Building relationships might be the single most important key to achieving your sales goals. This has never been more true than in today’s online world where so much depends on your ability to leverage your personal brand through social selling.
Establishing trust begins with carving out your digital space and owning it.
A popular method of achieving this credibility is through social selling – and there are few better places to social sell than LinkedIn.
In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of LinkedIn social selling including:
- What is social selling?
- How to optimize your LinkedIn profile
- Expanding your network on Linkedin
- What not to do in LinkedIn outreach
- What to do in LinkedIn outreach
- A brief look at Sales Navigator
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is relationship building. Today those relationships are nurtured by connecting and interacting with people on social networks. With its primary focus on professional networking – especially in the B2B space – LinkedIn is the overwhelming favorite among social networks to this end, but it may depend on your unique industry or product.
Favoring genuine interaction over more direct methods of outreach, social selling can be a passive game where a buyer and seller meet over incidental circumstances.
How to create those circumstances involves research on the part of the seller into the behavior of their buyer persona. From there, the foundation of a potential relationship is built around producing relevant content and interacting with prospects.
Ultimately, the idea is still to convert prospects into customers. It’s just with social selling you’re creating visibility for your brand by being not only an advocate but a real human being.
Below, we’ll dive into the specifics of this technique which is essential to a sales team’s overall strategy.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Social Selling
LinkedIn is still a great place for job seekers. With features such as Job Alerts and Skill Assessments, it’s a marvelous tool for those who are looking to develop their career with new work or just keep their resumé up to date.
However, as a sales professional, your profile needs to be more than a simple history of your employment.
When it comes to optimizing your profile for your prospects, it needs to be a resource for them. Buyers today will often seek to educate themselves before making a purchase.
Optimizing your profile on LinkedIn requires a balance of informative brand advocacy and original, thoughtful content.
One way to produce the most relevant content is by working the pain points of your buyer persona into your bio and posts. Your LinkedIn profile should be your story. It’s a narrative you are crafting with equal parts of your personality and the wonderful capabilities of the product.
Linkedin isn’t magic. Or if it is, its dark arts are accessible to everyone. Until now, we’ve only covered why you need to optimize your profile and shared how important it is to tell a story.
But what is some more specific, concrete advice to help your profile stand out? Let’s take a look at some of the major points:
- Headline – Lead with something captivating and original. Assuage the pain points of your buyer persona, but don’t forget to include relevant keywords and hashtags to make your profile stand out in searches.
- Video – LinkedIn loves video, and adding one in place of your profile picture is the quickest way to show there’s a real person on your side of the screen.
- Voice pronunciation of name – This is a popular feature and another dimension of authenticity (and effort, frankly) you can add to make your profile even more uniquely yours.
- Adjust your settings – Be sure to double-check under the Visibility tab that your profile is as public and as visible as possible.
- Complete your profile – This probably goes without saying, but follow LinkedIn’s path to complete your profile for best results. If you don’t use video, a professional profile pic is a must. Also, don’t neglect to fill out any job descriptions, skills, and endorsements that will help do the selling for you.
Expand Your Network On LinkedIn
First, no sales team who intends to use LinkedIn is complete without LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This invaluable tool is the foundation of prospecting on LinkedIn. We’ll get into specifics a bit later, but for now, understand that it is essential.
That said, LinkedIn by itself is a veritable sales playground. With just over 300 million active users, it is where you go to find buyers. As an intuitive and constantly updated social media platform, it provides a live view of the buying landscape.
LinkedIn has cracked down significantly on connection spamming. Simply sending hundreds of invites (with or without a note) to entire departments within a company won’t do the trick anymore.
Instead, the platform encourages you to follow someone before sending an invitation to connect. This shouldn’t change the overall strategy because to connect with key prospects you’ll still need to send the invite. Either way, following first creates visibility by sending a notification and acts as a softer approach to sending a connect and immediately sending a message.
If you don’t immediately know who the buyer is within a company, don’t be afraid to seek a referral. Some great places to check for contacts are either 2nd or 3rd-degree connections or LinkedIn’s helpful “People Also Viewed” section on the righthand side of your screen.
Expanding your network on LinkedIn isn’t as easy as it used to be, and for good reason. People are looking for more genuine connections. But there are still plenty of ways to find the right audience.
