Editor's Note: We haven't often used guest posts on our blog, but this is one I thought our readers would find particularly helpful. This post comes courtesy of Celina Guerrero of SocialtoSales.com. It is a modified version of a post that was originally published on the SocialtoSales Blog. This version is designed specifically to help sales managers guide their sales teams towards more effective social selling methods. Let us know in the comments if you find it helpful!
How Your Sales Team Can Identify Their 4 Buyers on LinkedIn
Gallup recently published an article entitled, B2B Companies: Do You Know Who Your Customer Is? written by Marco Nink and John H. Fleming.
The article touches on three primary points.
1. The days of a single decision-maker are over
According to this study, even at smaller companies, there are multiple decision makers.
2. The buyer sees “feelings as facts” in the decision-making process
In a study, a majority of the respondents (54%) said that they would let a deal fall through if they had a “bad feeling” about it, despite favorable facts.
With big investments at stake, trust is still a component in the decision-making process. While demonstrable business value is at the core of a transaction, the customer most often requires that transaction to be done with a trusting partner.
3. There are 4 distinct buyers who each serve different purposes
These excerpts are taken directly from the Gallup article.
- "Decision-makers are members of senior management, authorized signatories or policymakers who jointly or exclusively commit funds, make choices and sign off on products and services.
- Influencers are employees who influence the decision-making process, set standards and have an advisory role but who are not decision-makers themselves. They serve as formal or informal advisers in the purchase process.
- Buyers are employees, such as purchasing agents or procurement specialists, who seek and assess tenders and are involved in the procurement process itself. They are usually involved in decisions that define the terms of the contract.
- End users are employees with whom account representatives interact most often or who coordinate activities with the supplier. They are also employees who ultimately use suppliers’ products or services.”
How LinkedIn Helps Your Sales Team Find and Better Understand Their 4 Buyers
Step 1: Identify the titles of the 4 buyers
In cases where your team doesn’t yet have individual names, and are perhaps targeting an account, using data from past deals, they can establish the common title(s) of the people who fit these categories the best.
Decision-Maker Title: ___________________
Influencer Title: ___________________
Buyer Title: ___________________
End User Title: ___________________
Step 2: Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to identify buyers’ names
In cases where they don’t yet have individual names, they can use the Advanced Search to find decision-makers at their target companies.
- Title: Include 2-word titles in quotes. Eg. “account executive”.
- Current: Select current on the left column for the individual and current for the company as well.
- Relationship: Select all connection types in your LinkedIn network – 1st, 2nd, Group, 3rd
- Location: Include a location when necessary
Step 3: Read each buyer’s LinkedIn profile
This is where your sales reps can review the connections they may have in common with each decision maker and look for a referral or introduction opportunity.
They can also learn about the buyer’s background, how long they’ve been at their current company, what school they went to, interests, groups, awards, etc.
By having multiple decision-maker prospects, your sales reps’ referral / introduction opportunities multiplies. By using LinkedIn, they have the opportunity to find the optimal entry point using connectivity and relevancy. Their chance of getting an appointment with that company actually multiplies with each decision-maker.
Step 4: Connect with the decision makers on LinkedIn and read their updates
Once the timing is right to introduce themselves, (this varies) your rep can send a personalized connection request or request for an appointment via an InMail or email if they have access to it.
Once they are a LinkedIn 1st connection, they will have greater access to their prospect’s profile information as well as their connections.
Using LinkedIn can help your sales team turn what seems like a disadvantage (multiple decision-makers) into an opportunity!
Want to learn more about LinkedIn for sales? Join Celina on her upcoming webinars:
Social Selling Done Right: Strategies for Creating a Social Selling Culture
LinkedIn Sales Solution
June 25, 2015
How to Enable Your Sales Team to Use LinkedIn to Convert More Leads & Prospects
BrightTalk Sales Enablement Summit
July 15, 2015
About the Author:
Celina Guerrero coaches and trains professionals in the consulting, finance, legal and tech industries how to transform expertise into revenue through professional branding, social selling and online influence.