Friday, June 22, 2012

Using LinkedIn for CRM

Since 2003 LinkedIn has become one of the top social networking sites, and is the largest professional network on the Internet.  LinkedIn has become a valuable tool for every professional out there.  The network boasts more than 161 million members in over 200 countries, representing 170 industries.  Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of approximately two new members per second.

Ironically, it is also becoming something else, a constantly updated and comprehensive CRM system, used for lead generation, relationship management and a great resource for customer information.  I have sold various CRM systems over the years, and the biggest issue out there is keeping data up to date and accurate, LinkedIn does this very well.

A sales rep looking for a key point of contact at a company can find that information easily. Following introductions via connections, the rep and the potential client can develop a relationship, and the process works the other way, too. If a potential client is looking for someone who offers a particular product or service, a simple search can give them what they need.

Additional tools like groups and forums can really help reps use LinkedIn to get the word out about their organizations, as well as about new releases or product launches.

Selling always has been, and always will be, about communicating with others – no matter how that communication takes place. Social networking in general and LinkedIn in particular, is a great way to facilitate that communication and build stronger customer relationships.

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