LinkedIn Overhauls Contacts to Help Business Professionals Strengthen Relationships



You’ve spent your entire career building up your network of contacts, but do you actually know what each one is up to? Unless you meticulously use CRM software like Highrise or Nimble, odds are you struggle to keep up to date with the latest happenings within your professional network.

Dunbar’s Number

Make sense as there’s scientific research that contends that the volume of the neocortex region of the human brain can only handle up to 150 friends. Don’t believe it? Check out the theory of Dunbar’s Number by University of Oxford Professor Robin Dunbar. Even an entire social network, Path, was built on this premise, “We tend to have 5 best friends, 15 good friends, 50 close friends and family, and 150 total friends.”

LinkedIn’s Solution: Contacts

If humans biologically struggle to keep up with personal relationships, how is it even remotely possible for business professionals to keep track of hundreds, if not thousands, of relationships with customers, vendors, business partners, or  investors? LinkedIn thinks it has a solution. Since it’s the largest professional social network in the entire world, why would business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals go anywhere else?

linkedin_logo-300That’s why LinkedIn has completely overhauled LinkedIn Contacts and introduced some amazing new features to help strengthen the relationships between their members.

Sync Your Professional Life

LinkedIn wants its members to sync all of their address books, email services, calendars and contacts. This information is mapped together to complete picture of each one of your professional relationships.

Synced services include:

  • Gmail, Google Contacts, & Calendar
  • Yahoo! Mail & Contacts
  • Yahoo! Calendar
  • Outlook Mail, Contacts, & Calendar
  • iPhone Address Book

LinkedIn Member Profile Relationship Tab

Once a LinkedIn member’s services are synced, all the information is pulled into the new member profile relationship tab. Notes, reminders, how you met, tags, LinkedIn messages, and email correspondence are organized nicely within this section. It’s very well done and provides you enough information to instantly jog your memory on how you know each other and what you’ve previously talked about. This is powerful and will likely take market share away from other contact management software.

LinkedIn Contacts Manager

LinkedIn has also revamped their contacts section and merged Profile Organizer into the sidebar navigation. LinkedIn members can sort their connections by tags, companies, titles, locations, sources, potential merges (merge two profiles together), and hidden. ‘Your Day’ is a great new feature that acts as a personal assistant, highlighting that day’s birthdays, promotions, and job title changes. LinkedIn crafts a template message that a member can personalize and send as a congratulations. The huge benefit here is that it gives members the opportunity to warm the relationship back up and re-connect with contacts they’ve lost touch with.

New LinkedIn Contacts iPhone App

Last, but not least, LinkedIn has launched a new standalone Contacts iPhone app to help professionals build long-lasting relationships on the go.

Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!

  • What do you think of LinkedIn’s overhauled Contacts functionality?
  • Do you think it will help you strengthen relationships with your professional network?
  • What other contact managers or CRM software do you use?

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Philip Nowak is the founder of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small businesses and online startups. He honed his entrepreneurial chops while working for his family's Chicago-based window manufacturing business. Philip graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Economics.