Tips for using LinkedIn effectively post-GDPR
LinkedIn has talked a lot about how it has perfected its strategy for sales and marketing professionals, as well as recruitment consultants. Expanding its standard networking and personal branding service to include LinkedIn Pulse and LinkedIn Video which established it as a content-first platform, launching an exclusive influencer programme to bolster thought leadership on the site.
Perhaps most important of all for those in B2B sales, it launched Sales Navigator to establish itself as the primary source of new leads and tangible revenue by making mission critical prospecting activities faster and smoother.
But the B2B sales, marketing and business development landscape is about to change dramatically, thanks to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), so many are now asking how best to use LinkedIn in the post-GDPR world.
The new GDPR era – what you need to know
The largest change in data legislation in the last 20 years, GDPR will come into force on May 25th.
GDPR is about standardising current wide ranging EU data directives, to provide a single best practice approach for data handling and compliance.
The goal is to strengthen the individual’s rights by creating better transparency and control over all personal data (i.e. any information that can be used to directly or indirectly identify them) they share with companies
As a B2B sales, marketer or business development professional operating in the UK and/or Europe, you will be affected.
It will certainly require you to review how you collect, store, and use customer data.
For sales, marketing and business development functions Gartner predict the impact to your mailing list or CRM database could shrink by up to 60% overnight, or worse that you leave yourself exposed to vast fines for non-compliance.
How GDPR might affect the way we use LinkedIn
LinkedIn Sales Navigator has been labelled as one of the best possible solutions for prospecting and delivering personalised sales, marketing, and business development engagements post-GDPR. People join LinkedIn with the expectation that others will view their data and engage with them via messaging and InMail, therefore this kind of activity is essentially not impacted by GDPR.
LinkedIn are of course making changes to permission settings, such as giving members more power to choose what information to display on their public profiles, or what type of messages they are willing to receive.
A very important part of GDPR preparation is to boost your LinkedIn connections. Greg Cooper, internationally recognised LinkedIn coach and trainer, says that “when promoting your business is about to get a little harder, it is even more important to invest the time in building a broad and relevant communication network on LinkedIn”.
Perhaps we are missing the point a little here. Back in 2015 Artesian published an e-book on how to get more value out of LinkedIn.
Whilst having a simple standard for finding the right people, knowing where they connecting with them is a premise that certainly resonates, how many sales professionals and relationship managers are using it to its best advantage, and how many are missing the point by simply seeing their LinkedIn network or investment in Sales Navigator as the sum total of what it takes to succeed?
It was true then, and I believe it is true now as we head into the new GDPR era.
Why you are missing out just focusing on LinkedIn?
Now LinkedIn and Sales Navigator are fantastic tools, but like all great products, LinkedIn has limitations, some by design, and some by the nature of the data that feeds it.
LinkedIn specialise in people – who are the best people to talk to, who are they connected with etc. This information is self-declared, and LinkedIn do a world class job of harnessing the value within this data. But it’s curated, and doesn’t deliver wider organisational and market influences, insights and behaviours.
Think about the entire relationship you have with a customer. People are not static, they move, their needs change, they change role or job, and in an instant LinkedIn data can become inaccurate or often irrelevant as preferences and needs change. This is not going to help maintain existing B2B relationships or assist you in building a connection with their replacement.
Relying on self-declared people data narrows the scope and range of information and insight needed to really drive customer intimacy, customer retention and growth. This is not going to enhance or enrich your understanding of wider influences and opportunities, or give you new reasons to add value and ensure they continue to opt-in.
A top priority for anyone in a customer facing role is getting in front of customers and prospects at exactly the right moment, so you can educate them on how you can solve their problems, and provide solutions to their needs. Post-GDPR it will be more important than ever to not just find and connect with people, but pinpoint the exact moment when engagement will be best received and most valued. To uncover this type of insight requires a much broader “contextual” view.
Connections breed connections and all that – and if you’re a Premium Sales Navigator subscriber then you may also be getting automated lead suggestions and triggers. But just connecting with someone new doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be interested in engaging, it certainly doesn’t guarantee their opt-in.
Tips for using LinkedIn more effectively post-GDPR
So how to get over these limitations and get more value out of LinkedIn in the post-GDPR world?
- Get beyond the limitations of self-declared data – augment LinkedIn engagements by utilising structured and unstructured data sources across the internet, news, corporate data, and wider social media – greater personalisation, improved engagement, enhanced demonstration of value.
- Demonstrate Legitimate Interest – gather insight and intelligence to help understand a connections immediate and future needs, the problems they need to solve, and the wider internal and market influences affecting them in order to demonstrate legitimate interest in addressing needs and solving problems.
- Augment Sales Navigator Triggers – prospect with more confidence by honing in on wider insights such as expansion news, management changes, legislative, regulatory, compliance and risk management changes and triggers, acquisitions etc.
- Improve LinkedIn Pulse Content and Inbound Marketing – Make yourself attractive and compel connections by harnessing golden nuggets of insight to ensure you always having something new to talk about, that you’re sharing relevant content, and publishing thought leadership posts.
- Build value into InMail – Have access to contextual reasons to reach out – ready made research, door openers and engagement topics. The result will be higher open rates, click throughs, opt-ins and improved levels of engagement.
- Go beyond simply connecting – Augment connection requests and build value into icebreakers by harnessing relevant and timely insights and contextual anecdotes.
Get more value out of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is without doubt going to remain a vital tool for sellers, marketers, and business development teams post-GDPR so why not invest in getting the best out of it.
GDPR reinforces the importance of using reputable third party business intelligence sources to augment LinkedIn and indeed all sales, marketing and business development activities and tools, CRM included. Something the Chartered Institute of Marketing agrees with:
Now is the ideal time to invest in new data analytics tools – perhaps even those with predictive analysis and artificial intelligence (AI). By populating these tools with only the most important, useful and legally compliant data, organisations will be able to operate in a far smarter manner than anything that has gone before.
Drive more value from LinkedIn with Artesian
Artesian is a powerful AI-driven service that equips client facing teams with the resources they need to succeed in a modern commercial environment. Artesian provides the data, real-time insight and context you need to build more value into LinkedIn activities.
With the use of AI technology layered on top of company information, data and news, Artesian helps you uncover new opportunities outside of Sales Navigator, build value into connections and InMail, improve engagements and generally tackle the post-GDPR data challenge, by continually scanning millions of online sources for data on markets, organisations, individuals and topics.
It uses sophisticated algorithms to filter and transform that information into commercially valuable insights, helping drive customer alignment, improved sales strategy formation and success and boosted client satisfaction.