Today's post is by Will Spendlove, vice president of product marketing at InsideView.
One of the most important parts of prospecting is finding the right person at the right time. It starts with identifying the key persona you’re targeting, then understanding the correct title and job responsibilities for each target company, looking for any connections you might have in that account, and then actually looking for an introduction with a real human. It’s a daunting process, to say the least.
A huge lifesaver has been LinkedIn. Generally, people use LinkedIn to manage their professional connections, and successful sales and marketing teams use it to prospect; however, building an entire connection strategy around LinkedIn just isn’t enough. At InsideView, we have figured out a way to reduce the time spent finding people and built a model to help sales and marketing teams find the most prospects. We use three key steps in our “finding” strategy:
1. Use a multipronged strategy to build a virtual connections pool.
When I talk to sales teams, I usually ask them what technology or system they use to find unknown contacts. The immediate answer is LinkedIn, which is a well-known and trusted strategy. LinkedIn is the world’s premier connections platform, but using LinkedIn, however, isn’t enough. There are many contacts who don’t use LinkedIn. In some cases, entire verticals are light on LinkedIn, including medical and government industries.
It’s important, therefore, to ensure that you have a multipronged connection strategy. Connection prongs can include LinkedIn but should also include social networks such as Facebook and Google+. There are many connections that exist on Facebook and Google+ that don’t exist in LinkedIn. By building a strategy using multiple social communities, your chances of meeting the right person are much higher.
You should also engage your email and telephone contact lists. There are often people you’ve engaged over the years but with whom haven’t recently connected. Make sure you are always keeping a CSV-file version of your email and telephone contact lists, backed up and available for your use. By including all social and email contact lists, you can build your own virtual connections pool. This pool ensures that you aren’t missing any key contacts you’ve engaged recently or in the past.
2. Engage your entire sales and marketing teams.
“You don’t know what you don’t know” – this adage rings true in a connections strategy. Right now, there are dozens of people at your company who have connections you want, but how are you going to know where they are? By encouraging all members of your whole team to share their network with each other, you can have many more opportunities to find and build relationships.
The easiest way to share connections among your teams is through a private connections cloud. These clouds allow sales and marketing teams to upload their contacts into a private space that’s available to only your individual organization. Details such as phone number and email address are suppressed to maintain privacy, but the connection details are made available. This way, you can request an introduction to a prospect directly from your team members.
3. Get out there and make new connections.
Using social tools and networks to your advantage may seem obvious, but BEING a good connection is also key to establishing yourself as someone with whom people should do business. Here are some key ways to build your social prowess:
- Use Twitter daily. This may seem odd to those who aren’t Twitter aficionados, but those who are often look at people’s Twitter statistics (followers, posts) to see if the Twitter users are truly social. Three easy ways to begin to engage in Twitter: 1) follow key influencers in your industry, 2) use scheduling technologies such as Buffer to help create a regular cadence in posting, and 3) respond to the Tweets you like.
- Make your Facebook/Google+ profiles public and reflect your best self. Many people feel that their Facebook page is personal, but these days, if you don’t have your profile at least searchable, people may think you’re hiding something.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile current.
- Use multiple social tools (Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, etc.) so you are easily found.
So go ahead and start finding those prospects. You’ll realize it’s easier than you thought – and maybe most of your competitors haven’t figured that out yet.