An Under Appreciated Use Of LinkedIn For Salespeople: Research

There are three core aspects to using LinkedIn for sales: search, research and outreach. Most salespeople figure out pretty quickly that you can use LinkedIn to find and identify possible prospects and that you can use LinkedIn to reach out to them.

But for most people research is misunderstood. They think it means a quick look at someone’s LinkedIn profile to find an opening hook, something like, “we went to the same school”, or “I see you have been an astronaut too.”

I preach the benefits of more in depth research for two reasons:

To help judge whether LinkedIn the best method for outreach to this person

By having a look at someone’s connections, quality of their LinkedIn profile and activity on LinkedIn, you can infer whether they use LinkedIn often. Someone who uses LinkedIn more often and “gets” using LinkedIn will be more likely to read your outreach message. And that is all we want: an honest shot at someone reading our message.

If I find someone interesting who obviously doesn’t use LinkedIn that much or place that much emphasis on it, then I would much rather try and reach out through another method – introduction, email referral, cold call, carrier pigeon, anything.

To help hyper-personalize my message 

By looking more deeply at their profile, you can gain insights into what someone is working on or has worked on, and in particular what accomplishments they are proud of. This will help you really personalize your message.

Where do we look for these clues? Everywhere. The About section, and the Experience sections are obvious places to look but by no means the only places. Endorsements will tell you what knowledge and skills they want to emphasize. Recommendations can be a gold mine. Even which Groups they belong to can give you ideas to work with.

But I don’t recommend just looking at the one person. By researching the people at the company and their company page, you can get important insights into tenures, personnel changes, new people, and even hiring.

If we do this research well and incorporate it into or outreach messages, the recipient can see that we have not just sent them some cookie cutter crap with their name swapped in at the top. They can see we have really put some effort into finding out more about themselves and their company, and that we really are different from everyone else out there.

Is this time consuming? Yes, but not as much as you think it would be. And with a much higher success rate, it is absolutely worth it.

And if we really want this person to become a customer of ours, someone we want to have an ongoing successful business relationship with, why wouldn’t we invest the time to show them some respect up front?

The obligatory disclaimer:

I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.