By: Rick Lambert on March 10th, 2020
LinkedIn To Win – Are You Using the #1 Sales Tool to Earn Business in 2020?
“Most LinkedIn profiles for sales professionals look more like job resumes rather than customer resumes.”
I’ve been in sales for years. Since 1998, I’ve worked with over 500 companies coaching over 20,000 salespeople about contemporary selling strategies that drive results. In all the years I’ve spent selling and coaching, perhaps one of the biggest things I’ve learned is just how important it is to continually seek out new ways of doing things.
That’s why you and I need to keep our toolbox loaded with the latest strategies and tactics to work smarter and not always harder. The consumer’s buying habits will continue to change, and my approach has to evolve accordingly. We've all heard this popularly-quoted statistic:
70% of the buyer's journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales (SiriusDecisions).This means your prospects have already done the research on you, your products/solutions, and your organization before they even reach out to you. While some may still have the notion that B2B buyers aren’t as privy to this habit, I’d argue the contrary:
As you can see, B2B buyers gravitate to different social channels than B2C buyers, and LinkedIn is the watering hole they tend to visit most which is why we need to be there too! In fact, 49% of business to business buyers will preview a seller’s LinkedIn profile as part of their buying process, so ensuring members of your sales team have professional, customer-friendly profiles is a key step in expanding your network and generating sales leads.
“Most LinkedIn profiles for sales professionals look more like job resumes rather than customer resumes”
Yet, despite the stats, most LinkedIn profiles for sales professionals look more like job resumes rather than customer resumes. So how can you transform your LinkedIn presence so you can use it as a powerful sales tool? I’ll facilitate a comprehensive session at the GreatAmerica University Smarketing event in May where I’ll reveal actionable steps to unlock the sales generating power of LinkedIn. You can register here, but until then, here are 5 tips for sales leaders and business owners to get you started!
Inspect Your Sales Reps’ Profiles
First things first; you need to assess your current LinkedIn presence. Look at each of your customer-facing employee profiles (not just sales) through the lens of your customer’s eye. While most large companies have strong company pages, it’s the profiles of their sales teams that tend to be somewhat dormant. And yet, employees tend to have networks that are 10 times larger than your company’s follower base. Ask yourselves, how often are they sharing content? How many connections do they have? Are they engaging with the content of others? We’ll dive into each of these areas next, but if your reps are not actively using LinkedIn, you are missing opportunities to generate awareness for your organization.
Create a Profile Template for Current & Future Staff
When you arrive at a LinkedIn profile, often the first two things you’ll notice are the profile photo and cover photo. While this is the most valuable real estate on a page, more often than not you will see a blue default cover photo paired with a dated photo, or worse – no photo at all.
If this is a pattern you recognize with your own team, it’s time to intervene. You can provide company-branded cover images for your reps to choose from and provide opportunities to take professional headshots. Consider even making this a part of your onboarding process, providing them their headshots and branded cover images with instructions for updating these in their profiles.
Train Your Reps to Post Content on a Regular Basis
An active presence on LinkedIn should be part of the sales culture at your organization. You can establish this before you even hire on talent via your job description. Beyond that, you should set the expectation early with new employees that sharing content is a part of their role as a sales professional within your organization. We talked about providing company-branded cover photo options and headshot opportunities as a part of the new employee onboarding process, but you can also provide a tip sheet for how and when to share company content. If your company blogs on Tuesdays for instance, you can create some awareness around the blog and its publishing schedule so they are prepared to share and engage with that content when it goes out each week.
Post 80% Educational vs Promotional Material
While LinkedIn is absolutely a sales tool, it is important that your focus is on helping over selling. To be effective, you must stay mindful of the type of content your sales team is sharing. Hopefully if you are blogging, you are doing it in a way that answers the questions your prospects and customers have rather than generating written commercials for your products and services. The same tone needs to be taken in the way your sales team shares this content on LinkedIn. To help ensure a good mix, try to keep the type of content you’re posting and sharing at an 80/20 balance – 80% educational and only 20% promotional.
Add LinkedIn into Your Sales Activity Mix
Finally, your sales team will only prioritize what you tell them to. You have benchmarks for the calls and meetings they set, so if you are expecting they participate in the distribution of your content via LinkedIn, you’ve got to define the requirement and count it as an official objective and performance metric. Include a number of posts they must share or connections they must make. As your strategy advances, you can even include a quarterly or yearly quota for the number of content pieces they must contribute to.
This may seem like a lot at first, but it really boils down to making a shift in your mindset. Cold-calling will never go away completely, but it has become less efficient and less effective. LinkedIn is a channel you can use to attract the right prospects in the right buying stages by simply establishing your authority and credibility in the solutions you sell. It’s a way you can work smarter instead of harder.
Register for the GreatAmerica May Smarketing Event & Let’s Continue The Conversation!
These tips will give you a great starting point to begin leveraging LinkedIn as a selling tool, but there is so much more opportunity to be seized on this platform! Join us for Smarketing: Preparing for Your Digital Transformation May 19-20th and attend my comprehensive session, LinkedIn to Win!
Check out the full speaker line up and register here:
Video: THE SMARKETING SHOW – Episode 02 -LinkedIn to WIN:
Filmed live on Location in London, Ontario, The SMARKETING SHOW features Award Winning B2B Sales Performance Coach Rick Lambert of selltowin.com and former TV NEWS Anchor Cheryl Weedmark, now Director of Marketing and Customer Experience IN2communications.com. Watch episode 02 below to learn more about harnessing the selling power of LinkedIn! And don’t forget to subscribe to Rick’s Channel to be notified of new episodes!
Rick Lambert is an award winning sales performance coach who is the founder and CEO of selltowin.com a company that has trained over 25,000 B2B sales people and specializes in new hire and advanced sales training for Managed Service Providers. Rick is also the CEO of IN2communications.com, a full service digital marketing agency that helps MSPs engage and connect their brand with today’s digital buyer. Rick’s companies combine training and digital marketing to form what he calls Sales Offense Systems. In 2018, Rick was selected an Industry difference maker by ENX Magazine and in 2019, SAP selected the selltowin eCademy on demand learning platform as global winner of “Best Channel Training Partner”. Rick’s clients include OEMs, Distributors, MPS Infrastructure providers and many of North America’s top performing technology resellers.