8 Actionable Ways to Use LinkedIn for B2B Sales

May 13, 2015
min read time
Sam Aparicio
Sam Aparicio
Co-founder & CEO, Ring.io
8 Actionable Ways to Use LinkedIn for B2B Sales

LinkedIn is the world’s 4th most popular social network. As a professional social network, LinkedIn is the most popular among salespeople. Using Linkedin, you can generate more leads and referrals, build a personal brand in your industry, and do more targeted prospecting.

Here are 8 actionable ways for you to use LinkedIn for B2B sales.

1. Export a Spreadsheet of Your LinkedIn Connections

Finding someone’s LinkedIn profile is a lot easier than finding someone’s email address. Usually a quick Google search will get you there. This is great for salespeople because all you have to is add someone to your network to get their email address.

One of LinkedIn’s most useful but least well known features is the ability to export a spreadsheet of your connections. This spreadsheet is complete with full names, companies, and job titles for each of your connections.

Here’s how you export your LinkedIn connections.

1. Hover over the connections tab and choose Keep in Touch

2. Click the settings icon on the right side.
3. Click on “Export LinkedIn Connections”.

4. Export as CSV.

This feature is useful for prospecting, finding referrals, and keeping your customer data up to date.

2. Add Every Customer You Close to Your Network

You should add every customer you close on LinkedIn for two reasons.

If you have your customers in your network, it’ll be a lot easier to ask the right person for a referral to another prospect when the time comes. All you have to do is visit the prospect’s LinkedIn profile and see if any of your current customers are a shared connection.

Secondly, with LinkedIn’s suggested actions, you’ll know when a customer you closed moves to a new company or gets promoted to a higher position. Both of these events are opportunities for you to reconnect with customers and either upsell them or see if your product is a good fit for their new company.

3. Use LinkedIn Pulse to Publish Content

Some of the best business content is published on LinkedIn.

From Richard Branson to Marc Benioff, many of the world’s greatest business leaders publish content on LinkedIn.Previously, only influencers and thought leaders could publish content on Pulse. Now the platform is open to anyone with a LinkedIn accoun.

This is a powerful tool for salespeople for two reasons.

1. It gives salespeople the opportunity to share their insights through their professional identity.

2. It lets you reach an audience instantly.

When you publish on LinkedIn Pulse, everyone in your network gets a notification. That’s just one more reason to consistently connect with people in your industry on LinkedIn.

So what kind of content should you publish? Here are a few ideas:

  • Interview one of your customers about how they use your product.
  • Analyze a new trend in your industry.
  • Product updates.
  • Something you learned from your customers.

4. Use LinkedIn’s Suggested Actions as Touchpoints

One of LinkedIn’s newest features gives salespeople an easy way to reconnect with their network.

Everyday, LinkedIn suggests ways to reengage with your contacts. These touchpoints can be things like a new job, a promotion, a work anniversary, or even just a new picture.

While a lot of things are changing about sales, the best salespeople understand that relationships still matter. With LinkedIn’s new feature, you can build relationships in just a few seconds each day.

These suggested actions can be especially useful if you add every customer you close to your network. Not only will they help you strengthen your relationship with your customers for better retention, but you’ll also know when a customer moves to a new company, giving you an opportunity to move with them.

5. Join the Groups Your Prospects Are In

If you’re doing outbound prospecting, LinkedIn groups give you the opportunity to engage with prospects even before sending that cold email.

1. Take your list of prospects and match each contact with their LinkedIn profile.
2. Most LinkedIn profiles publicly show the groups that they are a part of. Go through your list of LinkedIn profiles while copying and pasting the groups that each prospect is a part of.

3. In a spreadsheet, note how many members each group has, if it’s an open or closed group, how engaged the group’s members are, and how many of your prospects are in each group.
4. Based on this data, choose 2 or 3 groups to join and become an active member of.

6. Engage in Groups Consistently

Getting results from LinkedIn Groups takes time and effort that most salespeople are not willing to invest. Posting something promotional every once in a while will do nothing but give you a reputation as a spammer.

To truly get results from LinkedIn Groups, you need to choose 2 or 3 specific groups and focus on becoming a member of the community. To do this, set up an engagement cadence for the LinkedIn groups you are a part of.

Engaging in LinkedIn groups can be any one of these actions

  • Commenting on another member’s post with your thoughts.
  • Helping the community by answering questions.
  • Asking questions or asking for help.
  • Posting content that promotes your product.
  • Posting other people’s content that you liked.

You need a consistent mix of each of these actions to be a an active, helpful, and valuable community member and to avoid being marked as a spammr.

Set up a cadence for engaging in LinkedIn groups so you do it consistently. This cadence can be as simple as commenting every Tuesday, posting other people’s content every Thursday, and looking for opportunities to be helpful every Friday.

Set up a routine, stick to it, and you’ll start to see results from LinkedIn Groups.

7. Optimize Your Profile for Sales

With a few quick optimizations, you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a sales asset. There are 3 main parts of your profile that you should improve.

1. Your headline.
2. Your current job description.
3. Projects and media.

By default, LinkedIn sets your headline to your current job title. Change your tagline to be a value proposition. If you sell medical equipment, a good tagline might be – “I help hospitals improve efficiency”. You have 120 characters so you can get creative with your headline. This is the first thing people see when scanning your profile. Make it a value proposition to capture their attention.

Most job descriptions on LinkedIn are the standard list of tasks performed and maybe a short sentence about the company. To optimize your profile for sales, make your current job description a sales pitch or value proposition for your company. Social Tables is one company that does this really well.

The last section of your profile you should optimize are your projects and media. You can add videos, text, and even slides to your LinkedIn profile. If you have a presentation you use for demos, add it to your profile.

8. View Profiles in Your Industry

What do you do when someone you don’t know views your LinkedIn profile?

If you’re like most people, you’ll click through to their profile out of curiosity and wonder who they are and why they were on your profile. You’ll probably scan the different sections of their profile, looking for something relevant to you that might give you an answer.

For salespeople, the psychology behind this can be a very powerful tool. Cold selling is all about finding a minimally intrusive and targeted way to share a message. So if you’re profile is optimized to sell, you have a small chance to convert each person who views it.

By going through LinkedIn’s search results and viewing a large number of profiles in your target industry, you will start to get more profile views and more chances to connect with potential buyers.

Before you do this, make sure your LinkedIn privacy settings are not set to view other profiles anonymously.


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