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No, LinkedIn is not a source for your cold calling

LinkedIn logoI was appalled to receive an email from someone today. Unsolicited, I might add. I don’t know why I was appalled but I was severely irked by its contents.

The subject line read: “Using LinkedIn for cold calling – live webinar”.

This promotion was for a webinar being hosted by the heads of two companies, Vorsight and Inside Sales. They promise to show how to use LinkedIn as a source of leads for you to cold call.

Why should I be so bothered? Surely someone has a right to marketing their business any way they see fit?

The reason I am annoyed by this promotion is that it devalues everything about LinkedIn that most of its members hold dear. It is less prone to spam – although there are lots of anonymous people always claiming to be your friend. LinkedIn has much more of a professional face, so it is harder to just broadcast anonymous messages without some kind of push back.

On Twitter, you can pretty much spam anyone, although you still have to behave. On LinkedIn, you have to at least form some kind of connection before you can start sending personalised messages. If you try to flout that rule, you are likely to be reported.

LinkedIn cold calling webinar

So here we have a marketing company effectively promising to tell people how to ruin the whole ethos that is LinkedIn. If I was LinkedIn, I would just ban them before their webinar even got started.

If you want to be a reputable, organic marketer, use social networks in the right way, which is the way others on the network want them to be used. No one likes cold calls. Most people on LinkedIn don’t like random strangers contacting them. The very notion that LinkedIn should be used to target members for cold calling is frustrating, but for someone to publicise that they are doing it is ridiculous.

A reply from Ken Krogue, President of InsideSales:
Since this article was re-published on Business2Community, Ken Krogue wrote his own article on Forbes.com. He explains that the webinar was not intended to promote cold calling and that the headline for the promotion email was just to grab attention.

He implies that the webinar was to promote the benefits of Sales Navigator – a LinkedIn application that helps you identify key people in your network to sell to. LinkedIn was designed as a tool for reaching people through those with whom you are linked, so that kind of approach is more in keeping with the idea of the network.

I maintain though that a headline suggesting you are going to teach people how to do cold calling through LinkedIn is counter-intuitive.

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Published inGeneral Thoughts

2 Comments

  1. Steve- Saw this article posted on Business2Community and wanted to comment. While I agree with your point above in theory, what LinkedIn is ACTUALLY doing is moving counter to the community and membership.

    While really great people I admire like Ralf Von Sosen and Koka Sexton are evangelizing Social Selling, the PRODUCTS they’re selling simply make SPAMMING and cold calling WAYYYY easier than it ever was on LinkedIn before.

    Buy a bunch of InMails.. Sure, we’ll take your money.
    Open up 3rd+ degree connections so you can bother ANY one on LinkedIn.. sure, just buy Sales Navigator and build “lead lists” (their words, not mine).

    What people like Ken and Steve are doing is simply leveraging the changes LinkedIn is making (to make more money and support a $200+ stock price) to drive their business which is 1. cold calling and 2. dialing

    The LinkedIn you talk about above is rapidly changing. And while people like Steve and Ken may be part of the problem, it’s being allowed by LinkedIn to make money.

    • Steve Masters Steve Masters

      Thanks Brian. That’s a good point. You can’t be blamed if you are using the system the way it’s being built, I agree. My annoyance is that there are many people who don’t see LinkedIn like that – they see it as a place where you agree to make contact with people first. It really isn’t seen by many as a place to behave like that. If LinkedIn devalues that, it will end up being taken over by a replacement pretty quickly, which would be a shame.

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