Since Microsoft made the move of buying LinkedIn back in 2016, it has fast become the world’s leading online professional network.
With over 630 million members, LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool to engage with new contacts and cultivate relationships.
Ninety percent of decision makers don’t respond to cold outreach anymore. Therefore, LinkedIn is the ideal way to engage leads in a way that’s helpful to both them and you.
Most producers use LinkedIn to research and connect, but it’s also a relationship-builder, brand promoter, publishing platform, and marketing resource.
This guide will show you how LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for increasing sales by leveraging all of these areas.
- Roughly two-thirds of the buying process is performed digitally, via online content.
- 90 percent of C-level executives say they never reply to cold calls or cold emails.
- 75 percent of the business-to-business buyers use social media to make buying decisions.
- 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.
- 76 percent of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
A prospect should be impressed when they view your profile. Your profile is an excellent place to promote your services, experience and highlight your successes. Due to the high ranking given to LinkedIn profile pages by the various search engines, your LinkedIn profile will frequently be one of the first search results returned when someone googles your name.
At the very least, ensure your profile has the following:
- An up-to-date, professional profile image with clear resolution
- A brief summary explaining how you and your company help clients.
- Reference previous roles to demonstrate your value but keep job description short. Your profile should be optimized for selling your services to prospects – not yourself to recruiters.
- Highlight community involvement, awards and education – all of which can provide common point of interest for prospective clients, and shows your commitment to community and career development
- Asking for endorsements to provide “social proof” can be a powerful way to market your personal brand
- Personal URL
You’ve cleaned up your profile, have a great picture, your summary is relevant, concise and highlights your career, your skills are highlighted, people have recommended you and you’ve listed your education and community involvement. Now what? Below are some action items to begin making LinkedIn work for you.
1.) Join relevant groups – There are LinkedIn groups for nearly every profession, industry and interest. Join industry group and groups specific to your job function. Also, keep in mind your target prospect and join groups they may be interested in.
2.) Upload your business contacts and invite them to connect – Include current clients, prospects, partners, and related company personnel.
3.) Grow your network – Have a prospect call scheduled? Send them a connection request prior to the meeting. Meet someone new in the industry? Send them a connection request. Speaking at an event? Display your personal URL in your presentation and invite everyone to connect with you.
4.) Connect with ideal clients – One of the most powerful ways to use LinkedIn is to do searches on people in your area that are in a target company/niche that you are doing business with and connect with them.
5.) Publish articles on LinkedIn on a topic that that is relevant to your industry and that will help establish your authority as an expert in that field.
6.) Share other content – Even if you aren’t comfortable writing articles, you can still share content. Whenever you run across a relevant article, share it on your profile. This will help establish you as an expert, and shows that you have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry.
7.) Promote your customers – If a customer is in the news for a positive reason, share that on your profile and publicly congratulate them.
8.) Comment in groups – Be careful not to sell or promote your business, but if you can contribute valuable information on a topic, do so frequently. Do not get into arguments or share unpopular opinions on hot-button topics. Be respectful and always have an attitude of being helpful and your prospects will notice this.
Advanced LinkedIn Actions
Everything we’ve covered so far in this Guide can be done for free with a basic LinkedIn membership. There are several other options available to you for a fee.
1.) Premium Memberships
LinkedIn offer a premium membership for a monthly fee (currently ranging from $29.99 a month up to $119.95 per month for recruiters.) A premium membership offers you:
- Ability to Send InMails
- See everyone who’s viewed your profile
- Advanced Search Options
- On Demand Learning
- Applicant Insights
For a prospector looking to increase sales, the most valuable of these options would be the InMail capability – sending messages to people not already in your network. If you follow the action steps in the previous section, you should already have a good handle on how to create a profile and take actions that will increase the chance prospects will connect with you, but if your potential marketplace is large, having the ability to send InMails regularly is valuable.
However, there’s an even better way to send InMails, and that’s covered in the next section.
Having a LinkedIn ad account gives you the ability to buy several different types of ads on the platform:
- Display Ads – traditional small display ads
- Post/Article Boosting – You can set a budget to “boost” post and articles, which improves the chances your articles and posts will appear in the newsfeed of your target audience.
- InMail Campaigns
Display ads can be an effective way of creating “brand awareness” campaigns. Post Boosting can be oriented toward driving traffic to your site, creating brand awareness or prospecting, depending on the content of your article/post. InMail campaigns are our favorite way to prospect.
Why InMail is Integral to Sales Prospecting
Targeting the right prospects on LinkedIn will result in successful lead generation. Opportunities to spark a conversation with these prospects might come in the form of engagement on your feed or in a shared interest group, or someone simply checking out your profile to learn more about you.
InMails are one-on-one communications delivered directly into the inbox of your target demographic. Building a sustainable InMail process will help you avoid missed opportunities.
InMail has two purposes when it comes to selling on LinkedIn:
- Getting an affirmation (the lead says “Yes, I will follow up on this.”)
- Getting an inquiry (the lead asks, “Can you tell me more about that?”)
In your first InMail, you can demonstrate your knowledge of the industry or niche that your prospect is in and show how you understand their pain points. If you do both those things right, you’ll find your response rate will soar and you will attract the right kind of clients.
For all ad types, the LinkedIn system allows you to drill down to specifics in profiles, so your message is only delivered to relevant people. You can choose their industry, seniority level, company, experience, job title, groups they’re members of, education and more as well as limit prospects to a geographic region.
As an example, say one of your carriers comes out with an endorsement for commercial contractors that is a game changer in coverage. You can craft a message introducing yourself, and then go into details about this new endorsement and offer to do a free review of their insurance plan. You can choose to have that message sent to senior employees in the contracting industry in companies with over 100 employees within 100 miles of your office who have the title of Owner, Partner, SVP, VP, (etc). You can even choose to exclude certain companies (ie. existing clients or clients you don’t want to do business with).
Learning how to best utilize LinkedIn as a prospecting tool can improve your sales tremendously. If you need help getting started, or assistance crafting effective prospecting messages, contact AgencyEvolved. We partner with insurance professionals to help them grow and evolve their business by developing sustainable marketing strategies and we do the work for them. firstname.lastname@example.org
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