B2B Sales, Lead Generation and Marketing Blog

The Growth of LinkedIn: From Business Contacts to Lead Generation

Posted by Vendere Team on Fri, May 13, 2011 @ 07:05 AM

LinkedIn's Director of Web Development Chris Saccheri posted some of his thoughts about LinkedIn, which just turned eight, a few days ago on the LinkedIn Blog:

Growth of business through revenueSaccheri stated, "Eight years is a long time, but in the technology world, it can seem like an eternity. Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter … none of them existed in May 2003. Neither did the iPhone or Android. Internet Explorer 6 ruled the Web, Safari was in beta, Firefox was still Firebird, and Chrome was a few years away. And Justin Bieber was just another precocious Canadian nine-year-old.”

He continues, "LinkedIn itself has changed dramatically since those early days. The LinkedIn network started with just 10 people — the founding employees connected to each other. Since then, it’s grown into the world’s largest professional network, with more than 100 million professionals in over 200 countries and territories. LinkedIn currently has more than 1,000 employees in 12 offices around the world, including London, Paris, Sydney, and Mumbai. Perhaps most important, our kitchen now contains more than just Bagel Bites and Diet Coke.”

Looking Back On 8 Years of LinkedIn

While reading the latest news yesterday, as I do every morning, I started to reflect on all of the ways that I have used LinkedIn over the past eight years. It has gone from connecting to customers to see who they knew and trying to gain an advantage on cold calling, to a source for lead generation and lead nurturing as part of the directive in my new role as Marketing Manager here at Vendere Partners.

While Facebook is structured for connecting in the b2c world while slowly moving into the b2b realm, LinkedIn has quietly become the main resource for business professionals to connect with peers and organizations in a b2b forum. Members can learn about each others' organizational culture in a collaboration of information and interact with their peers in open business discussions.

Your profile is considered your online resume. This information is being utilized by thousands of HR professional. They are looking at your LinkedIn profile as a digital cover letter that identifies business references, experiences, and connections.

As a candidate for a position within a company, it is to your advantage to reach out to employees of the organization to learn about the company culture and its inner-workings before you interview.

LinkedIn is still a great source for reaching out to companies and finding people, not just in that whale of a prospect that you are looking to bag, but to connect to before going on that lunch meeting or presentation that you scheduled with your any prospect.Meeting with opportunity

Recently LinkedIn unveiled LinkedIn Today, a forum based upon what your peers are reading and sharing. It is a way for you to filter through the ‘noise’ of all of the social media, to glance at the top headlines of the day, week, or month. “By looking at the news articles being shared across your network and who is sharing it, we can highlight the top stories you should be paying attention to.” Liz Reaves Walker

The Groups forum on LinkedIn is a great way to connect with like-minded people by posting and answering questions. While interacting with your peers, you can learn more about not only the trends of what is going on in today's complex business world but about the challenges and successes that are affecting businesses like yours while learning from their experiences.

Using the LinkedIn Tools for Lead Generation

All of these tools that LinkedIn has developed have become great sources for lead generation and lead nurturing. By ‘listening’, learning, and sharing, you become more informed about the topics that that are important to your peers and prospects. While exploring LinkedIn:

•    You begin to grow from a novice to an expert in the products and services that you offer.
•    You begin to have the ability to be proactive instead of reactive to the challenges that your prospects are having to day.
•    You will be able to anticipate the challenges your prospects will have faster and move with the pace of today’s challenging business environment.

Not only will you learn from LinkedIn, there are also opportunities to be had. Prospects are directly asking about the challenges that they are having and solutions that are out there to fix them. They are no longer just going to the web, typing in keywords, and looking up solutions.

I challenge you to get out there, explore, and learn more! I am sure you will be pleased with the results - I know I am.

How are you utilizing LinkedIn today?

Topics: lead generation, sales, cold calling, tips and techniques

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