It has been quite some time since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, and the hubbub surrounding the acquisition seems to be finally slowing down. Nevertheless, the general consensus is that the network will stay a social giant, leaving behind its “professional” competitors.
If nothing else, the buyout served as vindication for B2B businesses that rely on LinkedIn for prospecting, marketing and sales. If you aren’t already using LinkedIn to find prospects and connect with them, you need to get started right away.
Here are a few great LinkedIn tools to help you in the process.
Bonus: Download a free guide to discover four time-saving tools to help you grow your LinkedIn network faster. Includes one tool that lets you schedule a week’s worth of LinkedIn updates in just three minutes.
5 great LinkedIn tools for conversion
Crystal uses people’s LinkedIn profiles and the widely-respected DISC assessments to determine their personality types. The tool breaks down every little thing—from what words and phrases will appeal to a particular person to things that can motivate them—all to help you write more effective lead-nurturing or branded messages.
For instance, my DISC type is “IS”—”Influential and Steady.” That means I am motivated by acceptance, new relations, peer recognition, fun, and excitement. When emailing me, it’s best to use emotionally charged language, emoticons (I hate to admit it, but yes) and a casual tone.
The following screenshot shows what Crystal advises you do when corresponding with me:
Now imagine if you had insights like these for every one of your prospects, before putting together your follow-up messages and pitches. You could easily pick the right words and motivators to reel them in.
It’s likely that very few people who visit your website will fill out any forms or subscribe to your newsletter. So how do you keep the conversation going with these folks?
Leadfeeder allows you to chase those “anonymous prospects” by giving you their company details and suggesting common LinkedIn contacts in the company. All you have to do is connect Leadfeeder with Google Analytics, and it will take care of the rest.
Once you have the LinkedIn profiles of the people who are likely checking out your content, you can send them messages targeted to their personas or funnel positions, or even get someone in accounts or business development to reach out or connect with them on LinkedIn. There’s also the option to hide a company if it doesn’t seem very interesting.
The best part about Leadfeeder is that it only displays real companies—and not just their internet service providers, as other IP-based intelligence tools do. Also, spammers are pre-filtered, so you have a nice, clean list to begin with.
In a way, LinkedIn and Salesforce are made for each other. While the former helps you find and connect with prospects, the latter helps manage organization-wide interactions with them through different media and channels, including phone, email, website, online communities, and social media.
Ebsta is a plugin that integrates Salesforce with LinkedIn—while you’re using LinkedIn, it allows you to push interaction logs to Salesforce without leaving LinkedIn. As a result, as soon as you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you can start messaging, sharing documents, viewing their activity history, and logging calls—in other words, your LinkedIn turns into Salesforce.
Ebsta can be used for a number of other related purposes. It also features Gmail integration, Bullhorn integration, and email automation. This is an ideal tool for large B2B companies that deal with hundreds of prospects on a daily basis.
4. eLink Pro
If used wisely, eLink Pro can automate a lot of petty tasks. Consider a scenario where your company provides marketing automation software, and you try to connect with scores of digital marketers on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter, in an attempt to engage them, develop relationships, and eventually sell them your solution when the time is right.
The tedious (and never-ending) way to find the right marketing professionals would be to manually go through their bios and summaries. The easy (and automated) way to do it would be to feed a few keywords into eLink Pro and let it do the job for you.
I’d caution against some of this tool’s other functionality. In addition to the useful information it provides, eLink also processes LinkedIn profiles in bulk and then engages with people’s Tweets on your behalf. This way, your leads see notifications that you’ve favorited or Retweeted their posts. It also visits their LinkedIn profiles using your account, so they know you viewed their profile. Though this part of the process can be a bit tedious at times, it’s considered best practice not to automate it.
I’ve been using Rapportive for around three years now. This tool gives you all the contact details about a person, sourced from their LinkedIn profile, right inside your Gmail. Best of all, it’s absolutely free!
Although there were complaints about Rapportive after it was acquired by LinkedIn, in my humble opinion the widget does a very good job of what it says on the box.
Why use LinkedIn tools to connect with prospects?
If you’re a B2B marketer or business development manager, there is no better social platform than LinkedIn, and all of the tools discussed here can give you great results. So should you be investing your time in all of them?
Yes, and no.
For the most part, Leadfeeder and Crystal are effective tools, and if used diligently, they can turn leads into solid business. Leadfeeder wins the day for me; the feature that lets you identify and reach out to anonymous site visitors is a great plus when you have thousands of visitors but not many lead capture conversions to write home about (a common scenario).
As for Crystal, it isn’t so feasible to identify and personalize each email based on a particular personality, but for those times when there’s a deal I absolutely want to close and find myself unsure as to the best tone to use for my messaging, Crystal sure does come handy.
Ebsta is a great add-on but only if you are using Salesforce; if you haven’t invested in Salesforce, then it won’t be of any use to you. As for Rapportive, go get it now. It’s free and does what it says on the label. eLink Pro is certainly the black sheep (or dark horse, whichever way you look at it) here but those who use it swear by it. So it must be doing something right.
All said and done, you can get a handsome return on investment (ROI) on LinkedIn tools if you’re willing to put time and effort behind them; otherwise they could end up just like that treadmill that’s gathering dust in your garage.
Manage your brand’s LinkedIn presence the smart way—use Hootsuite to schedule updates, target posts, engage with followers, and measure your impact. Try it free today.