A 2015 DiscoverOrg survey of C-level executives found that 25% of top-level execs cannot be located on LinkedIn. The most accessible industries were health products (e.g. pharmaceuticals, medical devices), professional services (e.g. legal, professional services), and financial services (e.g. banking, insurance, financial services) while the least accessible executives worked for state or federal governments and resource extraction industries (e.g. oil and gas, mining). Thirty-seven percent of top-level federal officials cannot be found on LinkedIn while only eighteen percent of legal execs cannot be located on the professional social media site. The technology sector execs tended slightly below the mean with rates between 23% and 25%.
Even if an exec is on LinkedIn, it does not mean that he or she actively uses the site, provides contact information, or responds to InMail requests (plain text messages that can easily be confused with SPAM). Thus, targeting execs via LinkedIn may be insufficient to reach them. Sales reps targeting C-level execs will likely need to employ other sales intelligence platforms for direct contact information. Furthermore, LinkedIn also does not allow users to send company and contact information to CRMs. Thus, users have to copy / paste or rekey information, an overhead task that most other sales intelligence services handle automatically.
Another shortcoming is the lack of detailed company information for account planning. Organizational profiles tend to consist of repurposed website and Facebook content with little original company content.
LinkedIn is excellent for tracking colleagues, maintaining professional relationships, personal brand building, and researching executives. As such, it should be part of every B2B sales reps’ arsenal (at least the free version); however, due to content and functional gaps, LinkedIn should be viewed as a high-value complement to other sales intelligence services and not a direct replacement of them.