B uyers today are more self-directed because of the abundance of information they have available through the Internet. In fact, they move through roughly 70% of the sales cycle on their own. However, these buyers are often held back from taking final steps because they lack a verbal confirmation that they are making the right choice. This is when a sales representative can truly make a difference.
So the question becomes, ‘how can a sales representative impact a customer’s buying decision?’ Part of the answer to that question is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an informative resource for sales to find out the information they need to impact a buying decision. It allows them to develop general knowledge of the buyer’s needs before even engaging with them.
Here are four steps that sales can take to help them use LinkedIn to begin impacting buying decisions:
Obtain Customers LinkedIn is a very powerful media to connect with customers and individuals within your industry. If used to its full potential, sales representatives can track down prospects and develop a strong knowledge of their wants and needs prior to even engaging with them via phone or email. LinkedIn offers this accessibility to connect with existing and new customers so you can export and merge with databases, and ask for references; quotes, testimonials, etc. Another way to stay on top of your connections is to review the people you are already connected with. View the list of connections that your existing connections have, to see if there are any potential new customers that you could engage with to provide them with your services. This will help to target customers down by industry, geography, business needs and keywords.
Assess Social Brand Presence A study showed that 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a salesperson if their company is well known and has a strong professional brand. So how do sales representatives build credibility? Through a LinkedIn profile of course! A salesperson’s profile should include their name, job title, and company at minimum. To establish credibility, a sales rep should post articles relevant to their industry and promote their company and solutions with any content available to them—whitepapers, videos, and infographics.
Understand Prospects and Engage After creating your LinkedIn profile and making connections within your industry, it’s time to begin profiling and engaging them. It’s important to profile your buyers in order to understand their role and responsibilities, as well as learn their metrics and challenges so you can develop the right plan of action for them. 64% of B2B buyers appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business needs. This further establishes credibility and provides the sales representative an opportunity to showcase his or her solutions that will meet the buyer’s needs.
Nurture Prospects LinkedIn can also be used to nurture prospects who are not yet ready to buy. Today, 84% of C-level/VP Executives are using LinkedIn and social media to assist in company purchasing decisions. With that many people using LinkedIn to gather more information, it is crucial for sales representatives to nurture their prospects. This can be accomplished by sharing content that promotes solutions, success stories and testimonials.
Leveraging LinkedIn can help sales representatives close the deal. By profiling buyers and engaging them intelligently with knowledge of their business challenges and the solutions that can solve them, sales representatives earn credibility. This credibility is what can help a sales representative provide the verbal confirmation that the buyer is making the right choice, and close a deal. In fact, sales representatives who engaged 39% more often on LinkedIn with their prospects yielded an increase in closes.