CEO.
B2B Sales on LinkedIn: The Stats
It’s well known that social selling is an effective strategy in B2B sales. According to most sales reps, LinkedIn is the best place to deploy this approach — and by some distance.
Here are some key stats about B2B sales on LinkedIn:
- There are 55 million companies on LinkedIn
- 80% of leads from social media come through LinkedIn
- There are 61 million “senior-level influencers” on LinkedIn
- 80% of LinkedIn members drive business decisions at their companies
There are many more compelling statistics we could quote, but you probably get the idea!
How to Use LinkedIn for B2B Sales: 7 Key Strategies
Of course, there is a difference between recognizing an opportunity and actually taking it. If you would like to supercharge your B2B sales on LinkedIn, here are seven essential sales strategies you should adopt today.
1) Optimize Your Company Page
Before you do anything else on LinkedIn, it’s really important to tidy up your company page.
Why? Well, this is your shop window. If you reach out to prospects on LinkedIn, your company page is where they will look for more information about your organization.
Instead of boring them with a bland “about us” section, you can dazzle potential customers with a carefully crafted pitch. With minimal input, you have started the sales process.
Another important ingredient of any LinkedIn company page is SEO. Many people use LinkedIn’s own search function to find service providers. As with Google, appearing high in the search results gives you a massive advantage over the competition.
Here are some other areas you can upgrade:
- Your company profile picture and banner image – Use these visuals assets to establish your brand
- Company info fields – Be sure to include contact details, your location, and other key information
- Showcase pages – These custom feeds allow you to highlight individual brands operated by your company
With all of these changes, the goal is to attract B2B leads by converting your company LinkedIn page into a very social landing page.
2) Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to Hunt Down Prospects
As the name suggests, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a suite of specialized tools that are designed for sales reps. While this section of the platform is locked behind a paid subscription, the monthly outlay is worth every cent.
One of the key features is advanced search functionality. This allows you to seek out prospects by job title, seniority, location, industry, company size, and many other criteria.
In the search results, Sales Navigator lets you save individual profiles as potential leads with a click. On the homepage, you will then see important updates about all the prospects you have saved — such as when they post updates or change jobs.
Sales Navigator also offers up suggested prospects, and the version for sales teams allows you to target your colleagues’ connections.
Want to reach out to a prospect? Through Sales Navigator, you can even ask a common connection in your professional network to make an introduction.
3) Connect and Engage With Prospects
When you find a lead with potential, the next step is to open the conversation.
Connecting with prospects is an obvious move. Not everyone will accept your request, but you can increase your chances by writing the recipient a note. LinkedIn only gives you limited characters to work with, so focus on the reason why your prospect might be interested.
Once the connection is made, it’s important to keep nurturing the lead. InMail gives you the opportunity to write a cold email-style pitch, but we suggest you keep it more concise and ask to schedule a call.
In some cases, you might be better off waiting a while before sliding into those DMs. Experienced sales reps will often comment on content posted by prospects, and offer recommendations in order to warm up the lead.
Once you have built the foundations of a working relationship, you may have a better chance of success with your pitch.
4) Share Relevant Content via LinkedIn Pulse and LinkedIn Groups
The line between B2B marketing and sales is often blurred on LinkedIn. Technically speaking, sharing content is a form of digital marketing. But in truth, it can also serve as the first stage of the sales funnel.
The key is posting content that appeals to your target audience. Of all LinkedIn users, only 1% actually share content on a regular basis — so your LinkedIn posts have a good chance of being seen.
If you use LinkedIn Pulse, that chance increases significantly. This tool is the platform’s built-in news service. When you publish anything with Pulse, your connections may receive a notification. It’s a very effective way of reaching a lot of prospects.
In some cases, you can actually use Pulse to deliver a very direct pitch. For example, some businesses post inviting offers and ask users to claim them by sending an InMail message. It’s kind of like lead generation, except you have the chance to start a conversation immediately.
In some cases, you may get better results with a softer approach. Publishing educational content on LinkedIn Pulse is a strong inbound marketing strategy, and you have the opportunity to establish your brand as a thought leader.
And of course, every time someone in your network likes, shares, or comments on your content, their connections will see. You could call it “viral sales.”
Want to extend your reach even further? LinkedIn groups provide the ideal opportunity to share your content with a specific audience. These communities are usually based around an interest or industry, making it super easy to target potential clients.
5) Run Some LinkedIn Ads
An obvious way to attract and convert B2B leads through LinkedIn is by running paid ads.
In comparison with some other social networks, the cost of conversion on LinkedIn is quite high. However, that doesn’t matter too much in B2B sales, because one client can spend thousands of dollars.
In addition, LinkedIn is entirely based around business. As a consequence, you can target your ads based on criteria such as industry, role, company size, and more. This means you’re much more likely to attract genuine prospects.
There are several different ad formats to choose from on LinkedIn. When it comes to selling products and services, your best option is probably an image carousel or conversation ad.
The former appears as a mini image gallery in the main feed, acting as a virtual billboard. The latter is a form of messaging, where a chabot that is programmed with your content will engage with prospects.
Generally speaking, visual ads offer the best return on investment on LinkedIn. That said, other ad formats might work better for products and services that are less easily explained in images.
6) Use LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index
Wondering if your efforts are working? LinkedIn has a metric for that: SSI, or social selling index.
Delivered as a score out of 100, this stat helps you track competency in social selling over time. To come up with a figure, LinkedIn marks your work in four key areas:
- Establishing a personal brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
You can see your SSI, along with scores for the individual points above, in the Social Selling Dashboard.
Clearly, SSI is not as important as your conversion rate or cost per conversion. But if you pay attention to your scores, this feature can guide you in the right direction.
For instance, if your “Building relationships” score is a little low, it’s probably a good idea to start leaving more comments and sending more messages. It’s essentially a coaching system, created by LinkedIn for sales professionals.
7) Research Leads on LinkedIn
While it’s definitely possible to find and convert leads through LinkedIn, there is an even better way to use the platform in your sales process.
Aside from being a social network, this platform is the world’s biggest professional directory. Whenever a promising lead joins your mailing list or schedules a call, there is a good chance you can find that individual on LinkedIn.
For salespeople, this represents a golden opportunity. Instead of sending an impersonal email or making a call to a complete stranger, they can get to know every lead through in-depth background research.
When it comes to outreach, the more you know about potential clients, the more likely you are to make a sale.
How to Use LinkedIn to Power Your B2B Sales Outreach
The last of our sales tips is perhaps the most important. In the course of almost any B2B deal, you’re going to need to contact your client by some means other than LinkedIn.
The most basic form of research is simply looking at an individual profile or a company page. In the process, you are likely to uncover the professional history of your prospect. Look carefully at their post history, and you might find plenty more.
However, this can be a laborious task and you won’t get the most important information for outreach: accurate contact details.
Thankfully, there is now a good number of dedicated sales and marketing tools that can speed things up and help you access better information.
Datanyze: Get Key Information From Any LinkedIn Profile
One of the best examples is Datanyze.
Install our Chrome extension and, with a click, you can reveal accurate contact and company information about any member of LinkedIn. That includes email addresses and direct dial phone numbers, sourced from a database of 120 million people (GDPR/CCPA compliant).
Datanyze can perform the same trick on company websites, and the extension also unveils other useful information about prospects.
Every profile you research is saved automatically to your online dashboard. From here, you can easily export all the data — ideal for transferring it across to your CRM.
The best part? It’s absolutely free to try. Sign up today to take Datanyze for a spin!