Sales professionals are obsessed with numbers. Unfortunately, their focus is not always on the numbers that truly matter.
Nearly every sales professional can recite the nuances of the most complex compensation plan, including commission structure, tiers, bonus clauses, and accelerated payouts.
Because, in their mind, compensation is a reward for performance. And that bottom line number is the only number that matters.
What about the effort it takes to achieve the coveted compensation target?
An old business axiom tells us to “work smarter, not harder.” In an industry that is notorious for looking for shortcuts to success, many sales pros miss the easiest shortcut of all: the power of their LinkedIn network.
Surprisingly, sales professionals continue to operate their LinkedIn network as a closed system – much like their Facebook page – inviting only people they know intimately – friends, family, and colleagues.
They actually have more connections/friends on Facebook than LinkedIn – a clear demonstration of where their priorities lie.
Sales professionals must think differently about their LinkedIn network.
LinkedIn is the equivalent of your digital business card. When you meet people, you should look to forge a digital connection on LinkedIn.
Opening your LinkedIn network will have a cumulative effect: as the number of connections increase and you utilize the LinkedIn publishing platform, more people will see, be influenced by, and share your content.
That shared content will, in turn, be seen, liked, and shared by the connections in your advocate network (your current second and third degree connections), which most likely includes champions and decision makers at companies you’ve been trying to access.
Savvy sales professionals will tap these expanded networks for introductions, or leverage them for further conversations.
Consider this: if you initiate five new conversations on LinkedIn per business day, that’s 1200 potential new opportunities per year.
If only 10 percent of those opportunities convert, that’s 120 net new pipeline opportunities – all because of an expanded LinkedIn network.
For sales professionals, that’s a bottom line number that matters.
To learn more about the value of an effective LinkedIn network, we hosted a new edition of our weekly #S4LSocial Twitter chat, which continues every Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET.
Here's a transcript of the chat, including some of the best tweets:
See you Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET on Twitter at #S4LSocial. For those of you who are new, I moderate the chat and you can find me at @kevinttully.