Running a B2B business can be challenging at times, especially when you are trying to contact the right person in a company regarding potential partnerships or a joint venture. We all go through the same problem when we call a company, asking to speak to the relevant person and being caught up by a gatekeeper.
A gatekeeper is someone who directs calls to the right person within a business. The problem with this is that this person does not understand how important it is for you to share your business with them. On most occasions, you will end up either taking an email address that is already on the site like info@, enquiries@ or giving your details in the hope that there is a chance they will call you back (which we all know, is very slim indeed).
It has taken me a long time to find a solution to solve this ongoing issue, which I did in 2008. Thanks to social media, we can now find the right person to talk to, and for B2B companies, it all comes down to LinkedIn.
When I was exhibiting at a trade show last year with my eCommerce Platform Gloople, we were approached by a well known global company in the hopes of striking up a partnership which I was very interested in doing. After weeks of chasing this contact, they were not moving forward with what had been initially discussed at the trade show. I then decided to go over this person’s head and use LinkedIn search to find the right person to speak to. After various back and forward emails, I then had a face to face meeting with this company which went very well indeed.
Back in 2008 I remember a similar situation where I was caught up by a gatekeeper and was going around in circles. I then went to LinkedIn, found the right person to contact and had a successful meeting with that person 72 hours later.
I have spent a long time growing my LinkedIn account to over 2,500 connections, allowing me to find the right people to connect with. If I am trying to contact someone who is not a connection of mine, I use the search functionality to find the right person in that said company. On various occasions, I find that the person I am trying to contact is a secondary connection meaning we have a person in common. I will then email them and ask for a warm introduction so that I am not coming from an unknown place.
If you don’t know how to get started with LinkedIn, here are my 5 top tips for using Linkedin 5 minutes a day:
1.Treat LinkedIn differently from Facebook and Twitter – LinkedIn is a B2B network and because of this, it should not be treated the same as other social networks. Only add those you have done business with or want to in the future.
2. Make sure your profile is 100% complete – If it isn’t, LinkedIn will know and keep pestering you because they want you to experience all that LinkedIn has to offer.
3. Participate in groups – There are so many great groups on LinkedIn with industry experts that you will be able to learn something from and vice versa. Utilise this part of LinkedIn and make some strong business connections.
4. Use LinkedIn as a news outlet – LinkedIn now has a News tab once you have logged in. The news in this section is created based on your interests, which you can customise. Use the information in this section to share with your community who also share your interests.
5. Endorsing your contacts – This is a relatively new feature LinkedIn have brought into play and has already proved its effectiveness. Make sure you endorse your contacts for the work they deserve recognition for and you will receive the same in return.
I hope you will start to use LinkedIn to help you grow your business and make those all important connections.