How I Organize My Funnel In LinkedIn

August 28, 2014


One of the most difficult things in running a small business is being able to manage administrative demands, execute excellent client work, and be responsible for bringing in business. I need to constantly prioritize my time and be extremely efficient to get it all done.

Most of my business and related opportunities have come from interactions and exposure I have with people on LinkedIn and Twitter. So there are high demands I participate online in order to generate business.

I used to be able to see LinkedIn activity directly in my CRM. However, as of about a month or two ago, I no longer can. As a result, I started to take a closer look at LinkedIn’s increasingly CRM-like functionality on the Connections Page.

I created a new tagging system within LinkedIn to help me to stay focused on my “funnel” as it were, whether it’s the top of the funnel (lead gen), the middle of my funnel (nurturing my prospects) or, feeding the funnel (engaging with influencers and referrers.)

I started to tag contacts and connections as ‘1 leads’, ‘2 leads no response’, ‘3 leads not interested’, ‘4 prospect nurture’, ‘5 prospect active’ and ‘6 client’. Also, I created tags titled ‘partners’, ‘industry experts’, and ‘marketing’.

Of course these are similar identifiers set up in a typical CRM. But I’m using these tags to help me prioritize my time I spend selling socially.

I divide my social selling efforts into two camps:

A. People in my funnel. These are people I want to work with, that I’m actively (fast or slowly) pursuing.

B. People who can fill my funnel. These are industry experts, partners, clients, and vendors who can most likely refer me or influence potential clients about my work.

People in my funnel

1.    Leads can come from Advanced Search, Twitter or offline or any other number of sources. If they’re not a connection, I save these people to my contacts by clicking the Star under their photo. By saving them, I can tag them – without having to connect with them. I tag these people as ‘1 lead’.

2.    By doing this, I can tag people from multiple sources without having to pursue them immediately. Then I take time to transform information into insights – the most critical skill in social selling. I read their profile, social activity, learn how we’re connected, Google them, and review their website and LinkedIn Company Page before deciding how to approach them and what I’m going to say.

3.    Once we’ve connected and had an offline conversation, they become a ‘2 lead no response’ or a ‘3 lead no interest’ or a ‘4 prospect nurture’ or a ‘5 prospect active’. Eventually I want them to become a ‘6 client’! At each stage of the funnel, I can set reminders and use the notes feature on their profile to follow up and nurture the relationship.

People who can fill my funnel

Past clients, vendors, industry experts, and partners are the best referrers and influencers. These people therefore are the people I want to help the most. One simple way of helping them is to share, like and comment on their content.

Also, everyday, I want to learn topical news that is important to my buyers. I like to filter my contacts by the tag, say, ‘industry expert’ or ‘client’. I click on an individual’s profile, and select the downward facing triangle on the top of their profile to review their recent activity or publications.

Inevitably, (because they are industry experts) they are sharing or writing interesting content.

There are so many ways to get valuable content: Pulse, Feedly, Twitter hashtags, my LinkedIn news feed, but I like to make sure I’m tending to my network first.

By starting with this group when looking for valuable content, I a) learn about important industry news and what’s important to them, b) share their content which increases their visibility and credibility, and c) when I comment or Like their content, I share my own expertise.

Three take-aways:

1.    Even if you’re using a CRM to manage your pipeline, tagging your top relationships in LinkedIn helps to stay in touch socially with those most important to you.

2.    If you’re not using a CRM to manage your leads, tagging people can help prioritize the time you spend with people based on how they’re positioned in your funnel.

3.   Don’t let the tail wag the dog. Just as in traditional sales, social selling needs to start with the people in your funnel.