This is the concluding part of this series that focuses on building relationships. This parameter primarily revolves around strengthening your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision makers. Personally, I feel this is among the most critical parameters for sales personnel looking to have a strong impact on LinkedIn.
As per a LinkedIn survey, 73% of B2B buyers prefer sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know. In addition, they found out that buying decisions now typically include more than five decision makers. Hence, establishing strong relationships with different prospects is of utmost importance.
Now, your SSI score component under this parameter of building relationships is based on the following four aspects.
- Connect with contacts: It is obvious that a larger network will give you greater leverage in finding new prospects and getting your foot in the door with potential clients. Hence, never underestimate the power of constantly developing your network. You just need to remember that a good, strong network cannot be built overnight. Make it a point to spend a few minutes everyday in building and extending your network. Send out personalized invitations to prospects in the industry. You never know which contact might help you get your next big order. Some users hesitate to connect with people they don’t know personally or whom they haven’t met at least once. However, this approach greatly limits your networking capability on LinkedIn. Hence, I would recommend being open about connecting with new people based on their profile credentials.
Power tip: Connecting with those who have a huge number of direct connections gives this parameter a huge boost because it almost instantly increases your third-degree connection base exponentially.
- Focus on decision makers: The key is to establish strong relationships with decision makers at the prospective or target company/institution. Getting through to senior decision makers is not always easy. Also, not all of them might be active on LinkedIn. So, it’s always better to target multiple senior personnel and decision makers to increase your chances of success.
- Connect internally and leverage TeamLink: It’s surprising that at times, employees within a company/institution are not connected with each other. Each person has his/her own unique network and connections. Hence, connecting with as many colleagues as possible helps you increase the depth and reach of your network with minimal effort. You might not even need to write personalized notes for connecting with fellow employees. Also, do not forget to connect with the senior management in your company/institution.Power tip: If your organization has a big enough sales team and the stakes are high, it might make sense to go for the Sales Navigator Team package offered by LinkedIn. Once you go for a Sales Team package, you can use your company’s network to uncover the best way to get introduced with TeamLink. But until you feel the need for purchasing a Sales Team subscription, connecting internally with senior folks within your organization is the best bet!
- Nurture relationships over time to keep your services top of mind: A big mistake some people do is to not maintain a healthy relationship after the initial contact. Remember that LinkedIn is just a platform built to facilitate relationship building. It’s your responsibility to maintain regular contact and reach out periodically. Add value by providing relevant information and solutions to your prospects or client’s business problems. If nothing else, at least make it a point to like, share, or comment on updates shared by your prospects.
We’ve now covered all four aspects – establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships – comprising the primary parameters that determine your social selling index (SSI) score on LinkedIn. Note that this is especially important for those focusing on B2B sales since LinkedIn is arguably the most successful platform for generating B2B leads.
I would like to conclude with saying that it’s best to regularly spend time networking on LinkedIn so that you build a professional brand and strong network over time. Please do share you thoughts using the comments section below.