It can be a real challenge to stay-in-touch with clients and prospects and manage LinkedIn contacts and relationships.

This can be especially the case when our Home Feed is noisy, if we have very active people in our network, and when we’re busy.

Having connected with people, especially those we know like and trust, and who know like and trust us, it’s beneficial to maintain contact rather than forget about them.

However, LinkedIn doesn’t make this at all easy. LinkedIn is a database and publishing platform. It’s not trying to be a relationship management platform, unfortunately.

So we need to find and use alternatives if we want to be effective and productive in developing ongoing relationships.

A while back there was a Relationships Tab within LinkedIn where we could Tag connections into groups, send small email broadcasts, set reminders to contact people and add notes.

Alas, it was withdrawn. Do you remember it?

So, what are the alternatives?

Export Connections from LinkedIn as a CSV file

The logical option is to Export our Connections as a CSV file and start with that. I recommend doing this about once a month anyway.

Sorting the file by job title, company or connection date can reveal huge hidden gems.

Contacts and activity can then be managed using a software tool such as:

Microsoft EXCEL or another Spreadsheet program

Adding additional columns to the EXCEL layout for categories, notes, actions, dates allows us to add additional contact management information.

For example, one column might be for Relationship, where 1 is Advocate, 2 is client, 3 is bid underway, 4 is prospect, 5 is suspect and 9 is competitor.

Re-sorting the rows based on a particular column then allows us to see the important and priority records.

This is OK for a specific campaign, however adding more records on a regular basis can be a real hassle.

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System

There are hundreds or even thousands of CRM systems on the market, so many that making a selection can be really difficult.

I’ve been using Nimble CRM since before it was launched. I was a keen Goldmine user and Nimble is designed and built by the same pioneer, Jon Ferrara.

The LinkedIn CSV file can be imported into Nimble easily.

Segments can be quickly created based on Job Title or other fields in the CSV file (although these are limited).

Nimble will ‘auto-magically’ look for the LinkedIn profile on a record by record basis to increase sales productivity.

And it will look for other social profiles such as Facebook and Twitter.

And by linking in with Gmail or Microsoft Outlook/365 any emails sent by or to that contact will become associated with the record.

This quickly builds up a very valuable profile from which to develop relationships across multiple channels.

You can read my review of Nimble CRM and access other related resources here.

GDPR considerations

While contact information and messaging stays within LinkedIn there are very few GDPR considerations and the LinkedIn platform is responsible for compliance.

Once contact records are exported from LinkedIn we take on responsibility for GDPR compliance.

So, for example, we should not be assuming we have permission to start sending email marketing messages to our LinkedIn 1st contacts.

However we will now have a much better way to manage the messages we send to people via the LinkedIn messaging facility.

You can read my article offering 6 strategies to leverage Linkedin for GDPR here.

What system do you use to manage LinkedIn contacts and relationships?

What tips would you share with others?

#LinkedIn #LinkedInTips #ContactManagement #LinkedWIN