Prospecting Trigger Events – a New Linkedin Way

I’m having a bit of a “Mashable Moment” today (aka this post is about tools/technology).

I’ve seen several new feature updates come out of LinkedIn lately and I feel several of these are important for you to know about. These updatesare giving you new ways to use LinkedIn as a “Social Calling” tool (my methodology for smart prospecting for those who have not heard that term ad nauseam from me already).

The update LinkedIn launched today is a new feature to follow companies. This feature is important in my opinion because it gives you a new source of trigger events that you can use to help you “get it” to your target accounts.

LinkedIn is, in my opinion, the number one tool for B2B sales people to have in their tool box when trying to get into target accounts. Primarily this is because it allows you to build and leverage relationships. But as LinkedIn continues its relentless pursuit of Facebook it keeps adding features that give real-time updates.These real-time updates are a perfect source of trigger events.

“Trigger events” are changes in your prospect’s environment. These changes cause opportunities for you as a salesperson as they create new pains or needs that your product or service may be able to address.

One common trigger event is new executives. When a new exec gets hired they often take the “new broom” approach. This “new broom” tends to sweep out existing vendors and look more openly for new suppliers (and sometimes the bigger “brooms” sweep out many “smaller brooms” creating even more sales opportunities). If you are monitoring trigger events and show up in a timely manner you chances of putting an opportunity go up five times, according to research conducted by sales expert Craig Elias of Shift Selling.

So back to LinkedIn’s new feature. Can you guess what it does? Yup, it makes it easier for you to track new executive hires (and new promotions) – as well as new “fires”.

You can search LinkedIn for companies you want to follow. LinkedIn will then send you an email (based on how you set up your preferences for following this company) telling you that the company has (a) hired new people and who they are, (b) promoted some people and who they are and (c) some people have left and who they are – and where they went potentially.

So if executives moves is a trigger event for your product or service LinkedIn will now deposit those trigger events in your in box. Ah the smell of fresh leads in the morning.

It was possible to see this new hire, promotion and “fire” information before in LinkedIn but you had to keep visiting a company’s LinkedIn page to see it. With today’s feature announcement LinkedIn will deliver that lead to your inbox.

This new function also tracks “updates to a company profile” but I’m not sure there will be much action on this. We’ll see. It’s possible this function might be useful if your business will benefit from knowing that a company moved, e.g. a telephone systems company or perhaps an IT services company, as one possible update to a company profile would be it’s mailing address.

The new LinkedIn “company follow” feature was just launched today. It looks important to me if you believe in smart prospecting. I’ll be testing it in the coming weeks and looking out for LinkedIN to add more functionality and options to this feature. I’ll let you know how my testing goes and if any new features of value get bolted on. Meantime if you do use it, let me know how it’s working for you and if you come up with any neat tricks.

Here’s the link to the official LinkedIn blog’s description of this new feature.

Geek out!

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