This is the first in a three-part series about social selling on LinkedIn. The first article focuses on how ISVs can use LinkedIn more effectively for social selling and how to set your team up for success. Part two will discuss engagement best practices and how to maintain and grow your social program and convert more connections into sales. Part three will be all about the data: measuring what matters, how to interpret the data and then how to act on it.
Social selling on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has 810 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.1 That’s a massive pool of potential. How many connections do you have? And, more importantly, will these connections convert into innovative or lucrative partnerships?
LinkedIn isn’t just for job hunting anymore. It’s the top B2B platform. LinkedIn is where people go to see and be seen and to consume information from industry experts, executives, and brands. It is the top social media platform used for social selling by reps. Twitter and Facebook are the runner-up platforms.2 It’s a powerful platform that companies can leverage to build brand awareness and, more importantly, build and strengthen relationships with customers and partners.
- 62% of B2B customers respond to salespeople who connect by sharing content and insights that are relevant to the buyer
- 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives consult social media before making purchasing decisions
- 50% of buyers turn to LinkedIn as a resource when making B2B purchasing decisions3
Likely, most people in your organization have a LinkedIn presence, and they may even be active contributors, posting their own content and commenting on other’s content regularly. However, most ISV’s partner marketing, sales and executive teams aren’t tapping into the true power of LinkedIn. Those 800-million-plus members create a cacophony of noise that you need to be heard over. To be heard and build relationships that drive sales, ISVs need to use the platform in a different way.
How to tap into the selling power of LinkedIn
Harnessing the power of LinkedIn for social selling begins with a profile that does more than list work experience – it needs to communicate who you are as a person. What do you care about? What makes you awesome? Because, even in this remote work world we live in, people still largely buy from people.
- Sales professionals with a strong social selling index on LinkedIn have 45% more sales opportunities than those who don’t and are 51% more likely to reach quota4
Then, of course, you need to create and consistently share thought leadership posts that do more than shout “buy from me”. Publishing an article twice a year helps as well.
But, to really spice up your sales, you need to use LinkedIn differently, and that starts with not approaching it as an individual, but as a team. The idea is for your team to light little fires everywhere. If there are a few of you posting on different topics that correlate, amplifying each other’s messaging and raising your brand’s awareness. What starts as a spark will catch and spread.
Take LinkedIn from me to we
For sales, especially in the remote work environment, LinkedIn acts as a digital office space. You’re out and about, making connections and shaking hands through likes and comments. So, this team approach is ideally suited to sales, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take the concept and apply it to marketing or executives or engineers as well.
First: pick your team
You need team players that will commit to the time and engagement required to make this work. Your team doesn’t have to be large; you can start with two or three keen players. Ideally, your team members will already have a strong LinkedIn presence. They need to be willing to create thoughtful posts with consistency. And, when people comment, they need to be quick to respond.
- Sales reps who responded quickly to social media inquiries saw a 9.5% increase in annual revenue5
Next: define your roles
Just like on a sports team, everyone has a specific position to play. You can’t all pitch, you need some people in the field and covering the bases. On your social team, decide who is the “product person,” who is the “tech person,” etc. Their posts should communicate their position.
For example, perhaps your team has a “cloud person.” Their posts are supposed to demonstrate thought leadership about the cloud. That doesn’t mean that they must talk about the cloud in each post. In fact, they shouldn’t: that’s boring. However, let’s imagine your cloud person works from home and loves travelling and outdoor adventures. Their posts could be about working from home and travelling adventures and very subtly highlight how the cloud enables those freedoms.
They are talking cloud, without saying it out loud.
The product person is the position that mostly talks about your brand and your solution and all the awesome things that your company does. They act as the anchor.
While you each have your lane to drive in, your team members should be engaging with each other too.
Third: create your target list
What partners or customers do you want to target? This list should be short to begin with. Focus on your ideal customers, or the partners you’d like to align with, or those partnerships that you most want to strengthen.
Fourth: get to know them really, really well
Do your research. Who are the most meaningful connections at the company you want to partner with? Who are most active on LinkedIn? What do they post about? What does the company post about? What do they care about? Learn everything you can.
Finally, go @ them
Start posting content that your target list cares about. Align your thought leadership with what they deem important or what resonates with them. Keep your posts people-focused, not product-focused, and start building those critical relationships.
My team’s on the field, now what?
You’ve selected your team, they are posting, you’re creating a hum across a noisy platform – how do you build from a hum to a crescendo that gets noticed? That’s what we’ll cover in part two of the social selling on LinkedIn series.
For a little extra help getting set up for social selling success on LinkedIn, download our Personal Branding eBook and learn how to become a champion of trust, expertise and authority for your organization.
3 – Ibid.
4 – Ibid.
5 – Ibid.