Even after 28 years of doing B2B technology sales, I am still looking for new ways to crack old problems. Last week, LinkedIn helped me crack an old problem by allowing me to complete a key sales task more accurately than traditional methods, and at a fraction of the costs.
B2B selling has a pretty simple set of fundamentals:
- Determine your target market
- Make a list of the companies in that target market
- Compile a database of the targeted decision makers for your product
- Create a sales and marketing plan to get your value proposition in front of those decision makers
But executing step 3 has always proven extremely difficult.
I often felt forced to spend large amounts of money with list brokers or broadly-based marketing companies who promised to get my team’s message in front of decision makers. Sometimes we contracted small companies who promised detailed organization chart profiles of Fortune 500 companies, or we paid third-party calling companies to build a contact list for us.
In reality, all these strategies pretty much sucked. Any data that I have ever bought has been incomplete and outdated. Today, as the pace of career movement speeds up, those old methods produce even more outdated results.
But LinkedIn has changed all that. You don’t need to rely on third parties to update contact data because your individual, targeted decision makers keep their contact information updated themselves! It is rarely out of date and largely available to any social media savvy B2B salesperson.
As we learned at LinkedIn Sales Connect earlier this year, the world’s largest professional network is a gold mine for the modern salesperson.
At Hearsay Social, we go one step further: all our customer-facing people are licensed for LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a fee-based subscription that supplements the free LinkedIn product. Sales Navigator gives you advanced search capability and allows you to see deeper and more broadly into LinkedIn’s network data. It also gives you the ability to see if anyone at your company is already connected to your targeted decision maker. Think of it as Linkedin on sales steroids.
Using Sales Navigator, our team executed a blitz last week of sales contact research. We bought no lists and we didn’t pay for any database tools. We simply used Sales Navigator and a little elbow grease. LinkedIn Sales Navigator allowed our small company to accomplish a key go to market task at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. More importantly, it produced results that are likely 5X-10X more accurate than traditional approaches. Better and cheaper is essential to competing today.
As a closing note, I’ll also mention that the Hearsay Social platform works well with Sales Navigator, so we always encourage our customers to use both–we’re already seeing huge successes there. If you are running a sales organization today, I can’t imagine you doing so without Sales Navigator!