Is LinkedIn the best place for ‘social selling’?

4th Aug 2014

LinkedIn has always been the professional’s social network of choice, so it stands to reason that more and more sales deals begin their lifecycle through the acceptance of an InMail, or a discussion in a LinkedIn user group.

Now LinkedIn is pushing to do the social selling legwork for its 315m users, through updates to its Sales Navigator tool.

Subscribers can effectively have sales leads put on a plate for them, as LinkedIn’s algorithms are able to recommend connections based on a salesperson’s criteria, as well as tracking updates and news related to important leads before finding mutual connections who can introduce them on the platform – ensuring a far greater likelihood for them connecting and interacting as a result.

Crucially the tool is also able to sync with CRM systems including Salesforce, so sales teams can track which leads are already in process with other employees on the platform, as well as feeding insights back into the Sales Navigator to help make its insights and recommendations more succinct.   

“As the leader of a large sales organisation, I’ve seen first-hand how social selling can benefit and transform sales teams,” said Mike Derezin, LinkedIn’s VP for sales solutions, in a blog post about the new launch. “It has the power to reduce cold calls, and turn them into warm introductions.  And the results are impressive; social sellers are 51% more likely to beat their quota than traditional sellers (according to LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index Survey, Feb 2014).”

Social selling has come a long way from the days of blanket tweeting and Facebook posting, with all of the major social networks recently making announcements about their commitment to improving the business benefits of their platforms.  

Part of the increased focus, according to GSM London’s Francisco Marco-Serrano, is the need to prove that a focus on social media can deliver genuine return-on-investment to a business.   

“People (us human beings, your customers!) used social networks to interact before the advance of technology changed what we consider to be a social network,” Marco-Serrano stated in a post on MyCustomer earlier in the year.

“The actual concept remains the same, however there is now an increased dynamism of actions (buying and selling, interactions, comments, complaints), more data is available to be analysed, and more channels to which one can attribute conversion. This last factor is the one that is currently creating the greatest hurdle in the measurement of social selling: how to attribute conversion to social media channels.”

With LinkedIn’s new Sale Navigator it might just be that a social network has finally built a tool that can provide this clear proof of conversion so many businesses expect.   

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