How to Use LinkedIn to Sell to Existing Customers

May 7, 2018

Customers in coffee shop

We trust people we know. We listen to people we like. And we are more apt to do business with companies that have proven to us they can deliver.

For all of these reasons and more, customer marketing is emerging as a critical priority. While there is obvious value in generating leads and new business, the importance of retaining, renewing, and upselling your current customers through strategic marketing initiatives should not be overlooked.

In this regard, LinkedIn has much to offer. The platform is highly effective for executing targeted, account-based strategies, and customer marketing epitomizes such an approach. If the idea is to distinguish and engage companies that are more likely to buy, then why not focus on those who already have bought from you?

The goal of customer marketing, per Marketo, is to “identify and market additional products or services to existing customers, retain them as customers, and develop them into advocates.”

The advantage of doing so is plainly evident for any company that relies on subscriptions and renewals. For businesses capable of providing the same customer with multiple solutions, it’s a key added revenue opportunity. And don’t downplay the significance of advocates in a B2B environment where 84% of buying processes start with a referral.

Customer Marketing on LinkedIn

As a central hub for professional networking and connections, LinkedIn should be integral to any customer marketing efforts. Because of the platform’s advanced targeting capabilities, it’s an ideal channel for building upon your existing relationships.

Let’s look at how LinkedIn can help you achieve three primary objectives of customer marketing.

Customer Retention

A classic study by Harvard Business Review found that increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. The bottom-line benefits of fending off attrition are immense.

As MyCustomer notes, “driving customer loyalty in B2B is all about communicating smartly and efficiently with your customers.” LinkedIn makes this easier to do. If you’re following the Company Pages of your accounts, as well as individuals within those accounts, you can keep tabs on their news and developments. Simply reaching out to comment on an update someone posted sends a message that you’re paying attention and you care. That goes a long way.

When it makes sense, you could even consider sharing positive coverage of your customers with your own networks to show some love. Obviously it is even more logical to do so when their success is tied to your solution in any way, but you’ll build more affinity by playing up the client’s role instead of yours.

Hopefully your customers are following you on LinkedIn, too. If not, incentivize them to do so by posting inside tips and orienting your content toward their interests. Keep them engaged.

When planning out your strategy for paid social, consider broadening your focus beyond new prospects. You can use account targeting on LinkedIn to deliver customized Sponsored Content to your existing accounts and key stakeholders. Using this tactic to highlight product improvements or customer success stories will help reinforce the relationship.

Upselling and Cross-selling

Of course, while retention is important, one of the biggest opportunities with your existing customer base lies in the ability to upsell and cross-sell with additional products and services.

This can look very different depending on the nature of your offerings. Maybe you have one core solution with upgrades or add-ons available. Or perhaps you sell multiple product lines that can supplement a client’s success.

Determining the right fits requires the same thoughtful ABM-style approach. Carefully study your current accounts to see where their needs lie and which extensions might make sense for them. If you serve customers well, and adhere to the customer retention principles above, you’ll likely find less friction and resistance than with an unfamiliar prospect.

By utilizing LinkedIn’s targeting functions in combination with your built-in knowledge of the account’s priorities and preferences, you can serve ads and content that speak to them directly.

Lead Forensics offers some smart tips for B2B cross-selling and upselling:

“The key to success, whether you’re offering an additional product that enhances a current one, or adding something completely new, is to make sure they relate to each other. It must make sense and the products should sit well together. Also, avoid overwhelming your clients with too many choices. Try to keep it simple but logical and bundle your offers appropriately.”

Don’t just think about cross-selling products. Think also about cross-selling within accounts. Are there other departments or business units in your customer’s organization that might be candidates for your solution? Use LinkedIn tools to research the company and map out its operational structure. Leverage existing relationships to seed new ones. This, by the way, brings us to our final component.

Advocacy and Referrals

There is no overstating the value of happy customers who become advocates for your brand. These often turn into B2B relationships that last a lifetime, and can pay dividends when someone changes roles or companies. Not only that, but advocates can spread the good word, both within their organization and without.

As mentioned earlier, we trust people we know and we listen to people we like. So it isn’t difficult to understand the substantial power of an advocate who is out there telling colleagues and peers about how much they enjoy your company and its solution.

Some companies adopt a formalized referral program, and these are often effective, but brand advocacy can be a natural result of outstanding service, continual engagement, and subtle encouragement. Brian Gladstein lists these pointers for increasing referrals and word-of-mouth business:

  • Understand what makes customers refer in the first place
  • Turn referrals into a two-way street
  • Pinpoint your value and help them quantify it
  • Be specific

Consider ways that your company’s LinkedIn presence can drive toward these goals. When pursuing new prospects and target accounts, look for connections to existing customers who might be able to build the bridge, and then identify relevant ways to do so.

We Should All Be Customer Marketers

A 2017 report  from Koyne Marketing found that 93% of organizations agree customer marketing is important to their revenue, and more than two-thirds planned to boost their investment in this area over the next year. If you’re among them (and why wouldn’t you be?), we highly recommend making LinkedIn a part of your plan.

For more advice on using LinkedIn optimally for all of your business growth initiatives, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing blog.