Archive | Lead generation

Outbound lead generation – overlap with social prospecting

LinkedIn Lead Generation Foundations

If you don’t want to build on sand it’s essential to put the right LinkedIn Lead Generation Foundations in place.

The reasons for this are many, including:

  • avoid being qualified out by potential customers – if your profile and page are weak
  • engage with potential customers who have a look at your profile – whatever the route they found your profile
  • be easy to refer on, by customers, peers, network colleagues and more
  • invest in your profile, market position and network for the long term – you never know when you might need it!

Your daily routine already includes answering the phone, checking email and opening the post. As more buyers use Social Media to find suppliers, and your activities online and offline create interest, many people, including potential clients, will have a look at your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s a quick guide to the LinkedIn Lead Generation foundations that will underpin many if not all of your lead generation, business development and sales activities.

The LinkedIn Social Selling Index

There are mixed views about the SSI, but I’m a strong advocate of its merits at the foundation level.

If you’ve not come across the SSI before, it’s a quick, easy and free online calculation that LinkedIn provides.

Get your SSI Score for Free here

A high score in itself does not guarantee lead generation success, but it’s a very useful progress tracker.

In particular the FOUR areas that make up the Index are of good value, to identify where time and attention should be allocated.

1. Establish your professional brand

Complete your profile with the customer in mind.

For lead generation, be clear who your ideal customer or client is, and especially what their questions, issues and aspirations are.

It can be a time saving and a way to achieve a better result if you work with a specialist to develop your profile.

2. Find the right people

Identify better prospects in less time using efficient search and research tools.

With 500m+ user profiles and 12m+ company pages it’s relatively easy to identify people and companies using Search.

There are ways to accelerate the process, by building a larger network of 1st Connections and using LinkedIn Premium Services for example.

3. Engage with insights

Discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships.

This is an ideal way to raise your profile as a specialist, having first decided what your specialist topic is going to be.

By sharing on-topic content from quality sources that others will Like, Comment on and Share you will stay visible to existing contacts and attract new contacts.

4. Build relationships

Strengthen your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision makers.

Relationships with decision-makers don’t reliably start and develop by chance, although there are always exceptions.

Having a contact plan for decision-makers and other influential people is the way forward to make LinkedIn a reliable source of quality leads and referrals.

The Fortune is in the Follow-up

Maybe your value proposition and message is so compelling that people beat a path to your door, desperate to pay you lots of money for what you do.

More likely they may look at your profile, comment on your articles and updates, or just lurk in the shadows.

Developing a routine to follow-up is the way to avoid missing opportunities that come by.

This primarily means reaching out to people who look at your profile – looking at their profile, and finding a way to make contact.

LinkedIn Lead Generation Foundations short-cuts

If only there was a silver bullet that would magically increase results, increase lead quality and save time.

In truth the best short-cut is in the preparation, specifically in 3 areas:

Identify your Identity

Be clear about your value to prospects, your track record and evidence of delivery

And consider this in 3 parts -Your Personal Brand, Your Products and Services and your Company – even if you’re not responsible for all 3.

Master your Market

Clarity about who your ideal client really is, what they are looking for, when and why.

Who they associate with, look up to, are influenced by, and where they congregate

Be Systematic about Lead Generation

The foundation level is an ongoing activity to regularly use LinkedIn – 3-5 times a week if not daily

 

This is where the SSI really pays off, as it encourages the right activity, although we do need to take action to capture leads by reaching out to people appropriately.

 

LinkedIn Lead Generation Foundations Review

Many people find it helpful to talk through LinkedIn and lead Generation with a specialist. This increases clarity, confidence and results, and saves time in the learning process and in doing the wrong things or even doing the right things badly.

Why not book a review call with me, Mark Stonham, today and let’s talk soon.

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Referral Marketing – Encouraging people to Recommend you

Referral Marketing and Customer AppreciationReferral Marketing is one of the most powerful lead generation techniques for people running smaller businesses.

It’s like having an unpaid sales team out there, listening out for signs from their clients and contacts. Personal recommendation makes the sales process much smoother.

