I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about “Social Selling” and you might be wondering if LinkedIn can help you grow your business. LinkedIn Prospecting has become a key component of most B2B sales prospecting strategies. How should you use LinkedIn for your business?
Prospecting is a complex subject, especially in B2B.
Social networks, and LinkedIn in particular, forced us to rethink our prospecting methods as well as the way we interact with our professional environment.
The purpose of this article is to give you accurate information so that you can start prospecting on LinkedIn as efficiently as possible.
Before we get started, I suggest you quickly go over the basics:
Why is Linkedin now a full-fledged prospecting channel?
LinkedIn is a unique social network due to its more professional component. Technically it is similar to Facebook, but you should never lose sight of the fact that your network is a professional network. They are looking for valuable content and relevant professional conversations.
LinkedIn has 610 million members worldwide, 177 million in The USA, and continues to grow with two new members signing up every second.
Still not convinced of the value of this Social Network?
How can you transform this reality into sales for your company?
Follow the guide:
First things first, you need a solid foundation! The first point of contact on LinkedIn is your profile and your company page, so it is essential to optimize them so that your visitors want to know more.
You can think of it like a "website" that showcases what your company does online. It is a significant component of your digital presence.
Remember that 90% of B2B Buyers use online searches to vet potential suppliers. Google & LinkedIn is where they start.
It is essential to customize the address (URL) of your LinkedIn user profile to avoid a series of numbers in your URL. Preferably you want to personalize your Url with your First & Last Name.
Personalizing your URL makes you easier to find when people search for you by typing your First & Last Name on Google or on LinkedIn.
It also shows that you are familiar with LinkedIn, here's how to do it: customizing your public url.
As explained above, LinkedIn is not Facebook.
To get the right message across, you need a professional photo that looks like you. If you are interested in people connecting with you, I encourage you to be smiling.
I recommend Photofeeler to test your photos and figure out if the picture you picked fits with what you want to accomplish.
Speaking of the profile picture, you should not neglect the banner either. It contributes to the first impression visitors get. It is important that it fits with your business.
Be consistent with the (professional) image you want to convey.
Write an Impactful Headline!
Located below your First Name/Last Name, you have about ten words to highlight what animates you.
For example, this is what I have on my profile, CEO at Sales Odyssey | B2B Sales & Marketing Expert | All about Client Acquisition & Revenue Growth
The "about" section is the first section visible to the visitors of your page.
It is also the only section visitors can see on mobile; unlike the job experience section which requires to be clicked on to see the details of each experience.
Tell a story, highlight your differences and strengths 😉. If you have a good sense of humor don't be shy it can set you apart, be remember to stay professional!
Essential section when looking for a new job but also crucial in prospecting: your professional experiences.
Here, I advise you to put at least your last three significant experiences.
Describe your missions and what you accomplished so that visitors can make connections with their own experiences.
Last advice to optimize your profile: ask for recommendations! Feel free to give some as well. It is a social media, after all, the more interactions you have, the better. You can ask suppliers, clients & former colleagues, for instance.
Don't hesitate to ask your friends, colleagues, superiors or clients to write you a recommendation. It will humanize your profile and give you confidence!
I strongly recommend the ResumeWorded tool which will allow you to take a step back on your profile by pointing out the improvements you can make.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
Even though you don't want to lose sight of your end goal -getting more clients-, the first step to successful Social Selling is increasing your reach.
"Elementary, my dear Watson!" because yes, to be visible, you have to be seen, and for that, on LinkedIn, you have to create & share content.
You can write LinkedIn articles, share blog posts, upload files like presentations & videos, etc.
You can talk about anything, but there is a topical component to LinkedIn with trends that get more traction. Still, you must remain consistent with your image, your company, your industry, and your goal on LinkedIn (in this guide, we are focusing on leveraging LinkedIn to establish professional relationships with your future customers and partners).
Note that LinkedIn will organically push what is called "native content", content that does not require the user to leave LinkedIn to consult it.
Again, an obvious point, but you don't publish content for the sake of publishing content. Your reputation is at stake!
The goal is to help your audience. The people who follow you must want to watch your news feed and learn valuable insights.
For those who are lacking inspiration, here are some examples of themes:
As with any social network, it is possible - strongly recommended - to interact with your network through sharing, reactions (likes), comments.
