In our 2013 Sales & LinkedIn Survey, we found out lots of great info on how top sellers are leveraging LinkedIn. (Download Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code here.) One statistic that really stood out was the difference in LinkedIn connections with customers.
As you can see, top sellers were connected to almost 3x as many customers as everyone else who took the survey. But here's an even starker contrast. If you look at the 55% of sellers who'd never generated an opportunity via LinkedIn, they're only connected to 9.8% of their customers.
Does it matter? I sure think so. And, to help you get some perspective on the value of doing this, I'm going to share some comments by survey respondents. You'll definitely get a fresh perspective when you read them.
- Going Deep & Wide. "After a phone sales presentation, I go to LinkedIn and send that person a request to connect. Since I am fresh in their mind, 99% of the time they accept the connection. This then gives me access to their network. My goal is to go deep & wide in each company. Using their LinkedIn connections helps me to expand my network in each company." ~ Kathy J.
- Expanding Our Footprint. "I’ve guided my reps to locate other contacts within an organization. Say we're doing business with Company A, in the Marketing Department. I work with my reps to see who else their customers have as contacts within Company A. We then ask for a referral within the organization to expand our footprint. I also look to see what other groups our customers belong to. That way we can stay ahead of the conversation with them." ~ Stacie W.
- £1m in Pipeline in 2 Months. "When I find a relevant contact I'll first mine the "Viewers of this profile also viewed" list. As I have a highly targeted market this is a great way to source other related contacts within the firm or contacts at other relevant firms. I’ve finally persuaded my boss to pay for a Premium License as it has enabled me to build an active engaged pipeline of over £1m in just two months." ~ Darrell M.
- Expanding Contact Base. "I've had good success expanding my contact base across one of the largest food service company in the USA. This list of corporate contacts and their affiliates is difficult at best to obtain. LinkedIn has provided me valuable opportunities to network throughout their organization across multiple demographics and channels to obtain key contacts to open discussion and garner business." Joe W.
- Finding More Names. "Once I find someone that is a key prospect for me, I often look to the bottom right to see who they are connected to that recently viewed or connected with them. I often find additional contacts I can try to prospect if no luck with the prospect I found, and I even find colleagues of theirs in the same field so I have a name of someone else that I can prospect as well. It works great if you are already speaking with someone that likes your product and company for they are probably telling their peers about you." Kristine A.
Having more contacts within an account increases your likelihood of getting in and getting to the right person. It gives you a chance to gather even more invaluable information necessary to drive the sale. It protects you from losing your relationship if you only have one contact. And, it leads to more business.
By all means, connect with your customers! It makes all the sense in the world. And, it's easy.