How LinkedIn Can Help Your Sales Team in 2013

JulioVisko
Julio Viskovich Managing Partner & B2B Sales Enabler at NexLevel Sales, NexLevel Sales

Posted on December 17th 2012

How LinkedIn Can Help Your Sales Team in 2013


LinkedIn

There are a number of things we could focus on when using LinkedIn for sales like using advanced search functions, but today I want to focus on using LinkedIn to deepen your network and establish important connections that will pay-off for your sales team today and down the line. Never before have trust, transperancy, and authenticity been more important between the seller and the buyer. People will buy from those they trust, and trust those who are in the same communities or share similar beliefs. LinkedIn provides unrivalled access to decision makers and other relevant professionals who are open to conversing with you and letting you in to their communities. Take the opportunity and become a trusted advisor instead of a vendor in the eyes of your prospects. Let's look at 3 LinkedIn activities that are vital to building your reputation as a trusted advisor.

Introducing Yourself

Linkedin

Let’s start with making introductions on LinkedIn.  Always send personalized invitation requests and never use the automated invite text. Use the invite as an opportunity to set yourself apart from every other sales person out there. The best way to do this is to immediately make reference to common ground. Perhaps you’re in the same LinkedIn Group, perhaps they tweeted or shared a good article, or maybe even something about their company. If you do know them make reference to how you know them and why adding you as a connection will be of value to them. I’ve learned through experience that flattery never hurts here – pay some homage to whoever it is your connecting with. Here a several examples of the best introductions people have received on LinkedIn.

Social selling laggard or learder

Using LinkedIn Groups

Sales professionals like yourself should become a member of LinkedIn Groups associated with your primary area. At the bare minimum, there are five types of groups you need to belong to include: 
1) Industry Groups – for example Social Media Club in your territory,
2) Vertical Groups – get involved in groups of verticals you are targeting, 
3) Local Groups in your territory, 
4) Professional Groups that help you hone your craft, and 
5) Horizontal Groups – have the same target audience but in a different industry. 
Best practice here is to avoid selling and give nonbiased advice or helpful related content to the group members. Joining these groups does several things: gives you context for connecting when the time comes, provides access to the group members, and helps you establish credibility as a trusted advisor on areas important to your prospect base, and keep up with discussions and trends that matter to your prospects. 

Linkedin

Using LinkedIn Answers

The last area I will touch on is utilizing LinkedIn Answers. It is here that members go to in order to ask questions. This is a great area for you to be proactive about building your personal brand on LinkedIn. Answer questions thoughtfully and without bias. Doing this will help position you as trusted advisor who gives an authentic response AND will allow other people searching for the same answer to see your response and give you more exposure. This doesn’t mean to answer every related question, but rather choose 1-2 a week to start and answer them thoughtfully. Eventually you will find these answers will turn in to good conversations, which will
then, in turn lead to opportunities.

 

 

 
 
 
JulioVisko

Julio Viskovich

Managing Partner & B2B Sales Enabler at NexLevel Sales, NexLevel Sales

Julio is a social selling consultant and implementation specialist. Recently named by AA-ISP as a Top 25 Sales Influencers of 2013, InsideView and Social Selling University as 1 of the top 15 professionals using social selling in 2012 and was featured in Eloqua's Grande Guide to Social Selling. Surfing, skydiving, traveling and eating the hottest peppers from around the world make up Julio's downtime. Check out Julio's personal social selling blog for more of his tips on social sales.

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Comments

Does anyone have any other ways in which LinkedIn could be effective for a sales team? Let's hear about it in the comments below...

One point regarding Introducing yourself, in my opinion changing the automated invitation text is not going to be as good as it seems to, many people are accepting the invitations without even reading the invitation message, it is either by clicking the accept button directly or through the connection profile, I prefer if you send a welcoming message introducing yourself after you are both connected on linkedin.

"You only get one time to make a first impression"

Excellent point Hadeel. One of the driving factors of social selling is your ability to add value and to set yourself apart from the masses of other people. You only get a first impression once, and I feel you shouldn't let that slip away by not taking the time to craft a personal introduction. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all approach and sending too many invitations with the generic intro will result in people hitting the "I Don't Know You" button which will result in restrictions from LinkedIn. My advice is to be as unique as possible and start setting yourself apart from the get-go.

It's too bad that LinkedIn answers was discontinued. I am constantly asked about that resource and wish it was still available!