In B2B sales, it’s no secret that LinkedIn is a rep’s best friend. It gives salespeople the ability to search for relevant groups, industries, companies and individual titles while prospecting, which provides a more meaningful connection than a faceless cold email. As a rep’s LinkedIn network grows, he or she has more opportunities to connect with similar people through existing contacts, which helps form even more valuable professional relationships and ideally grow sales.
LinkedIn is typically good at giving users quick tips for improving the appearance and comprehensiveness of their profiles, but there are some B2B sales-specific actions reps can take to improve their social selling skills on LinkedIn.
- Have a relevant profile image. A profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed by other users, according to LinkedIn. Make sure your image is appropriate and pertinent to your role by using images from trade shows or events, or wearing company swag with your logo on it.
Bonus: use the same image for all social accounts (Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) so that if you’re using multiple mediums to connect with prospects, they’ll have a better chance of recognizing and remembering you.
- Craft a memorable headline. LinkedIn users who add a summary headline get 10 times more profile views. Your headline should highlight what your professional goals are: what does your company do, what are you helping your company to do, and who are you trying to help? This summary should help your connections cut through the clutter of your previous experience and jobs and quickly figure out exactly what your purpose is.
- Connect, but not creepily. You should send invitations to connect with people you know professionally and personally, and even those you don’t necessarily “know.” But sometimes sending a naked invite—someone who may not know who you or your company are—can come off as creepy or unwarranted. Sending a quick message along with the invite can help ward off that extra suspicion; if you found this person through a mutual connection or group, say so. If you found them through a title or company search, you could acknowledge a shared industry or field interest. Keep it short, sweet and genuine.
- Join the right groups. Understand who you’re trying to connect with and ultimately sell to, and figure out what types of LinkedIn groups they’d belong to. This helps to give you a more natural platform to engage with potential connections—ask valuable questions and share insights on pertinent posts. But don’t be generic with a simple “I agree” or “Great idea,” and don’t push your product or company in the discussion. Make a positive contribution that leaves a lasting impression.
- Share stuff. Engage with your connections by using the multimedia feature on your LinkedIn profile to share videos, reports, blog posts and research findings. If you come across something that is relevant and interesting to you professionally, chances are others will find it helpful as well. This helps you remain top of mind (and top of feed) so your connections feel that you’re adding value to their network. And this isn’t just relevant for social selling—engaging with your connections by sharing content is valuable over email as well.
Bonus: Sharing relevant content that your own company has produced (blog posts, gated collateral, whitepapers, etc.) can help start a conversation with potential customers in groups and via InMail.
The most important thing to remember when becoming a social selling pro on LinkedIn is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Forming meaningful relationships with prospects takes time, and earning trust will only happen by maintaining these relationships. Following these five tips should help you get started on the road to social selling success.