LinkedIn recently announced that they reached the 500 million member mark, and as the largest professional network in the world continues to pick up speed, opportunities to grow your network and engage in new conversations grow as well. As LinkedIn stated in one of their posts, “future decision makers are building professional relationships.”
After researching the industries (and the activity within them) the only addition I would make to this comment is that CURRENT decision makers are also building professional relationships.
I recently crunched the numbers for the industries on LinkedIn and found some trends you may find interesting – here are a few.
For starters, there are millions of VP and CXO titles on LinkedIn globally, so on the surface it appears that senior leadership is at least present on the platform. This may not seem valuable to some, but consider that these people have uploaded their resume, interests and in some cases even hobbies for you to research prior to outreach.
You have access to information such as where they used to work – which may well be a current client of yours (and thus sharing a case study becomes more meaningful). Perhaps they worked at an organization where you currently have connections, and you can leverage an introduction rather than trying to just cold call. Or perhaps the person is new to their job and thus is more willing to listen to new ideas or consider new suppliers.
All this information will help give you a greater chance of sparking a response when you first reach out to them. Consider that this data is available to you before you even attempt to engage them. Stop and think about that for a moment.
How Do You Compare?
My search found millions of VP’s and CXO titles on LinkedIn across the globe, and many (about 16%) from companies with more than 1000 employees. But the real question is how many of them are active?
It is difficult to know for sure since I don’t have access to all of this back end data, but we can see what percentage are actively sharing content. This number will undoubtedly reflect a much lower number since sharing content requires a more deliberate effort than simply reading from a home page. However, the numbers are telling nevertheless.
It is important to note that this information reflects one month of activity so the results could change, but there are further trends that are even more interesting. Note that not all sales reps are regularly sharing content, and using the opportunity to develop their brand, share insights, or take advantage of opportunities to remain relevant in between live communications.
Sharing content provides several benefits if done correctly, which is likely why industries that have experienced the results continue to embrace the activity. As a quick reference:
Sales for Life surveyed 515 individuals online. Of them, 20% were executives belonging to the C-suite, 33% were enterprise companies and over 60% resided in the U.S. The majority (55%) identified as sales professionals, and more than half (55%) belonged to consulting, software or IT industries.
What we found aligned with our own client results, namely that teams who embrace a social routine fill pipeline faster. Sales teams who embrace social strategies (of which sharing content is one of the components) experience 18% more pipeline (volume) 28% faster (velocity).
Our research also mirrored research from other organizations when it comes to generating revenue. We found that social sellers experience higher ROI when compared to just traditional tactics alone (31% higher ROI).
An interesting pattern that emerged between these two groups (Active CXO’s and Active Sales people) can be seen when comparing the top 11 for each group.
If the CXO’s are active then there is a strong likelihood that the sales team will be actively sharing as well (8 of the top 11 industries with the most active CXO’s also have the most active sales staff).
Actively pursuing business on social can certainly be mandated across an organization, but it appears that if the initiative is led by leadership then the activity becomes more pronounced. Perhaps this pattern is reflective of senior leadership truly buying in on the benefits of social, and this fact alone helps drive the integration of social.
We have worked with a tremendous number of enterprise clients in the last three years, and we certainly can attest that when leaders are fully engaged in the program, sales reps perform better and the lift in ROI is substantially higher.