When we talk about lead generation best will be to agree on up front what a lead is! Every organization tends to have its own definition of how to identify a good lead. According to Marketo a lead is “a qualified prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behaviour”
At Support Small Business we define a lead as “a pre-qualified online connection/follower within a pre-defined target market showing interest in our online activities” Naturally within our definition leads include those that ‘likes, shares and comments’ on our post updates.
The first step in the online lead generation process is to establish a relationship by encouraging engagement. It is simply a method of moving away from the age-old, now agreed ineffective, cold calling to gaining permission to start conversations – and please exclude any form of ‘buy-my-stuff’ pitches at this stage. This step is simply to generate leads with the objective to qualify the leads as to how much buying behaviour is being displayed.
Now, this is where LinkedIn is an absolute goldmine. There is no better direct platform to generate online leads with this level of accuracy and consistency.
The lead generation process on LinkedIn should be a daily activity that consists of the following three(3) activities daily:
- Visit Profiles – It is important to search for profiles that contain the keywords your online sales activities focus on. This is very important as this activity will also assist in re-defining your user/customer profile plus defining your target market.
- Connect to new Profile – Once you identified the profile that is a 70% and above match to your target market and user profiles you can now send them connection requests that make sense. Most people on LinkedIn chase the numbers but LinkedIn is most effective when you operate within the quality of your connections and not the number of connections you have. A good connection might never buy from you but could be classified as a ‘good connection’ based on a relationship that provides you with referrals often.
- Send Messages to existing profiles – It serves no purpose if you connect to others on LinkedIn but never establish relationships. This is where most get it completely wrong. Once the connection has been established the immediately offer sales reports, white papers, videos and even ‘buy-my-stuff’ at discounted rates. Always focus on your connection offer them a ‘return the favour’ such as like my page then I will like yours or introduction, referrals etc.
The power of LinkedIn lies in the fact that you can build a sales pipeline consistently by finding qualified buyers, helping qualified buyers find you, and crafting a finely tuned referral engine that regularly converts.