When first signing in to LinkedIn, you may be overwhelmed with its similarities to social media mixed with professional overtones. However, in the world of sales and marketing, you should view it as a wealth of information on potential customers, partners, and strategic relationships.
Growing Your LinkedIn Network
In the past, growing your LinkedIn network went hand-in-hand with in-person networking. You might meet someone at a networking event or trade show, have a short conversation, and then follow up with a LinkedIn connection request
Today, most of these interactions happen virtually. Attending professional events virtually is the best way to bridge this gap while trying to make legitimate connections. Always start with sending LinkedIn connection requests to your immediate personal network, whether it’s a fellow alum from academia, family, friends, or colleagues.
LinkedIn Profile Tips
It’s important to have an engaging profile that looks professional and maintained. At a glance, the first things that you see on a LinkedIn profile are the profile picture, background image, and headline.
Be sure that your profile picture is appropriate for the industry that you’re in and the audience that you plan on connecting with. Your background should ideally be related to your organization, function, and visually engaging. The background image shows context to your profile picture and headline and should convey that information accordingly.
While your headline should describe your professional role, it can also involve how you view your role, why you enjoy your job, or things that are interesting to you (but still relevant to the professional context). Your summary is an opportunity to communicate your story, who you are, your skills, and your passions to those who visit your profile.
Many profiles that I’ve seen have left the summary out altogether which is a lost opportunity to let people get to know you.
LinkedIn Connections and Messages
Having 500 connections in LinkedIn establishes your profile as a networker and influencer on the site. While having many connections can be beneficial, it’s important to keep your connections to a certain degree of quality. It always helps to add a personal note to your LinkedIn connection request, touching on where you may have met, or why you’d like to connect.
Another great way to begin growing your personal connections is by syncing your LinkedIn profile with your email address so that you can receive suggestions on who to connect with based on your email interactions.
Once you accumulate connections, you now have the ability to message those people within your network. LinkedIn messages a way to communicate through the platform with people who have accepted your connection requests. You can send these types of messages to your own connections and those that are in the same LinkedIn groups as you.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator is a powerful tool for any sales professional that is looking to leverage their LinkedIn network. It allows for detailed searches, list building, and the ability to send InMail.
Targeted Searches, Filtering
While searching within Sales Navigator you can differentiate between leads, (personal profiles) and accounts (company profiles). You can filter your searches through a variety of criteria: past activity, geography, company, industry, headcount, seniority, function, title, and their relationship to you within LinkedIn.
The account filters are slightly different: geography, industry, department headcount, department headcount growth, annual revenue, company headcount, company headcount growth, technologies used, fortune level, and a number of LinkedIn followers.
It’s important to find meaningful criteria to segment your potential prospects when searching for leads and accounts. For example, if you only do business with companies in a certain industry within a certain region of the United States, that’s important to keep in mind when filtering your searches. From here you can begin to build lists with the people that you find during your search.
Building lists in Sales Navigator is an integral part of creating targeted sales outreach. Once you decide how you want to break up outreach efforts, you can start saving relevant leads or accounts into lists.
What is InMail ?
InMail is similar to LinkedIn messages that I mentioned earlier, however, InMail is not limited to your network. InMail is a private message that you can send to anyone on LinkedIn.
InMail is normally a paid feature unless a premium member sets their account to “open,” in which case you can reach out normally. In order to get access to these paid features of Sales Navigator, there are a few different plans to look at.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator Cost, Features, and Use Cases:
You can find a detailed list of features here on the LinkedIn website, but here are some highlights of the three plans:
- Price: $64.99/Mo or $779.88 Annually
- Advanced lead and company search functionality
- Alerts on saves leads and accounts
- Ability to create custom lists
- 20 InMail messages per month
- Small businesses with one sales professional doing outreach.
- Freelancers that want to use this functionality for various projects.
- Recruiters that need access to search functions and list building
- Price: $103.33/Mo or $1240.00 Annually
- Share content and track engagement
- Ability to sync data with CRM
- Warm introduction through teammates’ network
- 30 InMail messages per month
- Sales teams that want to leverage their collective connections for their outreach.
- Teams that need to sync their Sales Navigator data with their CRM
- Recruiting teams that may need warm introductions through their shared network.
- Price: Contact LinkedIn
- CRM updates with data validation
- Integrate CRM contacts
- Advanced enterprise integrations
- 50 InMail messages per month
- Large corporations need to integrate their CRM with Sales Navigator and validate data.
- Large sales teams that need to handle high volumes of outreach utilizing various channels (including LinkedIn).
- Large recruiting organizations with similar needs.
Expand Your Network
There are many things that you can do to give yourself an edge when using LinkedIn. From your own profile to the way that you engage with the community.
Your profile picture and background should be engaging, professional, and personal. While your headline and summary should give people a better sense of who you are, what you do, and what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Once your profile is set, a great place to start growing your network is with your colleagues, family, and friends. Synching your email in order to get suggestions for people to connect with doesn’t hurt either.
From here, you can engage with your connections through messages that go to their profile. If you need to take it a step further, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool for both sales and recruiting purposes. It can serve a fairly wide array of needs so be sure to read into the detail of what each plan can give you before going forward in a plan.