How to Use LinkedIn for B2B Sales Prospecting

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LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest professional social media platforms in the world. With over 562 million members (as of 2018) and with an Alexa rank of 29, LinkedIn is one of the most popular places for people to network with like-minded professionals. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is primarily used for people who wish to connect with others in their industry and for those who are searching for new jobs.

For those who work in sales, there is another benefit to using LinkedIn. Due to the huge network of professionals, LinkedIn is the perfect place for sales prospecting.

A brief search of LinkedIn reveals that the network is full of high-level executives and business owners alike, making the platform a perfect place to connect with potential decision makers. This allows for salespeople to bypass the dreaded gatekeeper and speak directly with those individuals who are authorized to make big purchasing decisions.

Before you go ahead and start trying to connect with high-level decision makers, consider following these tips to optimize your profile to ensure that you are successful.

Make sure you have a professional profile picture

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people I see who have unprofessional photos as their default picture. While you might think that it’s important to appear casual, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when connecting with professionals. I hate to tell you this, but you probably won’t be taken very seriously if your profile picture is a photo of you playing beer pong with your buddies.

Have a catchy headline

The first thing you’ll notice about LinkedIn is that you’ll see a lot of people who have their headlines listed as something like “CEO of xxxxx” or “Vice President of xxxxx.” The second thing you’ll notice is that pretty much everybody has their headline structured like this. For someone who is looking to stand out, consider creating a headline that will get noticed, such as “I help business owners achieve higher profits.”

Have an exciting summary

The purpose of the summary section on LinkedIn is to tell visitors a little bit more about yourself and what drives you. It’s a short elevator pitch that states who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Don’t fall into the trap of typing something boring and generic in this section – make it exciting! Pretend like you are introducing yourself to a potential client – whatever you say to introduce yourself, put in this section.

Join LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn is full of professional groups. Some of them are national groups, while others are local groups only. It’s a good idea to join as many relevant groups as possible. This will put you in contact with many people who are interested in the same things as you are. Try your best to participate in group discussions as often as possible too. This will help you build credibility with potential new customers.

Connect with current customers and others in your industry (potential prospects)

If you haven’t already, start connecting with your current customers, coworkers, and others in your industry. Before you can start to prospect for new leads, build your network until you are comfortable. While there is no magic number, try to get as many contacts as possible. When adding contacts, you will have the option to write a message. Instead of using the auto-generated one, type something personal and meaningful, such as “Hello! I came across your profile on LinkedIn and noticed we were both members of the xxxx group and are both located in the same city, would you mind connecting directly on LinkedIn?”

Mine your contacts for new leads

Once you have a good network of contacts, you can use LinkedIn to export their email addresses. This is valuable because it will give you a direct way to communicate with your prospect. An email address by itself is really meaningless, but when you already spoke to the prospect via LinkedIn and when you already connected, it gives the prospect a greater chance to respond and engage with you. This is where LinkedIn becomes a powerful tool for salespeople.

This is how you find their email addresses:

  1. Click the My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage
  2. Click Your Connections on the left rail
  3. Click Manage Synced and Imported Contacts near the top right of the page
  4. Under Advanced Actions on the right rail, click Export Contact.
  5. Click Request Archive. You will be asked for your password to complete the action.
  6. You will receive an email to your Primary Email Address which will include a link where you can download your list of connections.
  7. Click the link in the email, bringing you to the archive. Click Download.
  8. You will now have an entire folder of LinkedIn data, but the file you want is “Connections.csv”

If used properly, LinkedIn can be a great tool for salespeople to connect with customers, engage with prospects, and generate new leads.

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Author: Jason Karaman

Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to JasonKaraman@ExpertCaller.com

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