It’s easy to overlook the potential for referrals through LinkedIn. And there are major benefits for people who put a little time and effort in to boost their online referrals position.

Who is more likely to provide Referrals?

Lets start with satisfied and delighted customers. They have already gone through the Know, Like and Trust journey, and made a commitment to you and your business. A little bit of effort in the post-sale period using LinkedIn to create a public win:win situation will pay huge dividends.

Then there are those who offer complementary services. They may well have clients who are your ideal customers. It may help them to develop relationships and protect their clients if they introduce an ally. There is also a reciprocal aspect, where they may look to you for an introduction in return.

Then there are people who recognise your expertise and are willing to put a good word in for you when the opportunity arises.

How can people provide referrals?

Ideally this is happening out of sight as it were, and your name is being mentioned by many people although for the large part you are unaware it’s happening. The first you may know is when the prospect gets in touch and mentions that so-and-so gave them your name. Sometimes this is visible in LinkedIn, when people say they are looking for a supplier and they ask for recommendations.

Taking a more pro-active approach, you may be looking for a way into a company or to an individual. And through LinkedIn there are suggested links of people you both know. From this you could ask for an introduction, or a specific referral to that person.

And in a low-key way, when people like, comment and share your status updates and articles there’s an implied referral aspect, or endorsement going on.

How can we encourage referrals?

Delivering an excellent service is the starting point. Satisfied clients may refer, whereas dissatisfied customers won’t refer, and may put out negative messages generally or specifically.

Having a well written LinkedIn Profile will make the referral process easier. And if the profile makes it clear not just who an ideal client is but also the circumstances for a referral so much the better.

And then being visible through activity on Linkedin is pretty important. Staying front of mind will prompt people to refer us, rather than stay silent or refer someone else.

There’s also an approach that starts sowing the seeds for referrals from the first contact with a potential client. It’s much easier to ask for a referral if it’s not a surprise at the end of the sales process, part way through, or in various other ways.

Next Steps to develop referral marketing

Showing appreciation and reciprocating with people who have previously give referrals is a good move.

Identifying other people who could be encouraged to provide referrals is another step.

And for more suggestions, and guidance on how to develop a referral marketing channel appropriate for your business and situation, why not book a call with me, Mark Stonham, below.
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Article Marketing – how to generate leads with articles in LinkedIn

Wurlwind Educational Content Article Marketing Graphic

The Internet has allowed everyone to become a publisher, including on LinkedIn, but it needs some smart article marketing techniques to stand out, get read, and convert readers into leads.

LinkedIn Article Marketing Challenges

There are many challenges when it comes to achieving a reasonable return when publishing articles in LinkedIn, including:

  1. Not all of our connections will see the article. There is a double whammy here. Firstly your connections who LinkedIn notifies may not be active on LinkedIn when the article is published. And secondly, LinkedIn doesn’t present every article to all of our connections.
  2. Reader time and attention is very limited. We filter out so much content these days. Articles really need to stand-out to grab attention.
  3. Relationships matter – LinkedIn detects who we have a ‘relationship’ with and presents our content (or not) accordingly. So, we need to have good relationships with people in LinkedIn, as this affects the distribution, and also the inclination of people to read.
  4. Getting people to engage and comment and Like an article is difficult. It is doubly so if the piece is heavily sales or lead generation oriented – a so-called click-bait article. People will be reluctant to comment if they are seen to be sharing very sales oriented content.

For individuals and smaller businesses it is hard to compete against large companies, agencies and people like celebrities with large followings. However there are ways to improve results.

Six Article Marketing fundamentals

Success comes from careful planning, as well as thorough execution.

  1. The Topic

Give this very careful thought. Research what your reader / prospect will be interested in. Especially think about the business issue(s) that are giving them some concern. By picking an ‘evergreen’ topic the article should have long-term value, and be a sales asset that you can still signpost people to and promote 1, 2, 3 years from now. Beware of self-promotional topics, and those that are trending topics or hyper topical, as they are likely to date very quickly.

