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LinkedIn your own customer relationship management partner

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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With 95 percent of all small businesses here in the US having nine employees or less, purchasing or subscribing to an expensive customer relationship management system strains already limited resources. Now these cash strapped small businesses have the opportunity to make LinkedIn their own CRM and best yet this powerful CRM is free.

Several years ago LinkedIn bought a company called Connected HQ, which used a software program to aggregate data about people and then to send specific information to its members. The service was free.

Recently LinkedIn has been infusing this software program into the contacts section of each member’s profile. The end result is a very powerful CRM system that tracks not only your LinkedIn activity, but can import many of your other social media sites such as Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter along with all of your contacts.

By the end of August, all US LinkedIn members and many in Canada will have this feature. Then the goal is to spread it to the rest of the membership. Given North America has fewer members, taking this action makes sense and allows for LinkedIn to identify any integration problems.

If you do not have this feature, you will be receiving it sometime in the near future. So do not delete a message from LinkedIn regarding your contacts.

When you have this update, your contacts page will look different. On the left side will be the following:

• Contacts - If you have imported your email data base using a CSV file, you will show your total contacts.

• A search box – Same as the previous feature and allows you to search your contact list

• All Contacts - Each contact will have a social media icon such Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and even Google Plus

• Your day – Provides suggestions of people to connect with for that day. There are little icons to show job changes, birthdays along with your personal calendar for that day. Any internal emails or activity will be added to that contact.

• Connections - This is only your LinkedIn first degree connections

• Tags – Are your groups from the previous feature

• Companies – Now you can easily search by companies along with knowing how many contacts you have within each company

• Titles – Allows you to search by title. Additionally LinkedIn now allows you to buy LinkedIn ads targeted to those titles.

• Locations – Shows a Google Map of your contacts’ locations along with specific geographic areas in a descending numerical order.

• Sources – Indicates what sources you have imported into this new feature

• Potential Mergers – Merges duplicate contacts

• Hidden – This hides recent conversations or interactions. The gem is that on the right hand side of the page under recent conversations you have the ability to sort these conversations. Under the Lost Touch sort you can identify those contacts you have not had recent communications. Talk about the lost goldmine of prospecting!

Obviously not all the features of this new update can be discussed in one column. However keep your eye out for this powerful new feature and remember this is a free tool. Not to have it as part of your daily marketing and B2B business activities is a lost opportunity and truly one you cannot afford.

July’s theme will be time management since how you manage yourself will hurt or help your small business because no one can truly manage time as time is a constant.

P.S. Shout Out – To Fitting Image in Hobart and Seasons on the Square in Valparaiso; two locally owned small businesses.



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