The sales process is a race against numbers and time.
Reps are racing to hit quota within an allotted time frame. Sales ops is racing to capture sales data in real-time to enable data-driven decision making. And of course sales leaders are racing to stay ahead of their team—making impactful adjustments to forecast accurately and close more deals.
This pressure brings out a dire need for the entire sales ops team to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of sales activities. And it starts with prospecting, one of the most time-consuming phases of the entire sales cycle.
There are two ways to win the prospecting race: increase the numbers or reduce time.
The first approach—increase numbers—is nothing new in the B2B industry. It’s seen daily via all the unsolicited emails and cold calls that we receive every day. Unfortunately, these outbound methods rarely improve success rates. Only 28% of cold calls even result in a conversation. And an even smaller percentage are qualified and move through the funnel. It’s a lot of time and effort for very little return.
Alternatively, sales organizations are increasingly reducing cold calls and instead leveraging relationships to reduce the time spent prospecting. By finding connections, reps can immediately stand out amongst those prospecting emails and messages that your contact deletes every day.
Learn top sales ops best practices directly from LinkedIn in this video, “How LinkedIn Does Sales Ops Differently.”
This means a well-nurtured relationship from LinkedIn can open the door to more than one organization. Prioritize quality over quantity, by starting with saying goodbye to your traditional prospecting techniques and transitioning to a digital presence strategy.
Instead of an outreach tool, treat your LinkedIn network as an engagement space where you can find authentic interactions and understanding of the space you’re working in. Think of your LinkedIn connections not as your prospects but as your audiences. If you provide them with values, they will pay attention to you.
The most valuable types of content to drive impressions and interactions are words of advice, do’s and don’t, and misconceptions of your industry. But don’t forget about your own story – just as you want to know your audiences as human beings instead of names and contacts, they want the same from you. Establish trust, engage in conversations, build an active community. Leave out the CTA until you have known your audience on a personal level. With a strategic digital presence, you’re not selling, but offering help and opening up space for discussion.
With a sustainable relationship, you’re turning your audience’s networks into your network. Then, you’re looking at not only one prospect but hundreds of possible contacts and introductions, opening up space for pipeline development and cycles speed-up.
Some rules of thumbs to prospect strategically on LinkedIn:
- Don’t be afraid to ask your friends. Friends want to help friends. Even if they’re not a fit for your offer, they can make an introduction or refer you to the right person.
- Go beyond the title. Networks such as LinkedIn provide a trove of background information including mutual connections, articles, activity histories, education and interests.
- Tailor the outreach. Even without a mutual connection, you can still utilize such background information to tailor your outreach approach.
This research process is common for most reps. But Sales Ops can also utilize LinkedIn to understand how reps are leveraging their networks to improve sales execution. This includes:
- Monitoring trends in activities
- Comparing activity levels across teams
- Uncovering hidden coaching opportunities and making adjustments to speed up the cycle.
- Integrating activity data to track progress, monitor performance and optimize sales activity.
Curious how your reps are using LinkedIn Sales Navigator? You can now get immediate visibility with InsightSquared’s LinkedIn Sales Navigator Application Platform integration. Bring LinkedIn Sales Navigator usage data directly into your InsightSquared revenue intelligence dashboards. Check out details of this integration here.
LinkedIn is an incredible tool for sales reps. Learn more about how to master LinkedIn with this VIDEO.