Sales Prospecting Tips: How to Strike Gold in LinkedIn Groups

Tactics you can use to achieve sales prospecting success within LinkedIn Groups.

May 20, 2014

linkedin-groups

There's gold in them thar hills, and there are golden prospecting opportunities in LinkedIn Groups. In fact, some social sellers procure the majority of their business via LinkedIn Groups.

You can, too.

Here are four ways LinkedIn Groups can make your sales prospecting efforts glitter.

#1 – Take full advantage of Groups

LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 Groups. On average, LinkedIn members join seven Groups. For social sellers, this number is likely (and should be) much higher.

We all want prospects to check out our LinkedIn profile, and people who post or engage in Group discussions get an average of four times as many profile views.

Jamie Shanks, managing partner of Sales for Life recommends the following methodology for joining Groups:

  • First – Join five to ten groups everyone else in your industry is joining
  • Second – Go deeper within specific verticals. You can do this by joining groups your clients are involved in
  • Third – Most important: understand the persona of your buyer

Step into the shoes of your buyers and think about which groups it makes sense for them to be active in. If you were a buyer in the market for your product, where would you seek insight during your buying journey?

Joining Groups also gives you access to a larger audience of searchable contacts: i.e. your fellow Group members. You can conduct advanced sales prospecting searches using targeted keywords, company functions, seniority and additional filters.

#2 – Take the lead

Starting and moderating discussion threads can help you establish credibility and build your authority, so long as you’re a fair, attentive moderator. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Those who are successful at sales prospecting within LinkedIn Groups often join many, but are highly active in a select few.

#3 – Find and follow your hot prospects

Find prospects by conducting advanced searches based on your targeted keywords. And once you find quality prospects and start conversations with them, don’t stop there. Go back into the same Group and keep going. Target other group members who are similar to the prospect(s) you are finding success with.

You can follow up to 5,000 LinkedIn members at once, and although following is different than connecting, the sales prospecting benefits are largely the same. A simple way to build your “Follow” list is to go into one of your favorite Groups and pull up the list of members.

By default, you’re already following your first degree connections. You can click “Unfollow” if you no longer wish to follow a first degree connection. When you scroll down to your 2nd and 3rd degree connections, you’ll see that the button changes to “Follow.” “Follow” away.

#4 – Use LinkedIn activity as a sales prospecting timing trigger

Think about it: If your prospect is active on LinkedIn at this very moment, they probably have time to take a call from you. Or perhaps respond to a quick message.

When you follow a fellow LinkedIn member, you’ll see their real-time activity (i.e. new connections, shares, likes, Group contributions, etc.) directly in your LinkedIn feed. Try following up within a few minutes of these updates. If it’s relevant – and when I say relevant, I mean it doesn’t make you appear stalker-ish – you can also use the recent activity as a conversation starter.

More “Groupthink”

Another major advantage of joining groups is the ability to send InMail messages through the Group page however it’s vital that you don’t abuse this feature. Here are a few tips for when and how to send strategic InMail messages

Like social selling in general, it’s important to maintain a positive, helpful reputation within LinkedIn Groups. If you’re not active in LinkedIn Groups, what are you waiting for? Once you get a taste of sales prospecting success, you’ll be a bona fide LinkedIn “Groupie.”

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