Step1: Defining Leads with LinkedIn Sales Navigator
In the first step, you should define your target group as precisely as possible. In LinkedIn’s Lead Builder, you can then research the relevant people in the target group. The definition of the target group can be very granular. We can, for example, search by job level, area of responsibility, but also specifically by company:
These leads are now saved in the Sales-Profi. Also the accounts, i.e. the companies in which these leads are employed. This will give you an initial list of leads and accounts, which you can continually expand.
One way to further expand your contacts is to have other people and companies suggested to you on the basis of the leads and accounts you have researched.
The persons researched do not yet know that you are interested in them. These leads are still cold. Nothing connects you with them. But from now on you will observe everything your leads and accounts publish on LinkedIn:
The observation of the accounts serves above all for the further perfection of your lead list.
The moment one of your leads comments on a topic that you have illustrated in your editorial plan (see next point), you contact them and refer to your content on the topic that is:
- Your company profile with news in LinkedIn
- Your personal LinkedIn profile
- Your LinkedIn focus page
- Your blog post on LinkedIn Pulse
- Your presentation or white paper in LinkedIn Slideshare.
You’re in conversation with them – bypassing the ailments of classic cold acquisition. You react to an activity of the target group, discuss its topic, are affirmative instead of aggressive, stimulating instead of annoying.
Step 2: Editorial plan
If, as described in step 1, you want to react to the topics of your target groups, you must first give some thought to them:
- What are the relevant topics of our target groups? (For this you need a topic monitoring.)
- To which of these topics can you contribute something useful?
- Which channels do you want to use with these topics?
- The contributions should be found on these channels. So you also have to introduce and maintain a corresponding keywording.
Once you have answered these questions, create an editorial plan with your prioritized topics and the keywording structure. These processes are explained in detail under “Storytelling at a glance“.
Step 3: Play on channels
You always publish your contributions on the relevant topics on your website and in your blog. With all love for LinkedIn: The heart of every corporate communication today is the website and if possible your own blog.
Since you want to avoid media breaks for your leads at the moment of addressing, you should also communicate your topics in LinkedIn. The following channels are currently available for this purpose:
- Short postings on your own profile
- Short postings on the company profile
- Short postings on a focus page, i.e. a topic profile of your company (In the USA these focus pages are very successful; in Germany there are only a few successful ones like the industry 4.0 focus page of the GTAI).
- Complex articles on the LinkedIn Pulse blog system
- Brochures, White Papers, Slide Sets and Videos on LinkedIn and Slildeshare
On Pulse, you can publish classic blog posts with integrated graphics and videos. The advantage of Pulse: If an editorial team and/or an LinkedIn algorithm considers the article or its author to be relevant, the article will not only be displayed to your own contacts, but also to all subscribers of a specific LinkedIn topic channel. This allows you to reach other contacts very quickly. Those who respond to this post in any way can be contacted directly or added to the group of leads in LinkedIn Sales Profi:
Dream Team: LinkedIn und Slideshare
Slideshare is a social media platform that is highly relevant in lead management with LinkedIn. Finally, documents stored there can be embedded directly in Pulse contributions, but also in personal LinkedIn profiles.
Slideshare expands the target group with existing documents. The documents are found by Google very well, because Slideshare is ranked there outstanding. Many users search for content in Slideshare. If your documents are well indexed, they will be found quickly. You can also embed this content perfectly in your own blogs.
Step 4: Support of Content Channels through LinkedIn Advertisements
The used channels can be perfectly supported via LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn ads work like Google ads, but better because they’re more targeted. At the moment, you can’t define the target groups you want to address with your ad anywhere more precisely than with LinkedIn.
How LinkedIn Ads work we have described on our blog in a LinkedIn Ad Guide. LinkedIn ads support your content in the LinkedIn channels described above and thus your lead management with LinkedIn.
Step 5: The circle closes – with or without LinkedIn group
As described in the first step, contact your leads the moment they comment on one of your topics. In the simplest case, link or comment on such a posting. At the next level, you send an InMail (the internal LinkedIn mail system) to the lead and refer to your content, i.e. your blog post in Pulse, your document in Slideshare, your constantly well-maintained focus page on the topic, and if you have your own group on the topic, then invite the lead to your group.
The important thing is that you always get to the topic of your lead. You do not acquire, but exchange experiences and opinions. It is up to the skills of your sales representative to decide what becomes of it – a customer relationship, a nice contact, a partner or even a friendship.
It is also crucial that marketing and sales cooperate closely with each other: Marketing as the producer of the content, sales as the one who researches leads and reactively generates active 1:1 contacts from leads using the content.
The sales department is also primarily responsible for publishing the content, as Slideshare and Pulse are personal channels. Only the focus page is a company page and can be controlled centrally by marketing.
Both marketing and sales can be supported by agencies. We can take over the research of leads, the creation of content and the creation of personal and company accounts. But the most noble task, the qualification of the leads and the development of valuable 1:1 contacts, is and remains the task of the sales professionals. We marketing experts are service providers and project coaches. We advise in theory and support in the practice of social selling.