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Are You Ignoring the Power of LinkedIn?
Blog / All About CRM / Nov 4, 2014 / Posted by Andrew Jenkins / 6171

Are You Ignoring the Power of LinkedIn?

I deliver a lot of presentations and workshops related to social media and social selling. Usually, I begin by surveying the audience with a number of questions, such as a show of hands from those who have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as some of the younger platforms, like Instagram.

Most of my presentations are in a professional setting, so it does not come as a surprise that LinkedIn is often the most used platform for my audience. What I find interesting are the results of the follow-up questions:

“Of those of you on LinkedIn, how many of you actively use it to connect with other people?” Although most of the audience have LinkedIn profiles, they rarely use it to connect with others; often it is only a handful who do.

My audiences’ interests span personal branding, social selling, social strategy, and the broader social media landscape, but fundamentally they want to understand where they can derive value from social media, whether for themselves or for their business. I show them that, especially in the case of LinkedIn, the value to be derived takes action on their part, as well as a new mindset and methods to actively connect.

In some ways, their presence at my workshop indicates that they want more from social media than they have managed to extract. I have often said that LinkedIn—and social media more broadly—is an under-utilized resource that can deliver tremendous amounts of value with the right approach.

Despite being over 10 years old, I believe (and I suspect their growth charts would confirm) that the post-financial crisis economic environment played an important role in LinkedIn’s growth. It took them 6 years to reach 50 million members in October of 2009,  only just over a year to double that number. As a matter of fact, I was featured in the marketing campaign when they reached their 100 million member milestone. Fast-forward to today: LinkedIn now has 300 million members and continues to add more than 2 members per second.

While 300 million is a large number, LinkedIn still has a long way to go to reach the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce; that doesn’t mean you can’t find a business within the existing membership. According to a recent infographic from LinkedIn:

The top 5 regions for LinkedIn membership from 5 years ago and today are:

Five Years Ago

  1. United States
  2. Great Britain
  3. India
  4. Canada
  5. Netherlands


  1. United States
  2. India
  3. Brazil
  4. Great Britain
  5. Canada

The top 5 industries for LinkedIn membership from 5 years ago and today are:

Five Years Ago

  1. Information Technology and Services
  2. Computer Software
  3. Financial Services
  4. Marketing and Advertising
  5. Telecom


  1. Information Technology and Services
  2. Hospital and Health Care
  3. Construction
  4. Education
  5. Accounting

If you happen to live in one of the top regions and/or work in one of the top industries, there are lots of LinkedIn people and companies to pursue; but even if you do not live in the top regions or work in the top industries, LinkedIn is still growing, and so will your list of prospects.

Even today you should be able to find people and companies to target already present on LinkedIn. To be fair, there are still companies and people that have not caught onto the opportunities available to them within LinkedIn, which is part of the reason for this post.

If I conducted another survey and asked people if they are happy with the volume of business they are doing, very few would say yes. We can always be selling more, growing our business more, expanding our customer base more, gaining greater share of our customer’s wallet—however we define “more.”

While companies may feel quite confident that their current and/or historical business development efforts are sufficient, I suspect that when presented with an opportunity to gain competitive advantage, they would be all ears.

I am not standing here with a social media hammer looking for a nail. If you are not doing a good job in your foundational areas of sales and marketing, such as email marketing, customer service, follow-up, or with your website, then adopting social media will not be your salvation. In fact, it may only draw attention to where you are failing.

However, incorporating LinkedIn as a complement to your sales efforts will help you  better profile your prospects, conduct more thorough account planning, increase your number of referrals, and ultimately drive more revenue. It is not an “either-or” kind of situation but an “in addition to” approach. You will still have to pick up the phone, but far more of those calls will be warm referrals rather than cold ones.

These are achievable objectives. It just requires a shift in mindset. Rather than waiting to be invited to connect, it is about taking the first step and reaching out. Back that up with ongoing content sharing—both yours and from other sources—to consistently engage your network, build your personal brand, and convey your expertise, and you have the makings of a successful LinkedIn experience.

So what is stopping you from getting started? There is no shortage of content explaining where and how to get more from LinkedIn, and this post, as well as others of mine, is adding to the list.

I like to hear from my audiences where they are challenged in getting more out of LinkedIn, and I’d love to hear from you, too.

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About Author

Andrew Jenkins helps companies grow revenue by embracing social media and social selling strategies. He regularly speaks and presents at the top business schools and is a professor at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies.

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