Depending on your practice, part of your business development strategy may include looking for who is responsible for sales and/or purchasing decisions within businesses. This information isn’t always readily available on websites as these people don’t like being “bugged”. I’ve heard stories about in-house counsel being stalked at local conferences and this is exactly why they don’t broadcast their information.
However, did you know there is a way to find these professionals using LinkedIn? I read an article from Forbes that reinforced this point:
Colleen Francis, a sales expert and president of Engage Selling, adds that she has seen salespeople pursue leads using social media and end up with sales of between $30,000 and $250,000. “The biggest sales have come from salespeople using Twitter to find opportunities and LinkedIn to find the names of the true buyers inside organizations,” she says.
Using the advanced search function on LinkedIn, you can pinpoint these very professionals if they have a LinkedIn profile. This doesn’t mean you have a one-way ticket to sale-ville but you do have the opportunity to do some research, see if you’re connected to this person through a mutual connection (and maybe possibly get a connection), and see if you are both members of the same groups. The amount of information you see will be dependent on the privacy settings your desired connection has set. More often than not, people on LinkedIn aren’t too concerned about privacy and most information is shown. Facebook is another story!
This type of research can be extremely valuable if you are in the market for business connections such as in-house counsel. Remember, depending on the type of account you have with LinkedIn, you may or may not be able to send these prospects direct messages. You’ll have to be creative in your strategy on how to initiate contact.