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Build a Highly Targeted Prospect List Using LinkedIn
Posted on June 10th 2013
Stuart Armstrong faced a big challenge. He needed to get his company into as many decisions as humanly possible -- and he was starting from scratch. Below you'll read how he used LinkedIn to jumpstart his prospecting initiative.
But first, a datapoint from Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code, which highlights our 2013 Sales & LinkedIn Survey results.
As you can see from the graphic below, top sellers used LinkedIn 3X more than everyone else for building a highly targeted prospect list.
Clearly top sellers use LinkedIn fundamentally different from their colleagues. (Get the full survey results here.) And, to show you just what can be done, here's Stuart Armstrong's story.
We sell $400,000 to $2 million operating systems software primarily to North American telecommunications companies. My goal is to assure these companies consider us when their buying cycle starts. To make this happen, I leveraged LinkedIn as well as several other key resources.
Challenge: Within 45 days, starting from scratch, I built a prospect list of North American telecoms, cell phone and cable companies that have more than 200,000 subscribers (about $150MM sales) from a total cohort of 1200 companies. My objectives were twofold:
- To quickly determine if there were pending deals we were unaware of. Since only CFOs could approve these deals, that’s where we focused.
- To implement best Sales 2.0 business development and lead generation practices, enabling a future flow of opportunities. We wanted to identify and begin communicating with the ecosystem of decision makers, stakeholders and influencers.
I started by building a global prospect list merging data I’d gathered from Jigsaw, InfoUSA/Canada, Wikipedia, and associations. After that I pre-sorted and deduped the information and got my prospect list down to about 250 companies.
Next, I used InsideView and my LinkedIn connections to identify the correct people to contact in these companies. I also used InsideView to track trigger events and competitive intelligence about these companies, looking for things that could create potential opportunities for our services.
Process: Based on this research, I narrowed my list down to 60 high probability prospects who met my minimum ideal customer profile. Then, I dug into LinkedIn again.
- I visited the profiles of many people in each company to identify decision makers and influencers in finance. I found between 5-20 people per account.
- I monitored who visited my profile and verified this traffic on our website. And, I connected with as many of these people as possible so I had access to their second level connections. Plus, I made sure they could see my groups and the link to the website.
- I used LinkedIn and other services to get the contact info for the CFOs of these 60 HP prospects.
Then I wrote an email focused on our value and thought leadership. After finalizing the message, I contacted the personal assistants of each of these CFOs, letting them know I’d be sending them an email with insight into recent revenue assurance and fraud issues.
This was just the start of my campaign, which includes at least seven contacts.
Outcome: Leveraging my LinkedIn contacts to build a prospect list is already yielding results. Many high-level executives have initiated a conversation with me or referred me to the right people in their organization.