By February 23, 2016

B2B selling on LinkedIn: How to reach decision makers

Are you struggling to connect with qualified leads?

If you’re like most B2B companies, getting through to decision makers (who hold the purse strings and the authority to approve the big project you’re hoping to get) can be challenging. C-level execs are typically quite well guarded. They are challenging to reach through email or on the phone.

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But what if I told you there was a way to close this gap? A shortcut to connecting the dots between the contacts you have and the contacts you’d like to have?

Enter social selling

Believe it or not, if you follow the correct steps, decision makers are incredibly easy to reach through LinkedIn. Not only can you establish un-gated connections with the right people, but you can develop and nurture those relationships on the same platform – developing rapport before you ever sell anything to them!

 

Social selling is the process of using your professional network to fill your pipeline with the right relationships. tweet-button

 

Social selling is presenting more sales opportunities than ever before, particularly in the B2B space – where relationships are everything. And LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for business professionals. It is 277% more effective for lead generation compared to Twitter or Facebook.

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How to reach decision makers on LinkedIn

1) Optimize your profile

When you reach out to connect with decision makers, the first thing they will do is check you out – so it goes without saying that your LinkedIn profile should be a top priority. With an optimized LinkedIn business profile, you can make yourself attractive to your ideal prospects which will make them more inclined to accept your connection. Use a professional photo, write a compelling summary, complete your experience, and ask for recommendations.

2) Identify prospects

Understand the WHO you want to reach, and then use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to find your prospects. It allows you to conduct hyper-targeted searches including the titles related to your prospects’ positions. For example: CEO, VP Sales, COO, Director, and so on. You can even save up to 3 LinkedIn people searches – and LinkedIn will email you weekly with new prospects who meet your search criteria.

3) Do your homework

Once you find a prospect, become familiar with their LinkedIn company page and website. Learn more about what they offer and how they are positioning themselves. Follow their LI company page so you can see their updates. Then, find what you may already have in common. For example, use the “2nd Degree” search function to find those with whom you share a connection, or take a look at their LinkedIn groups and find one in which you’re both members.

4) Connect with your prospects

Reach out on LinkedIn by:

  • Inviting them to connect (tip: Be sure to personalize the message!)*
  • Asking a mutual connection for an introduction
  • Joining a discussion group they’re a member of
  • Sending them a direct message (if you’re part of the same group)*

*Make your reason to connect concise and convincing. Focus on building the relationship, not on pitching anything (people are typically open to making new business friends, but hate being spammed – don’t be a sales spammer).

5) Establish yourself as an expert

LinkedIn Publisher is LinkedIn’s content platform, and offers a great opportunity to showcase expertise in your field. Use LinkedIn Publisher to help your network overcome a problem or learn something new. This will further your personal brand by establishing you as an expert. It will also establish reciprocity with your network, which makes it more likely for your connections to do business with you.

Be sure to update your LinkedIn status regularly – these updates show up in your networks’ feeds. You can also join groups in your targeted industries and answer people’s questions, furthering your reputation as a person who is knowledgeable in your field and helpful to others.

6) Move connections to the real world

When appropriate (and possible), take your LinkedIn relationships to the next level by establishing a connection in person. If the prospect is local, extend an invitation to meet over lunch or coffee, or try to connect with them at a networking or business event or trade show. If they are farther away and you are visiting their area for other business, let them know you’re in town and set up a meeting while you’re there.

The biggest thing to remember here is that LinkedIn is a great tool to open doors, but sales efforts are the same as they’ve always been – build a relationship with the person and learn more about their problems so you can eventually propose the right solution.

 

Your success on LinkedIn will depend on your willingness to be disciplined and deliberate. It is a powerful tool, but it requires your commitment to use it regularly. However, if you are consistent in your approach, you will begin to get known by your prospects – ultimately resulting in a steady stream of qualified leads, and that big deal you’ve been waiting for.

Kinesis helps clients develop cohesive sales strategies and leverage LinkedIn for its full potential. To learn if your company might be a good fit for our services, visit our Clients Page.

ABOUT Wendy Maynard

Wendy Maynard is the Strategic Director and co-founder of Kinesis, an award-winning marketing firm and business consultancy. She has over two decades of experience as a marketing strategist, business consultant, and executive coach. You can find her on Twitter and

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