When it comes to closing deals, LinkedIn is near the top of just about every inside sales rep’s best friends list.
LinkedIn has become a go-to tool for inside sales teams when it comes to prospecting, qualifying and closing deals. The site’s popularity reflects how important social media has become in the B2B purchase decision process.
According to a 2014 IDC study, 3 out of 4 B2B buyers and 8 out of 10 executive buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.
What separates LinkedIn from the rest of the social media pack is its focus on B2B and professional relationships. According to survey data from 2016, 59 percent of B2B marketers say LinkedIn generates leads for their business, and 65 percent of B2B companies say they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.
The question is no longer whether inside sales reps should be using LinkedIn to close more deals—the answer to that is as straightforward as they come.
The big question is how inside sales teams should use LinkedIn to close deals, so we’ve put together a list of five things you need to be doing if you want to increase your close rate on LinkedIn:
The benefits here are twofold:
Not only does this research arm you with a number of insights you can use to navigate the conversation once you get a foot in the door, but LinkedIn also sends a notification to let the prospect know you’ve viewed their profile.
If the prospect doesn’t know who you are, seeing your name and face in this notification can make your first message seem a little less cold, as you’ll already be a slightly familiar face.
Your Goal: Get LinkedIn to send your prospect a notification that you’ve been looking at their profile. Use this notification to get on their radar.
According to a survey of B2B buyers and influencers, only 4% had a favorable impression of a salesperson who reached out cold, but 87% had a favorable impression of a salesperson who was introduced to them by someone in their professional network.
B2B buyers place great value on the opinions of their peers and are far more likely to trust someone that their peers have vouched for. If you can find a mutual connection to introduce you, you’re far more likely to make headway with a potential buyer.
Your Goal: Find someone you are both connected to on LinkedIn who could make an introduction.
As you’re reviewing a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, try to find something the two of you have in common.
Does the lead follow someone that you follow? Are they in a group that you’re in? Did they go to the same university that you did or work at a company that you once partnered with?
Make sure to look at the content they’re sharing and engaging with as well. If they’re sharing content from some of the same sources you are, or on a topic you also follow, that could be all the common ground you need.
Your Goal: Find some common ground that you can use to kickstart a conversation.
When you’re finally ready to send that first message to a prospect, the worst thing you can do is ramble on and on about stuff they don’t really care about.
The key here is to make it about them.
Instead of focusing on features, integrations, awards or case studies, focus on a specific problem they’re likely facing. Use a sentence like "We helped [similar size company] increase their [KPI]" to communicate the value you can offer without boring them to sleep.
Your Goal: Get to the point and focus on the prospect. Keep your first message to five sentences maximum. Here’s a video I put together about the importance of keeping things short and sweet. Check it out:
There are few questions a prospect is less interested in than “Can we chat?” and “Can I ask you a question?”
Use the insights you gleaned from studying their profile and any common ground you’ve discovered to craft a question they’ll actually be excited to answer. People love talking about things that interest them. Use that to your advantage and spark a conversation with some real direction.
Your Goal: Get them talking by asking a question they’ll want to answer. It could be as simple as “What tool do you currently use for ABC?”
When it comes to typical B2B purchase decisions, LinkedIn is a major part of the process. It’s a tool that every inside sales rep should be leveraging, and by implementing some of the best practices in this post, you’ll be closing more deals in no time.
Keep in mind: Your prospects aren’t looking for multi-paragraph messages from salespeople they’ve never interacted with before. Find your common ground, then get the discussion started by making it all about them.
As a quick recap, here are the five things you need to do to increase your close rate on LinkedIn:
Now—before you hit the ground running with these tips, make sure you’ve got a strong follow-up plan that’s set you and your inside sales team up for success:
Receive actionable sales advice straight to your inbox weekly.