According to Harvard Business Review 91% of the time, cold calling doesn’t work and only 2% of your cold calls result in an appointment (digitalistmag.com, 2015).
It’s a hard to think about the fact that you have to turn 50 calls before you manage to get a single meeting appointment with a potential client. There are a few better ways of getting a better result in sales. Using social networks, such as Linkedin, is one of them.
I knocked 64 times. By that, I mean sending a private message over LinkedIn to potential candidates that might be willing to talk business in person. I managed to get 16 meeting confirmations. If you want to know how – keep reading.
There is no guarantee for such success, but it’s definitely a good way to measure and track your actions and learn from the results. It’s important and crucial to optimize each step performance in order to achieve your goal. Such preparation takes some time, but it’s worth putting some effort into it.
1. Create a list of companies that might be a good fit for your sales goals.
There might be several ways of finding suitable companies worth contacting. Your sales team should know how to make a list of those. If you are using a CRM with good records, you should get that data in no time. In case not having a sales team or you decide to do a little extra research over new companies, you’ll have to make that list yourself, but don’t do it totally blindfolded. Try to use some selling tools that allows you exploring, filtering and exporting your choice. Those should provide you additional information about clients contact, revenue, profits, …
It doesn’t really matter which data tools you use as long as it allows you to filter and change the order of records. Besides some good CRM tools, Excel can do just fine.
One of the keys for successful result is related to the next step; finding decision makers for each company you have on that list.
2. Find names of decision makers on LinkedIn for each account.
If you already have some of those – great – put them on the list. For the rest, find them on LinkedIn. This part should be easy if you’re using LinkedIn Sales Navigator – The Sales Tool for Social Selling. LinkedIn offers this feature by the costs of €59.99 Monthly and allows you to make a deep research (filtering) of people and companies on the network. You can save contacts as Leads and add them to your personal list by the Accounts/Companies you wish to follow. With InMails, you’ll be able to reach to anyone in the network.
When searching, help yourself with a LinkedIn advanced mode, found by the search input box. Play with a filtering on the left a little and you’ll soon find a profile you are searching.
Once you find your champions (decision maker), save their name and other data from LinkedIn profile to your spreadsheet and/or put it in your CRM. Try to find profiles that are more or less active on the network. A number of their connections might help you define that. Inactive profiles won’t see your message and your success rate using this method will drop.
3. Write a message with unique content and be clear about your intentions.
“According to LinkedIn, 48% of B2B decision makers won’t respond to sales professionals who don’t personalize their messages.” (Thesocialmediahat.com, Last Updated: July 26, 2015)
That information tells a lot. Most of the people would probably write unified message and send it to all on the list. Of course, it’s quicker and easier. It might work too. But in order to achieve higher success rate, you’ll have to put a little more effort in it.
Sales Navigator account allows you to send an InMail messages to anyone. If you don’t own an active account, you’ll have to connect with the person first and along the process, send them a message. In that case, you’ll have to make a message really short – the maximum length of a personal note is 379 characters.
If your message needs to be longer, wait for their confirmations of connection and then send a standard one.
People like to be addressed individually, with the certain amount of attention to them and their company. If you “dare” to ask a person to share their time, you better choose as much personal approach as you can, to get a positive response.
LinkedIn messaging itself significantly differs from classic approaches, like e-mails or phone (cold) calls.
The content of the message is probably the most important step of this process. It’s hard to specify which words are the one you should use, but I would definitely recommend, that you get a second opinion over the content section you are planning to send.
Make sure that the message contains an information of who you are and what you want. You should first address the receiver by name and suggest a possible way(s) of cooperation between both companies. Of course, you’ll have to prepare this content for every individual separately. It might take you a bit more time, but the results are most likely to pay that price. Some of the content can me unified – of course, but still, make every message personalized. You are talking to a person!
The success rate of described method is probably related to industry, you’re involved in and type of product or services you’re offering to the market. It also depends how active are people you are contacting on LinkedIn and how you perform in writing personal messages. If we disregard some of those facts, this method should still bring you results and I’ll be flattered if you’ll share them with me.