LinkedIn to Keep Track of Network Contacts?

October 5th, 2010 | by Jason Alba |

I just got this message in an invitation to connect:

linkedin_keep_track

You probably know I designed JibberJobber.com as a tool to help organize and keep track of a job search – most of which is keeping track of network contacts.  So I’m greatly biased here, but I want to make a distinction between LinkedIn and a CRM (customer relationship management).

I do not “keep track of my professional network” through LinkedIn.  It is very difficult to do this – they have only recently started to add CRM features… but I never, ever encourage people to use or rely on them without having their key contacts in a real CRM.

This *could be* because their CRM stuff isn’t ready to recommend, which is true.  But more than that it is because I’ve had too many people come to me and ask me how they can get their LinkedIn account back – somehow they got kicked out or have had access terminated, they don’t know why, and now they can’t get into their database.

Yuck.

Would you EVER let another company’s policy kick you out of your relationship management tool?  NO.  That’s the #1 reason why I suggest people don’t use LinkedIn exclusively for their CRM (there are other reasons).

Enter the CRM… I use JibberJobber but you can use Salesforce.com, ACT!, Goldmine, etc.  I don’t care what you use (well, actually I do :p) but you should use something that you have control over.

And then there is the whole “keep track of” issue.  I call LinkedIn a place to find and be found – that is, it is a big fat database.  Hopefully you can find key contacts and they can find you.  That’s one of the biggest value props of LinkedIn.

A CRM is more for keeping track and keeping organized.  It’s also for following up.  It’s also for making logical connections between your target companies.  Here are some examples… I use JibberJobber to:

  • remind me of when I need to follow-up with a key contact, or on a job I applied to, or with a target company;
  • keep track of HOW I network into a company – I can associate any contact with the company so when I go to the Company Page I can see all of the contacts I’ve networked with, or can network with, at that company;
  • record log entries about any communications I’ve had with any contacts – whether it was a face-to-face communication, email, phone call, etc.
  • Rank the relationship with each person in my network, following Keith Ferrazzi’s advice in Never Eat Alone;
  • and so much more….

Find and be found, network and reach out to: LinkedIn

Keep track of and organize and other relationship management: CRM (JibberJobber!)

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