Read Me If You Want to Build Valuable Relationships on LinkedIn
7 Ways to Build Stronger B2B Sales Relationships
July 12, 2018
Strong relationships are at the heart of every modern sales success story. But if you think prospects are the only ones you need to connect with, think again.
Sales professionals who focus their energy solely on engaging prospects aren’t seeing the big picture. Those who develop bonds with their peers, the marketing team, existing customers, and the entire buying committee are seeing real value.
In our latest how-to guide for digital B2B sellers, Read Me If You Want to Build Valuable Relationships on LinkedIn, you’ll find extensive tips and best practices for networking success on the platform. But first, here’s a quick overview of the seven vital steps covered within:
1. Attend to All Decision Makers
The average B2B purchase now involves 6.8 decision makers. But 78% of sales professionals are connected to either only one person or not connected at all into accounts they’re trying to close. A mere 7% are connected to six or more people in these accounts.
Since it takes more than one person to make a deal happen in a complex purchase, you’re wise to map the entire buying committee, staying in tune with their activities and most pressing issues. You can do this with by searching through an organization’s ranks on LinkedIn and saving these with potential influence as leads in Sales Navigator. Develop these relationships by engaging with relevance when you have pertinent information or insights to share.
2. Establish Credibility Through Thought Leadership
You deepen relationships with the buying committee by making yourself a valuable, credible resource throughout the purchase process. Thought leadership is a proven way to position yourself as a trusted advisor. Consistently post information, content, and commentary on LinkedIn covering important issues that concern pros within your niche. Comment on updates or even send over an InMail when you have something substantial to add.
Why is this worth your while? Compelling thought leadership content influences 76% of executives in their purchasing decisions and 83% in their choice of a potential business partner.
3. Make Inroads with Up-and-Coming Influencers
Don’t limit your horizons by focusing only on today’s deals. Instead, start establishing connections with the young professionals on LinkedIn who will direct future purchases. Thirty-four percent of young millennials (19-25) and 41% of older ones (26-35) hold decision-making responsibilities at their companies. Plus, these cohorts gravitate toward digital channels like social media during their research.
4. Connect with Colleagues
Your first step to building relationships with decision makers is finding a pathway to connect. Think of your colleagues as conduits, offering pathways to extend your network, and consider LinkedIn as the platform to unlock those connection channels. Once you’re connected with all your co-workers on LinkedIn, use the TeamLink feature in Sales Navigator to determine which ones are acquainted with your prospects and targets. These colleagues can be valuable sources of information and introductions.
5. Invest in Customers
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting key contacts once they become customers. Not only is continued engagement helpful for retention and upselling, but these connections can provide referrals and testimonials – both of which hold major weight. Prospective buyers welcome recommendations from their peers, viewing them as credible sources for advice and suggestions.
Our research shows that buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional when introduced through a mutual connection. Just remember that you need to give to get – continually offer value and support to your existing customers so they will be happy to repay the favor.
6. Align with Marketing
Your buyers want a smooth and consistent purchase process. Partnering with your marketing team to make that happen is in your best interest since they are heavily involved in attracting, engaging, and nurturing prospects.
In addition to co-creating a business development strategy and tailoring sales content, you and your marketing colleagues can build a synergistic relationship. By sharing your LinkedIn connections with marketing, you position them to better engage your target accounts. This paves the way for meaningful interactions via LinkedIn InMail and new connections via LinkedIn Sales Navigator. LinkedIn members who have been nurtured by a company’s marketing are 10.7% more likely to accept a connection request from that company’s LinkedIn Sales Navigator users.
7. Leverage Your Sales Manager
Think of your sales manager as your personal trainer – the one invested in seeing you perform to the best of your capabilities. Take advantage of your manager’s objectivity to confirm you’re being realistic about your pipeline health. This confidant can help you prioritize your prospecting activities on LinkedIn, and measure how effectively you’re finding ways to engage. Given their experience and networks, they might also be well equipped to make intros and open prospecting doors.
For a deeper dive into these seven ways to establish connections that pave the way for sales, download our guide: Read Me If You Want to Build Valuable Relationships on LinkedIn.