The top of your funnel is weak. The VP of Sales realizes this but won’t act. Creating a high volume of qualified leads is a heavy lift. It would require input from multiple functions. There would be months of planning and designing the program. We would need to dedicate serious resources to operationalizing and reinforcement.
The VP has 3 requirements of any lead generation effort:
This will make us better tomorrow
This will utilize the resources and processes that are working
This won’t minimize the importance of reps generating their own inquiries
LinkedIn gives you the ability to deliver this. These Quick Tips for LinkedIn Prospecting will allow your reps to drive results tomorrow. 15 minutes of each reps’ time will give your organization:
A much larger network of prospects and influencers
The ability to get reps generating their own qualified leads
Insight into what your buyers care most about
These benefits all positively impact revenue. They can all be executed on from both the top-down and bottom-up. Here’s how:
Network of Prospects
Why: Who you know is more important than what you know. Each of your 200 reps has a network of connections. It’s currently impossible to gauge the strength of those networks. There are potential customers hidden in the clutter of 500+ connections. Ask each rep to identify one prospect from their existing network. Your funnel will grow overnight.
How: Go through your connections and categorize them into buckets. If your organization has done buyer persona work, bucketing by persona is effective. The LinkedIn Tagging feature allows you to create these categories. Chances are there are hundreds of connections from college friends and family. Tagging cuts through the noise and identifies titles and roles to target.
Use Case: Carl has been a Senior Account Executive for 12 years. 3 years ago he ran into Melissa who was a Procurement Assistant. She couldn’t buy a pencil. You forgot all about her. Now she’s a manager and is responsible for a budget of $10M.
Why: Reps can’t be waiting around for qualified leads. They are proactive creatures. They want to sell, so they start working the long shots. LinkedIn provides the ability to send out targeted messaging to your key buyers. Reps don’t have to leave the office or pick up the phone. They quickly nurture prospects on the most professional virtual platform.
How: Take your bucket of buyers. Send the entire bucket a message. The message should be no longer than 3 sentences. Lead with an offer and its benefits. The offer can be as simple as enrolling for a webinar or downloading a whitepaper. Prove your credibility as an authority on the subject. Circle back to the offer.
Use Case: Every Tuesday morning Jack jumps on LI. In one message, he sends every Procurement Manager he knows a targeted offer. The offer focuses on buyer benefits and sees a high click through rate. By next Tuesday Jack will have 4 new leads trusting him as an authority.
Why: The buyer is out there promoting themselves. 10 years ago buyers kept their interests and aspirations guarded. You had complicated tactics for unearthing needs. Now, buyers are announcing their goals, objectives and experience for the world to see. LinkedIn has made many probing/discovering tools ancient artifacts.
How: Buyers are on LinkedIn, Youtube and Slideshare looking for help to solve their problems. When they find the solution, they often share it with their network. Makes them look like an authority. Gives them credibility with their customers. Listen to the buyers through the News Feed. Follow what’s trending in your network through LinkedIn Signal. Engage in buyers’ discussions; offer them a different take on a similar subject. Note what articles are trending and keep the pulse of the market.
Use Case: Deb lost her top client last year. Tony had moved to the competitor because Deb’s unbeatable price no longer mattered. Tony was more interested in scaling for the road out of recession. Deb saw Tony shared an article on preparing software applications for the future. It spoke a lot about system integration and compatibility. Deb’s marketing team recently produced a How To guide for Seamless Integration. Deb comments on his post and offers him content with solutions.
These are low hanging fruit. We have not yet begun to build out our networks. With 15 minutes of effort per day, each rep can begin to generate qualified leads. The VP of Sales will see the impact in the funnel. Your forecasts will be more accurate and your goals more attainable. When top executives see positive outcomes they will support larger efforts. Quick results will lead to long term strategic shifts.