Searching for Targeted Decision Makers on LinkedIn

When searching for targeted contacts on LinkedIn, you don’t want to end up with an exhaustive list: where the target ‘decision makers are hidden amongst the proverbial haystack. Instead, you want to achieve a high probability match: where the ‘decision makers’ you identified will be on the money or at least point you in the right direction.

Searching for key points of information, like company ‘decision makers’, is known as ‘data retrieval’.

Wikipedia defines data retrieval as: “extracting the wanted data from a database”. The term “wanted” is key to this type of retrieval, because the aim should be to filter our all the “unwanted” data.

Let’s think about this. Let’s say we are looking to identify ‘decision makers’ based on your Ideal Prospect Profile on LinkedIn, within a targeted group of companies and/or industries, within a specific location.

So how would you go about your search?

Well, before you start you need to define a search plan.

The Challenge

With all the public data on LinkedIn, there are so many variations to be considered (i.e. Decision Makers will have many different job titles on LinkedIn) Hence, how do you make sure you haven't missed any needles in the haystack on LinkedIn?

The Search Plan

Now, before you jump into your search and start heading down that dirt road; never to surface again, ask yourself this question;

How many ways, could a decision maker expresses what you are searching for?

Here are some key areas I focus on, when defining my search plan.

  • Job Titles: Remember we are targeting ‘decision makers’ on LinkedIn, so what they call themselves may differ from company to company.
  • Companies: Which companies you are targeting?
  • Location: Where they are based, or which region do their responsibilities lie?
  • Industry: Which industries (i.e. Information Technology) you are targeting? Be careful though, as they may NOT define themselves under the industry that you are expecting.
  • Keywords: Things on their profile that they DO and not just SAY. These include “accountabilities/responsibilities/projects”. This may also be categorised as the technology they use…and so on....

Not one simple answer, right?!

Ok, so now back to identifying our ‘decision maker’.

Using the LinkedIn’ Advanced Search’ function, I would search for the following:

Job Titles: Executive Director
Companies: I left this blank, to cover all possible companies
Location: Melbourne (100km within postcode 3000)

We can now build our search based on the information above.

From this, I analysed my search results. Remember that question “How many ways could a decision maker express what you are searching for?” Well it turns out, quite a few!

In this simple search alone, I found twenty-three. Yes, twenty-three different Job Titles from an initial search of “Executive Director” (and I’m sure there are more I missed). Twenty three different ways the same people define the same position.

These included:

CEO OR "Chief Executive Officer" OR "Managing Director" OR MD OR "Executive Director" OR "HR Manager" OR "HR Director" OR "IT Manager" OR "Chief Operating Officer" OR COO OR "Chief Information Officer" OR CIO OR "Chief Technology Officer" OR CTO OR "Finance Manager" OR "Finance Director" OR "Corporate Services Manager" OR "General Manager" OR GM OR president OR "vice president" OR VP OR “Procurement Manager”

So why is this important? Because it’s competitive out there, and being able to find those “decision makers” that the others wont or indeed can’t, gives you a competitive advantage. By going beyond a basic search you can find and target the high hanging fruit while your competition is fighting over the low branches. Where would you rather focus?

Insidejob has a 4 hour practical LinkedIn Sales MasterClass Workshop that will enable you to execute targeted searches for decision makers. Why not be best in class and have a Master LinkedIn user who trains Search Recruiters how to use LinkedIn make you the best you can be.

Trevor Vas and Martin Warren are co-owners of HCMS and Insidejob have assisted many organisations improve their ability to find and recruit talent and identify new sales prospects. They specialise in helping you create leverage in sales and recruitment so that you can readily achieve your business objectives.

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