For those of you who’ve been struggling to show executive management – and yourselves – that social media efforts do, in fact, contribute directly to sales results, I’ve got some good new. On LinkedIn at least, it’s pretty easy.

Here are five metrics we typically track for our clients and for our own marketing efforts. Each of these metrics measures results that directly aid the sales effort by attracting, engaging and nurturing potential buyers and those that influence them. I’ve listed them in the order they generally occur and how close they get you to a sales handoff.

1. Relevant connectionskey word “relevant”. The number of LinkedIn connections you have indicates the size of your personal network, which is important for two reasons. As your network grows, 1) your personal posts and updates are made visible to more people thereby expanding your exposure and 2) you gain access to more LinkedIn members.

Back to the key word “relevant”. We all have LinkedIn connections that are not relevant to a sales and marketing program. They are friends, family, co-workers from a previous job, etc. While these people may matter deeply to you personally they are not important to meeting marketing objectives. For that reason, it’s important to segment prospects, customers, partners, influencers and members of other target audiences as you track connections.

2. Relevant group members. At Conversion-Copywriting, we’re huge believers in the power of creating your own custom group(s) as part of just about any sales and marketing effort. The number of relevant people inside your group is much like your number of relative connections, except it shows greater engagement. This metric – along with activity such as commenting and sharing – is especially useful if your objective is to create thought leadership.

3. Traffic to your website or landing page. One of the great uses of LinkedIn is as a channel to drive qualified prospects to your website or landing page. You can track this traffic just like you track visitors from an email or pay-per-click advertising campaign. In fact, this metric and the one following are useful to determine your lead acquisition costs and you can directly compare the cost of traffic from LinkedIn to the cost from other channels.

4. Conversion rate on LinkedIn traffic. You can begin to measure the quality of the traffic you’re sending from LinkedIn by looking at how many (or what percentage) actually take action. The action may be subscribing to your blog or newsletter, downloading your white paper or ebook, registering for your webinar, watching a demo or whatever action you want them to take.

5. Off-LinkedIn contact opportunities. At some point, to complete the sale you have to take the engagement beyond LinkedIn and into the offline world of phone calls and in-person meetings. These types of engagements are made much easier when the prospect has already gotten to know you on LinkedIn. We obviously track contact and meeting requests we’re able to generate for our clients. When tele-prospecting efforts are involved, we work closely with the sales team to track results and compare appointment-setting success rates with LinkedIn-engaged prospects versus those who are not engaged on LinkedIn.

If you’re still at the stage where brand awareness is your top objective, you might track the results of your efforts by looking at how many followers your company page has and how many shares your content gets. You can make the argument that at some distant point these actions help smooth the way for a sale, but I’m not convinced it’s a great measure of ROI. We do keep an eye on number of shares each piece of content receives, though, because it tells us which topics are of the most interest to the community.

More than any other social network, LinkedIn is playing an increasingly major role in the tech marketing and sales process; and the numbers are there to prove it. Fortunately, you can start measuring right now.

Learn more from LinkedIn’s tech industry expert.

On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, I’ll be talking online with Mike Weir, Global Head of Technology Industry Development at LinkedIn. Delivering results with your LinkedIn efforts is just one of the topics we’ll cover. Click here to reserve your place for the live event or to listen to an on-demand recording.