Does Your Sales Team Know How to Use LinkedIn?

March 1, 2017 Tyler Abbott

LinkedIn is one of the most valuable prospecting tools that your sales people should be using. Of course, you know that, especially if you’re in the B2B sphere. The vast majority of your potential buyers are on LinkedIn and your sales people probably use the social media channel, too.

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However, you might be surprised to hear that most sales people don’t use LinkedIn to its full potential. They use it to research new prospects and to connect with them, but they don’t do much else. And this is a shame. LinkedIn has tremendous value and your sales team should be utilizing its power in a variety of different areas, such as brand building, relationship building, and publishing.

Building Their Personal Brands

Most people (sales people included) use LinkedIn solely as an online resume. Their profiles list their previous employers, their previous roles, their skills, and their education. But that’s it.

For a sales team, LinkedIn shouldn’t be used as an online resume, it should be used as a branding opportunity. It’s the perfect place for sales people to brand themselves as the number-one solution to their prospects’ problems.

They should be using the headline as a one-sentence elevator pitch of the value they deliver to clients. Past (and present) roles shouldn’t just list off a number of responsibilities. Rather they should be communicated in ways that describe how they created value for clients.

Researching Prospects

Your sales team should also be maximizing its use of LinkedIn as a research tool. It has enormous research capabilities that your reps can tap into, particularly if they upgrade to LinkedIn Pro. Your reps can easily search for ideal prospects based on location, industry, job title, and other criteria.

They can also look at prospects’ profiles to see what key performance indicators they care about, such as customer experience or direct sales, so they can better tailor their communication efforts.

They can and should also use the platform to research prospects before sending out emails in order to find personal information that they can then use to make their sales emails stand out from the crowd.

Building Relationships

LinkedIn also offers myriad opportunities to engage in order for your sales team to build relationships with prospects all throughout the sales funnel.

Sales people should not be reaching out to prospects via LinkedIn to say something along the lines of “Hey, buy my products.” Selling on LinkedIn is one of the biggest social media mistakes that sales people make.

Instead, they should be using it to make a strong first impression with a personal, genuine introductory message. They should be using it to comment on prospects’ posts to entice engagement. They should be using it to offer their expertise and recommendations. They should be using it to offer valuable content. They should be using it to invite prospects to opportunities, like webinars and podcasts.

All of these communications help build relationships far more than direct selling on social media.

Increasing Thought Leadership, Connecting with Networks, Building Trust

Another aspect of LinkedIn that your sales team may not be taking advantage of is its publishing platform. Perhaps they’ve never thought about it, think it’s too time consuming, or don’t see the purpose of publishing content on the channel. However, using LinkedIn’s publishing platform can help your reps connect with their prospects, establish their thought leadership, stay top of mind, expand their brand, and build trust, so it’s a pretty big deal.

When you publish on LinkedIn, every person in your first-degree network is notified. Getting comments, likes, and shares on the content you publish also helps you reach your second-degree network. You could even get featured on LinkedIn Pulse, which will help your content spread even further.

Social selling is one of the most effective selling strategies that your sales team could be using to increase sales. However, they need to do it right to get positive results, and these tips can help.

How to Adapt to the  New Way Customers Buy

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