If you are not actively participating in LinkedIn, you are definitely leaving B2B Sales on the table. Did you know that LinkedIn adds 2 new members per second? These are all businesses who may want to do business with your business and if you are not participating, you are not getting your share of leads.

So what is a good strategy to begin to get these potential leads and then close them to a sale? Well the old adage of ‘People buy from people they trust’ holds equally well on LinkedIn as any other medium. You cannot expect to turn up on LinkedIn, totally unknown and expect businesses to buy from you.

The following strategy will help you and your business

  • Build brand awareness.
  • Establish company representatives as industry experts.
  • Connect with prospects, customers, vendor partners and peers.
  • Drive leads and sales.

Getting Started

  1. Firstly, you need to benchmark your current activity on LinkedIn and determine what it is doing for you and how many, if any, leads and sales your business is receiving per month.Check the following:
    1. Are you, your employees and your company’s profile completely filled out and up to date? When did you last update it?
    2. How many groups are you and your employees a member of currently?
    3. How often do you participate in these groups per week?
    4. How many connections, recommendations and endorsements do you and your employees have?

  3. Secondly, identify where your potential buyers are, assuming you know the profile of your typical buyer.

    Look for:

    1. Which groups are they members of?
    2. If they are members of a group, are they active in that group by regularly posting?
    3. Is the group active? Does it have regular posts in the group every day?

    It is helpful to create an Excel document that lists potential groups with descriptions, number of members, links and notes to reference later and then use it to decide the best groups to join.

    Taking Action

  5. Join 3-5 groups maximum per person where your buyers are – more than this causes you or your employees to spreads themselves too thinly in participation. If you are members of many, many businesses currently look at pruning that back to something more manageable unless they have a specific reason for being in so many groups.

  7. Begin to actively participate in those groups on a daily basis – there are tools that will help you do this by automatically scheduling your social media activity (Hootsuite, for example). Always be on the lookout for people asking questions that are in your area of expertise as this will increase your standing as a trusted subject expert. Also, do ask questions to instigate discussion. Remember, every time you comment or start a discussion this will go to every member of the group either by email (if they choose this) or by notification – this gets your name out there. Do not be afraid to offer white papers, blog posts etc. that might interest the group, even if it is from a competitor’s web site. This will increase your standing.

  9. As you connect to people, start to use Inmail (LinkedIn’s internal mail system) to connect further with people and at this stage offer them something for free (it might be a free White paper, a web site audit, an audit of their sales process etc. etc.) – whatever you can do that will allow you to collect their e-mail address or phone number and get them into your sales funnel.

In summary, this might look like a great deal of work, however you need to work out what a hot sales lead is worth to you. Instead of cold-calling, your company has built a reputation and you and your employees have become trusted sources of information. This will continue to produce more and more sales for you as you continue to engage. Good luck!