5 Tips to Boost Sales on LinkedIn

By Karen Morton, speaker and trainer on Personal Branding.

Are you relying on cold calling to drive your sales pipeline? Are you frustrated with the lack of success you’re having?  The sales process has undergone significant digital transformation.  According to Forbes, the Age of the Seller has been replaced by the Age of the Customer.  So how do you find your future customers?

Traditionally, the only way for buyers to find the information they needed to make a buying decision was through sales people. Not anymore. Today, roughly two-thirds of the buying process is performed digitally, via online content.  According to Harvard Business Review, 90 percent of C-level executives say they never reply to cold calls or cold emails. So what do you do if cold calling is no longer effective? 

The answer lies in the world’s largest professional social media network – LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has over 660 million members and 30 million companies globally, LinkedIn is at the forefront of connecting B2B buyers and sellers and is effectively the largest search engine for professionals. In the Blog I will share with you some top tips to maximise sales success leveraging LinkedIn.

Source: Pixabay

Tip 1: Create a Sales focused profile

Although LinkedIn was established as a job hunting platform you can use it to great success as a social selling platform.  Instead of thinking of your personal profile on LinkedIn as helping you to secure your next job opportunity, think of it as helping you to secure your next sale.  Follow these steps to create a strong sales profile on LinkedIn:

Create a sales focused title for your LinkedIn profile 

Think of your profile from the perspective of buyers looking for solutions. Use your profile title to highlight your ideal customer and how you can solve their problems i.e. [Title], helping [prospects] do X.  Your title is visible when people look at your profile for the first time, in Google and LinkedIn search results, on all your LinkedIn activity and when you send Connection invitations so it’s critical to invest time in creating a great, sales orientated title.

Invest in a compelling Summary

Your summary should be 1-2 paragraphs at most and should describe what you do, what’s unique about what you do and why you’re passionate about it. Think of potential buyers as you write your summary and how you can address their needs.  Make sure you include a Call to Action in case anyone reading your profile wants to get in touch.

Make your experience standout

Use company logos for the companies you have worked for. Describe how you helped customers with their business challenges such as reducing costs, improving productivity, growing revenue etc. Demonstrate how you had an impact on other businesses.  Take advantage of the opportunity LinkedIn affords to upload Video, Whitepapers, Blogs, Case Studies to show the impact you made.  

Use a professional profile picture 

You have a 14x chance of being viewed if you have a profile picture on LinkedIn.  It is worth investing in a suitable profile picture that positions you as professional, approachable, collaborative, engaging and helpful – all key traits a buyer will look for. 

Tip 2:  Use LinkedIn to find your next customer

Gone are the days of the rolodex, phone directory and business cards replaced by an immensely more powerful and constantly updated global online tool. For example, within 3 seconds, you can find a list of CEOs in Cork who work in the health care industry and have a company with more than 10 employees.  The following steps will help you leverage the strength of LinkedIn to find your next customers and open doors.

  • Is your offline network aligned with your LinkedIn network?  LinkedIn should be the main place to go to leverage your network and understand connections within your network.  Consider if you are connected with Family & Friends, Colleagues and Customers from current & previous roles.
  • Be systematic in connecting with potential customers prior to a scheduled meeting.  LinkedIn shows connections you have in common which can be very helpful in establishing a good first impression.
  • After networking events connect with people you met.
  • Check out the people you may know section on a regular basis.
  • Join groups, engage with others, and connect with people you engage with the most.
  • Consider the buying committee for a potential sale you are working on and use LinkedIn to identify who is part of that buying committee.  You can search for a company on LinkedIn and then a list of people working there is visible to help you identify the rest of the buying committee.
  • Use the search functionality on LinkedIn to identify potential customers by industry sector, by company, by job title, by location, by connections, by interest, by service or by school.
  • One of the most effective ways of opening doors for a sales person is via a referral – LinkedIn identifies mutual connections, use the mutual connection to provide an introduction.  
  • Use a desktop browser where you can personalise an invite to connect outlining the benefits for the person of connecting with you. This improves the likelihood of the recipient accepting your connection request.
  • Post high quality and relevant content on LinkedIn to remain top of mind amongst your network. This reinforces your profile reminding customers how you and your company can help them.  Consider sharing relevant posts your organisation shares, interesting thought leadership content or industry insights.  Video content drives significantly higher engagement.

Tip 3: Invest time in getting to know your customers

One of the most important sales techniques is to understand how buyers behave – making prospecting easier with greater success. A recent IDC social buying study has shown:

  • 75% of B2B buyers use Social Media to make buying decisions.
  • 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.
  • 76% of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.

LinkedIn presents an excellent opportunity to stay abreast of developments within your customers/prospects organisations that may present sales opportunities – expansion, acquisition, new strategic direction etc. Follow these steps to remain top of mind amongst your customer set.

  • Follow and engage with customers and prospects on LinkedIn – Like, Comment or Share posts that are relevant to you in an authentic way.
  • Follow customer and prospect Company pages on LinkedIn to stay abreast of changes in that organisation – this is especially important if your connection in that company is not particularly active on LinkedIn.
  • Separate to LinkedIn set up Google alerts for news regarding your customer’s organisations.   

Tip 4: Build relationships with customers and prospects

Once you’re happy with your LinkedIn profile, have connected with lots of prospective customers and invested time in getting to understand their business it’s then time to build winning relationships with these prospective customers.  Take it one step at a time and don’t undo the trust you have established by the hard sell.  Consider the following steps to build strong customer relationships:

  • Beginning with a reply to a connection request, you now have a personal one-on-one conversation.  Take a slow, gentle approach to developing this relationship.
  • Offer value to connections – perhaps a free whitepaper, webinar invite, podcast episode or other useful content.
  • The key goal is to move this new lead off LinkedIn and onto your own CRM or email list and embed the prospect in your sales cycle.

Tip 5:  Consider investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator

While this Blog has focused on all the free and organic Social Selling techniques, if you’ve invested time in all the tips outlined above and are seeing the benefits of social selling for your business consider taking it a step further and invest in the LinkedIn Sales tool – Sales Navigator. The main benefits of Sales Navigator are:

  • Real-Time Sales Updates: Get relevant insights on your accounts and leads, including job changes, news mentions, and new potential leads.
  • Lead Recommendations: Discover more people at your target accounts with custom suggestions.
  • TeamLink: Uncover the best ways to connect with prospects through your company’s network.
  • InMail: Contact decision makers in a credible way, even if you’re not connected.
  • CRM Widget: View LinkedIn information where you’re already tracking your other sales activity – in your CRM. (Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics only).

Finally, schedule regular time in your calendar for LinkedIn – the more you use the tool and the techniques outlined above the more your sales pipeline and business will benefit. 

Interested in learning more? Check out our new LinkedIn for Sales Success 1 day course.

About the author

Karen Morton is a speaker and trainer on Personal Branding, an independent Strategic Marketing consultant and Mentor and Non-Executive Director.

Karen is passionate about helping people and organisations to achieve their full potential and has experience working across Multinationals, Start-ups and the Public Service.

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