How to Become a Linkedin Sales Master
Who could have predicted that going on Linkedin could actually be fun? Who knew that scrolling through the Linkedin news feed would become a more common procrastination method than scrolling through countless of videos from Facebook pages you liked back in 2006 entitled “I luv my ipod nano”. Well, the time is here, and Linkedin has grown immensely in the last few years to become a key player in the social network game.
In fact, almost 300 million Linkedin users are logging in each month and 40% of these use it daily. However, most importantly over 60 million Linkedin users are senior-level influencers with another 40 million in decision making positions. Moreover, out of 2 billion millennials, 87 million are on Linkedin and 11 million of these are in decision making positions. As cold calling becomes harder and harder with new generations entering decision-making positions, this means that it is becoming a growingly effective way to find these younger executives. What do all these statistics mean? Well, the short of it is that someone has invented a way to productively procrastinate. The long of it is that as a salesperson you should be prioritising Linkedin not only as a sales channel but as a methodology to learn about and optimise.
Read on to understand how to increase your engagement, lead generation and overall B2B sales on Linkedin.
Direct outreach is the most common method for sales on Linkedin. The ability to add relevant decision makers and send them direct messages if they accept your request or inmails if not, gives space to easily gain access in a world where calling and emailing is becoming more and more difficult. Different strategies involve starting a conversation with the pretence of talking about industry insights and shifting it into a sales conversation later on.
Okay, we have thrown a significant amount of praise on Linkedin and how successful it is as a social network. However, the business aspect of it means that we cannot treat it like just any social media, this means no blurry close-ups with photo booth filters (I’m looking at you Alfred from accounting).
In all seriousness, having an optimised Linkedin profile picture and cover photo is important to maximise the percentage of invite requests that get accepted. However, this does not necessarily mean that you need a photo in a suit with a grey, black or white background behind. The photo and cover photo should accurately represent the type of product or service you are selling, and its purpose, whatever that may be.
The about section is also important as a first impression for the prospects you invite into your network. This shouldn’t be too long but give an adequate representation of what your product does worded in a way that explains its value and how it can help potential leads.
As a salesperson, it is also important to define the job role as something that doesn’t scream sales. If your company allows, slightly shifting your title, headline and about section to that of someone that is a peer to your targets or in a related job role, makes it easier to start conversations with the excuse of sharing industry insights. However, it is important to note that at some point the interaction will have to be turned into a sales context. So presenting yourself as a peer rather than a seller, means that the sales cycle might be slower. This is a decision that is potentially best taken depending on the type of prospect.
Network expansion is one of the primary uses of Linkedin. With a defined ideal customer profile (ICP) a salesperson can very efficiently search for relevant companies that match their prospect specifications and add relevant decision makers. However, to really take advantage of this use, Sales Navigator, which is one of LinkedIn ́s premium products, is almost essential.
With Sales Navigator one can search for prospects that fall under a certain function, seniority or job title category. Further filters include defining your audience as only second-degree connections, defining company headcount, category, geography and various other account activities. Additionally, with Linkedin premium one can see various insights on the employee distribution within the company and department growth. This enables salespeople to qualify or disqualify companies relatively reliably.
This strategy is related to network expansion. As you grow your Linkedin connections, you can begin to share relevant content related to whatever you’re selling and relevant industries. This is an effective way to generate inbound leads and to indirectly interact with your prospects without direct outreach. Moreover, if a prospect that you have as a connection posts relevant content or life event, a salesperson can use that as an excuse to start a genuine conversation which later can be shifted into a sales context.
One can save a specific account or lead search, in order to receive notifications when new people fit that search criteria. This gives more space to start interactions and observe when a target might be facing a pain point relevant to your offering. Furthermore, saving accounts and lead lists will create notifications whenever someone posts content or has a work event that could be used in your outreach messaging. For example, a new job position, fundraising news or personal content piece can be relevant opportunities to contact a lead.
Linkedin groups are effective ways to find relevant decision makers and engage with their content. Most importantly though, making your own Linkedin group on a topic relevant to your industry or product can be an effective way to quickly grow your audience.
This point overlaps with some of the other social listening features of Linkedin. However, the capability to send quick congratulations messages and to receive reminders on such events enables salespeople to keep more consistent contact with their prospects. Especially when a conversation has died down, it is a good way to pick it up again.