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In this episode of the CPSA Sales Hacks show, we will talk about the best ways to use LinkedIn, the measurable KPIs every salesperson should know, the benefits of publishing content on LinkedIn and the advertising options available through the social media network.
Our guest on this episode of the CPSA’s Sales Hacks podcast is Andrew Jenkins, Founder and Principal of Volterra, a professional services firm that has provided social media strategy, outsourced social media management, content development and planning, and social selling training to numerous mid to large enterprises.
Listen to this episode of the CPSA Sales Hacks Podcast and discover:
* Why does LinkedIn matter?
* What are the measurable KPIs salespeople should know when embarking on a LinkedIn lead generation strategy?
* What are the benefits of paying for a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account?
* How can a salesperson use LinkedIn as part of a wider sales strategy (e.g. follow-ups post-event)?
* How can publishing content (reports, posts, announcement) on LinkedIn help to generate new interest and new leads?
Want to hear more? Check out these bonus soundbites:
* How important is a LinkedIn company page to building awareness and trust in a brand?
* How targeted can one get with paid LinkedIn ads?
* How can sales execs use LinkedIn to develop their personal brand?
Read the edited transcription:
Bill Banham: Andrew Jenkins, welcome to the Sales Hack Show.
Andrew Jenkins: Thanks for having me. Great to be here.
Bill Banham: We are talking about LinkedIn and strategies to make LinkedIn work for your company. Firstly, a pretty big question for you Andrew. Why does LinkedIn matter?
Andrew Jenkins: There's a joke that says, if you're not on LinkedIn you don't exist. I think there's an element of truth to that. I know in Canada over 50% of the white collar professionals are on LinkedIn. That percentage continues to grow. More and more people are going to LinkedIn to check out a prospect or an individual that they're either about to meet, just had a conversation with by phone, or met at a conference, or what have you. Especially because it's now well entrenched on mobile, you're at a conference, you're listening to a speaker. You could be looking them up on LinkedIn. You're on your way to a meeting and you can do a few seconds of prep beyond your regular prep. Just to, where did they work before? Who do we know mutually?
All of which will inform the conversation you're going to have with them. The other thing that I'll say is that one of the reasons it matters, or it's so important, every salesperson wants referrals and if you, over time, if you learn how to make the most of your network, you'll increase your opportunities for referrals from your existing network. You'll expand your network and therefore, expand the opportunities for referrals.
I used to work in film and television, and the only way you got work was by who you knew, but you had to call a person up and ask about whether or not they knew about a project that was coming up where you might involve yourself. Then they might say, "Give so and so a call." But until you spoke to the first person, you didn't know about the second person, until they made that introduction and mentioned the name. Well, LinkedIn makes someone's network transparent to you. Now, I don't even have to call you to know who you know. I can actually reach out to you via LinkedIn, or send you an email, or call you, but then the difference is when I speak with you, I say, "According to LinkedIn, you know so and so." Now, I can ask for the referral in a much more productive way. And depending on the strength of their relationship, I'll get a warm referral. I'm the one that drove that, rather than someone passively thinking of me and sending a referral my way. You still want those, but this puts you more in the driver's seat.
Bill Banham: What are the measurable KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, that salespeople should know when embarking on the LinkedIn lead generation strategy?
Andrew Jenkins: Well, one of the nice things about LinkedIn is that it actually gives you a KPI tool in the social selling index. Which, if you're a salesperson, just starting to really double-down on your use of LinkedIn, then you'll want to get your social selling index score, which measures how well you establish your professional brand, how well you find the right people, how well you engage with insights, and how well you build relationships. Find out your score, as of a point in time, and then track it over time to see how well you're deriving value from LinkedIn. It's like the accelerator of your car. You take your foot off the gas, your score will drop. You keep your foot on the gas, and you'll continue to build and increase your score, making connections, adding to your prospect list, and ideally closing sales.
Bill Banham: What are the benefits of paying for a LinkedIn Sales Navigator Account?
