The LinkedIn Tutors

Build your business with LinkedIn


LinkedIn marketing for professional services – CME Group

CME Group – LinkedIn company page

If you want to look at how other professional services companies are using social media for B2B marketing, there’s a very interesting interview with Alan Schoenberg of CME Group that gives some helpful insights on how to make LinkedIn and other online tools.

CME Group is a derivatives marketplace, with an electronic trading platform and trading facilities in New York and Chicago, and it also operates a central counterparty clearing provider.

Schoenberg says LinkedIn is the best B2B social media platform. Among other insights, he says CME is maintaining different LinkedIn groups for different segments of their market:

We now have more than 10 groups on LinkedIn and all of them are very different but with a common goal – connect our sales team and product experts to our customers. I like these groups because we keep them private in order to keep out competitors and vendors, but also to keep them small and manageable.

That makes a lot of sense – your LinkedIn groups should be client-focused communities, which means you will need different groups if you have many customers with different interests.

Schoenberg offers a couple of other tips on LinkedIn:

First, focus on finding the people internally who want to use LinkedIn and help them build their profiles. This includes sending them news stories to post and actually helping them write their posts. If you do this consistently (every week) they will better understand the resource and will become great advocates for your brand. My other tip is that you should make your company page a priority.

Again, it’s great advice. Developing a coherent continuous effort to engage colleagues inside your firm to use LinkedIn as part of a joined-up business development strategy is essential to avoid wasting time and losing focus. And yes, the company page element of LinkedIn is critical – as we said for UK law firms recently, it’s important to provide frequent updates, make good use of visual images, highlight specific services, and give useful links to your professionals and web pages.


Generating sales in professional services using LinkedIn

How do you get the best out of LinkedIn to generate sales in professional services?

For a great starting point, check out this blog on using LinkedIn for sales prospecting from Anna Bratton at Salesforce.

I particularly like her advice on using LinkedIn’s advanced search function well:

“By intelligently mixing the different filters you can get really deep and identify key individuals quickly and easily….You can also save your search criteria and get a weekly report listing anyone new who matches the customers you’re looking for.”

And she also explains how it’s possible to map the decision makers within target companies:

“You’d be surprised how much people put in their profiles – which team they’re in, which office they work out of, what projects they’re focusing on. With a little detective work, you can quickly build up a picture of who you should be talking to, what they’re like (check out their recommendations) and what they’ve done before.”

Great advice – in professional services, it clearly makes sense to use these ways to find the specific individuals you want to talk with and their role in any decision to engage your services. I’ll be talking about these and other ideas in my next workshop on Using LinkedIn as a Business Development and Marketing Tool.


LinkedIn lead generation: ‘the warm handshake we all need’

If you’re considering using online marketing channels, which is best for generating sales leads?

According to a study by Hubspot earlier this year, LinkedIn is almost 3 times more effective than Twitter or Facebook for converting more website visitors into leads. The data are based on using organic networks (including LinkedIn groups), not on pay-per-click advertising through these channels.

The results are a little complicated by the mix of B2B and B2C companies studied, and it doesn’t reveal what sort of organic marketing worked best within, for example, LinkedIn – whether it was using groups, company pages, personal pages, email, or other means. From the comments at the Hubspot blog, it seems different people have different results, but some of this may depend on having used advertising rather than organic networking, and it may also be that LinkedIn is more useful if you are trying to target specific professionals with a specific service they need, rather than a broader group of consumers.

As one commenter puts it: “LinkedIn is the warm handshake we all need.”

For professional services businesses, developing a thoughtful and sustained approach to networking in LinkedIn should be a key part of your business development efforts. I’ll be talking more about that at my workshop later this month in London on Using LinkedIn as a Business Development and Marketing Tool.


Tips for getting the most out of attending events by using LinkedIn

Use LinkedIn to get more value out of every event you attend.

Here are some tips for integrating LinkedIn into your face-to-face networking activities when attending an event:

Before the event:

  1. Let your LinkedIn connections know you are attending by posting a ‘status update’ on your profile.
  2. Post the event in your LinkedIn Groups and ask if anyone is going and would like to meet up during the event.
  3. Let everyone on LinkedIn see that you are attending by searching LinkedIn Events (in the ‘More’ menu) for the event and clicking on the ‘I’m attending’ button.
  4. See if there is anyone you’d like to meet at the event by going to the event’s LinkedIn page and having a look at who is attending. You may want to connect before the event and suggest meeting up at the event.
  5. If the event is not listed on LinkedIn, you can create an event page and let your connections know you are attending.  Others can then go to the page you’ve created and register their attendance as well.

