A recent 2013 sales and LinkedIn survey identified an important link between small business use of LinkedIn as a central tool in connecting with customers and sales outcomes. According to this survey, the top sellers were connected to almost three times as many customers as everyone else who was canvassed (54.4 percent connection with customers for top sellers compared to 18.6 percent for everyone else). Even more telling is the metric that 55 percent of sellers who reported that they had never generated an opportunity via LinkedIn were only connected to 9.8 percent of their customers.
Survey respondents described several strategic approaches for using LinkedIn to connect with their customer base, thereby increasing sales success. This included creating connections with potential customers via LinkedIn as a follow-up measure to help secure the sale (which has the added bonus of enabling them to gain access to that customer’s network and source other related contacts). LinkedIn has also been proven to be highly effective at expanding a small company’s footprint, as through connections forged on LinkedIn, a business owner can guide their reps to locate other contacts within an organization, enabling them to stay ahead of the game.
According to many small business owners’ experience, LinkedIn also provides an easy way to expand a small business’s contact base and gain access to valuable opportunities through strategic networking. The way that LinkedIn is set up, once a key prospect is identified, the business owner can look at that person’s connections or who they have recently viewed to find additional contacts that they can then try to prospect, thereby expanding sales opportunities exponentially.
The results of this survey indicate that having more LinkedIn contacts within a particular business supports a stronger market reach overall. According to small business owners who have achieved success with LinkedIn, not only are you able to better connect and respond to customers in a timely fashion (thereby building a more personalized, trusting relationship), but by having access to the data LinkedIn provides, business owners are given a unique opportunity where they can gather invaluable information that’s often necessary to drive the sale.
Konrath, Jill. “LinkedIn Connection with Customers Leads to More Business.” Jill’s Jottings: Fresh Sales Strategies. 9/12/13.