As a sales professional, learning how to network effectively is one of the most important things you can do for your career. But once you build that network, it’s also important to maintain it.
As a sales professional, your network is made up of two groups: 1) your peers and colleagues, and 2) your prospects and clients. Many of the same tactics can be used to stay engaged and maintain both groups.
Five networking tips for reps in B2B Sales
- Collect your co-workers’ personal contact details.
You have your colleagues’ work phones and email in your contacts, but unless you’ve spent time with them outside of work, you probably don’t have their personal contact information. But as you develop a rapport with those you work with, ask for their personal email and cell phone number also. This is especially important because sales professionals move jobs frequently. Some of these relationships will last a lifetime, and knowing how to network effectively can ensure that you have access to new opportunities.
- Save contact data in your phone or email contact list so that it can be easily searchable, even years from now.
It’s easy to accumulate a lot of contacts as a sales professional. I have my current and former colleagues saved in my phone with the company initials ahead of their first name. When I need a contact name, I simply start my search with the company initials and quickly identify the right person. A good networking tip is to keep a separate personal CRM specifically for the contact details of their work-related connections.
- Connect with all your co-workers and your leadership team online.
In the first few months of a new position, make sure you connect with everyone on your team on LinkedIn. If you get a notification that’s related to one of your former co-workers – like a new position announcement or a work anniversary – be sure to reach out and congratulate him or her. Those notifications are an easy reminder to stay in touch. Also, set aside time each month to check in randomly with one or two people. A quick note will go a long way toward building lasting relationships.
For some colleagues, you may also want to connect on Instagram or Facebook. It’s important to be discerning when deciding how to network with them, and to make sure you don’t have any controversial posts or photos on your account.
- Connect with all your clients and prospects on LinkedIn.
If you have a really good relationship with a client, you may want to connect on Instagram or Facebook. But in most cases, keep the connection professional. Check LinkedIn regularly for updates you may have missed, and be sure to acknowledge their careers moves and milestones.
- Be active on your LinkedIn account.
LinkedIn isn’t just about keeping your resume up to date. It’s also a great place to engage with colleagues and clients through your own daily or weekly engagement on the network. Share other people’s posts and comment on posts – people see your LinkedIn headline when you do this. Post regularly. Interestingly, unlike other popular social networks, video and image posts don’t get as much engagement as text posts, so it’s best to stick mainly to writing. When someone comments on a post you’ve written, reply to their comment – this will help build your engagement.
Now that you know all these networking tips, remember that the key to maintaining your network is regular engagement. Even just setting aside ten or twenty minutes a month to keep up to date with your contacts can help you make huge strides in your career.
Use your networking skills to find your next sales job! Networking Tactics to Find Your Next Sales Position