It doesn’t matter how good a salesperson you are, if you don’t have a steady stream of leads you’re going to struggle to meet your targets. However, the traditional methods of lead generation and relationship building, such as networking events and breakfast meetings, are temporarily unavailable to us.
As salespeople we’re having to find alternative methods of keeping the pipeline flowing.
Which is where an effective social media strategy comes in.
In this blog we discuss simple steps you can take on LinkedIn, so you can target the decision makers that matter, grow your network and create a steady stream of leads – whether you are in lockdown or not.
As a salesperson you’ll know full well that the more appointments you make, and the more conversations you have, the more sales opportunities come your way. It’s the same for LinkedIn.
If your competitor has more connections than you, then the likelihood is they’re going to generate more leads through LinkedIn. So, the first target you need to set yourself is generating more connections.
It’s not an unrealistic expectation, with consistent social media activity, to grow your network by 500 prospects per quarter and further down the line, convert them into viable leads.
One of the reasons LinkedIn is such an effective prospecting tool is due to it’s targeting capabilities. By using the right keywords, you can easily identify potential customers by job title, industry and company name.
So rather than having to negotiate pitbull gatekeepers or hoping for a chance meeting at a networking event, LinkedIn gives you an uninterrupted run at decision-makers.
However, like physical networking, you shouldn’t immediately rush into a pitch. Once you’ve identified someone that you would like to connect with, start building a relationship by commenting on their posts. Once you are on their radar, send them a connection request.
However, again resist the temptation to turn this initial approach into a pitch. Make the connection request as personal as possible. State that you wish to connect because you like what they have to say about industry trends (or life in general). It’s always good practice to reference a specific comment they’ve made.
LinkedIn wants to provide its users with content and connections that is most relevant to them. One of the ways that it determines whether content is of value to a specific audience is by how much engagement it gets in the first hour of it being published.
If a post has generated a number of comments and likes within the first hour of being published, then LinkedIn will show this content to more of your connections.
But how do you get users to engage with your posts? One method is to ask open-ended questions, particularly around contentious industry issues, that are likely to spark debate.
However, LinkedIn is very much about reciprocation. You need to spend as much time contributing to other discussions, by commenting on relevant discussions, as you do posting your own content. The more effort you put in to commenting on other’s posts, the more likely they are to comment on yours.
There is also an added benefit to this approach. If you are strategically commenting on the posts of renowned thought leaders, who have a much larger industry following than you, then you are exposing yourself to a much wider network.
Sometimes a well-judged comment, on a popular thread, can give you more reach and connection opportunities, than content you have posted yourself.
By following the above steps you will be able to hugely grow your industry profile and put you on the radar of the decision-makers that matter. However, you have to be realistic about what can be achieved on social media. Ultimately it is a top of the funnel activity.
However, once you have built up awareness and a rapport with a prospect (over several weeks, if not months) then you can follow up with a more targeted message.
However, again, this shouldn’t be a hard sales pitch. Aim for a softer conversion, whether that’s directing them to a webinar, zoom call or (when circumstances permit) a coffee meeting.
Generating leads through LinkedIn is very much a long-term process. You can’t expect to land a sale, purely through social media activity, within a matter of weeks.
However, the more your network grows, and the more trust you build with your connections, the more success you’ll have in generating quality leads and conversations over the long term.
Tony Restell, director of our partner social-hire.com, says: “We can’t suddenly conjure up people who are going to buy your consulting services in the next weeks. All social media and LinkedIn can do is feed into your existing sales pipeline and sales activities and generate results for you in the kind of timescales that you would normally expect.”
To find out more about how you can create a consistent flow of potential business through social media, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740
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