Reaching out to a new prospect for the first time can sometimes be difficult or intimidating. But one of the most effective ways to prepare for that first point of contact is to thoroughly research your lead and then leverage that knowledge to make the most of your outreach.
With over 347 million active members, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to prospect and conduct that critical lead research. In addition to basic membership, this social platform offers several prospecting resources including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a tool that simplifies the process of discovering and contacting qualified prospects, and monitoring their activity, as well as the activities of referrals and customers.
Despite its many benefits, a lot of people still aren't sure exactly how they can make the most of it. So this post provides a succinct introduction to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as well as a few key tips for using it to your advantage.
Designed for sales professionals, LinkedIn Sales Navigator really is a separate experience from LinkedIn. A premium service, it leverages both the LinkedIn network and relevant news, as well as user demographics, in order to help you connect, build and nurture relationships with potential customers.
Through LinkedIn Sales Navigator's advanced search filter, you can streamline the lead generation process by identifying high opportunity leads and other potential contacts that align with your target buyer persona. The search filters help you to narrow your focus on the kinds of businesses and key contacts that you are seeking to engage with.
As you build your targeted high-quality lead list, pay special attention to:
Connecting with Someone You Already Know
This should be easy, right? Not necessarily. First of all, do NOT use LinkedIn's impersonal default message: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Always write a customized connection request instead. Your chances of getting accepted decline when you go the generic route as the recipient may find the request sterile or just plain lazy, or they might not remember who you are. Remember even if you already know this person, do your homework and leverage the Sales Navigator tool to gather a deeper knowledge of your contact.
Another option is to reach out directly to the contact using InMail, the messaging system on LinkedIn that's similar to sending an email. InMail gives you the ability to send a message to anyone on LinkedIn, whether you're connected or not. InMail has some of the highest open rates of any messages that come from LinkedIn. Once again be sure to personalize the message based on the insight gathered in Sales Navigator.
Second Connection Warm Introductions (to Prospects You Don't Know)
Another great way to network is to tap into the credibility of another person by finding second connection paths between you and your target account and then asking for a warm introduction opportunity. Essentially, instead of sending a random, unexpected email to a stranger, you're introduced by a shared connection who knows the prospect. This gives the introduction request a much higher chance of being read and getting a response.
According to LinkedIn, you’re almost five times more likely to schedule a first meeting with someone if you have a mutual personal connection. And the great bonus is: with your LinkedIn Sales Navigator license, you have access to the Teamlink Connections Filter that maps networks of the other members of your sales team and your first-degree connections. This allows you to easily find the prospects who meet your search criteria and share an acquaintance with you.
The first rule of asking for a warm introduction is to do your homework and make it as simple as possible for your connection to fluidly make the introduction. When you send your connection a warm intro request, make the process efficient and easy by providing a link to your prospect's LinkedIn profile and a reason why you’re asking for the connection.
Congratulations – you have connected with your potential lead. Now what? Engage, engage, engage. Here are a couple suggestions regarding how to keep the online conversation going with your prospects:
In today’s digital age, there are more options than ever for connecting with prospects. Consider harnessing the power of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking website and the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool to create and build relationships with potential prospects.
Tracey MacDonald has been Senior Account Manager at PMG since July of 2015. She’s a strategy, sales, technology and SaaS ninja, and loves to write about sales and marketing integration (as ninjas do). While she’s fighting off the evil forces of low SEO rankings and poor marketing strategy, she somehow finds the time to write blogs – and loves hearing from readers. So, if you want to know more, let her know!