Andrew Jenkins: Especially in a case of Sales Navigator, you're able to be more productive and organize your activities. As well, you can organize accounts for a company, and then leads within that for the individual people as you might be mapping into an account, so you might have several contacts in one account. It sends you notifications when prospects are active. It's more productive, in terms of the filters that you can be more granular in your research and targeting. In broad terms, it's worth paying because it makes you more productive and enables you to derive more value.
For an individual, you're looking at approximately $1200 a year, if you're paying on a monthly basis. I don't want it to sound snarky, but if you can't get $1200 worth of value out of LinkedIn, you might not be using it in an optimal way.
Bill Banham: How can a salesperson use LinkedIn as part of a wider sales strategy? For example, using it to support follow-ups, following an event, where, perhaps, they met, or you used an example earlier, doing a bit of homework prior to a meeting to find out what are his connections.
Andrew Jenkins: Well, if I met someone at a conference, but we didn't connect right away, well, then I have an excuse to send them a note saying, "It was great meeting you at conference XYZ. I'd like to keep in touch with you," or, maybe, "Further to our conversation, here's some additional information about me, our product, or service." Maybe you want to say, "I welcome the opportunity to talk to you further about our product or service. Could we arrange a call?" Because you already have ... You're already known to them, et cetera. Why not, while the iron is still hot, strike again?
The other thing, in terms of follow-up, is that if you do connect with him on LinkedIn, maybe you want to give them a bit of time, but in between the conference and when you speak to them next, or follow-up with them, you could be paying attention to how active they are on LinkedIn, what kind of content they’re sharing. You can look at their profile, learn more about them, so that when you engage them it's a more fruitful conversation. Also, look at, do you share any mutual connections that you could talk to, to get more insight about this person before you engage them again that might help in your sales process. All of those things would be great additions to your sales strategy.
Bill Banham: Tell me about the advertising options available through LinkedIn. So, for example, tell me a bit about the targeting, the benefits, and the investment that needs to go into that to make it a worthwhile return.
Andrew Jenkins: Well, you can do sponsored content. You can do sponsored Inmail. You can do text ads and display. Each one of them, you have to make a case for which ones are most suited for your business and what you're trying to accomplish. Recently, I was getting some in mails in my inbox from Canada Post. They have an event coming up called Think Inside the Box, so it was related to that. So are you promoting an event? Are you promoting a product, or a service, a white paper, or a report? LinkedIn owns SlideShare, so some people have done, from a sponsored content point of view, they've done sponsored SlideShares. Again, like anything, what are your business objectives? What are the best means to pursue those objectives? Use that as the lens by which you decide what ad is appropriate.
There's lots of targeting capabilities within LinkedIn. Be it across groups, I mean, in mail you could be very targeted based on job titles, geographic region, interests, company size. There's a lot more refinement available to you through LinkedIn, but it can be more expensive than, perhaps, other channels that you've advertised in. But, again, it depends on if your cost of acquisition is a particular price, but the value of a sale made is substantially higher than for some companies, it won't be an issue to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on ads.
Bill Banham: Finally, to recap, please offer two to three takeaways regarding how salespeople can develop a successful LinkedIn lead generation strategy.
Andrew Jenkins: I think they should be consistent with sharing content, valuable and interesting content that's informative and educational. I think they should proactively engage their current network, but make a point of trying to grow their network. I shared the stage with a financial advisor who shared a story of how he would mine his existing network, seeking four new conversations a week, less than one a day. Over 18 months he added 200 some people to his network and $150,000 additional to his income. Again, all he was doing was being consistent and asking from his existing network for an introduction. It's not rocket science, it's just the numbers. If you're consistent by engaging, and you're consistent with the content you're sharing, you'll find a tremendous about of success from within LinkedIn.
Bill Banham: Wonderful. Andrew Jenkins thank you for being the guest today.
Andrew Jenkins: My pleasure, thanks for having me
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