LinkedIn…so much potential, so much frustration! Invitations lost in “space”, limited InMail that you guard like gold, and potential Pharma contacts who haven't updated their profile in the last two years.
Having been on both the giving and receiving end of LinkedIn messages and InMail from Pharma Service Providers, I have had my share of exposure to some ineffective (and costly!) approaches to lead generation. At its essence, LinkedIn is a network for relationship building, where the goal of the users is to make and nurture connections. Violations of this expectation (knowingly or unknowingly) could impact client trust, and could eliminate your chances of a relationship made in Pharma heaven!
Here are three of the least productive actions that you may be doing that almost guarantees your message is stuck in limbo, or worse…the deleted file.
Asking For Something
“I would love just 15 minutes of your time.” “Could you answer this one question for me?” “Would you help me connect with so-and-so, I have something they might find valuable.” If you have ever sent these sentences in a message on LinkedIn to someone you are reaching out to for the first time (or the first time in awhile), stop. Now. To you, it may seem like you aren’t asking for very much, but to your prospective Pharma client, this can seem like asking a lot. Especially if you intend on selling them or their contact something in the very next interaction (i.e. a capabilities presentation).
Instead of asking for something when you reach out…offer something that will be valuable to your prospective Pharma client. Yes, I understand that the services your company provides are valuable, but so is the time and money that you are asking of your lead. What have you given/done to earn that time? You are in the position to offer some information, a template, a presentation, an article, etc. that could be a big help to your client in an upcoming presentation to Senior Leadership or as they are considering their strategic focus for the next fiscal year. This sign of giving (with NO STRINGS ATTACHED) is an incredible trust builder, and an easy way to begin a productive and profitable relationship.
Have you ever sent a message like this in the past: “I hear (insert client company name here) just completed recruiting their last patient in XYZ Trial last month. Congratulations!”. Have you ever wondered why it got zero response from your contact at that company? Unless that lead was directly responsible for patient recruitment for that trial, the chances are that message just wasn't relevant to your Pharma contact. It's not that they don't care, it's just that sometimes by the time the press release is out, it is old news...and sometimes, they have more pressing, urgent, day-to-day things competing for their attention that this news just isn’t worth their time. Also, it pays to check your intention for sending the message…was there a small part of you that wants to prove you are “up” on the news of their company (look how connected and engaged I am!)...well, that shows too.
Reach out with some information or a bit of news that might entertain, inform, or educate your prospective Pharma client on something that is important or relevant to them at that time. It's not as easy as it sounds…after all, you thought sending news about their company was relevant. The key here is to get inside the mind and heart of your pharma client. This is why all strategic plans include (or should include!) a profile of an ideal client. With a complete biographical sketch that includes pains & frustrations, goals & desires, demographics, psychographics...it becomes much easier to find and deliver content that resonates. Caution: This content may have nothing to do with your product or service! That comes later.
Have you ever wondered what happened to that message or InMail you sent to your contact via LinkedIn? Did they open it? Did they read it? What did they think? Did they even receive it? This day in age, you don’t have to be kept in the dark on your communications. Sending InMail and messages through LinkedIn to people who haven’t opened, received, or read it is a waste of your time. Time that can be better spent on leads who are ready and eager to engage.
Despite the fact that LinkedIn eliminated the ability to check the status of the sent message can still track message engagement, but to also inform your lead conversion strategy. Consider including a link in your message to a landing page with a piece of useful, valuable content. You can ask for the email of your prospective client on the landing page in exchange for the content download. If your content is relevant, valuable and has no strings attached, then your client will want not hesitate to give you their email in exchange. Now, you have some useful information: you know they received it and you know they are interested in related information. You can use this information to continue the conversation and the relationship!
It’s eternally frustrating to reach out and not get a response on LinkedIn, or via email or via phone. While you can’t control if your contact will respond, you can hold up your end of the deal by reaching out in a way that is helpful, compassionate, and relevant. If you make these simple changes to your approach on LinkedIn, those who respond will be well on their way to actually hiring you…because they will already know, like and trust you.