An expert has advised companies that they can use business networking sites such as LinkedIn to generate leads and improve their sales.

According to Brian Carroll, chief executive of InTouch and author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, LinkedIn allows firms to build effective and lasting relationships with prospects.

Writing in Marketing Profs, he advised companies to craft eye-catching headlines that grab the attention of potential clients.

“Your profile should be compelling – the headline will automatically be displayed as the last job you’ve had, unless you change it manually,” Mr Carroll said.

He urged firms to create a “polished and personally branded” profile on the sites to make it clear what the business offers to prospects and include their corporate email address at the end of the summary area or in the contact field labelled ‘public’.

Once firms have completed constructing their profile, they will then be able to connect with current and past contacts.

Don Davis, editor of Internet Retailer magazine, has also advised companies to make use of unorthodox sales methods such as corporate videos to increase their public profile.