Strategic selling is fundamentally defined by the seller targeting the buyer and proactively engaging to create value and set the agenda. Before LinkedIn we would rent databases and engage telemarketers to call and set appointments to build our pipeline. But cold-calling yields have been relentlessly trending down and currently have a success rate below 3%. This is because databases tend to be poor and phones are screened by either voicemail or Executive Assistants.
On the other hand, LinkedIn provides accurate contact information and context for targeting people who make decisions. LinkedIn is the world's most powerful database for B2B selling with approximately 75% of professionals having LinkedIn accounts in the USA and more than 90% in Australia. These people are motivated to keep their profile up-to-date and accurate because it's about "personal brand" and credentials. LinkedIn is the database-of-record from heaven for those who want to sell like hell. And Sales Navigator from LinkedIn is a massively powerful tool for both marketing and sales.
Call centers still have a role but if you're in the world of B2B solution selling (yes solution selling is still very relevant and Challenger works with, rather than replaces it) you need to be making your own connection with the senior executives you are selling to. You need to build relationships and initiate physical world contact after strategically positioning yourself in their network.
Every business should invest in building a LinkedIn Center where sales and marketing come together to create highly targeted campaigns that build communities, engage stakeholders, create conversations and position sales leaders as credible partners. Here is my post/blog on how to do create your LinkedIn Center.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: nan palmero
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