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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales advice'>sales advice</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Social Selling'>Social Selling</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Social media'>Social media</a>
Marketing & Tech
Andrew Jenkins lock

Originally, LinkedIn's Social Selling Index (SSI) was only available to advertisers spending a sizable quarterly advertising budget, but thankfully the SSI has been made available to all here.

While LinkedIn has provided insights about shares, likes, and comments stemming from the content shared or authored, the SSI kicks things up a notch or two providing insights into how people are performing along four measurement criteria - establish your professional brand, find the right people, engage with insights, and build relationships.

If you have never calculated your SSI score, then do so as soon as you can to give yourself a sense of where you stand currently with the use of LinkedIn. Then track your progress as you implement efforts along the four measurement criteria.

The following will explain each in greater detail.

Establish Your Professional Brand
Think of your LinkedIn Profile from the perspective or a prospective client or business partner. Make it buyer-centric. Focus on telling your story in such a way as to convey your value proposition. Give them a reason to get in touch.

According to LinkedIn, reps who exceeded quota got 35% higher page views so make sure you complete your profile. Add rich media such as video and presentations. Share and interact with informative content. If you are up to it, write some of your own to build your thought leadership.

Seek endorsements and recommendations from clients and members of your network. Endorsements can feel like they lack value but LinkedIn ranks profiles higher in search results because of them so ask people to endorse skills for which you want to rank highly.

Find The Right People
According to LinkedIn:

  • Sales reps who exceed quota engage on LinkedIn with their prospects 39% more than other sales professionals
  • Reps that exceed quota saved 45% more leads than those who don't
  • Sales reps who viewed the profiles of at least ten people at each of their accounts were 69% more likely to exceed quota

Leverage the filters and other features available with premium accounts to be more productive with your use of LinkedIn and to better target key decision makers.

Ask for warm referrals to second level connections from your existing network.  Join groups to make indirect connections through common interests.  Engage people who view your profile in conversation and see where it leads. You never know what will happen.

Engage with Insights
According to LinkedIn:

  • Nearly 64% of B2B buyers report that they appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business
  • You are 70% more likely to get an appointment or an unexpected sale if you are a member in LinkedIn Groups
  • Reps that exceed quota get 74% more engagement on their posts than those that don't exceed quota

With all the content available, it is easy to find relevant articles that can be helpful and informative to your audience. Do it consistently to establish yourself as a trusted and reliable source of valuable content.

Leverage LinkedIn Pulse or trending topics on Twitter, Facebook and more to find timely content to keep you and your network up to date.

Comment on content your network and prospects share. Add value to discussion groups. Don't sell. Be helpful and constructive with your comments.

If you don't have time to write a lengthy article, then share an article and preface it with why you did or didn't like it, what was interesting, or what others will find valuable. Use articles as a way to connect or remain top of mind with prospects. It still helps establish your thought leadership and people will appreciate your added commentary. People trust recommendations from their network so use it to your advantage.

Customize your messages to make them more personal when engaging them by leveraging things you learned about them from their profile or their activity online.

Build Relationships
According to LinkedIn:

  • 73% of B2B buyers prefer sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know
  • 87% of B2B buyers said they would have a favorable impression of a salesperson who was introduced to them through someone in their professional network
  • Buying decisions now typically include 5.4 decision makers

While having quality connections are important, the larger the network you build will result in more prospects you will be able to access through introductions and referrals.

Do not rely on just one connection within large organizations. Build your network of influence by establishing multiple connections with decision makers within target accounts.

Leverage internal connections with your colleagues to surface potential referral sources. An internal connection may reveal a direct path to a key decision maker or an insider at a target account.

Do not try to close a prospect when you initially connect. While it is ultimately about making a sale, in the end, do not forget that it is about establishing and building a valuable relationship over time. Nurture relationships by being helpful with information and solutions to help with your client's or prospect's business challenges. Those relationships should bear fruit in a multitude of ways.

Your SSI score is not static, so you need to calculate initially for a baseline of your current status. You need to check it periodically as you implement the recommendations provided above. Be prepared to lose ground if you have a period where you are less active.

Your goal should be to implement the recommendations above in a manageable way for you. They are meant to complement your sales efforts - not replace them. Do what you can manage and make incremental progress. Don't try to boil the ocean all at once. Good luck and good selling!

About the Author
Andrew JenkinsAndrew Jenkins is 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. Andrew has spent the last twenty years working in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spanning social media, wireless, and e‐business throughout North America and Europe. He has been identified as a social selling expert and has been featured in LinkedIn marketing campaigns, most recently as one of ten Canadian success stories. He speaks regularly at conferences and events about social media and social selling. He is a member of the Board of the Direct Marketing Association of Canada. He holds a BA in Economics from Laurentian University, a BFA in Film Production from York University, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He also taught entrepreneurship at OCAD University and currently teaches Digital Strategy at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.

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