2. The Reader Journey

I’m a big fan of The Challenger Sale, and one of their premises is to “Lead prospects TO your solution”, rather than to “Lead with your solution”. The Six Step Sales Choreography of Warmer, Reframe, Rational Drowning, Emotional Impact, The New Way and Your Solution, can be applied to articles just as much as to presentations. It’s a gentle but effective way to lead readers TO the next step, typically going to your website.

3. The pay-off

Again, from Challenger Sale, they refer to Educational Marketing. Provide the reader with some value that will help them to do their job better. Accept that very few people will click through, and make sure that even those who don’t click feel that there was a good return for the 2-5 minutes they invested to read your article. Even better, provide value so that they are prepared to share it with others.

4. The Article

You’ll need a headline with impact, a powerful header image, an engaging first paragraph, additional images, quotes etc. Use of Sub-headings, lists etc. make it easier to scan. There are probably a dozen styles to choose from – insight, case study, listicle, compilation, how-to, and so-on. A good friend of mine – Tony Coll – has coined the CHORTLE pneumonic to build emotional impact into articles.

5. The Promotion

Having invested time in writing the article it then deserves to be promoted. Unfortunately relying on organic traffic and viewers in LinkedIn is unlikely to achieve much. In a similar way that books on Amazon need to be promoted so too do Articles in LinkedIn. So, view this as a positive activity, as you send requests to advocates and colleagues to comment, you email your list to highlight the new article, schedule several status updates on various social media, and so on.

6. The Follow-through

Hopefully people will be commenting, in which case reply to each comment in LinkedIn. A few more people will be Liking, so look at what they’ve published and like in return. And if the topic has been well chosen it should enable you to strike up conversations either with suspects and prospects, or to approach people to see if they know people who would benefit from reading the piece, as a potential referral or introduction. And keep an eye on People who Viewed you Profile, and there may be several people worth approaching there.

What’s the return on Article Marketing?

That may sound like a huge amount of work. And to do it thoroughly is does take time.

Article Marketing is where there are advantages to having a lot of connections, especially ones you have strong relationships with in LinkedIn. A good article will reinforce your market position, move readers along their buying journey, or prompt them to provide a referral or an introduction.

However, it all depends on how many leads and new customers you’re actually looking for. And only you know what the maths looks like, and how much time you have.

So, maybe you want to scale back for your first few pieces. Maybe focus on ones that will be REALLY useful if/when you email a link to prospects who are currently in your sales pipeline. You are directly helping current sales campaigns and increasing your chance of closing those deals.

Publishing FOUR articles is (currently) a good idea as LinkedIn will list the other 3 you’ve published at the bottom of whichever the reader is reading. So, maybe one a month for 4 months is a good target?

If you’re the Managing Director or a public face for your business you can greatly assist your team by writing articles that will help them with their lead generation, sales campaigns and client relationships.

If you’re a solopreneur, a business owner, independent consultant or similar or going through a career change, then article marketing is a powerful way to position yourself and open doors and gain referrals.

I hope this has encouraged you to plan and write your first, or another, article in LinkedIn.

If you’d like to talk this through, and be guided through the process why not schedule a call with me, Mark Stonham, and I will help you to save time and improve your results.

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Key Account Sales – developing multiple relationships using LinkedIn

Key Account Sales, Account-Based Marketing, Target Accounts, and other terms are used when selling to larger organisations. Deal values are usually larger, deals are complex, and usually involve several decision-makers.

Starting and developing multiple sales relationships per company is an essential part of the process.  And this is where LinkedIn is very powerful. It helps us identify who is likely to be part of the decision-making process. And then who we know who also knows each of them.

Wurlwind Social Selling - Sales Relationships
If you’re reading this because you want to win major deals with large companies, or you have a real live sales opportunity in a major organisation and want to increase your chances of winning, then you’re in the right place.

You may be wondering how you can use LinkedIn to improve your sales conversions and win rate.

There are several ways you can use LinkedIn to support your sales efforts and increase your success in key account sales.

