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In this first of a two part June 2017 SalesProChat interview, Shanna Landolt will take us through the paid-for options from LinkedIn and when each could be applicable in your career. Shanna will also provide tips on how to complement LinkedIn with the use of other social selling tools such as Twitter and Facebook.
The free version of LinkedIn provides sales professionals with essential ways to build their professional identity online, stay in touch with colleagues, clients and leads, and discover professional opportunities.
LinkedIn also offers premium services including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, one of the most popular social selling tools on the market. What extra benefits can a salesperson get from a LinkedIn subscription? What are other the options? What’s the ROI? Should sales pros use different accounts at different stages of their careers?
Shanna Landolt has worked in Executive Search for almost 20 years. She has been featured on NBC, FOX and City TV and CTV and she has been cited by CBS and ABC as a LinkedIn Expert and Job Search / Career Expert. Shanna is also the #1 international best-selling author of the book LinkedIn Secrets From a Top Executive Recruiter.
Bill Banham: Shanna Landolt, welcome to the June 2017 SalesProChat Podcast.
Shanna Landolt: Bill, thanks so much for having me here. I'm excited because I love talking about LinkedIn.
Bill Banham: Well, I'm very lucky listeners, to get a chance to chat to Shanna again about LinkedIn. This is hot on the heels of a recent release of an interview that Shanna and I did together a little while back which looks at the free versus paid versions of LinkedIn. But today, we're gonna focus on just the paid options, really. What those different features and what those different account types look like. Shanna, let's jump straight in. Firstly, can you tell us some ways to optimize your profile, regardless of the account type.
Shanna Landolt: Okay, well I could talk for hours about that but I'm gonna give you just some quick tips. First of all, with the new interface on LinkedIn with a brand new homepage, one of the things that's changed is it's no longer your summary that is really seen but it's your current job that's seen. So what's important is in the very first two lines of your summary, put a way for people to reach you. If you're in sales what's important is that your customers or potential customers and prospects can actually call you back or reach out to you. I recommend for everyone in sales, put your work number or your cell phone number, put your email address, and then one sentence about the value that you provide for your customer and the difference that you make.
So here you've got to think not from what makes you great, but what is it that your customer wants. Then Bill, it's important that you use all of that summary, even though most of it is hidden. What I'm going to recommend that you do is use this area as space to really put in the appropriate technical language and keywords that matter when somebody's determining if they want to do business with you.
The next thing I'm gonna say is make sure that you have a vanity URL or personalized LinkedIn address. So when you sign up for LinkedIn, they just give you an automatic address with your name and a bunch of numbers and letters after it, you can customize that so it's specifically your name and then have that put on your business card.
The final thing that I'm gonna say just because I know we have a lot to talk about in terms of the different LinkedIn programs that are available is to make sure that you have a great picture. I know that sounds so obvious but I'm on LinkedIn all day long and people have the worst pictures. Make sure that your picture looks like you in a professional capacity. It shouldn't be something that you would have on Facebook. Make sure that it's just you, I'm gonna tell you to take the background of the photo and get it photoshopped white to match LinkedIn. The reason I'm saying that is the real estate now for your picture is so small that you really want to make sure that you stand out. We all know a picture's worth a thousand words so make sure that that photo, that you're smiling, that you look professional, because people will determine whether they want to do business with you by your photo.
One last thing, I know I said that was the last point but one last thing, make sure that you put 50 skills on your LinkedIn profile but I don't want you to think of skill as skills. I want you to put things like the names of the products that you represent. The names of the customer groups that you work with. Think of skills, instead, as the top 50 keywords that you would imagine a client or prospect looking if they were searching for you. If you have those skills, all 50 skills, you're way more likely to be found on LinkedIn than if you don't have those skills. It really, really is important.
Bill Banham: Wow. It sounds like LinkedIn's become a lot more complicated?
Shanna Landolt: It has and in fact I should give a statistic. You're 13 times more likely to get viewed if you have 50 skills. So what's gotten more complicated about LinkedIn is just understanding how the algorithm works and understanding how to write your LinkedIn profile with search engine optimization in mind. Don't think of your LinkedIn profile like an online version of your resume. Instead, think of it like a one page website that markets what you do. You don't even have to have your exact job title, I recommend that people put two or three titles in their title line that really describe the value that they bring. If they were in sales and they're an account manager, put what kinds of accounts you manage. The more detail you can put, the better.
Bill Banham: Is this something that a sales person could go to their marketing team and ask them, what are the key words that perhaps we wouldn't expect or be the first assumptions which perhaps we could plug into our LinkedIn profiles to get us found by more of the right types of people?
Shanna Landolt: They could go to their marketing team but I also would invite a sales person to talk to their customers and say hey listen, if you were searching for me, what key words would you use? Or if you were looking to validate that I was the right supplier for you or the right sales person or our company was the right vendor for you, what words matter? What key words matter? You can ask that of a client that you've got a good relationship with. Don't ask brand new people that you're just starting to work with. But if you've got a relationship with somebody and can ask them, that information's going to be very valuable.
Bill Banham: Let's now start our review of the various paid options within LinkedIn. We're gonna start by looking at Sales Navigator. This tool promises to generate leads and builds ones clientele. Tell us a little bit about Sales Navigator and what are some of those benefits?
Shanna Landolt: Great. Well before I go into the benefits Bill, what I do want to say is if you work in sales and you prospect, you must have a paid version. Do not go with the free version. If your company thinks that you can go with the free version, that's like putting handcuffs on you so that you can't actually sell. LinkedIn is an extremely effective prospecting tool so make sure that you have at least one of the paid versions. Most people, unless they're a recruiter, are going to have a choice between either the premium version or Sales Navigator.
So if we look at sales, and ultimately sales is about building relationships, and Sales Navigator's designed for sales professionals. It helps you to get information and build trust before you even have that initial conversation. What I think is the most valuable part of Sales Navigator is that it works like a CRM. You can save leads, you can create a sales lead list, so that you're focusing on buyers that matter. You can schedule when you want to reach out to them, you can have reminders for follow ups. Now the sales tool also has a sophisticated algorithm, it gives you lead recommendations that are tailored. Now, in my experience of working with LinkedIn, the truth is you're going to know better than LinkedIn who your clients prospect list is.
While that algorithm is sophisticated, I ultimately think you're going to have to sort through it and some of them will be valid and some of them won't. But it does give you sales insights for more effective selling and will help you to stay informed and up to date on contacts and account so it will reach out to you and let you know when people that you're targeting have changed roles or if there's new information.
That information really let's you know more about the people that you're prospecting and the company that you're prospecting. It allows you to research the people that you would like to sell to before you call so that you're not calling and asking for random information, you're calling having done your homework. It allows for you to basically get that research done, get that follow up, and do it very, very seamlessly.
Bill Banham: How much more powerful is the research that you can get from LinkedIn compared to the other popular social media tools, Twitter and Facebook particularly? In terms of the segmentation when you're trying to drill down to find particular company sizes, industry types, job tie tools, geographies, all of these sorts of things. How much does that outshine the other options?
Shanna Landolt: If you're in a business to business sales role, it completely outshines the other options. LinkedIn is phenomenal for business to business sales. If you're doing business to consumer, then I would tell you to take a look at Facebook, for example. In terms of research, I think ultimately with LinkedIn what you're doing is you're saving time. You're not having to go onto three or four different platforms because you're seeing what individuals and companies are saying about themselves.
Bill Banham: Let's talk about a paid version that you would be pretty familiar with, Recruiter Lite. How does it work and how can it help recruiters and companies find and hire talent that's going to succeed within a company?
Shanna Landolt: Okay. If you look at the recruiter versions there's basically the Robust Recruiter platform and there's Recruiter Lite. Recruiter Lite is really for solo recruiters or solo hiring HR professionals. Why I say that is the more Robust version of Recruiter allows for you to share information with your colleagues and share projects with your colleagues and that's the biggest differentiation between the two of them. 75 percent of recruiters say they're more successful with the Recruiter products. You get 30 in mails per month, to engage with top talent. All of that is great, you get to save your project list. You can access those people very, very easily.
The difference though, in expense, is interesting because Recruiter Lite is just over $100 a month whereas the Robust Recruiter package is in between that $450, $500 range. That could be per person. It can get quite expensive. If you are an individual recruiter or a recruiter that does not need to share information with other recruiters or if you're a hiring manager that does not need to share information with somebody else on your team, then the Recruiter Lite is perfect.
Bill Banham: If I'm a sales manager and I have a Sales Navigator account but I need to go on a bit of a hiring spree over the next month, how straight forward is it to swap from one to another? Could I jump from the Sales Navigator to [crosstalk 00:11:05].
Shanna Landolt: If you're a sales manager and you need to hire, just use your Sales Navigator account, don't switch at all. Truthfully the only people that need the recruiter products are people who are recruiting. The Sales Navigator is not very different from the recruiter products. It's probably more similar than different. It's just that LinkedIn is targeting recruiters and targeting salespeople. But the differentiation in what can be done with either of those products is not, it's not incredibly different. A sales manager would not need to purchase a second platform.
Bill Banham: Now let's move onto another burden of LinkedIn that perhaps sales people do need to use at one point in their career and that's the Premium Career account. Because this account, to the best of my knowledge, is used to get hired and get ahead.
Shanna Landolt: Right.
Bill Banham: Can you provide me with an overview of how powerful it is and how sales pros can use it to find their next career role?
Shanna Landolt: Okay so where I'm going to recommend this is let's say that you've been downsized or let go from your company and you're in a job search and you're unemployed. That is where you absolutely want to get the Premium Career account.
Otherwise just keep your Sales Navigator account or your premium account as opposed to the Premium Business account as opposed to the Premium Career account. Candidates with the Premium Career account get hired an average of two times as fast. They get to direct message recruiters which is fantastic, and you can reach out directly to any recruiter or job poster with three in mail credits.
Now, I'm going to give you a little work around here because three in mail credits is not very much. Here's the workaround. You can join a hundred groups on LinkedIn. For each group that you join, the members of those groups unless they're already a first degree or second-degree connection, they become a third-degree connection for you. If you're in a group and the person that you're prospecting is also in that same group, you can then send them a message on LinkedIn and you can send up to 15 of those messages for free every month. So that would now take you from three in mail credits up to being able to send 18 messages.
Then the other thing that you can do is send connection requests and say why you're wanting to connect and then actually send the inmail after that or the message after that. The other thing that's great is you can see who's viewed your profile. Let's say for example, you've sent your resume to a company. Being able to see that their HR person or their sales manager has looked at your profile gives you confidence that they at least know who you are. You can see who's viewed you in the last 90 days and how they found you.
The other thing that allows you to do is most to the top of recruiters lists. If you have applied to something through LinkedIn job, you'll move to the top of that list. You'll see how you compare to other candidates who are looking at similar roles. It's absolutely valuable. You also get instant access to salary information which is important as well.
Bill Banham: Let's look at premium business. Perhaps this would be a good option for a client facing professionals within maybe smaller organizations. Maybe you also do some of the sales but they need slightly different information to what they get within Sales Navigator. Would you agree with that?
Shanna Landolt: Sales Navigator is still going to be better than premium business. If you look at the difference in cost, I would rather have somebody use Recruiter Lite than Premium Business or Sales Navigator than Premium Business. The reason for that is you can create projects and lists of who you're targeting and set follow up dates.
You can't do that with Premium Business. What happens with the Premium Businesses account is you get more inmails, you get an average of six time more profile views, you can contact anyone on LinkedIn even if you're not connected. You can see who's viewed you in the last 90 days but what you're missing is the ability to create a project and use LinkedIn like a CRM. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend the Premium Business tool.
Bill Banham: One of the things you do get more of with the Premium are the inmails. How valuable are they in 2017, Shanna? Do they still have the same impact they had a couple of years ago?
Shanna Landolt: They do. I use in mail all the time for my business. In mail for whatever reason, gets read more than email. People take their LinkedIn accounts very seriously still. Even though you'd think in this day of social media where we're inundated, what's important though is you have to be thinking about relationship. You have to be thinking about what is in it for that other person. If your messages all fail, fail, fail, fail, it'll get read and deleted quickly. You've got to use the information that your prospect puts on their LinkedIn account to build a relationship and give value first and then start to ask for those meetings.
Now unless you're clear that you have something that is so valuable that people will want it. Because we get sales messages all the time, every where. If we're walking down the street, if we're watching television, if we're on the internet, we get sales messages everywhere. If the inmail that you're sending just screams like a sales message, it will have less value than if it's more of a personal relationship building step first. I'll give you an analogy, Bill. It's like somebody asking you out on a date before they even got to know anything about you.
Bill Banham: You would not accept.
Shanna Landolt: No, you'd be like what? What are you doing? Create the relatedness and the relationship first and then ask for the meeting.
Bill Banham: Okay. Now let's talk a pretty tool which helps professionals improve existing skills and learn new ones. That's LinkedIn Learning. Can you tell me a bit what that tool is and what it does?
Shanna Landolt: Sure. Essentially what happens is LinkedIn purchased an online course platform called Lynda.com. Lynda.com is very similar to Udemy. Some people pronounce it Udemy, some people pronounce it Udemy. But Lynda.com was a course platform where people who had content could create courses, put them on Lynda, and Lynda would act as a sales channel. LinkedIn is essentially looking for more ways to earn revenue because they earn revenue from their advertising from their recruiter packages, from their navigator packages for sales professionals. Most people though, have a free LinkedIn account. By purchasing Lynda.com and having LinkedIn Learning, now what it gives them is something to sell to people who would automatically just have that free account. There's a lot of great course content on there. A lot of learning now, is not happening in colleges and universities but it's happening online. If you haven't checked it out yet, go check it out. You'll find some really great courses.
Bill Banham: Before we wrap up, how can our listeners learn more about you?
Shanna Landolt: People can go to my website.
Bill Banham: Well that just leaves me to say, Shanna Landolt, thank you very much for being the guest on SalesProChat today. Until next time, happy selling.