After the event:

  1. If you meet someone new at the event, send them a personalised LinkedIn invitation to join your network.
  2. Once you’ve connected, have a look at their connections, is there anyone there you’d like to be introduced to?  Ask for an introduction via LinkedIn or by picking up the phone and calling your 1st degree contact.
  3. Notice what groups your new LinkedIn connection has joined – would these be good groups for you to join?  Find out by going to the LinkedIn Group landing page and clicking on the ‘See group statistics’ black button.

How do you use LinkedIn to build on the face-to-face networking you do?


Is LinkedIn a replacement for face-to-face networking ?

I’m a LinkedIn coach, so of course, I am very keen on LinkedIn as a marketing and business development tool.  But does it replace face-to-face networking?  Absolutely not!

Some people have the misconception that if you simply have a LinkedIn profile, the business should starting rolling in.  LinkedIn activities are most effective when they are used in conjunction with offline networking.  LinkedIn can help you raise awareness and interest in your offering, keep you ‘front of mind’ with current clients and reveal potential new clients.  The key is to take your online networking activities offline.

If you are in the professional services sector (lawyers, accountants, architects, designers, etc), you will rarely gain a new client through purely online activity.  Usually a phone call or face-to-face meeting needs to take place before the prospect knows you well enough and trusts you to give you their business.

Use LinkedIn by all means, but always focus on how you can take your online relationships offline — and watch your business grow.

Do you have any examples of how your LinkedIn activities have resulted in new business?   I’d love to hear from you!


No more hit and miss when joining LinkedIn Groups

Until recently, if you wanted to join a closed LinkedIn Group, you could only see which of your connections were group members before joining.  You may have joined groups based on this information and then found, once you were a member, that the group wasn’t what you thought it was and you had little in common with the other group members.

That’s all changed now.

If you want to learn more about a LinkedIn Group (closed or open) before joining, you can look at the group’s statistics (found on the right hand side of a group’s landing page) before clicking on the ‘join’ button.

This handy statistical infographic provides the titles of the group members,  where they are based, the group’s discussion activity level and much more.  You now don’t have to join a LinkedIn Group blindfolded only to find out it’s not for you.

Which new LinkedIn tools have you found helpful?


Show you care through LinkedIn

According to a new report by the Rockefeller Corporation, the main reason customers leave a company is because they do not feel that the company cares about them.  This reason was chosen by 68% of the respondents. Surprisingly (or not, depending on your point of view) price and quality were not mentioned as reasons for changing companies.

In the professional services sector, the sector I’ve had over 15 years’ experience in, the ‘company doesn’t care’ reason for leaving a provider could score even higher.  In this sector, people buy people.  You only feel that a professional service provider cares about you if you know, like and trust (#klt in the twitter world) them.  If you don’t know, like and trust the provider, you will not use their services for very long.  As the report highlights, dropping your price won’t help you keep your clients in the long term if they don’t think you care about them.

LinkedIn provides us with an extremely efficient and effective way to connect with prospects and clients and show them we care.  I’m not saying that LinkedIn can replace offline relationship building — I’m saying that it can turbo charge your existing marketing/business development strategy and therefore speed up the ‘know, like and trust’ process.  The result? Increased revenues and more referrals.

Here’s some suggestions for building relationships via LinkedIn,

  • Share your client’s LinkedIn profile with another LinkedIn contact. Use the ‘share’ button to send his/her profile to someone you think your client should meet.  This shows you are not only interested in taking their money – you want to help them grow their business as well.
  • Invite a client/prospect to attend an event they might find of interest.  Locate the event through ‘Events’ (found in the ‘More’ menu) and then use the ‘share’ button to send the event details to them.  It’s a great opportunity to suggest a meeting while at the event.
  • Transform a cold call into a warm one.  Locate a prospect in one of your LinkedIn Groups, contribute to their discussions and then follow up by emailing them via LinkedIn to suggest an offline meeting or telephone chat.  Your online conversations will make that first offline conversation much warmer and effective.

What other ways have you used LinkedIn to show your customer you care?

Source:

Smashing Magazine article, Rockefeller report. http://bit.ly/qQdOFc