I am a big fan of LinkedIn and have been using it for several years. Through my LinkedIn network, I can find over 11 million business people (company, title, location, groups, etc.) I think it is a goldmine for any B2B focused organization.
Someone asked me last week how they should go about using this network. They wanted to know if they could mass connect to people and instantly have a connected “network.” Of course, my advice was that it takes time and effort to build a professional network and this has to be done organically, one person at a time.
When I hire sales people (typically with B2B Marketing/Software experience), I always look to see how many people they have connections with, who these connects are (level), and read the recommendations. If you are a sales person building your credentials (as you should always be doing) – this is a must do.
As with all things sales and marketing related, your efforts will be diminished unless you have accurate, up-to-date information on your target audience. I log into LinkedIn every few days, review the job changes, and update our CRM system (Salesforce.com) with the new information.
Several of our clients use our Customer Lifecycle Marketing solution, “5Buckets,” to automate the process of updating contact information from bounced emails (hard bounces – email address no longer exists). The account/contact owner is sent a list via email, or tasks are automatically scheduled in their CRM solution for them to do some research to find the contact’s new email address/contact information. LinkedIn is perfect for this.
Tip for B2B organizations: Have all of your employees join LinkedIn (if they are not already members), have all employees connect with each other, and then have them make 10 new connections with people that they know. Then have your sales/marketing team search for potential prospects through these relationships. Referrals are typically the best source of leads.
What is the value of having accurate information, ability to easily find contacts, and leverage relationships for referrals?