How To Use LinkedIn To Build a High Quality Pipeline
You are out of business if you don’t have a prospect! – Zig Ziglar.
Without leads, there will be no opportunities, and without opportunities, there will be no clients, without clients there will be no revenue, profit, growth, and so forth.
The problem is, that the bar has raised for lead generation. In the 80’s, the phone was the best weapon we had in generating new business. Back in the 90’s it was possible to generate inbound leads en masse from email marketing. In the early 2010’s the competition for social media advertising was a fraction of what it is today and you could reach more people for less money.
But in 2019, the bar has raised. Content marketing needs to be comprehensive to have a chance of standing out, email campaigns need to be opted into, and people receive up to 10,000 subconscious or conscious marketing messages every single day which means traditional lead generation strategies that may have been successful in the past just don’t hit the spot anymore.
In essence, the tools that have been successful for many years – the email, the social network and the phone are becoming trickier to master each and every day. As a result, virtual prospecting is more challenging than ever.
To generate clients from digital methods, there needs to be a focus on three key elements that I like to call the three Q’s: Quality, Qualification and Quickness.
The biggest mistake in lead generation is cutting corners.
When it comes to building a pipeline, your efforts will only be as good as the quality of the data that you use. The fact is that buying data lists is a low-quality pool of ‘suspects’ for your business. Why? Because there is no guarantee that these people are right for you. Anyone who has ever cold called knows that gatekeepers and dead lines are going to kill prospecting momentum. The problem is a lack of quality in the data.
There are of course, effective in person ways to generate quality prospects. Networking, industry events and referrals will always be powerful. The problem is that there is only one of you, and if you don’t take advantage of the digital market, then your competition will.
Remember, you are out of business if you don’t have a prospect.
The key is to work smarter than the competition, not just harder.
Enter the half a billion users of LinkedIn. Potentially the most effective way to build a high quality pipeline, because instead of wasting time with people who are not decision makers or are out of target market – you can build a strong pipeline of decision makers directly within target market, because all of the information and contact details that are needed to identify this are 100% available.
But just because you have pinpointed a decision maker, and they fall within your target market doesn’t mean that they are a candidate for your product or service, which leads me to the next Q.
At the point of finding a target market suspect on LinkedIn, the challenge is to first identify if they are a prospect (someone that has a potential need for your product) and then turn them into a lead (someone that has a potential need AND has a genuine interest in your product).
To achieve this, the focus needs to be on how you can help that ‘suspect’ with their current problems and in the process of this turn them into a ‘lead’.
The reason this is important is because without a proper qualification process, you will end up on the phone to people have have no genuine need for what you are offering, which is a waste of time for you and them.
Instead, use LinkedIn and the information it provides, to guide that prospect to a point in the conversation, where you can be sure that they are a lead for your business.
Essentially this is an incubation process, where you will provide multiple marketing touch points in the form of inbox conversation, viewing and engaging with their profile, sending over relevant pieces of information, creating content to share and ultimately identify if you can help them achieve their goals. Only then, should you take that prospect to the next stage in your sales cycle and add them to your pipeline.
However, at this point, to generate high quality, qualified leads – time is now our biggest enemy, which brings me to the final Q.
The fact is that to create a quality and qualified pipeline, it takes time. There is no getting around that, but the rewards do outweigh the investment in time. That being said, it makes sense to refine the process because with a streamlined process, this will all take a lot less time than doing it on the fly.
Map out the stages or ‘touchpoints’ in your prospecting cycle on LinkedIn so that they are clear, defined and can be executed precisely. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, it takes approximately 20 ‘marketing’ touch points to take a cold suspect to a client.
As mentioned earlier, on LinkedIn, this can be achieved through ongoing digital conversation, content marketing, direct engagement, email, calls, webinars and so forth. It makes sense to define this process, and measure every stage with every lead – because what get’s measured gets managed.
The alternative? A wise man once said to me, to be successful in business, delegate anything that can be done as well or better by somebody else. Finding a strong marketing partner that you trust to delegate this process to can streamline this whole process – leaving you with the end result, qualified leads.
At Sales Squared we offer ways for B2B service based companies such as Consultants, Coaches, Trainers, Accountants or Professional Service providers to take advantage of the massive opportunity that LinkedIn presents.
To download our FREE LinkedIn Mastery Guide, visit our website and hit the LinkedIn Campaigns Tab.