They say time flies when you are having fun - especially in sales. LinkedIn sent out a great email to its members which included the video you see here. We included it because I'm crazy about LinkedIn as a sales tool, and because LinkedIn and I go way back - nine years, in fact.
As member 29,426 in a peer group of 225 million +, you could say I saw great potential in LinkedIn way back when. I opened my LinkedIn account on October 3, 2003. What I liked about LinkedIn then is what I continue to like about it as a tool for those in business -
- It is professional
- It is fairly simple to use (ok, I know a few things are not intuitive, but generally LinkedIn is easy)
- It is the "Gold Standard" in professional online presence - a place to 'build your personal brand"
As the video shows, LinkedIn could not have done it without all of the user adoption and ongoing use. Ongoing use is a big issue in the SaaS marketplace - studies show that people who do not engage with their software-as-a-service don't renew it. LinkedIn clearly has made some great moves, and continues to do so.
That's not to say it hasn't been a rocky ride.
I invited LinkedIn co-Founder Konstantin Guericke to speak at a technology dinner put on by the MIT Enterprise Forum in Seattle in 2005. It was some time ago, but I still remember vividly a couple of things - how gracious Konstantin was, and how many questions he got asked about how LinkedIn would ever make money. What was the business model?
Konstantin did not have a lot of answers at that time. I'm glad that it was figured out along the way, because LinkedIn is my go-to-tool. I use it everyday, and have talked with thousands of sales professionals, encouraging them to do three things with LinkedIn:
- Clarify and build their own brand as a professional
- Build their network of trusted peers to grow their reach
- Listen and engage with their market and industry to offer insight to their buyers
I'm an early adopter because I had moved 3000 miles and didn't want to lose connections with the great friends I made at CCBN (my last corporate employer) so I reached out to hundreds of my former co-workers in 2003 to connect via LinkedIn. For sometime, it was THE lifeline I had to these folks as they changed positions and companies over the years.
LinkedIn has evolved and improved month in and month out. It can be a challenge to keep up with the new improvements, but I am liking them.
Take a look today at the new channels on LinkedIn Today - it is easier now to learn what your customers and prospective customers are thinking and reading about. I know this will continue to be my first stop on the web each day. Learn more about it on the LinkedIn Blog, also a good source to understand LinkedIn's new features.
I also recommend people visit LinkedIn Training and Support Resources for videos and webinars specific to sellers.
Have you looked into LinkedIn Sales Navigator? Are you aware of these classes to gain better understanding?
As a salesperson or sales leader, what do you like most about LinkedIn?
How are you using it to gain insight?
Is it something you refer to daily or at least multiple times a week?
Let us know. In honor of LinkedIn's 10 year anniversary, I am awarding 10 Starbucks coffee cards to the top 10 answers received about how you use LinkedIn to sell more and better. The decision will be made by 3 of us here and the top vote-getters will receive coffee cards to use at their local coffeehouse. I don't know if they work outside of North America. The coffee cards will be awarded and distributed online.
Post your comments by May 16 to be in the running. Good luck, and Happy Anni, LinkedIn.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2012 and 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.