How LinkedIn uses data to drive sales

LinkedIn’s sales reps can sometimes tell clients more about their own employees than they know, says LinkedIn insights manager Josh Coulson

Sales representatives at LinkedIn are using data from the professional social media website to help customers with hiring and marketing.

Speaking at the Tableau Conference on Tour event in Melbourne, LinkedIn Australia insights manager, Josh Coulson, told delegates that the site has 347 million members worldwide which means a “staggering” amount of data.

In 2010, the company formed an Insights team to leverage LinkedIn’s data assets. This team helps the sales team in three different ways - sales, marketing and operations.

For example, sales collateral engines are built with Tableau dashboards to deliver insights to customers.

“A lot of the emails our corporate customers get are powered by insights so they get sent analytics led marketing,” said Coulson.

“A huge trend we are trying to take advantage of is mass personalisation. This is all about giving you a highly relevant marketing email.”

It uses for CRM. CRM data is fed into Tableau dashboards.

In 2010, the Insights team put together what Coulson called a “size of the prize algorithm.” This algorithm combines LinkedIn data with data to help the sales reps hit targets on every account.

Since that time, LinkedIn has built an insights portal called Merlin for its sales reps.

The sales rep will visit the portal on a daily basis and download information about one of their customers. This includes information about the customer’s hiring practices and other trends.

“They can take that information and build a presentation for the customer,” he said.

“Our sales reps are able to walk into a conversation with any company around Australia and can often tell them more about their own employees than they know.”

In addition, the company has taken the content in Merlin and created a PowerPoint generation engine called Magic Wand. The sales rep can fill out a form and customise this for the client they are going to meet.

According to Coulson, Magic Wand will generate a PowerPoint presentation for the sales rep in 30 seconds.

LinkedIn is also using a metric called the Talent Brand Index (TBI). At present, 3.2 million LinkedIn members are working with TBI.

“For recruitment professionals, talent brand is a massive trend at the moment. Coles and Woolworths are spending money on ads to try and get young people to come and work for them,” he said.

LinkedIn sales reps can use TBI to search through thousands of talents pools on LinkedIn throughout the world, download it and deliver this data to a customer.

For example, Coulson did a live search and found there were 3052 analytics professionals in Australia on LinkedIn. Demand was highest in Sydney and Melbourne.

Hamish Barwick travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Tableau.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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