Selling to one degree of Kevin Bacon

six degrees kevin bacon

You’re tasked with cleaning up a Salesforce database while improving digital marketing awareness, oh, and you gotta fill the sales funnel while you’re at it.

What do you do?

Here at Rocket, we’ve placed all bets on leads. Let me tell you why.

Leads. More of them, but really damn good ones. But where does one obtain those leads?

We embarked on a content marketing strategy, but that is a long-tail approach, recruiting internal experts to develop their blogging chops while we look at other ways to activate inbound and outbound channels.

So, short term, where do we get those leads?

Kevin Bacon. That’s where.

We’ve all heard about, or played a drinking game about, the so-called “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.” In B2B tech circles, it’s more true than you might realize.

Everyone know someone on LinkedIn

I’ve written before about Rocket becoming a social business. As it turns out, LinkedIn is at the center of making this possible.

How do you leverage this tool? First, I cleaned up and optimized Rocket’s LinkedIn presence. We started with 14 languishing company pages, some representing Rocket product lines, others were echoes of acquired companies. On the discussion side, I started with shutting down 10 of 11 groups, the most recently-contributed comment being 3 months stale.

With this new focus, paired with updated branding visuals and messaging, I was ready to get my peers activated.

We began with using Rocket’s blog as fodder to kickoff (hopefully) meaty conversation related to software and industry issues. It worked, with a special focus on subject matter expert commentary. Over the course of 2013, we grew participation of  the company page and group greatly on both the participation and the membership sides.

linkedin participation graph

This was important groundwork as we began issuing Sales Navigator accounts to our sales reps. LinkedIn would be the go-to tool for the reps to do their direct lead sourcing where lead lists would be the preferred tool for awareness and air cover campaigns.

Wait, what about Kevin Bacon?

As it turns out, teaching the sales org how to use LinkedIn’s search features to reach “qualified” leads taught me a lot about the B2B technology world as a social network unto itself. Folks really do tend to know each other, or at least have close network affiliations. And that’s mainly in the US and Europe. Going down under, it gets even more intimate… the joke being “one degree of Kevin Bacon.”

Anyway, here’s what we did…

First, I taught the sales org to optimize their LinkedIn profiles for a few key pieces of content: interest keywords, personal summaries, Rocket summaries, job titles and headlines. The focus was on demonstrating why you could be a trusted advisor for customers and contacts.

From there, I helped the sales org understand and leverage searchable features like those interest keywords, and other info in contacts’ user profiles as a means to understand folks backgrounds before making a sales call.

The story I used (with credit to LinkedIn’s Mark Lederer)…  You want to reach IT VPs in the Columbus, Ohio area. Your LinkedIn interests lists soccer. That soccer keyword is clickable. You click “soccer” to see other folks in your LinkedIn network who also list soccer as an interest. From there, you use the advanced search feature to filter your search down to those IT VPs. Viola, you have very short list of contacts you can now use IT and soccer as an intro, perhaps hosting a free welcome event at Columbus Crew soccer match.

Give it a try. I think you’ll be quickly making meaningful industry connections while also maybe selling a thing or two!

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