It’s Time Sales Managers Learn to Love LinkedIn

What if your sales manager had access to a pool of over 460 million professionals worldwide? What if he could instantly get in touch with anyone within a network of people interested in building business connections, finding opportunities, and making careers?

Then your sales manager would understandably be overjoyed by the sheer number of potential leads he can cull from such a platform.

Well, that platform is LinkedIn, and it’s been around officially since 2003. Sure, it has its share of pros and cons, but if your sales manager is reluctant to “jump on the bandwagon” or is doubtful of how useful LinkedIn will actually be for their purposes, then you should change their mind by giving them a glimpse of what they can do with it.

Ad Targeting Based on Segmentation

AdWords and other similar pay-per-click, text-based networks are staple tools of the trade by now. Social media ads, in comparison, are still more or less on “experimental” status for many businesses. Sales managers could potentially balk at using LinkedIn ads for this same reason.

Luckily, there’s a key differentiator: the environment where the ads are displayed.

Just look at how Facebook ads work as a frame of reference. Facebook ads suit B2C organizations because the advertising platform makes use of the behavioral and demographic data of its users. It looks at what Facebook Pages they’ve visited and “liked” as well as what they interact with in their News Feeds. In that same sense, LinkedIn’s advertising platform makes good use of behavioral- and demographic-based ad serving.

Except, LinkedIn is specifically a professional social network.

It’s like pre-vetting your audience through a single category: intent. You’ll be showing your ads to people who are on the platform because they’re looking for professional connections, opportunities, and the like.

Using LinkedIn’s ad platform, you can adjust potential ad impressions by tweaking options for geography, occupational data, and demographics, which are pretty much the same options LinkedIn users can change and display on their own profiles (e.g., industry, job role, etc.). LinkedIn’s platform assists with targeting by showing you estimated ad impressions based on your chosen settings.

An Effective Sales Enabler for B2B Organizations

The concept of LinkedIn has always been about real-world professional relationships and networks. The digital “relationships” online reflect what happens in real-life professional settings, albeit at a much larger scale.

You know how the real life B2B sales process usually leverages professional networks? The same can be done in LinkedIn, and again, at a much larger scale. Of course, as a touchpoint, LinkedIn isn’t “physical.” There’s no shaking of hands, no exchanging of cards, and definitely quite a lot of queries that will be left unanswered. You exchange all of that with sheer scale, though, and with the right tactics, you can engage in actual meetups later on in the lead-nurturing process.

LinkedIn also makes it easier to do all this through real-time notifications, messaging capabilities, and other features. These all contribute to making the sales process easier and faster, even in large-scale campaigns.

Indeed, LinkedIn is one of the most convenient and efficient digital tools enabling sales today.

A Straight-to-the-Boss, Not-so-Cold Contact Platform

A lot of sales campaigns start cold: cold calling, cold emailing, and basically cold contacting of any sort. You need to contact the company out of the blue and hopefully hook them enough to give you the person in charge.

  • In this regard, LinkedIn helps out with two specific advantages:
    It’s a not-so-cold contact platform – Professionals who sign up for LinkedIn are already of a mind to be contacted through the platform, otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered. They won’t be as off-put or wary of cold emails as they may be if they get them through their business or personal email address, for instance.

And perhaps more importantly:

  • It’s straight-to-the-boss – It allows sales teams to get in touch with key decision-makers without having to slog through middlemen and a lot of other obstacles. So now it’s really all about the way you make that first impression.

Now your sales team no longer needs to send that cold email to a role-based email address monitored by an unpaid intern, waiting to be fed up the line at least five times before a key decision-maker catches wind of your pitch. LinkedIn connects you to decision-makers instantly, and remember, they’re already open to pitches.

If for some reason your sales team hasn’t been busy with LinkedIn yet, it’s well past time they changed that. Despite its flaws, LinkedIn has become a decent digital representation of real-life professional relationships. It’s time to find leads, nourish relationships, and close deals at a much larger scale with LinkedIn.


Originally published 06/09/17.