In the pandemic with everyone at home, the adoption of modern selling and what that means has evolved. Delivering a multi-channel approach is now the standard for sellers. The tolerance for the basic ‘connect and pitch’ is long gone. Now that more organizations are embracing LinkedIn, how do you stand out and rise above the noise?
You become a person
What in the world does that mean? It means showing up authentically and bringing value to the LinkedIn community, especially your prospects. It’s putting a face with a name. It’s defining who you are and what you offer.
First, let me back up. It might not be LinkedIn, or it might be a combination of places for you. You need to identify where your target market is. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, or some variety of platforms. You need to be where the people are.
For B2B sales, in most cases, that is on LinkedIn.
How do I track it?
As a Sales Leader, you want to track where your team is investing their time. Is it something that you can track and measure?
First, consider how new methods to engage and new channels will make a difference. Your sales strategy should embrace adaptability by testing to see what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t, you will never innovate.
How to track and measure:
Add social selling steps to your touch patterns, looking at whether prospects convert on social selling steps.
Create social selling specific touch patterns to see if they are more effective.
Add a lead source of ‘social selling’ to your CRM system. This can be populated by your team as they meet prospects online or through integrated form/google analytics setups.
Add people to your CRM that you are building a relationship with to track progress. If it’s not in the CRM it didn’t happen.
From marketing, you should be tracking URL sources to understand what drives your audience to your website. This can be achieved through an effective Google Analytics setup.
Keep in mind:
If you want your team members to be more active online, you need to support their efforts and encourage them.
Not all team members will want to leverage social media, find each person’s strengths; some may be great at video, some text. Understanding your team’s strengths and helping them identify what will work for each individual.
Progress doesn’t happen overnight. You can add strategies and start posting, but it might take a minute to gain traction. Patience and consistency are required. Don’t give up too early. Even with 30 minutes a day, you’ll find a payoff in 30 days or so.
The goal is to set yourself apart from the crowd by becoming a trusted resource. To lead with value and see where you can help others.
While you do all this, you need to be mindful of time spent, as you aren’t losing those traditional selling methods but amplifying them with other forms. When the prospect picks up the phone, wouldn’t it be great if they had an idea already of who you were?
How do you do this? Personal Branding.
Some sales leaders think you allow your team to create a personal brand that they will be wooed away. This is the same concept as training; consider the following quote.
The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” – Henry Ford
If your fear of your team leaving outweighs the possible benefits of social selling, then your problem is not using social media. The problem likely goes back to your culture.
Some sales leaders discourage social media because it can be distracting and keep reps from more profitable activities. Sure, it’s easy to lose time on social media. Incorporate time blocking with your team. By time blocking, you can manage your time effectively and focus on revenue-generating activities.
To guide your team to start personal branding, start by encouraging them to post regularly and making time to engage the community. Defining with the team in advance how they would like to be known for and the key characteristics is an excellent way to start.
This could be done with your Sales Enablement team, Social Sales Trainer, or if you partner with us, we can help. Putting together a strategy and appropriate training reduces risk and enables you to remain consistent in messaging.
A part of creating this strategy and training will likely require you to update your social media policy. For instance, one method you could add to your outreach is leveraging LinkedIn videos and voice messages on the mobile platform, which would require the team member to use their phone.
Here is an outline of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ for leadership and team members.
What is the value of a personal brand?
Builds credibility for the individual team member
It makes the seller a human – at the end of the day, people buy from people, not company brands. Having a personal brand that people can connect with makes you human.
How do you create a personal brand?
Optimize your LinkedIn profile (the basics)
Identify keywords for your target market and sprinkle them throughout your profile.
Linkedin Profile Picture – something uniquely you, while still professional for a business platform
Banner image – Consider your company banner or something that reflects you (for a custom image, you can use Canva)
Customize your LinkedIn URL
Set your profile to public in security settings
‘About me’ section completed about what makes you unique
Skills – Pick them strategically
Experience, Publications, etc. – Use every feature
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. Just be sure to include a personal note.
Start posting 2-3 times per week (have a place to record thoughts when you are inspired)
Be sure to engage with comments to build community and to create a real connection. Engage meaningfully, adding value.
Comment on the posts of thought leaders and prospects adding value. Be intentional with your communication.
Tagging people in relevant conversations they would be interested in.
Add pertinent new connections daily.
Currently, connecting without a note appears to be getting the best results, but that works best after interacting with your prospect’s posts or commenting where they are commenting—creating that familiarity. When you connect, reaching out to share and talk about something specific to them allows you to start building that relationship. Keeping in touch while also using traditional sales methods enables you to ease the door open to start a conversation about how you might bring value to them. (Do not connect and pitch)
Leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator to create lists and check out the posts over the last 30 days to engage.
For all communication on LinkedIn, keep it positive, thoughtful, and encouraging. Treat LinkedIn like your workplace.
LinkedIn - Inspiration
What do I post?
What song gets you started in the morning?
Share a story
Celebrate a success
Share something you learned
Share a quote with your thoughts
Share a customer success story
Create a poll on a topic that would have a broad interest or specific to your target market
Share your thoughts on an Influencer post – Your Reaction
Create a Top 10 List
Productivity or time-saving hack
Crowdsource – Ask a question to get replies from your network and get a conversation going
Share a takeaway from a book, podcast, webinar, or training
Share meme, gifs, picture, or screenshot with thoughts
Write a post about someone you admire or appreciate
Interview someone, or share a communication you had with someone (gaining their permission first)
Celebrate a holiday
Company news or content with your unique spin
Alternate types of content:
Documents (Right now, documents are performing well on LinkedIn)
Be creative and YOU.
New features coming to LinkedIn:
Creator Mode – (Slow roll out) Includes: feature section / activity modifications, follows vs. connect with follows featured over connections, hashtags for what to seek you out for (5 hashtags).
Cover Story Video – A video intro for your LinkedIn Profile (20 second video).
LinkedIn Live – (All LinkedIn Live) Live video to broadcast from your LinkedIn profile banner.
Pronouns – (Coming Soon) Adding your pronouns a standard feature
Audio – (Not available yet) Adding an audio feature similar to clubhouse.
I know what you are thinking; I’m a Sales Leader. I’m not in Marketing.
How did we get here? The lines of sales and marketing have been blurring for years. In the article, Digital Marketing Trends You Must Know For 2021, they talk about user-generated content as one of the biggest trends for 2021 and beyond. The same can be said for employee-generated content (EGC).
When team members post and comment, gaining traction, it’s social marketing or personal branding. When you get into the one-on-one conversations that lead to meetings and revenue, that’s social selling. Your team members are creating that exposure by bringing the human element into what they do.
Here are some eye-opening stats from Post Beyond:
In total, employees have 10x (on average) more followers than a brand’s account.
Content shared by employees gets 8X more engagement than content shared through branded channels.