If you want to succeed in today’s modern selling environment, you have to accept that the power lies in the customer’s hands.
Our access to information has drastically increased in the last couple of decades, and customers are taking full advantage of the availability of objective data to form their own opinions and beliefs about the options at their fingertips. Buyers have never been more in control of their purchasing decisions, with the product being the only variable that sellers can adjust.
The impact of this change is especially felt by B2B sellers. In the past, buyers would, upon discovering a need for a particular product or solution, reach out to different companies to get information about their offerings, their features, and their prices. Conversely, sellers can easily cold call decision-makers and help them uncover a need they did not know existed.
But this isn’t the case anymore. In fact, most of the B2B buying process is performed out of the seller’s sight, with buyers doing their own research digitally via online content and social media, specifically on LinkedIn.
Social selling on LinkedIn: the key to B2B sales success
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social networking site, with over 800M members across 200 countries. This makes it the perfect platform for social selling, with nearly endless opportunities to generate leads and referrals, prospect efficiently, and build relationships with your customers.
Social selling success on LinkedIn hinges on the sellers’ application of both outbound and inbound strategies. This is the only way to achieve undisputable results that could be felt across the entire organization.
Outbound social selling strategies
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “sales”?
Chances are you’re probably imagining a sales rep reaching out to a customer to promote their product or service, maybe through a phone call or via a meeting. This is exactly what outbound sales is: The process in which the seller initiates communication with a prospective buyer via sales activities such as emailing, cold calling, or social selling.
While outbound selling methods are clearly effective—that’s how sales reps have been meeting their quota for years—it’s not enough if you want to surpass your sales goals. You can make the most of your outbound sales efforts by strategically targeting only the accounts with the highest likelihood of conversion.
Still, this isn’t enough to be successful in sales. The best sellers complement their outbound sales techniques with inbound sales methods. This turns them into lead magnets, attracting customers in their sleep.
Inbound social selling strategies
Turning your LinkedIn profile into a lead magnet requires a strong, carefully crafted personal brand. Your personal brand should show that you are an active participant in your industry, thus establishing your authority and knowledge. Do it right, and expect to reap its benefits—the most notable of which is an increase in the inquiries you’ll get from prospects.
To achieve this, the first thing you need to do is to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
How to optimize your LinkedIn profile
An updated, optimized LinkedIn profile can boost the reputation of any professional, but it’s especially helpful for people in sales and marketing. It adds credibility to both you and your company and helps you reach a broader audience.
Ready to revamp your LinkedIn presence? Start with the following areas of your profile
1. Your Profile Photo and Background Photo
Your photo is the first thing that people notice when they visit your profile. Upload a high-resolution, well-lit headshot, preferably one where you’re smiling to give a friendly, approachable impression. While you’re at it, update your background photo to indicate your professional brand. Remember, first impressions last—so you better make sure your photo creates a positive impact.
2. Your Headline
Your headline is where you can highlight what you do and how you can help your customers. Use action-based keywords to project confidence and authority, and use terms that clearly define your role and contributions.
3. Your About/Summary Section
Your summary should complement your headline, adding more details about how you can help your customers win. Use this section to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Try not to exceed 150 words—any longer, and it’ll be tedious to read.
4. Your Recommendations
Recommendations serve as social proof of what you have written in your Headline and About sections. For customer-facing roles, a minimum of five recommendations would be ideal.
5. Your Activity
This is where your profile’s visitors can see your perspectives about your industry. Share relevant content, comment on your connections’ news, and engage with posts that resonate with you—these simple actions go a long way in showing that you’re an active, contributing member of your online community.
A strong LinkedIn presence is necessary to survive and thrive in today’s modern, cutthroat B2B sales environment. The sooner you accept this, the faster your revenue team can meet quotas, grow pipeline, and maximize profitability.
The easiest way to strengthen your LinkedIn presence is by optimizing your profile.
Upload clear profile photos that reflect your personality, write a headline that shows your professional capabilities and include a personal summary that sheds more light on your accomplishments. Don’t forget to post and share content regularly, and ask for recommendations from people whom you have worked with.