LinkedIn Hits the 500 Million Member Mark: What It Means for Sales Pros

The continued growth of LinkedIn’s user base has attracted decision makers and thought leaders, making it an attractive venue for social selling.

April 24, 2017

  • global-milestone

Today marks a major achievement by LinkedIn: We’ve recently welcomed our 500 millionth member.

At the same time, we know we still have a long way to go. But reaching this milestone only confirms the rising value of LinkedIn as a friend to social sellers. With such a large, accomplished network of industry professionals, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for salespeople seeking to connect with buyers around the globe.

If you haven’t yet taken full advantage of LinkedIn in your sales methodology, let this mile marker serve as motivation to get in on the action. The tremendous value for social selling on LinkedIn can be traced back to three key trends:

1. More Decision Makers are Joining LinkedIn

Executive decision makers aren’t averse to the influence of social media. In fact, research from IDC has found that 84 percent of senior executives “use social media to support purchase decisions.” Overall, 91 percent of B2B buyers are now engaged in social media.

For any industry, LinkedIn serves as the best platform for building and maintaining these professional relationships. Half of all B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a resource when making purchase decisions. Given the professional context of LinkedIn, social selling activities tend to be more effective than similar strategies applied elsewhere. It makes sense for sales professionals to seek out connections and build relationships by engaging with prospects who are active on LinkedIn.

2. Quality Engaged Members are On the Rise

LinkedIn’s platform has become increasingly content-focused, with the launch of Trending Storylines and content search features. These advances rally engagement around thought leadership, industry news, and other quality content. Whether it’s publishing long-form content, publishing status updates, or responding via a comment, all this content generates millions of conversations daily, which has increased both engagement rates and active time spent on the platform.

This engagement is critical to effective social selling. Salespeople need outlets to identify and engage the right people, to build familiarity and establish credibility. This increased engagement, combined with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool, has proven to help sales pros generate qualified sales opportunities.

3. Future Decision Makers are Building Professional Relationships

Tomorrow’s decision makers are already in the workforce, piling up experience and professional contacts. This generation is paramount to the long-term prospects of any selling strategy, and it’s one more great reason to build an active presence on LinkedIn.

By building relationships with young professionals eager to climb the corporate ladder, you can invest in future sales opportunities by using your social media activity to gain a foothold with valuable contacts. Those professionals are hard at work building future opportunities, and sales pros are wise to do the same.

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