Connections To Cash: How To Leverage LinkedIn For Sales And Business
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Many people make the mistake of thinking social media is all about collecting followers–not for B2B. In order to start using LinkedIn for business and sales, you will want to get intentional about finding, connecting, and communicating with the right people. We’ll explore what that means and how you can get started.
Let’s talk about it:
“I have thousands of followers on LinkedIn. But I haven’t done anything with LinkedIn. I want to leverage my LinkedIn for business. Where do I start?”
That’s the question I usually get when I tell people I help businesses get sales calls with LinkedIn.
It’s like advanced LinkedIn is a secret language that few speak. It doesn’t need to be. I’m here to explain things succinctly.
But first, a step back. Why is LinkedIn or social selling important anyway?
Why LinkedIn And Social Selling Matter
According to Business 2 Community,
74% of salespeople who beat their 2014 quota by 10% or more say they have an excellent understanding about the use of social media for prospecting, nurturing relationships and closing deals. They were over 6x as likely to exceed their quota than sales peers with rudimentary or no social media skills. (Forbes)
Also, LinkedIn reports,
Customers who use LinkedIn Sales Navigator see 35%+ larger deal sizes.
50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.
76 percent of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.
In fact, 90 percent of C-level executives say they never reply to cold calls or cold emails.
Leveraging LinkedIn Is Like Throwing A Party
When thinking about how you can get started leveraging your presence on LinkedIn for business, realize it’s like throwing a party. You just follow the same steps:
- Prepare your home for visitors
- Build your list of people to invite
- Invite people and reach out
How To Start LinkedIn For Business And Sales
1) Prepare your home for visitors
On LinkedIn, your basic home is going to be your profile page. Make sure it’s prepared for people to visit it. Main places to focus on include…
- Your banner and profile picture
- Your keywords
- Your profile summary
- Your jobs and accomplishments
Your banner and profile picture
The quickest and most fun way to create your LinkedIn profile banner is to use Canva. It’s a pretty free service that allows you to design the multitude of things you will need to create during your business and career lifetime.
Creating a banner: the steps
- Go to https://www.canva.com/.
- Create an account or Login (if you have an account already).
- Once logged in, type “LinkedIn” In the top search bar.
- Click on “LinkedIn Banner.” That will take you to a blank workspace.
- On the left side of the workspace, click on your preferred template.
- Change pictures, colors and text as you see fit.
- Recommendation: include a simple phrase or a few key bullet points that explain what you do. Doing keyword research will help.
- Once you’re done with your banner, click download in the upper right hand corner.
- Choose your format. PNG is best for pictures and text in this situation.
Producing a professional profile picture
I talk about this in detail in a post about setting up a professional LinkedIn profile picture.
That said, here are a few immediate tips:
- Stay away from wide angle lens shots.
- If using a smartphone, make sure the phone camera has a large aperture.
- One of the worst things you can do: taking a picture in front of a plain white background.
- Facial expressions matter. I would suggest you get used to smiling in your pictures.
2) Build your list of people to invite
It’s important to ask who you’d like to be at your “event.” You probably aren’t inviting your business contacts to a rager and you probably aren’t inviting your drinking and clubbing buddies to a business talk.
In the same way, s . In marketing, we typically create a profile for this purpose and call it a persona.
While the effectiveness of marketing personas has been up for debate recently, Google put out an empathetic guide on creating effective personas. So, if Google says it’s still relevant, it must be relevant.
The people you target for invitation or outreach is going to depend upon your goal. What is it?
Do you want to…
- Let current contacts know about a change in your business?
- Build your network in-person over a cup of coffee?
- Invite new potential clients to a webinar?
- Mine current connections and past clients for referrals?
- Let people of a certain industry and location know about your upcoming event?
Building your list of potential connections with LinkedIn
- Using LinkedIn’s search bar, search the title of the specific person you want to invite or reach out to. Some examples might be “project manager” or “vice president of marketing”
- When the search results appear add the following filters, depending upon your goals:
- 2nd connection: if you want to reach new people OR
- 1st connection: if you want to reach people who are already connected with you
- Location: add in your desired location if that matters or is consistent with your goals. *This would matter if you want to invite people out to coffee.
- Seniority: if you want decision-makers for business purposes, target C-Level Executives (CMO, CEO, etc.), Directors (best group to target), and Vice Presidents
- Company size: if you want mid-size businesses, aim for those under 10,000 employees. If you want small businesses, stick with businesses that have under 500 employees.
3) Invite People And Reach Out
Using the right kind of connection and pitch message, reach out to your best list of sales leads.
There are different ways you will hear of people approaching this. Some companies suggest they have automated tools to help you do this faster. I would not buy it.
These days I don’t recommend people use automated tools because I have encountered more than 1 accomplished marketer who had their account shutdown for using them. While I’ve heard rumors that certain tools such as Beep2B are being accepted by LinkedIn, I’ve yet to test them and would rather not risk customer accounts.
That said, use these tools at your own risk:
- LinkedIn Helper
- Meet Leonard
- Dux Soup
My recommendation: do your LinkedIn lead generation work by hand (and if you’re not sure what to do get training) 💡
My main issue with these tools is that I can tell when someone has used them to ask for a connection or send a message my way.
Adding someone’s first name to a message is not new magic and hardly meets the standard of human communication these days. These robo-messages offend most and get ignored by the rest.
Final Note: Diversify From LinkedIn
When working with a sales team and helping them get sales calls with LinkedIn, guess what? I don’t always deliver…right away. Sometimes people will be interested and stay responsive via LinkedIn and sometimes they won’t.
I don’t like depending on the mood of the day, so I enlist another tool as backup.
It’s called Adapt (formerly Saleslift) and it’s available as a Chrome app.The tools allows you to follow up with leads via email and phone by connecting LinkedIn profiles to company profiles. This way you are not at the mercy of any one tool but have an arsenal to assist you.
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