In the time where sales representatives on your and on customer’s side change jobs practically every year, maintaining old school 1-on-1 sales relationships is not only impractical but dangerous as well. Not only that there is a great chance of your contact on the client’s side changing the company they work for or their responsibilities, but there is also a great chance that your own sales employee will leave their current position within the same amount of time.
According to infographic published on Hubspot, 68% of sales reps plan to leave their current job within a year and 45% within next three months. And the smaller the company is – the bigger the impact of the change will be.
What is more, typical B2B purchase nowadays includes more than 4 people, while bigger sales usually include even a larger number of people. These decision makers are more diverse than ever and are usually distributed across divisions, functional areas or even parts of the world. They can be an executive, in operations or finance, whose roles are significantly increasing. However, LinkedIn published that 1 in 5 decision makers (director level and above roles) will change companies every year.
Don’t forget the influencers as well. They are not the real decisions makers, but can have impact on those that are and are actively included in the process.
Having one point of contact sometimes can mean that the actual decision maker is not even informed about your sales pitches, that there is a power struggle at play or that your contact or one of the other stakeholders doesn’t want to take over responsibility for the potentially bad purchase. Maybe the customer was getting a significant discount based on an established relationship within your company and now that that person is gone they can’t have the same benefits anymore, and so on and so on. Also, ROI is more important than ever and today buyers conduct it before they make any purchase by doing the thorough research.
Not to mention that having one point of contact usually restricts you from buying into different lines of business within the same organization and limits your cross-selling opportunities, because different decision makers perceive value differently and everyone is trying to see what’s in it for them. For example, some stakeholders may only look for the lowest price, while others are focused on the quality or best possible ROI.
So, knowing all this, having one point of contact on both sides makes even less sense, if any at all.
This is where Account Based Selling comes into spotlight – the selling aimed at multiple decision makers at the company you’re selling to. In order not to depend on one person to close the sale – you as a company should have a relationship or at least connection to multiple decision makers.
And what a better way to ensure this than through LinkedIn?
That is why LinkedIn decided to use its data and network to help the sales people all over the world and enable Sales Navigator that not only gives sales reps valuable insight into the desired customer companies, but also provides easy way to connect with decision makers in those companies with specific titles and responsibilities.
Before you even start, make sure to create your LinkedIn profile with your customer in mind. Don’t let it be a mere overview of your previous working experience – instead state clearly what it is that you do, what your field of expertise is and where exactly you can help. Think of your prospect’s concerns and provide the right answers to them. For example, if they are looking to grow sales, write that you’re a Lead Generation expert that is able to find the most fit contacts (we do it with 98% accuracy).
Step 1 – Connect With The Decision Makers
Assuming you already found your desired companies by using the Premium Insights, it is time to identify who are the decision makers and connect with them.
The Sales Navigator option works best only if you are always active, because the tool learns from your past searches. Use Advanced Search to discover people with specific titles within the organization. With this option you can search for seniority, function and relationships to your connections that you already have. You can even save the account and leads that you have for it. Sales Navigator will eventually make recommendations for other similar accounts that may also turn into your future customers.
Follow your decision makers carefully on LinkedIn (and Twitter as well if available) and see what it is that they write about, what are their problems, pain points, questions and topics that they like to talk about. This will also give you valuable information about the company itself.
After you’ve found all the relevant people you should encourage your own sales people to connect with them and expand their network.
Owing to LinkedIn, reaching C-level people, who are usually the decision makers and hard to get in touch with, has never been this easy.
Step 2 – Engage with the decision makers
Truth be told, cold reaching out to your new connections through InMail won’t get you very far since more than half of them will completely ignore you.
However, if you have anyone among your connections that can introduce you to your desired prospect you are already more likely to reach your goal.
Contact your First degree connections first and ask them whether they are willing to introduce you to the decision makers that you’re reaching out to.
That is one way of approaching, other way can be looking for a common interest with your prospects by following them closely. It can be an industry related topic or even a music band or a film.
You can also join and engage in LinkedIn Groups that the decision makers are in and increase your chances of not only selling to them, but to others that you may not have previously considered a potential customer.
Step 3 – Provide knowledge
Today’s purchases take twice longer than expected, which is why you need to help your customer make the decision by giving him only the information that he/she needs.
Provide knowledge that is relevant to your potential customer specifically, show that you’re the master of your field and their industry and rise above the competition by starting conversations and providing answers.
React to their LinkedIn updates, especially LinkedIn Pulse articles, by commenting and giving your own point of view or at least congratulating them on their promotion or anniversary at the company.
Don’t forget to share your own LinkedIn Pulse articles and information that you’ve found that might be of interest to them. This can be especially beneficial in times when you notice the „trigger events“ in the company (expansion, product launch, promotions, new employees or even important personal life events like marriage). When you see an important change in their career make sure you are there to provide the best solution to their problems and help them with their aspirations.
Make The Most Out Of Your LinkedIn
Seems pretty easy, right? In any case, a lot easier than it was before LinkedIn. With all these options and data within your reach, all you have to do is use it wisely – be at the right place at the right time.