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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Management'>Sales Management</a>
Marketing & Tech
Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech show we'll discuss current tactics and top tips to help sales pros get more from LinkedIn. Listen in to hear ways to improve your chances of being found on the world’s biggest professional networking site, ways to promote your message and the key performance indicators associated with using LinkedIn as part of your lead generation strategy.

Our guest is Sarah Zeldman, social media trainer, speaker and trusted consultant for a wide variety of businesses and organizations.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech Podcast and discover:

* What have been some of the changes to LinkedIn in the past twelve months of which Salespeople need to be aware?
* How can one create an effective executive profile that gets noticed?
* Have LinkedIn ads improved? If so, how?
* What are the KPIs leaders must know when assessing and directing LinkedIn sales and marketing activities?

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* What's the difference between endorsements and recommendations and how can salespeople leverage each?
* How can salespeople turn connections into customers?
* How can one efficiently connect on LinkedIn with the people who matter to their sales funnel?

Read the edited transcription:

Bill Banham: In this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech Show, we'll discuss current tactics and top tips to help sales pros get more from LinkedIn. Listen in to hear ways to improve your chances of being found on the world's biggest professional networking site, ways to promote your message, and the key performance indicators associated with using LinkedIn as part of your lead generation strategy. Our guest today is Sarah Zeldman, social media trainer, speaker, and trusted consultant. Sarah Zeldman, welcome to the show.

Sarah Zeldman: Thank you, I'm really excited to be back.

Bill Banham: Sarah, what have been some of the big changes to LinkedIn in the past 12 months of which sales people will need to be aware?

Sarah Zeldman: Well, if we're going to the last 12 months, the entire user interface changed in January, so the look and the navigation bar is completely different, and unfortunately we lost some of the great features of the free account, like the ability to tag and take notes in the free account. You can still have that with Sales Navigator, and there's actually a little known Chrome extension called Dux-Soup that will help you get that back. But the free account can still be useful to salespeople and professionals, especially if you're just going to be a light user, if you know how to use it.

Hashtags is another big change. You can now use hashtags on LinkedIn, and this is really useful when you want your posts on certain topics to be seen by a wider audience, and you want to follow what people are talking about on subjects that are regularly discussed on LinkedIn. This can lead to new opportunities, new conversations, so that is a really interesting development I think.

Finally, LinkedIn Video. For a long time you've been able to use LinkedIn Video on your profile on LinkedIn Publisher and in updates. Not a lot of people knew that or were actually using it. Now, you can even do native video through LinkedIn's mobile app, and like I said, not a lot of people use this, so it's great to help you stand out and make a more personal connection. When you're posting video, as with normal updates, be sure to add links and tag people if you mention them, and use the relevant hashtags.

Bill Banham: Perfect, thank you very much. Now, let's focus a moment on the profile page on LinkedIn. Does that still matter so much, and if it does, what are some of your top tips to ensure that it's optimized so people can find you and hopefully do some business?

Sarah Zeldman: That profile is as critical as it always was, but it's critical not to treat it as a resume. It's actually quite different now. The most important thing is that headline space, that space right under your name, most people just put their job title there, but that's a huge missed opportunity. That section is like a billboard that you use to draw your target customer in to want to learn more about you. You have 120 characters to make yourself stand out to your target customer and make them want to read the rest of your profile. Think about who your target customer is, the problem you help them solve, and create a headline that speaks directly to that.

Bill Banham: Fantastic, thank you very much. Now, another way to potentially get in front of folk on LinkedIn is by buying it through ads. How are they doing these days? Are they improved, if so, how have LinkedIn ads improved, and is it a good investment?

Sarah Zeldman: That's a really good question. Yeah, ads initially I saw both in the research and my own experience with my clients that they weren't working so great, but they have made some changes that look very promising. For example, they've created matched audiences, which is retargeting ads based on your website visitors, or on certain accounts, or contacts. That looks very promising, also the lead generation forms look promising.

As for their effectiveness, I think the jury is still out. I'm not seeing a lot of articles in my field about companies that are rocking it with LinkedIn ads, I wish I were. Really the only place you see these stories are on the LinkedIn blogs, and obviously they're showcasing the ones that work because they have a vested interest in it. In looking at what is working, however, it's clear that the ads are highly strategized both in terms of the creative, what faces the customer, and the targeting. It's not as simple as placing an ad in a newspaper for a consumer item. You've really, don't just expect to place an ad and sell your widget. You really have to strategize those ads if you want to use them.

One final thought. These ads are expensive, so really the only companies that should consider using them are ones that sell either high value B2B products and services, like generally speaking if an average size deal is like $15,000 or more, then it's worth considering and worth testing, or if you're recruiting somebody, because if you really need someone to fill a position, and if you really have a hole in your organization, then you're wasting time, and money, and energy by not having the right person in that position. So, if it's a really high value recruit, then I can see possibly using LinkedIn ads for that.

Bill Banham: Part of your role is you teach leaders how to know enough so that they can effectively manage their team's LinkedIn marketing activities. I'd love to hear from you what are some of those key performance indicators that leaders must know when assessing and directing LinkedIn sales and marketing activities?

Sarah Zeldman: For social selling, often you want to attract the number of the leads, the quality of the connections, the interactions that are happening, the engagement, and ultimately our goal is to take the communication off of LinkedIn with a phone call, an email, or an in person meeting, so you want to track those results as well. You also want to consider the opportunity cost of engaging online as opposed to just looking at the ROI in isolation.

Bill Banham: Just finally, to recap, what are your top two or three LinkedIn tactics which are working best today?

Sarah Zeldman: One of the tactics that is really working well, which is those longer Publisher posts, those seem to be the most shared and will gain followers. Another great tactic is something that anyone can do, I find it works great, which is to network on the site by simply liking, commenting, and sharing on other people's posts. This really starts and builds relationships.

Finally, I'd like to share one strategy that I created that I have found works really, really well, creates many conversations, and leads to clients for me. When I receive an invitation to connect from somebody that I don't know, I'll check out their profile and I'll make sure that it doesn't look spammy, but most of the time I will accept it, and then right away I will send them a message. The content of the message is this: "Hi Susan, thanks for reaching out to me here on LinkedIn. I was wondering is there something I can help you with or did you just want to stay connected for the future?"

That last question is what I like to call the magic question, and I get one of three responses. Sometimes people say, "Just want to stay connected for the future, thanks." Great, no problem, no pressure, but now I already stand out from all the other invitations to connect that they sent to other people. Nobody else really responds this way.

The second answer is the one you're looking for when people say, "Well, actually I was wondering, I have a question," and then since I'm an independent consultant, I say, "Great, you know I'd be happy to offer you a complimentary 20 minute phone consultation to discuss your questions," and now I'm taking the conversation to the next level, and I've gotten many clients this way.

Finally, you get the third response. I've had people try to date me, try to convert me, and nice Nigerian princes that want to fill my bank account with money for some reason, and in that case, if you get any kind of response that you're uncomfortable with, just simply, there's a ... I think it used to be under the "More" tab, I think now it's three little dots, click there, and click "Report spam" and you're done. Don't worry about getting spammy responses. If you do, you can just report the spam and you're done.

Those are my three top tips of strategies and tactics that are still, they're very basic, you can do them even with a free account and they're still working today.

Bill Banham: Fantastic, and that just leaves me to say, Sarah Zeldman, thank you for being the guest today.

Sarah Zeldman: It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me.


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