An often overlooked example is LinkedIn groups. There are few better ways to meet people than where they gather to chat about specific topics. Searching for groups related to the challenges your product helps companies overcome is an excellent way to find potential buyers.
Finally, when sending connection invites, try experimenting with notes. The jury is still out on the success rate of sending notes, so you’ll need to find what works best for you. We recommend only sending one if you have something genuine to say or are referring to a previous context. Otherwise, use your own judgment when approaching cold leads.
The Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn Outreach
Once you’ve identified your buyers start building a relationship by actively engaging with their content. Social selling on LinkedIn is playing the long game.
Ideally, you want to create rapport across mutual interests in business and life. With luck, you’ll establish a harmonious relationship where the leads come to you.
But sometimes, you just have to sell, so let’s break down some of the Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn outreach.
For the sake of ending on a positive note, let’s begin with some strategies and techniques you should avoid
- Don’t go straight for the meeting – Social selling on Linkedin is about building trust around your profile as a source of information. Your prospects are receiving dozens of messages from other sales professionals using old-school CTAs. Instead of immediately asking for a meeting, ask if they’re interested in more info. Be gentle and reasonable. Remember: long game.
- Avoid automation tools – There are several reasons for this. The most important is that LinkedIn prohibits their use and is strictly enforcing this rule. Obviously, you don’t want to get banned and ruin your professional reputation. Additionally, automation is prone to errors. Most people recognize a template, and they’ll sniff out inauthenticity, which is what we explicitly want to avoid.
- Don’t be too formal – Again, LinkedIn is at its core a social network. It may be for B2B networking, but it’s important to recognize that your prospects aren’t going to want to see block of overly formal messages in their inbox. They have email for that. Instead, be cool, keep it casual, and write like you’re texting. You can even experiment with punctuation or emojis where appropriate. Take a look at how your prospect communicates and imitate that.
Now let’s take a look at what works.
- Leverage LinkedIn video messaging – Like your profile picture, using brief video messages puts a face to the name and lets the prospect know you’re a real person on the other end of the line. You can either send one to open up the conversation or send several with one as an intro, one to explain your value proposition and one with a CTA.
- Use voice notes – Voice notes are also effective in much the same way video is. Try slipping one in as a friendly bump in your cadence to mix things up and grab their attention. These are mobile features, though, so be sure to download the LinkedIn app.
- Drop a .gif in the chat – Sending a .gif to break up the text and insert a little humor into your message a is a great way to spark the conversation. It may also help you stand out from other messages that are strictly text and too much of it.
LinkedIn offers a lot additional of flexibility in terms of messaging. For example, you can edit and delete messages or have active read receipts to know when you’re being heard.
One last thing: be sure to do your research. Personalizing your messages to each prospect is critical. Be respectful of their time by demonstrating you’ve put in yours. By personalized, we mean a message that was written for them based on the info or content they’ve shared on their profile. Bespoke, tailored messaging is the most authentic kind there is.
Social Selling With Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator brings incredible value to any sales team. As a sales intelligence platform, it’ll help you scale your efforts with a suite of features for every stage of your process.
Some of our favorites include:
- Saved leads
- Advanced lead and company search
- Lead and account alerts
- Company updates
- Job changes
A more expensive subscription can get you CRM integration with platforms like Hubspot and Salesforce, but the base tool has enough bells and whistles to deliver valuable insights by itself.
For example, with the Advanced Search function, your team can create highly filtered lists of prospects from select keywords. This includes Boolean searches to filter out keywords with operators like AND, NOT, and OR to pick out the right prospects on a more granular level.
Additionally, the searches generated with Sales Navigator can be used with tools like Seamless AI to create exportable lists for your CRM or spreadsheet.
Whether it’s exclusively for social selling on LinkedIn or outreach off the platform, using Sales Navigator to keep track of prospect activity and build custom hit lists makes it well worth the price for any growing sales team.
There’s still a time and place for smart cold calling and email, but modern-day sales requires your team to be social selling. At Sellerate, our SDRs are LinkedIn influencers in the making.
Book a call with us today to explore how our team is helping SaaS and technology leaders spearhead new opportunities both on LinkedIn and off.