Is Your LinkedIn Network Reaching Its Full Potential?

linkedin network

Your LinkedIn network can be a stellar sales resource; are you using it effectively? Most reps understand the value that LinkedIn presents, but their approach to leveraging the sales tool may not be effective. 

Your LinkedIn network : What it shouldn’t be

The first step in optimizing your use of it involves understanding what it shouldn’t be. Your LinkedIn network can be a trove of resources, but reps often treat it as little more than just a lead generator. “Too many sales pros look at their connections on LinkedIn and all they see are potential recipients for their emails, calls, and automated outreach campaigns,” writes David J.P. Fisher for LinkedIn. “All they see are targets.”

While your network certainly can be a powerful lead generation tool, it is so much more. And it should be handled as such. As Fisher explains, “Don’t automate that message asking for a meeting. Don’t send it immediately after they accept your invite. You need to build a little social capital first – you have to earn it.”

Rather than just going on the network for prospecting purposes, craft a LinkedIn persona that will resonate and engage with more than just potential prospects. This well-​rounded approach will be what delivers the most value. 

Focus on building a robust network

Boost your success by crafting a robust LinkedIn network that includes more than just prospects. Rather than focusing on short-​term opportunities, shift your strategy to creating long-​term relationships. 

Fisher shares just who should be part of a salesperson’s LinkedIn network (and why). 

Your colleagues

If you’ve hesitated about adding a co-​worker to your network, you may be missing an opportunity to create even more connections. While it may seem pointless to connect on LinkedIn with someone you already work with, it has benefits. “One of the easiest ways to find contacts into new accounts is through your co-worker’s connections,” Fisher writes. “You never know when a prospect and your colleague worked together at a previous job or went to the same school.”

Co-​workers can also boost your credibility by giving endorsements. Social proof is a powerful way to showcase your credibility–and one that can impact whether someone responds to your InMail. 

Current clients

Long gone are the days of closing a deal and then backing off from engagement. Today’s successful sellers know that proactive engagement with clients is just as important after the sale as it is before. 

It is highly important to remain engaged with your customer long after the sale,” sales veteran Thomas Ellis writes. “One of the biggest mistakes sales professionals make is neglecting their customer after the sale is complete. When you stay actively engaged with your customer on a regular basis, you stay ahead of any upcoming changes they may experience so that you can respond in kind and preserve your relationship.”

And this engagement should continue not only offline but also online. Adding clients to your LinkedIn network presents an opportunity to easily communicate with them. It could be something as simple as sharing a post with them that they may find valuable or adding a supportive comment to one of their own posts. This type of casual engagement can go a long way in nurturing loyalty and customer satisfaction. 

Champions

When building your LinkedIn network, make sure that you are including your account champions. Once you’ve uncovered your true champions, connect with these cheerleaders on LinkedIn. The social proof they can provide, as well as potential for even more connections, will prove valuable. And don’t forget, Fisher adds, “Depending on the size, scope, and sales cycle for your product/​service, there’s likely more than one person involved in the buying process. Be sure to connect with the users, decision-​makers, and internal experts at your prospect’s organization.” If you’ve taken our advice on multi-​threading, you likely have more than one champion at each account. 

Tap into even more opportunities

These are just highlights from Fisher’s article; there are even more contacts you should consider adding to your LinkedIn network that you likely haven’t considered. Doing so will create a more robust network that will deliver leads and build relationships. It’s no secret Linkedin is a powerful lead tool: Our Voice of the Buyer study found that potential buyers actively look to LinkedIn to learn more about vendors. But it can be so much more, and it’s time you leverage the network for even more success.

Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision-​makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.