Big Data

Here's how LinkedIn knows your company's budget & who has the corporate card

Simon Zhang, senior director of business analytics at LinkedIn, on-stage at VentureBeat's DataBeat conference Monday.

Above: Simon Zhang, senior director of business analytics at LinkedIn, on-stage at VentureBeat's DataBeat conference Monday.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell / VentureBeat

SAN FRANCISCO– LinkedIn, the world’s largest business-oriented network, sits on mountains of data outlining relationships between millions of professionals — including relationships between folks at LinkedIn and its customers.

And it sure doesn’t let that data go to waste.

LinkedIn uses those data points to streamline its sales, explained LinkedIn business analytics pro Simon Zhang onstage at VentureBeat’s DataBeat conference today.

“We have a concept called social selling,” said Zhang. “We can predict how much each company will spend on LinkedIn every year and which person in that company makes that decision.”

LinkedIn sells a variety of products, mostly targeted at recruiters and marketers. To ensure optimal sales, LinkedIn determines which people inside of its customer organizations hold the most sway in their companies’ purchasing decisions.

Then LinkedIn looks at its internal network to find out who has the most influence on that person. It also determines who can support that person in closing a new sales transaction.

And last, LinkedIn’s data experts scrape through all sorts of metrics to help its salespeople justify why customers should buy more LinkedIn products.

“We can achieve that whole flow within three minutes,” said Zhang.

In response to a question from this reporter, Zhang declined to disclose which metrics are most important to LinkedIn and how much data the company generates each day. But he noted that the larger the volume of data, the larger the cost, so LinkedIn’s business analytics team tries to keep its data digestible for analysts.

“Our job is to convert big data into a tiny bit of data and share that with a lot of users,” said Zhang.

 


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