LinkedIn interactions reap several benefits:
One last piece of advice before moving on to the "complex" prospecting stage! Go and watch the Growth Tribe Academy video to complete my recommendations with simple Hacks 😉.
Great, you have an optimized LinkedIn profile and are now in the starting blocks to start prospecting!
But how do you start selling on LinkedIn?
First of all, it is essential to understand what social selling is and what is at stake.
The basic definition is as follows: social selling is the process of using social networks organically as a channel to your Sales Strategy.
In the Business to Business world, LinkedIn is the King of Social Selling.
LinkedIn is an infinite hunting ground that allows you to connect with multiple decision-makers all over the world.
If you put in place a real strategy to extend your network, you can build a massive community. But what matters most is the level of engagement you get.
So don't try to connect with everyone, focus on building meaningful relationships.
The first step, and NEVER to be neglected, no matter what channel you use, is the definition of your personas.
Take the time to think about your personas. They have become an integral part of a good Growth Strategy.
Remember that it is useless to start prospecting if you don't know WHO will positively react to your outreach!
If this notion is not completely clear, I invite you to consult our article about buyer personas and how to define your ideal customer profile.
This is where it can get tricky, remember the 177 million US profiles!
How can you find the ones that match your personas?
There are two possible methods: one free and one you have to pay for.
LinkedIn filters with a free account
For the free version, just go to your LinkedIn account and in the search bar select "People" and then click on "all filters". This method remains limited and does not allow high quality search results but it has the merit to exist and allows everyone to make a first sort.
LinkedIn filters on premium accounts Sales Navigator
Regarding the paid method, the easiest to use is the one proposed directly by LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Thanks to a monthly subscription, you have access to the 1st/2nd and 3rd-degree profiles of your network. Numerous filters are available to segment the search as precisely as possible.
WARNING: with Sales Navigator, you have to differentiate between declarative and deductive filters.
Some filters, such as the job title or the company name, are declarative. We are then sure that this data is reliable.
On deductive filters, LinkedIn interprets the data and derives a hierarchy level from it, which means a more significant margin of error!
I strongly advise you, if you haven't already done so, to take advantage of the free trial month to familiarize yourself with the tool and see if it meets your expectations.
LinkedIn offers excellent tutorials to help you use the Sales Navigator research filters to its full potential. For instance, you can also exclude research results for more granularity. An excellent example of Social Selling purposes is to remove Students & Retired profiles.
The last step is to think about how to contact prospects on LinkedIn. To do so, you need to answer these three questions:
There are no right or wrong answers, it all depends on your personas and what you want to achieve.
At Sales Odyssey, we advise to send at least two LinkedIn messages (called InMail) but to do three stages of prospecting.
Let me explain:
Prospecting, no matter which way, takes a lot of time! Especially if you want to do it right.
But don't panic, there are ways to save time with social selling.
As LinkedIn grows in popularity, a multitude of tools has been released to automate actions on LinkedIn, such as Connection Requests, sending messages, liking posts, etc.
It is possible to use Linked Helper or Phantombuster, for example. Technically this is not allowed by LinkedIn, and LinkedIn's algorithm ends up detecting them, especially if you use them in an abusive way.
The advantage of these tools is time-saving! They also offer the possibility to customize specific categories such as first name, last name, or company in messages.
When using automation, you should not fall into the trap of quantity. But always be in this spirit of a real construction of strategic and qualitative prospecting.
Depending on how many people you have in the company, you should not hesitate to call on the sales teams!
We can never say it enough, but the separation between marketing and sales is now over. It is, therefore, necessary to bring synergy because the objective is always the same, to win new leads to reach or even exceed the goals in terms of turnover!
So ask your employees if they would like to start LinkedIn prospecting. Of course, the salesperson remains responsible for answering leads. Still, many will be motivated to work as a team on defining personas, searching for prospects, writing messages, or setting the pace.
I emphasize that it is essential to combine several canvassing channels to obtain an appointment.
Do not hesitate after the LinkedIn step to send “cold” emails and call prospects. The more points of contact you have, the higher your conversion rate will be.
I hope that this article will have enlightened you on how to prospect on LinkedIn efficiently and especially that it will allow you to exceed your goals!
Lay a strong foundation for effective LinkedIn prospecting: optimize your LinkedIn profile and implement a relevant content publishing strategy.
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