LinkedIn usage is at an all-time high, with the platform witnessing ‘record levels of interaction' for the last five quarters, and as the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic, those rates will only rise as professionals look for new opportunities and businesses sought to connect with new talent to meet demand.
However, with many important decision-makers using the app, LinkedIn may also be a great platform for selling. If you're a B2B business, LinkedIn in particular has a lot of promise, but it may also be difficult to contact users in the proper way and market your products and services to the right people in the app.
LinkedIn has solutions to help with this, such as its Sales Navigator platform, however it costs money, and it can be tough to tell whether it's worth the investment for your business and what kind of value salespeople can get from it in this regard.
Therefore, how should salespeople use LinkedIn, and should you invest in a Sales Navigator subscription to improve your strategy?
Mitali Pattnaik, LinkedIn's Director of Product Management, recently answered these questions and shared her thoughts on how to improve your on-platform initiatives.
Q: While LinkedIn's engagement levels are increasing across the board, what are the best ways for salespeople to capitalize on this trend and reach out to their ideal customers?
MP: With such a variety of information at their fingertips, consumers are evaluating products and solutions long before they make a purchase decision, and they frequently seek advice from salespeople they trust, even if the product is not in that salesperson's portfolio.
Put down the phone and reevaluate your approach if you find yourself composing an impersonal email or getting ready to call someone with no background knowledge. To reach today's buyers, you must prioritize their needs, get to know them and their obstacles, and begin assisting them in solving their problems before you begin selling anything.
This is where LinkedIn is proving to be extremely beneficial to salesmen today. We help millions of buyers and sellers communicate in meaningful ways, not just to sell a product or service, but to address real business problems, as the world's largest B2B marketplace.
And we know it's effective since salespeople are among our 774 million+ members who are most engaged, and they frequently seek to us for advice on how to keep adapting to this virtual selling environment.
Q: It appears that salespeople could do everything they need to with just a free LinkedIn account – or even by upgrading to Premium – so why should they require Sales Navigator?
MP: LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for sellers to conduct research on key clients and prospects, generate targeted outreach, and build and maintain long-term connections. Sales Navigator, on the other hand, provides data-driven insights to assist sales teams better understand their top accounts and deliver more value.
Sales Navigator gives customers the opportunity to target the right decision-makers at the right moment, thanks to the most up-to-date information on the world's largest professional graph, which members and organizations share and update on a daily basis. And recently, we released a new Sales Navigator feature called "Account Buyer Interest," which identifies an account's aggregate interest in the selling company's products or services, allowing salespeople to prioritize the highest intent accounts and contact customers when their campaign is most likely to be well received.
LinkedIn and Sales Navigator will become increasingly vital for sales firms as the future of work unfolds. We're in the middle of 'The Great Reshuffle,' a period of extraordinary change in which both companies and employees are rethinking their work practices.
As this change continues, accurate data will become increasingly important to sales organizations' success, and we believe that sellers will rely heavily on our platform to keep close relationships with their accounts, as buyers are more likely than ever before on the lookout for new career opportunities.
Q: What are some helpful hints for salespeople who want to use LinkedIn and/or Sales Navigator to connect with buyers?
MP: In 2020, we examined how salespeople used the platform to determine the most effective ways to communicate with customers, and we discovered that having a comprehensive LinkedIn profile is a key indicator of salesperson performance.
According to the research, having a complete LinkedIn profile can raise a salesperson's odds of meeting or exceeding their sales targets by more than 2X, and it can boost InMail acceptance rates by up to 87 percent.
I also encourage all salespeople to take the time to listen and understand their buyers' problems before proposing a solution, and to use LinkedIn to learn more about their major accounts and industry trends.
This preliminary study is also necessary for prospecting and building a first LinkedIn connection. Customers can see all of their organization's connections with Sales Navigator, allowing them to understand how they can be related to a prospect and cooperate with their colleagues to make an introduction. Sales Navigator is also an important part of our customers' sales technology stack because of crucial features like CRM sync.
Q: Another important aspect for salespeople is personal branding; what are some major ideas for enhancing salespeople's personal identities on LinkedIn?
MP: Developing and sharing their own thought leadership content on industry trends is one way salespeople can grow their brands.
The importance of trust is highlighted in our Global State of Sales research, with 89 percent of buyers describing their sales reps as "trusted advisors." Sellers must prioritize their function as a consultant and have a pulse on their sector to assist buyers solve problems and derive value from their solutions.
Our platform, which connects buyers and sellers, provides many opportunities for sales professionals to express their unique viewpoints and initiate significant interactions.
Q: What are some of the most important buying trends you've noticed on LinkedIn?
MP: Virtual selling is here to stay, and it will evolve into hybrid selling when in-person engagements return.
71% of buyers indicate that in the future, they would like to work remotely half or more of the time, and 55% think that working remotely has made the buying process easier. Virtual selling, as a considerable departure from how sellers previously interacted with buyers, necessitates a new set of skills, with adaptability being one of the most important.
Furthermore, in B2B sales, relationships have never been more crucial, and our platform is all about interacting with others and expanding your network. Sales Navigator goes even further, leveraging the platform's wide ecosystem to give people-powered data and insights that allow sales organizations to focus on the accounts with the greatest potential, allowing salespeople to develop and grow relationships with buyers at scale.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator's latest updates can be found here.