LinkedIn is a dynamic social platform where users can establish their professional identity and grow their career-oriented network. For a sales rep, LinkedIn can be a goldmine for finding new prospects that would be a perfect fit for their product or service. LinkedIn Groups should be the epicenter of these prospecting activities because they allow professionals to showcase their experience and skills while engaging in discussions focused on specific topics, industries, etc. Each group on the platform is drawing like-minded professionals into a single space to interact and share content, effectively serving up a neatly packaged bundle of potential leads for sales reps and marketers. You can see just how lucrative prospecting on LinkedIn Groups can be in Jill Konrath’s recent post describing how Thomas von Ahn of Viral Solutions has managed to get 58% of his business’ revenue from LinkedIn Groups.
So we know that LinkedIn groups are a valuable resource for a sales rep, but the real question is which LinkedIn group you join to find the best prospects? That’s what we will discuss in this post.
How to Spot the Right Groups
Let’s get down to brass tacks. As a sales rep, your main goal of using LinkedIn Groups should be prospecting for potential customers. This needs to be the driving force behind your search for groups to join, and should be considered in every step you take along the way. “Will this bring me closer to a new lead?” While there are absolutely other benefits to joining groups, such as gaining credibility among your target audience and learning more about the space into which you are selling, they shouldn’t necessarily be a top priority. These can be useful secondary goals and will often be the byproducts of your prospecting efforts.
Now that you have the goal of prospecting in mind, it’s important to think about the types of groups in which these potential customers may be active members. As an example, let’s say that you work for a business that provides services to real estate agents. Groups in which your target customers (i.e. real estate agents) are likely to be members fall into each of the following categories:
- Industry-related groups (ex: The Real Estate Networking Group)
- Profession related groups (ex: Real Estate Professionals and Vendor Network)
- Topic/skill-related groups (ex: Real Estate and Home Staging FYI)
- Event-related groups (ex: RENE- The Real Estate Networking Event)
- Media-related groups (ex: Inman News – Where Real Estate and Tech Connect)
- Product-related groups (ex: ePro REALTOR User Network)
While these sample groups apply specifically to someone looking to market to real estate agents, the group categories can be applied to any industry or prospective client you want to target. Understanding the different types will go a long way in helping you identify the groups you should join.
Let the Search Begin…
Once you’ve got this framework in mind, you’re ready to start searching. For those of you who have never searched for groups on LinkedIn, here is a technical breakdown of the steps involved. There are a few ways to go about it, but the easiest is to use the search bar at the top of any page within LinkedIn. Next to the search bar, click the drop menu and select the filter “Groups” for your search.
From there you can type in the keywords you wish to search, which we will address in a moment. Another way to start your search is to scroll over the “Interests” tab at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. From there, select “Groups” to be taken to your “Groups” page, then locate and click the “Find a Group” button. This will display a search bar on your screen into which you can enter your keywords or criteria.
Based on the group types you will be scouting, there are several factors that can influence your search criteria. Start by identifying the keywords that people use to find your product. This will lead you to groups with members who are clearly interested in the type of service or product you are providing. Think about what professions or skills would make a good potential customer for you, and work those terms into your search. Are there any events you or your clients attend, or publications they follow? Focusing on these criteria will also help you narrow down key words that lead to useful search results.
The other way to find the right groups is to see which groups your best leads and prospects are already members of. To do this, look up your target customer on LinkedIn and scroll to the bottom of their profile where you will see a “Groups” section. This will show you all the groups they are members of and give you ideas for the groups you should join.
Sometimes Less is More
Our final piece of advice is simple but can be challenging: Don’t overdo it. When you start to come across dozens of groups that seem to be teeming with potential customers, your instinct might be to join as many of them as you can to increase your odds of gaining a sale. Try your best to avoid that practice. Instead, it’s better to join a few groups at a time and make sure those members are the prospects you’re looking to attract. If they aren’t, move on. But if the members are potential quality customers you will be better prepared to focus on engaging them if you are only joining a few groups at a time. At Socedo, we have recently released a new LinkedIn Prospecting Beta feature that can help you to determine which groups are worthwhile by showing all of the members who have recently engaged in each group to which you subscribe. By pulling out these users’ titles and companies, we make it easy for you to see which groups are yielding the most promising prospects for your business. You can also download these lists and import them directly into a CRM system like Pipeliner CRM!
By putting a little time and thought into their groups, sales reps can efficiently tap into the huge pool of potential clients provided by LinkedIn. The quality of the prospects you come across will all depend on goals and factors you keep in mind while searching these pools. Don’t let this valuable resource slip through you fingers. And remember if you need some guidance on your prospecting journey, Socedo is here to help.
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