STOP Looking at LinkedIn InMail as an End Result For ROI

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks


Synergy – defined as “the Whole is greater than the Sum is its parts”.

What does that mean for your Social Selling process? If you are measuring yourself and/or your sales reps on LinkedIn InMail’s that turn into a meeting… STOP RIGHT NOW! The idea that for every LinkedIn InMail you send – must have a high % of positive return, is a recipe to never growing a Social Selling team. Why? Because your team has a much higher probability of having little-to-no success at first, thus you’re most likely to give up.

It’s VITAL that you understand that Social Selling is “Synergy”, the Whole of all your activity is much, much greater than the Sum of one particular Social Selling activity. To elaborate, you can send LinkedIn InMail’s until the cows come home, and these InMail’s will only present a fraction of the total opportunities you could have with an integrated process.

Think of the analogy of traditional selling via the telephone. The phone alone presents your team only a fraction of the results a phone + email + tradeshows +webinars can provide. Even though you measure the sales results of the telephone separately, would you stop calling because the individual ROI is lower than email messages? NO…The phone is only a part of the tools a sales rep has at their disposal.

Using that same train of thought – a great Social Selling process is using:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Blog Content
  • Video Content
  • Webinars
  • Infographics
  • Marketing Automation (for email)

There are dozens of other tools we could add to this process, but the results need to be measured as a whole. Start measuring the 4 components as a whole, and you’ll realize that without one of these tools, the entire process starts to breakdown.

Network Growth – how is your LinkedIn (personal & corporate) profiles +Twitter profiles (perhaps add Google+) growing, at what rate? As @jill_rowley said at AA-ISP Social #insidesales2013 – “ABC = Always Be Connecting”. The girth of your sales network has a direct correlation to the % chance of greater sales opportunities. Use all of the tools above to grow your network.

Engagement – measuring the engagement of a few LinkedIn InMail’s is silly. It’s like taking 5 cold calls as a litmus test for telephone success. You want to measure how engaged is a prospect becoming over time (with all of your marketing assets). Yes you want to see if one piece of content is more effective that others (so you can replicate), but you really care that your companies brand is truly growing brand awareness & trust. Driving engagement will actually require all of these tools, as prospects may only notice you with one tool.

Marketing Qualified Leads – once you’ve decided to look at your Social Selling success as a collection of different activities, you’ll find tracking MQL’s easier. If you wanted to separate which social tool, using which marketing asset, drove a prospect to become interested… you will require a sales ops manager! Don’t want to spend your day slicing and dissecting data just to determine micro-statistics. Social Selling CRM’s and analytics to date aren’t ready for this. Put down your natural sales inclination and accept that all of these activities are helping created Retweets, Mentions, Likes, Forwards, Profile Reviews, and Downloads.

Sales Qualified Leads – these are a byproduct of sales activities that you really care about! Let’s face it; all these other measurements seem like fluff in comparison to meetings booked. I hope by this point you recognize that these meetings only start pouring in after you’ve moved past a few InMail’s, and stared building a Social Selling lead generation monster.

The Bottom Line

True Social Selling success takes time and is not a one-time event. You may have had success sending an InMail or two before, but it will not sustain a long-term sales pipeline with Social Selling. Real success will starts once you become one of your industries thought-leaders. This will only happen once you begin using an integrated strategy to connect with your buying audience online. Here are some sample tips you can use for your daily routine – “1 Hour A Day = Social Selling Success!

If you don’t want to be left behind the 8 ball – you really need to start to take action. The following blog posts on utilizing Social Selling strategies using LinkedIn can help you start. If you are really looking for some hidden gems on how you can attract a very specific prospect, I recommend you check out 42 LinkedIn Tips

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The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling