Social Selling: LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting – Part One

Social Selling: LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting – Part One

 

 

Yesterday I was giving a full day Advanced Workshop/Presentation to the Sales Institute of Ireland on Social Selling Through LinkedIn.  It was being run in the absolutely gorgeous newly renovated rooms in the National Concert Hall in Dublin.  Lots of light, huge airy room, massive screen, great coffee and pastries and then I had to teach Top Sales People with enormous monthly quotas how to Sell through #LinkedIn.

Here is my problem – I have been training companies for years in how to use LinkedIn through NOT selling!

However, I am so convinced of the power of doing business through LinkedIn that I decided to bring that knowledge to the table and turn it slightly on its ear. So, instead of “Selling” we worked on how to focus on warm introductions and recommendations and on how to get these prospects to arrive in your sales funnel at a much higher lever than the normal entry point. Here’s a little bit of what we covered.

People Do Business with People

It is human nature to chat, hang out or even do business with people you can personally connect with. Research shows B2B decision-makers count their interactions with salespeople as the major determinant of whom they choose – more than product quality, brand reputation and pricing combined! That means that if you, as the sales person, can give your buyer a personal hook to connect with you’re already ahead of the game.

I asked all the participants to tell me a bit about themselves at the start of the course yesterday. No one had ever met before. Everyone told me who they worked for, their title and what their company was famous for supplying. I asked each one again “Anything else you want to tell us?” Again, they told me the company had been operating for X years and employed X number of people. I was nearly dying inside!

Finally someone told me they were building a house… The room erupted…  “Oh My God It;’s SO stressful!” “Do you have a good electrician?” “Where are you getting your bathroom?” “My brother has just finished here’s what he learned” “Here;s the number of a great painter”…. We had noise and conversations and numbers being exchanged.  Simply because there was a Personal Hook people could easily relate to. How easy was that? We were having conversations, advice and information were being exchanged, everyone was engaged.

Now… How is that any different to LinkedIn? You MUST create Conversations, Exchange Information and Advice and Be Engaged! That is the core to any successful Sales Funnel. Give me something to connect with, show me some personality in your copy, some flair.  That personal engagement will ensure that you are personally connected to your contact. That in turn means that they will come to you for information and advice, engage with your posted content and become the solution to their problems.

There are many ways you can do that on LinkedIn.  The first, is to ensure your profile and the Summary piece especially are full of personality, watch your voice in your writing. You want them to be able to hear you speak when they read your Summary.  They’ll only read the first couple of lines though (no time!) so make sure it is clear – What you do, who you serve and your value to them. All in the first 3 lines of your summary.

It is NOT a CV, do not mention that you’re experienced, motivated, a team player, self starter… these are all taken for granted now. Make yourself Stand Out. Show Passion. Tell Stories!

Make sure that you know very specifically who you are selling to, what their worries are and what solution they will value from you. Then fill the rest of your (2000 characters) summary with Keywords (Google Adwords, Tools – Keyword Planner) scripted into your key messages aimed at that specific audience with those specific problems (see below for campaigns). Don’t forget to put in a recommendation here. Use all the space. Show your personality!

I often change my summary depending on the specific work campaign Redstorm is running. So, I am often working to attract different target audiences with a different set of values. SMEs looking for an internal Marketing Department, websites and branding; Bluechips looking for LinkedIn Training or Personal Branding for their top tier executives –  I advise everyone to open and save a word/pages document and spend time writing a couple of headlines and summaries based on their main key targets so it’s then easy to switch between them depending on your business focus at the time.  I’m not suggesting you appear psychotic! Just tweaking the message and keywords to appear in different search results is incredibly effective.

The very first piece of real estate anyone sees in LinkedIn is your cover graphic and photo.  So why did everyone bar one yesterday have the LinkedIn blue graphic? You need to Stand Out – Change the graphic! Use Canva to design a header graphic with your company colours and message of the month or campaign message on it. Change it regularly! Here’s mine:

 

Social Selling LinkedIn

 

It makes it really easy to see what I do.  I have a clear smiling photo that shows my personality – you get a feeling for what it would be like to meet me face-to-face.

The next piece of real estate and one of the most high powered search areas in LinkedIn is your header.  People have an awful habit of putting their title here.  But that just means you’ll show up when a sales person wants to sell into “Business Development Managers”… Why not use this to give a shot of what you deliver? Keyword heaven!!! It doesn’t have to read well; it has to tell your potential connection what you will bring to the table. It has to tell the search engines to show you in their results. Be creative!

Can you see the difference between me putting “Marketing Strategy, Communications, Social Media, Digital Strategist, LinkedIn, Branding, Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker” versus “CEO Redstorm”?

In Part Two of this “Social Selling – Linkedin for Sales Prospecting” I’ll be looking at how to successfully engage and create Great Conversations across the platform.

 

If you’re having any difficulty with your own profile give me a bell on 087 2476600 and we can chat it through!

 

 

Why LinkedIn Should Be Your First Port of Call For B2B Marketing

Why LinkedIn Should Be Your First Port of Call For B2B Marketing

LinkedIn is often overlooked in B2B marketing campaigns – but that may be a missed opportunity

Salesforce: Linkedin officesPhotograph: Bloomberg

Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Note 2 “phablet” (a mobile phone of near-tablet size) at the beginning of this year made great use of LinkedIn, the professional networking site which is often overlooked in consumer marketing campaigns.

The mobile phone giant created a microsite and invited visitors to sign in with their LinkedIn membership profiles. They were then encouraged to share their thoughts about the phablet with their LinkedIn connections, enabling Samsung to reach a global audience of 20 million people. Samsung’s director of social media marketing, Andy Hwang, points to LinkedIn’s ability to precisely target audiences, adding: “It provided a platform for driving word of mouth and shifting perceptions among consumers worldwide.”

Since its launch 10 years ago, LinkedIn has become the first port of call for businesses wanting to use social media for B2B marketing, staff recruitment and disseminating industry information. But it comes low down the list of social platforms that brands consider for marketing to consumers, a situation the company is seeking to remedy.

Its 239 million members worldwide tend to spend less time on the site compared with users of Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn’s members are there for serious reasons. They are less likely to lie in their profiles and they visit the site to enhance their position in the world.

With 3m company pages, the marketing potential seems huge. LinkedIn’s marketing solutions division accounts for about a quarter of the company’s revenues, recruitment account for more than half of revenues, while subscriptions make up about a fifth. In the second quarter of this year, the marketing unit’s profits grew 36% on the 2012 period to over $85m (£54m).

Josh Graff, head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions across Europe, says this shows that advertising on LinkedIn “is truly coming of age”. He adds: “The platform has changed. People used to think of it just as a place to secure a new job. But six times more impressions flow from people seeking information about companies than those specifically looking for a new job.

“More and more consumer brands such as Samsung and Mercedes are going on LinkedIn every day because they can target our members who are affluent, educated and influential and have a high disposable income.” He says that a third of visits to the site come via mobile, up from a fifth a year ago.

Paul Armstrong at Digital Orange Consulting points to figures from digital analysts ComScore, which show that the 9.4 million unique UK visitors to LinkedIn in July were evenly spread across the age groups. But the site has an above-average proportion of high-income visitors. While nearly 6 million had incomes under £50,000 a year, 3.5 million earned in excess of 50K, according to ComScore. “People are getting to understand that it is a controlled space, there’s not a lot of noise going on there and it is a simple eco-system. It is becoming a hub for high-quality business information,” he says.

LinkedIn has recently introduced Sponsored Updates, where businesses can pay to ensure their posts appear in the news feeds of members, who they can target using a range of criteria.

Graff says this enables brands to promote new and relevant information, such as white papers, research and infographics, particularly important for companies seeking to build their reputations for thought leadership on business issues. This helps the site’s B2B marketing strategy, positioning it as a resource for anyone in business who wants advice, data and contacts.

Computer giant HP uses LinkedIn to target small businesses through its Business Answers page, where firms can discuss areas of interest such as tax. Rebecca Shears, head of marketing for printing and personal systems at HP, says: “We had research which showed that more and more small businesses are turning to social media and are looking for peer-to-peer advice, so we launched the hub two years ago. Now we’ve got over 9,000 members. The main reason we are doing it is to position HP as a brand that supports businesses.” She says members of the LinkedIn page are 20% more likely to recommend HP products than the average population.

Though the LinkedIn page is free for HP to run, the computer giant supports it with advertising. Shears says that if HP doesn’t buy the ads, rival companies will.

Of course, B2B marketing also has a consumer spin off. Vodafone UK’s business division uses LinkedIn to promote its Your Better Business website, which offers information and advice to business people. Helen Moon, head of Enterprise Brand at Vodafone UK, says LinkedIn is a powerful platform for disseminating business information. She adds: “There is a definite halo effect for consumers on LinkedIn. Business people are also consumers so they absorb information which shapes their personal and professional opinions.”

In truth, all the social media sites are works in progress for marketing, says Leo Ryan, head of Ogilvy@Social. “LinkedIn certainly is not a natural place for consumer marketing,” he adds. “Though that’s not to say you can’t do something innovative there. Facebook’s billion-strong membership is a hard number to ignore, so it is the default site for brands, while Twitter can have such an impact on the news cycle. LinkedIn is behind Instagram for consumer campaigns. But if B2B’s your thing, it is the first stop.”

LinkedIn’s share price is soaring in the US. Investors seem to like LinkedIn’s argument that the site’s users go there for serious reasons and that this offers brands strong marketing potential.

Article Originally Appeared:  By David Benady in The Guardian – Wednesday 11 September 2013

 
Social Selling: LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting – Part One

Start Conversations with LinkedIn Mentions

linkedin maximizer
We are quite excited about a new feature that LinkedIn is launching today. You can now start conversations through “LinkedIn Mentions”. What this means is that you can “mention” companies and connections in your status updates and comments on the network.

If you’re familiar with Twitter mentions, you can expect LinkedIn mentions to work basically the same way. In fact, it looks as if the new feature will integrate directly with Twitter. In other words, if you mention a connection on LinkedIn, and that member has his or her Twitter account connected to LinkedIn, the mention will also show up as a Twitter mention. (This assumes that you choose to send the status update to Twitter through LinkedIn)

I’m a big fan of maximizing impact while minimizing time in social networking, and the LinkedIn mentions feature is certainly going to help with this.  LinkedIn “mentions” is going to bring more of a real-time feel to the network as you will be notified as soon as anyone mentions you or your company. You will see the mentions at the top of the site under “notifications”, which is represented by the small flag symbol.

Mentioning Connections on LinkedIn

The LinkedIn Blog states the following regarding mentioning your connections:

“In addition to first-degree connections, you can also mention other LinkedIn members engaged in conversations in the comment sections of posts on the LinkedIn Homepage.”

I’ve always been an advocate for growing both the breadth and the depth of your LinkedIn network, versus limiting your connections. Every new connection is an opportunity to grow your visibility!

With the new mention feature, you will have the ability to more effectively engage your first-degree connections in updates and conversations. Additionally, you can engage in conversations beyond your first-degree connections in the home page comment sections of posts.

My hope is that you will also be able to engage with commenters on LinkedIn Influencer posts, as many those posts tend to generate lots of comments. Now, those comments may turn into true dialogue!

Mentioning Companies on LinkedIn

Why might you want to mention companies on LinkedIn through your status updates and comments?

By mentioning companies with value-added status updates or commentary, you can engage directly with the company (someone is running the page) and potentially the members who are following the company.

As with all social networking features, don’t be the person who abuses the privilege. I’m sure that with this feature we will see plenty of exploitation. Be the smart marketer and build online influence through adding value and empowering others. Use LinkedIn mentions to help other members solve problems, get smarter, and achieve more.

Below is a brief slideshow demonstrating the LinkedIn mentions feature:

What do you think? Are you excited about this new LinkedIn feature?

Originally Posted on by Stephanie Sammons