There’s a quick way to keep up to date with new people who fit the prospecting criteria you’re interested in, without lifting a finger. Essentially, new business prospects delivered to your inbox every week … automatically. Sounds interesting? Then read on …
When I’m using LinkedIn for targeted business development, my first port of call is unsurprisingly LinkedIn’s people search function – not just the initial search box at the top of every page but the filter filters that used to be called the “Advanced Search” in its previous incarnations.
Being able to target the type of person I’m looking to approach using a combination of job title, company, location, industry or any of the other filters that LinkedIn offers is an absolute godsend. That’s also why it always takes up an important slot in the “LinkedIn for Business” workshops that I run.
Creating the right search takes time though, particularly if you are going to make sure that you cover all the bases which will include variants of relevant job titles for the type of people you are targeting. (I talk about that in my “Think before you search” post in more details) Once you have done so, you don’t want to lose your work – instead you are going to want to use that time and time again, to build on it as required.
Why do we save a search?
You can save a search on LinkedIn in two distinct ways – one, using the system that LinkedIn provides and secondly using a manual process.
Whichever way you decide to go about it, you are essentially safeguarding your work. Most of us have multiple target audiences – mine for example fall into 4 main categories:
- Sales Directors and Leaders looking to enhance their teams prospecting Opportunities
- Consultants and individuals looking for greater visibility and more Leads
- HR and Recruiters wanting additional methods to identify candidates and do Social Recruiting
- Marketing Managers looking to understand LinkedIn’s marketing and Advertising potential
and I imagine yours will reflect similar diversity according to the product ranges you provide or the sectors you cater for.
Having to develop a search every time you wish to go prospecting is frankly a waste of time. So don’t!
Save the search that you have put together so that you can use it and re-use, adding to it or developing it as your targets change or your view of the market modifies. This will save you time and allow you to get to the introduction and engagement stages of the sales process.
Using LinkedIn’s Saved Search feature
Anyway, once I have my targeted search in place, what I like to use is the ‘Saved Search’ function. It does what it says on the tin, it saves the search that you’ve just run! With an additional twist which is where the benefit really comes from.
Accessing it isn’t always that obvious although it does depend on how you run your searches. The trick is that you need to have some search criteria in the top box. If you are using the ‘All Filters’ page (as you should be!) then this is not always going to be the case. So you need to put something there.
Personally, I replicate the ‘Job Title’ search in order to activate it because this should do so without affecting the search results – to help I’ve made a short video which will walk you through it:
Should you wish to, once saved, you can run the search again whenever you like just by going into “Saved searches” and re-running it. You will still need to put something in the search box to make that appear though which is a little clunky to say the least.
Search Alerts are King though
However, the key thing here is the ability to attach a Search Alert to this. Essentially a Search Alert means that on a weekly basis, LinkedIn will automatically re-run the search you have just saved. When it does so, if it finds that there are new people on the site who match your criteria (but didn’t before) then they will send you an email with their details like the one below:
Using this, you can set it to automatically send you an email (if you want to) to keep you informed of any new people who match those criteria. Set it for every week and away you go – potential leads delivered to your inbox!
Manually saving the searches
There are other ways to save your search of course although they don’t then give you the Search Alert functionality of course.
A couple of those I use are as follows:
- the URL that is created when you run a search contains all of the information that you need to run that search. Therefore, if you copy the URL and then paste that into a document (or indeed send it to a colleague as well if you wish) then that is a very quick and easy way to save that search.
If you keep a word document with a list of all of the important searches relating to your target prospects then you can run them at will and then modify them after that if required.
- still using the URL (or rather the page it creates) the other way that I go about it is to bookmark the page, simply using the browser I’m working with, Again that builds up a list of search results that can be re-run at a moment’s notice
Now, as I mentioned, neither of these methods has the added functionality of Search Alerts but, given that you are restricted to just 3 of those on the free account, you might prefer to dedicate those for your key targets and perhaps use these methods to cover off and keep track of as many of your other search requirements as possible.
Time is at a premium for most people in business, so if you can use tools on LinkedIn which help to save time and allow you to concentrate on the elements where you add the value, then that has to be good.
Using the 3 saved searches on LinkedIn you get even on the free account creates a listening tool that can be incredibly powerful – if you look around your team and add up the cumulative searches (each person has 3 which can be scouring the whole LinkedIn membership weekly) then you have a powerful way to continuously get details of new potential leads sent to you every week.