How to Find and Fulfill Your Funnel Fillers on LinkedIn

Discover how to keep your sales pipeline full by identifying referral partners and providing them with a reason to refer business to you.

December 22, 2014

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Recently, Celina Guerrero of Social to Sales shared her sales funnel organization tactics on the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog. In her post, Celina described how she divides her social selling efforts into two camps:

A: People in her funnel

B: People who can fill her funnel

Like most excellent strategies, Celina's is stunningly simple. In this post, we'll help you identify the people who can fill your funnel. We’ll also show you how to interact with them in a way that facilitates the best kind of sales lead generation: referrals.

Referrals have always been a big bottom-line booster for sellers, but in the social selling era, referrals are essential. Today, buyers are 5x more likely to engage if the outreach is through a mutual connection. And if the mutual connection can share personal experiences that speak to your skills and strengths, engagement is even more likely.

Finding your funnel fillers

First, identify everyone who has ever referred business to you. If you’ve lost touch with any of these people, you’ll want to reconnect with them.

Next, comb your LinkedIn network for your most “connected” connections. Don’t simply choose people with the most connections. Rather, identify the people who are active on LinkedIn. These people are constantly adding new connections, are engaging with their network, and are developing new relationships.

Finally, it’s time to get creative with your buyer’s journey. Who else is your ideal prospect talking to? Are there non-competing sales reps who sell complimentary products you can network with? Are your prospects speaking with industry consultants or value-added resellers (VARs)? Anyone who engages with your target audience is a potential candidate.

Organizing your funnel fillers

You can tag and organize your contacts in whichever way works best for you. Here’s how Celina tags her contacts on LinkedIn:

“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.”

Your tagging system can help ensure you are engaging the right people consistently, while also allowing for scalable campaigns. If Celina wants to start a new initiative or share specific information with her ‘partners,’ she can easily identify them and get started with her campaign.

Interacting with your funnel fillers

A sales pro can build one heck of a referral network by focusing on two words: value and gratitude. Referral relationships work best when they’re reciprocal. And although you cannot always return the favor with a highly-qualified lead of your own, you can always send a sincere, personalized thank you.

As with social selling in general, leading with insights is the most effective way to initiate relationships with potential funnel fillers. By leading with insights, you are providing value, gaining attention, and establishing the “why” behind your proposed relationship. If you’ve added your potential funnel fillers as contacts (and have followed their respective LinkedIn Company Pages), you will gain access to what they (and their companies) are commenting on, posting, and sharing on LinkedIn. Tools like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can also aggregate and deliver news related to your contacts and prospects, providing further opportunities to engage with insights.

By identifying and consistently engaging your funnel fillers, you will waste less time chasing low-probability prospects. With this extra time, you can devote more attention to your in-funnel prospects and those who can fill your funnel with highly-qualified prospects. Now that’s efficient selling.

Learn how to tap LinkedIn’s potential like the pros do. Check out our newest eBook, How Leading Sales Pros Use LinkedIn for Selling.

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