LinkedIn is rapidly expanding its grasp on B2B sellers.
For too long, the professional network had a reputation of being a virtual résumé and, consequently, the most-used channel for recruitment efforts. After a prolonged rally that portrayed the 660+ million member networking platform as a job-hunting website, LinkedIn is now considered the primary authority on B2B social selling.
Social selling has taken the marketing world by storm. This new approach of finding, engaging, and nurturing leads through social networks has gone from hype to common practice on the most widely-used platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. These social channels might be intended for personal use but, in the context of B2B social selling, that’s part of the problem. While such channels give you the ability to understand your prospect on a personal level, you need a more direct path towards potential buyers to truly make a connection and win new business.
LinkedIn is the premium source of B2B prospects.
The platform’s high-value professional audience is uniquely difficult to reach via other social networks. Your B2B crowd is most likely gathering on LinkedIn to:
- Keep tabs on industry-relevant news.
- Broaden their professional network.
- Exchange expertise.
In this article, you’ll discover how to capitalize on LinkedIn’s unique attributes. Ignite your potential by following the tips outlined below and get ready to sell more effectively on the world’s largest professional network.
Transform Your LinkedIn Profile into a B2B Selling Tool
Interest is a two-way street.
The path towards your ideal customer goes through observation and analysis. As you keep a finger on the pulse of your B2B targets, you’re getting more familiar with their industry, company-wide goals, competitors, needs, and everything in between. Simply put, you’re diligently searching for clues that may indicate buyer interest before grabbing your prospects’ attention. Occasionally, your target will give you a direct signal of interest. More often than not, buyer intent is difficult to discern. In such cases, you can go beneath the surface by using smart technology. Infotelligent is a prime example of a tool that allows you to instantly collect data about a user’s observed behavior and predict possible actions.
Think prospects won’t do their research? Most likely, your potential clients will also make a pit stop on your LinkedIn profile first.
A word of advice: do a little tweaking to fuel up their interest and don’t let opportunities pass you by.
This is your chance to tell your story, but don’t forget to make it customer-centric.
Milestones are important. In sales, as in other business areas, they measure your progress towards a well-defined goal. Granted, you may have hit your quarterly quota. That’s a great achievement, but how exactly will it benefit your future clients? You run the risk of being perceived as another sales representative rather than the trusted advisor they need.
What you can do instead is give that milestone story a twist.
Take a hard look at your quarterly journey. What aided you in reaching your goals? Have you launched a new product on the market that tackles your prospect’s roadblocks to success? Has that product already helped similar clients?
Factor that into the process in order to turn your accomplishments into benefits. Your prospects want to know how you can contribute to their business growth. Craft your LinkedIn profile with that in mind and be sure to:
Use the right-fit profile picture.
It’s true: corporate headshots can be sort of stiff at times. But this definitely doesn’t mean that selfies are an appropriate alternative. Not even close.
Photos are a strong visual asset, so you must have a perfect headshot on your profile. All you need to do is find the right balance between showing off your personality and professionalism.
Put together a noteworthy headline.
A simple job title is no longer enough to spark interest. This brief summary should convey your purpose in a straightforward way, so talk about who and how you can help.
e.g. VP of Sales ︱ Enabling B2B sellers to prospect smarter.
Write a profile summary that stands out from the crowd.
Now’s the time to shine and delve a little deeper into your professional background. After your prospects go through this section, they should have a clear idea of who you are, what gives you an edge over the competition, and why you should have their undivided attention.
Be compelling, genuine, and personal—all in 1-2 paragraphs.
As chief marketing officer, I lead Microsoft’s global product marketing, advertising, brand, research and communications functions for businesses and consumers. I’ve worked at Microsoft for over 25 years in a variety of marketing leadership roles and am passionate about our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.
My own passion for technology and computing began when I was a kid and wrote a reservation system for our small, family Italian restaurant in Boston using dBASE for DOS on an early IBM PC.
The end goal is simple: don’t sell yourself. Set up a profile that resonates with your ideal buyers and helps you maximize your credibility.
Connect with Hard-to-Reach B2B Prospects
In general, LinkedIn profiles are dynamic. For many users, regularly updating their information has become second nature. Whether they just got a promotion or announced a new partnership, all their career achievements are proudly displayed.
That said, all it takes to identify a person that fits the exact characteristics of your ideal customer is just a few clicks. With carefully-polished LinkedIn accounts at your disposal, relevant, recent, and authentic information about your viable prospects is readily accessible.
Run a simple search and see for yourself. In just a few seconds, you’ll be able to filter this search by connections, locations, current companies, past companies, industries, education, or contact interests. After entering your keywords (e.g. job title + specific company—Chief Strategy Officer Apple) into the search bar, sort through the results, and narrow down your prospect list.
When your possible buyers are actively using this platform, you’ll know; thanks to such granular search capabilities, you have a great chance of getting right in front of your most relevant prospects. If you want to be a little more specific with your search, try the premium filters powered by LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. More than granting you exclusive access to advanced search filtering, the Sales Navigator helps you organize accounts, improve pipeline collaboration, and save important sales activity to your CRM.
Do you need even more search filters? For that, there’s only one option: Infotelligent’s Advanced Search—a tool that gives you access to millions of decision-makers and provides their LinkedIn profile URL.
Prospecting is a process that takes time. Don’t run blindly after your prospects; get to know them. No two buyers are the same, so as you browse their profiles, hone in on their interests and social interactions.
It’s always in the details.
Build Trust and Elevate Your Win Rates
The path forward is clear: LinkedIn’s large user base is a pool of invaluable data waiting to be tapped.
Opportunity is everywhere; trust isn’t.
Throwing information at your prospects won’t get you far. Data is gold dust; but to develop a meaningful bond with your prospective clients, you need to harness it efficiently in your trust-building efforts.
Developing trust is a daily endeavor. On LinkedIn, making it happen is a matter of:
Spreading the word.
Forging a reputation as a thought leader in your industry is possible with insightful content. Skim through industry-specific news, use LinkedIn Pulse to delve right into the most engaging posts available on the network, or write original content.
The idea is to engage your audience with timely, relevant, and high-value information that is tailored to their interests or pain points. Show that you’re interested in their business—don’t just tell—to establish credibility and position yourself as a knowledgeable expert.
Walking the talk.
Nothing sparks immediate action like personalized outreach.
Avoid the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message. Whenever you want to connect with a new prospect, the platform itself will remind you that LinkedIn members are more likely to accept invitations that include a personal note. Similarly, putting together a customized InMail message may significantly increase your chances of getting a response.
Bring mutual connections, industry-related news, or their own career achievements into the conversation. This may not be the time to move the sale forward, but to build a strong connection.
Keeping the momentum going.
Grabbing the attention of a high-value prospect is great.
Do you know what’s even better? Holding it.
It’s important to set up a solid routine that puts prospect engagement on your daily agenda. Continuously providing value to your targets will keep you at the forefront of their minds.
Commit to regularly updating your profile with information tailored to your prospect’s interests as well as sharing, liking, and commenting on their posts. Over time, consistent interactions will turn into profitable relationships.
Prospects have a stake in your selling success. Stay in the know, double down on expertise, and become their go-to person.
Are you interested in connecting with like-minded people and B2B decision-makers? The world’s largest professional network is the place to find them.
Being a LinkedIn social seller helps you progressively solidify every relationship with your B2B targets to close better deals. If you want to see how effective you have been at creating your professional profile, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships that accelerate sales, LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) has you covered. The higher the SSI score, the better your chances to maximize your social selling efforts.
Harness the power of LinkedIn and take your B2B social selling skills to the next level.