If you’ve only been casually dabbling with LinkedIn, now is the time to get serious and put forward a concentrated effort. Even if you feel you have a handle on using LinkedIn to generate leads, here are two massive tips (that you may not be aware of) that will help you get a jump on your competition.

1. LinkedIn Now Integrates With Microsoft Office 365

Connecting with qualified prospects took a giant leap forward recently due to the new integration of LinkedIn with Office 365 (https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/25/microsoft-finally-starts-doing-something-with-linkedin-by-integrating-it-into-office-365/). You may be thinking “big deal”, right? But this integration means there are two new advantages to using LinkedIn.

First, LinkedIn widgets will now show up in Outlook email. This is fantastic because a substantial amount of businesses use outlook. That means more business professionals are going to be joining LinkedIn, if they haven’t already, or interacting with LinkedIn to update their profile, read posts and respond to messages.

This will, in turn, spur on sales professionals to reach out to clients/prospects and make more purchasing decisions via LinkedIn, as it will always be at the top of their minds whenever they use their email.

Second, LinkedIn users will be able to find out more information about professional contacts without ever leaving Office 365, as LinkedIn data has now been routed to Office 365 profile cards.

This means that as soon as you create an email link with a business decision-maker, their information will appear in your Outlook inbox, allowing you to prepare for a sales call more effectively.

More and more, buyers get annoyed if they feel they are being approached generically – or that a sales rep doesn’t understand their business. (https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/sales-solutions/cx/2017/pdfs/linkedin-project-proof-ebook-latest.pdf) Having their information available through Outlook allows for a more specialised approach and increases your chance of a closing a sale.

2. Track Your Prospects With Saved Searches

The ability to save searches on LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator platform means that you can effortlessly pinpoint your target audience with a very specific set of criteria, such as job title, industry and location.

But how will you know once a search is saved if someone who meets the criteria for that search changes jobs or gets a promotion? How could you possibly stay on top of that information? LinkedIn has got it covered! The moment their profile is changed, they’ll end up in your search results as someone who has “changed jobs in the last 90 days”.

Remember, the stats tell us that 50% of sales go to the first salesperson (https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/sales-solutions/cx/2017/pdfs/linkedin-project-proof-ebook-latest.pdf) to contact a prospect.

With this in mind, having the ability to track when your prospects move into a decision making role can be a total game changer if you make the most of this information in your sales process.

After all, those getting a promotion are most likely getting raises or a bigger spending budget to go along with that promotion, which means more money to hire you or buy your product.

Also, newly hired decision makers are 10x more likely to make a purchase decision (https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/10/sales-trigger-events.html) than established ones. So, by staying on top of these changes within your network, you’ll have timely intel at your fingertips, allowing you to reach out and connect with your prospects at the right time.

And since business decision-makers change roles at a rate of 20 per cent per year (https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/sales-solutions/cx/2017/pdfs/linkedin-project-proof-ebook-latest.pdf), that’s a lot of new prospects that are going to be showing up on your LinkedIn doorstep without you having to do any extra work.

The fact that you’re reading this article already gives you advantage over your competition. The next step is for you to make the most of these two tips and start connecting with your prospects ASAP so they are aware of you, what you do, who you help, how you can help them and how they can find out more info about the products/services you offer.