CEO’s Thoughts on LinkedIn Sales Navigator and InMail for the Business Development/Sales Team
The Role of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and InMail: It’s a Modern “Concert Poster”
My time is the most valuable commodity. Like every other busy business person, I get inundated by countless messages, calls, and emails on a daily basis. When I open LinkedIn and see the daily collection of messages, I feel bad for the person’s boss – the person funding a salary to literally copy-paste information for touch 1, 2, 3… Quite frankly some of them tend to be a bit creative, but at the end of the day, most go unread and all go unanswered.
If “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” then I was starting to believe everyone is going insane continuing to send messages that were clearly not engaging to the recipient.
In my opinion, LinkedIn is just the business version of social media, and sending a LinkedIn message to someone you don’t converse with already or an unsolicited InMail message is the modern concert poster. You won’t fill seats in the concert, but the next time they hear the band name, they *might* remember or recall your brand. Or maybe the next time they are at a festival (alike to a tradeshow) they will swing by your set (i.e. Booth) to check it out. Is there a return? Yes, just not in the timeline or way you expected. Therefore, the appropriate budget and energy should be invested in brand awareness on LinkedIn, over relationship selling. At this point, we need to stop being “insane”.
Why Did Some Have Success in the Past?
Just like the expression behind every great leader is a great team, so is the case with the sales executive. Behind every successful Business Development/Sales Executive, is the person who is actually qualifying and actively picking up the phone to make things happen in the background. The success was the person behind or under them in the organization who was actually doing the work, and this is the type of team member we are happy to add to the Big Bang roster.
How We Operate a Sales-Free Organization
Operating “sales-free” meant we had to go back to basics. We had to redefine the Customer Journey and reposition some key players with an adjustment to their career plan. Of course, there were some growing pains, but we see an improvement in the metrics we care about:
- Faster response time to new leads
- More precise estimation
- Customer trust has increased by working with specialists
- Sales window and closing ratio have improved
- Prospects better understand how Big Bang can help them today and in the future
- Higher satisfaction score surveys after demonstrations
- More enticing employee careers with clearly defined roles and responsibilities
Today, we no longer have an official Business Development/Sales team. We actually had to split the function into 3 parts with the intention of making the customer experience more in line with our values of Responsiveness, Groundedness, and Teamwork:
- Lead qualification and nurturing by Business Development Representatives (BDRs) on the Marketing team
- Project demos and scoping by Solution Consultants or Customer Success Team (depending on the situation)
- Estimates confirmed by the Delivery Leads in the PS team
The result is that we have achieved better results than ever. No longer are departments pointing fingers to why a deal has not closed. Today, the team collaborates with clear lines of where to hand off the project to another team member. Customers and prospects are getting more accurate information and estimates, in record time. And when they have questions, they are more often answered in real-time because each person is trained and empowered in their role.
If you are looking to go “sales-free”, I urge you to start now and adapt, rather than making plans that may never come to fruition. Reward those employees that are making an impact and empower them with a career path to support customers and their personal objectives. Make the investment where you know you can achieve a ROI for both the employee and organization.
For more information on this topic, I suggest checking out the book that re-inspired us to become “sales-free”: To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink