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On a recent episode of Metrics and Chill, John Bonini chatted with Alex Boyd, CEO of RevenueZen. Alex explained how one personal LinkedIn account contributes a huge chunk of the agency’s sales pipeline and revenue.
A B2B content and growth agency for early stage startups, RevenueZen currently works with more than 40 clients, and they’ve grown into a multi-million dollar agency in less than 4 years. A sizable portion of that growth has come from a little bit of serendipity and a lot of Alex’s astute method of capitalizing on LinkedIn.
Read on for more details, or listen to the full episode below:
As Alex tells it, LinkedIn has been a huge source of sales pipeline and revenue for RevenueZen from the beginning. Understanding the impact of LinkedIn leads came down to measuring its share of pipeline and revenue as compared with other lead sources.
You can “create a lead source called ‘LinkedIn inbound’ and if somebody DMs you, mark that as the lead source,” Alex said.
“I go a step further,” Alex added. “We integrate accounting with Salesforce, so I have invoices spanning the whole track of our business, by lead source. I can track, not just deals, but revenue and cash flow—by lead source.”
“People tend to undervalue personal LinkedIn accounts and personal brands,” Alex said.
That’s the attitude Alex started with, too. Initially, LinkedIn was a place for Alex to turn for community and feedback: “I wanted to battle-test my ideas—I wanted feedback on them.”
Then, there was a moment of serendipity that convinced Alex that LinkedIn could be a big deal for RevenueZen.
“A client that would later pay us $200,000 in a year wrote an email that said, ‘Hey, I saw you in my news feed on LinkedIn. We’re building a sales team, and we need to help scale lead gen. Can we talk?’” Alex explained.
That’s when Alex realized the opportunity standing in front of them. “I’d just been posting kind of for fun, but this was a big revenue contributor for us,” Alex said.
The number one objection you’ll find around LinkedIn, and other social selling strategies is scalability. Alex knew that growing LinkedIn into a pipeline powerhouse was going to require structure in order to scale. So Alex built out a system.
Originally, Alex told John, “I tagged my posts by topic, and I said, ‘Let’s look at the post by topic and see how they did.’ But there wasn’t actually a super big correlation between the topic of the post and whether it helped for lead gen.”
“What helped more,” Alex explained, “were posts that were educational or inspiring or motivational or contributory to people to learn more about me, about the company, or about themselves. They didn’t mention RevenueZen or our work.”
That realization gave Alex a framework for getting followers to engage, but it didn’t necessarily help with lead generation or sales pipeline. Instead, Alex found a way to sneak conversion posts into the strategy by creating a curiosity gap.
“If you mix in content that’s very enticing—like a case study with one thing missing—then you’re gonna create a gap. When I write a case study, I’ll talk a lot about what the attitude was that drove these results, what the outcome was, the story of it, but I’ll leave out exactly how we did it,” Alex noted, adding, “People will literally say ‘I’ll bite—how’d you do it?’”
For Alex, there are two keys to making this strategy work:
“If you only try to convert all the time, it’ll fatigue people,” Alex explained. “If you only let people get to know you, then you have a fanbase with no revenue.”
“But it’s the follow up, too,” Alex added. “The biggest thing people miss about LinkedIn is they let it sit. People comment on their stuff, and they let it sit.”
LinkedIn posts make, on average, several thousand bucks per post for me.
Here’s the bottom line: LinkedIn posts from Alex’s personal profile account for a third of RevenueZen’s sales pipeline and revenue. As for the impact that has on the business, Alex put it simply: “We wouldn’t be where we are today without this channel. It’s enormous for us.”
As a reminder, RevenueZen is a bootstrapped agency that’s less than 4 years old. Alex’s LinkedIn strategy represents a third of what has propelled a young company of around a dozen employees to a multi-million dollar agency.
“If you have a bunch of very small conversations, it builds over time,” Alex mused. “I had 2,000 followers a few years ago—I have 12,000 today. It’s just a matter of a little bit more over time, and it builds and builds and builds.”
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