Category Archives: Business Development

The Biz Dev Side of LinkedIn; Part II

In my first post on The Biz Dev Side of Linked In, I wrote about the ability to use LinkedIn search to find out who you should be looking to connect with and how you can use the information posted to create a relationship. Now, in this post, I will explain other methods of using this great social media and connection tool to drive your business development efforts forward.

LinkedIn allows people to join groups and professional associations right from their own computer. No need to go out to networking events, conversations and networking opportunities take place every day. As a sales professional, it is imperative to join groups that can help execute the business development strategy of the organization.

Many people on LinkedIn join alumni associations, or employer run groups. The real benefit comes from joining groups and associations related to the industry that you are selling into. Within these groups, conversations are taking place, conversations where you may be able to add value and gain exposure. These conversations will assist in letting you know the “pain points” that your target buyers are having. If you are able to provide assistance, that person may end up buying from you!

Joining these groups also provides another great benefit, increasing your prospect list. A quick view of the group members provides sales professionals with the ability to identify prospects, determine if they are a decision maker or influencer, and see if he or she is active in group discussions. Even more important, it provides a way to send a message directly to the prospect. Just be careful to abide by any rules in the group, and to make sure that the messages are conversational. Remember, building a relationship is more important than going right for the sale the first time.

I hope that this information is helpful. I would appreciate the feed back. As always, if you have any examples of how these tips have helped, please leave a comment. (On a side note, these tools also are valuable for job seekers as well)

Happy hunting!

The Biz Dev Side of LinkedIn; Part I

First and foremost, I am a salesman at heart. I can recite line after line from movies like Boiler Room and Glengarry Glen Ross, and yet I have never seen one episode of Mad Men. Now I do not endorse the ethical implications in either movie mentioned above, but I do appreciate the hunter mentality, the endless cold calls, and the numerous “no thank you” responses that salespeople get as they get closer to the one “Yes”.

Photo Cred: MarkHillary

LinkedIn has changed this process tremendously. Salespeople no longer have to go through endless conversations with gatekeepers to find out who they need to talk to; instead a quick LinkedIn search will provide the name and title of the person he or she is trying to reach. This changes the game dramatically. No more getting forwarded to a voicemail so that the name of the person can be recorded so it can be used at a later date. Instead, the persons name can be used on the first call, as long as the research is done ahead of time.

LinkedIn provides much more information than the name and title. People usually include past companies, professional associations, and where they went to college on their LinkedIn profile. There may be a mutual contact that can help make an introduction or something that can be a conversation starter.

Let me provide one specific example from my past. I saw on LinkedIn that the person I was talking to went to Hartwick College. When I was looking at colleges I took an overnight visit to Hartwick as I was being recruited to play lacrosse. At the end of a long night I went with some members of the team to get “cold cheese pizza”. I forgot the name of the establishment, but they took a hot slice of pizza from the oven and put a handful of cold mozzarella on it. As the call was going south, I mentioned the fact that I was familiar with Hartwick and my favorite part of my visit was the cold cheese pizza. The call took a complete 180 and I was able to move forward in the sales process with that contact. I am sure that I would not have even had a second call if I did not do my research.

Social media is a powerful prospecting tool. Look for specific contacts and find ways to relate with individuals that you plan on contacting before the call.

What examples do you have about using social media in the sales process? How has it changed your prospecting methods?

Social Media Is The New Green

Social media is the new green. Just like many companies jumped on the “environmentally friendly” workplace bandwagon a few years ago, many companies are doing the same for social media. However, social media is not as easy as putting a few blue bins around the office and adding a footer at the end of your email that asks not to print it.

I have spoken to numerous companies about social media, and my favorite comment is one that I have heard many times over, “We have a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account, we are fine.” Usually, the “we are fine” part was said with a little apprehension. I would usually follow this up with a question about how they got started.

I was surprised to learn that many companies called their youngest employees together, gathered them in a meeting room and picked their brain on social media. I could never come to understand how the new graduate from accounting, the sales guy that’s been out of school for two years, the girl from marketing with the iPhone, the recent MBA with a finance background, and the marketing director of 20 years can develop an effective social media campaign. The outcome of this would be a social media plan that has no strategy, goals, or objectives.

Social media is not as easy as instituting a company wide recycling program. It is more like looking at methods of energy reduction. You would not have the pimpled face noob from accounting look at different types of green energy, why would you let him design your social media plan?

What do you think is the best way to design a social media plan? Should companies rely on the knowledge of younger workers because they may use social sites for personal use?