LinkedIn is the world’s biggest social network for professionals with over 720 million members worldwide. This number alone gives you a sense of LinkedIn’s value if you’re looking to find and connect with potential technical sales prospects.
Every technical sales engineer should be thinking about how they can use this often overlooked and underutilized resource to improve their sales performance. Whereas other social media platforms are organized around social groups and personal connection, LinkedIn is primarily organized around professional interests and connections. It helps users connect with people in their industries, keep up with the latest industry news, and most importantly, foster new professional connections.
What is Technical Sales Prospecting?
Not everyone is familiar with the term “technical sales prospecting”, but they should be. According to Hubspot, “Prospecting is the process of initiating and developing new business by searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers, for your products or services.”
This is how you locate qualified new buyers who are interested in the product or service that you’re selling. It’s what keeps your sales pipeline full, which is absolutely critical for technical sales engineers.
Who are Technical Sales Prospects?
A prospect is a potential customer. So technical sales prospects are businesses (or the businesses’ decision makers) who fit the description of your target customers and have problems or issues that your business can solve.
How to use LinkedIn to Reach Technical Sales Prospects
There are several options on how to maximize LinkedIn’s utility in locating and reaching out to technical sales prospects. Here are our the top three favorites:
1) LinkedIn Profile Optimization – Optimize your LinkedIn profile to create a strong brand
Always make sure that your profile is optimized. Your profile is the first thing that technical sales prospects see once you make those initial connections. In fact, technical sales prospects almost always take a look at your profile after you first reach out.
So before you begin prospecting, take a close look at your profile. Double-check that there’s a clear and professional-looking profile photo. Include specific keywords and phrases about your work in the headline section. Make sure you have a detailed experience section that highlights the most important experiences of your career.
Also, make sure that your settings allow public access to your profile so that potential technical sales prospects can easily find it.
2) Connect with Prospects and Comment on Their Content
LinkedIn was designed to connect professionals. Don’t hold yourself back. Start connecting with people that you already know. This might be a former client or a person you went to school with. You never know, one of them might be a potential prospect. And this strategy is fairly easy because LinkedIn can import your email contacts automatically.
Next, connect with people in your network who could be potential prospects or who know potential prospects. That being said, don’t connect with people on LinkedIn just because you feel like it. Save that for another social network. Sending random invitations out to people you barely know will not help your prospecting and may even result in other members flagging you as a spammer.
Just like any other social network, commenting is a great way to get you noticed. Comments and engagement can easily catch the attention of a potential future client. Engage with technical sales prospects by commenting on the content they share, offering your own thoughtful opinion, or in some way demonstrating that you are a knowledgeable and competent voice in your industry.
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3) Build Trusting Relationships with Your Technical Sales Prospects
Sales is not simply about pushing products to potential buyers. The most important thing that a sales professional can do is build trust with potential customers. LinkedIn is a good way to start building that trust. Once you’ve connected to the potential prospect, you can use LinkedIn Messaging and LinkedIn Groups to grow the relationship.
LinkedIn Messages allows you to send and receive private messages with your 1st degree connections if you’re using a free plan. If you have a premium subscription, you’ll be able to message people beyond the 1st degree.
Groups are online places where professionals from the same industry, and who share the same interests, can post content, look for jobs, and engage with other members of the group. To find groups that you may want to join, enter the keyword or group name in the search bar. LinkedIn can also recommend groups for you.
Both LinkedIn Messages and Groups are great tools that can help build relationships with prospects.
LinkedIn Prospecting Tools
Aside from using the standard LinkedIn tools and our three strategies for improving your lead connections, you can also level up your prospecting game by using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This is the social platform’s paid sales solution for salespeople.
There are three plans available – professional, team, and enterprise. The professional plan is $64.99 per user/month and the team plan is $103.33 per user/month. For teams with more than 10 members, you can also request that LinkedIn provides you with a custom enterprise quote.
What distinguishes these plans from one another and from a free LinkedIn account? One difference is the number of InMail messages you can send per month. If you are on a free LinkedIn plan, you can only message people within your network. But with a paid subscription, you can send InMail messages to potential technical sales prospects outside of your network. Sales Navigator also offers the ability to save leads, do advanced searches, create custom lists, integrate with CRM apps, and do automatic lead generation.
Simply put, Sales Navigator is the best version of LinkedIn for sales professionals. If you and your organization want to use LinkedIn as one of your main tools for prospecting, getting an upgraded version is well worth the investment.
Technical sales prospects are everywhere on LinkedIn, you just need to have the right tools and the right knowledge to find them. Start using LinkedIn today to reach more prospects and soon you’ll see your sales pipeline filling up.
And as always, if you find yourself stumped, stop wasting your valuable time and resources if you’re struggling to find better technical sales prospects.
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