Samantha McKenna* When a potential client publicly announces what exactly is keeping her up at night, you can be confident that she is in a position to pay attention to your advice on the very issues that are troubling her. And when that happens, your business development gains focus: you now know what to say and to whom, so you can put your efforts into ensuring that she sees your insight.
You may already know, for example, that proposed EPA regulations are going to challenge your clients in the electricity industry. You’ve studied the rule changes, you’ve read numerous analyses of their impact, and you’ve talked to your clients about possible responses.
But it’s the LinkedIn post from the general counsel of a major power supplier lamenting the potential effects of additional regulation on operations that helps you understand how to turn the EPA rule change into a business opportunity.
That’s why you need a feed filled with actionable intelligence, in addition to articles reporting on industry events and market news.
Accessing information is easy today. Accessing actionable intelligence on the other hand – the data and details on which you can act, specific to prospects you’re targeting and industries you represent – that’s what makes all the difference.
…this is not a standard newsfeed – it’s an intelligent one.
So how do you use LinkedIn Navigator to access critical, actionable insights? Here are three ways:
1. Use Navigator as Your Main News Feed
Navigator’s home screen functions as an effective news feed that is limited to information about the people (“leads”) and companies (“accounts”) you have chosen to follow. Use it as such to stay informed of the activities, concerns, and interests of your key targets. Check in regularly, perhaps even once or twice per day.
(The key: this is not a standard newsfeed – it’s an intelligent one. The algorithms pay attention to what you access the most, refining content they feed you and surfacing impactful updates from key leads – even the ones you don’t already follow but that fit your core buyer criteria.)
Start acting on the intelligence you discover in your feed. You could, for example, write a blog post with tips for reducing employee theft when you see the CEO of a major retailer prospect share statistics on the costs of merchandise stolen by workers. Or schedule a visit to your biggest client when you read that they’re in talks to purchase a competitor. Or maybe it’s as simple as sending a congratulatory note to an in-house contact when 4th quarter earnings exceed investor expectations.
2. Manage Your Leads and Accounts
Keeping a close eye on your Navigator feed will also give you a sense of just how much intelligence your leads and accounts actually provide.
For example, you may quickly discover that some of the high-level executives you’ve chosen to follow don’t share useful information about their businesses or concerns, and instead use LinkedIn only to congratulate peers on awards and recognitions. Or that certain contacts have changed jobs and functions and even industries, to the point that the information they share is no longer relevant to your business development efforts.
For these reasons, you need to actively manage your leads and accounts, adding and removing people and companies to ensure that you’re getting access to the actionable intelligence you can use to further your objectives.
3. Look Beyond Your Network
As you set up your Navigator news feed, consider going beyond your existing network to gain new perspectives and additional insight on the issues and concerns of your client base. It will make you a more valuable resource for solving their problems, and might even help you identify new targets and new prospects that face challenges you already know how to overcome.
Navigator’s “Discover recommended leads” and “Discover recommended accounts” tools help you do that by identifying additional leads and accounts to add to your feed, as well as thought leaders and other influencers whose updates and activity can enrich your feed.
One word of caution: more isn’t necessarily better. Too many updates will end crowding out valuable information to the point that it becomes difficult to separate the wheat of actionable intelligence from the chaff. That’s why you need to actively manage your feed, to avoid following people and companies that flood your Navigator home page with irrelevant information.
* Samantha McKenna is Head of Sales, Enterprise, NYC at LinkedIn. Connect with her on LinkedIn