How mid-market businesses can make the most of LinkedIn

The seismic shift in sales and marketing catalysed by the success of LinkedIn is causing widespread ripples. Alexander Low, whose firm DCMi advises clients on bringing science to business development, spoke with Inflexion’s portfolio about what can be achieved when you engage cleverly on the world’s largest CRM.

A paradigm shift in selling over the last decade has seen formal marketing materials and direct conversations move online. Social networks, blogs and text messaging now account for 75% of how buyers share info, so it’s key to be part of it.

Now more than ever, you need to have the right conversation with the right person at the right time. “Data is worth its weight in gold and so marketers need to think like data scientists,” Alexander says, adding that it’s not new – this was being said back in 2017.  

LinkedIn can help, with Alex explaining the platform is at an inflection point in terms of what it can do for both B2B and B2C, helping to reshape the thinking behind traditional B2B sales and marketing. “It’s hard as we’re trying to reprogram years and years of what did work.”

But it’s important and it’s clear the time is now. He shares his top tips.

The ripple effect of LinkedIn is big. Think about what you’re trying to do by being on LinkedIn. In a B2B construct it’s four things: 1- remain front of mind to existing clients, 2- get front of mind to net new, 3- network around a conversation and 4 - position yourself as a subject matter expert. The first three are achieved by thoughtful likes and comments and the fourth is about the content you post to your network

Every time you like or create a post, you create a ripple effect on your network – just as happens when others like or comment on your posts, amplifying and extending your reach. When you comment, the author, and everyone else who has engaged on the post gets a notification; so you’re hyper-networking around that conversation.

Your LinkedIn activity moves you around the network, and so actions need intent and purpose around those four goals. The belief is that only around 1% of the total LinkedIn members are active, and this represents a huge opportunity for marketing to support sales in becoming more active. It’s about marketing using the platform to create connections and get conversations started and then it becomes the salesperson’s job to convert. Once both sales and marketing think religiously around these outcomes, it can make a real difference.

Use Sales Navigator to access much more data and relationships. LinkedIn has over 950m members promoting themselves real-time from 200 countries and regions worldwide, making it the most connected and up-to-date CRM in the world. Sales Navigator can help  organisations access these networks with laser focus. Sales Navigator also creates virtual networks around your business, helping you unlock those hidden connections you didn’t know you had. It is also opening up on intent data – giving you signals which organisations you should think about targeting next.

Understand and look to improve your social selling index. Google this to learn your score and determine how effective your LinkedIn is (professionally or personally). There are four components of the score: establishing your professional brand (easiest), finding the right people, engaging with insights (simple to drive with likes and comments yet where most are weakest), building relationships. A score above 70 is strong.

Start a corporate page newsletter. As a rule of thumb, only around 1-2% % of your corporate followers see what you share as a company – but you can wake up every follower on your LinkedIn page and truly activate your network as every follower gets a message inviting them to follow your newsletter. One firm with 80k followers got 22k subscribers in the first two weeks after launching a newsletter, so it’s a quick win. Sending the newsletter wakes them; strong content gets them to engage.

It’s important to think beyond their network: Sell through your network, not to it. Each share and like helps you get farther.

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