LinkedIn and Social Selling is not just about prospecting and lead generation for single decision-maker deals. For larger more complex sales it’s a valuable resource to use during larger and longer account-based marketing campaigns.

Quick start tips for Key Account Sales using LinkedIn

Pick your best prospect, one that you’re currently bidding or proposing to, and apply the tips and steps below to increase your probability of winning and to develop effective Social Selling habits.

  • Connect with your main contacts in your prospect, if you haven’t already done so.
  • See who you are both connected with – your shared contacts – and identify someone who could give you insight into what’s going on.
  • Write down 5 actions you’ll take that will build those relationships – Like, Share, Comment, Connect, Talk to… etc.

Now repeat for your second best prospect, then the third, and fourth. I’m sure you’ll be getting quicker at this by now, and building a positive habit.

Download our LinkedIn Lead Generation Pocket Guide for a Summary of 7 Strategies and other tips.

LinkedIn Tips for creating Key Account Sales opportunities

1. Qualify the opportunity

Use LinkedIn as one of your research sources to find out more about the company and the prime contact. If it’s an enquiry that’s come in via your website, a phone call or even from a lead nurture sequence, LinkedIn can be a good source of information.

  • From their LinkedIn Company Page, does the company meet your criteria, based on size, sector, location, and any other criteria you may use?
  • From the LinkedIn Profile of the person contacting you, are they in a role that you typically deal with, as decision-maker or as recommender?
  • How closely connected are you to the person contacting you, and again LinkedIn can identify who you have as shared connections.

With this information you’re much better prepared for that initial phone call, and you can show that you have done your homework, or ask for missing information on the call.

2. Who else is likely to be involved in the decision?

If there are typically several people involved in deciding to purchase what you offer then some additional research will put you in a stronger position.

  • From the employees listed on the Company Page, can you identify the people with the job titles you’d expect to be involved in the decision.
  • Can you identify shared connections with any of them, and identify someone (a trusted third party) who could provide insight about the business.
  • Have those key people shared Articles and Status Updates on LinkedIn that would give you a chance to reach out and maybe connect with them?

Quickly identifying and making contact with the right people will provide a firm foundation for your sales campaign

3. Keeping in touch during the campaign and after the proposal

Some purchases can take a long time to close, and keeping in touch with key people can be tricky, without seeming to chase the deal.

  • Share relevant articles, either from your company like case studies or from reliable third parties, via LinkedIn Message to individuals
  • Share news and articles to groups of buyers as a LinkedIn Email/Message Broadcast to a small TAG group of people.
  • Comment on Status Updates and Articles posted by decision-makers on LinkedIn

Building relationships, becoming a trusted advisor and guiding prospects through the buying process is a route to sales success. This will happen through many channels including face to face meetings, phone calls, emails and other activities. LinkedIn can be a great source of insight and also an additional communications channel to use.

And if you’ve established your personal brand at a senior level you may well be able to gain access to the project sponsor early on, and steal a march on your competitors if they only have access at a junior level.

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Social Prospecting – how to build a list of prospects using LinkedIn

Social Prospecting is all about using Search in LinkedIn to build a list of potential customers, and then reaching out to them and starting a sales related conversation.

Wurlwind Social Selling - Social Prospecting

You probably know that LinkedIn is a great place to start, but you may be unaware of just how powerful it is.

So let’s go through some of the ways you can use LinkedIn to start sales conversations.

And let’s start at the tactical level – to get in touch with a segment of say 20-40 people who meet your criteria as potential customers.

Once you’ve go the ball rolling quickly with a small batch like this you may then want to repeat the process, or go deeper or wider – the choice is yours.

Quick start tips

This isn’t rocket science, but for new business sales and business development, this is the fast-path to creating a prospect list. And there are several other techniques that spin off once this level of social prospecting is mastered.

  • It starts with a Search on LinkedIn – which might be for job titles by location, companies by size etc or people within groups
  • Having found relevant people you Save and Tag people to lists within LinkedIn – which is a good approach if you don’t have your own CRM
  • Then you work through the list to research them, contact them, qualify them, get them interested and excited and prepared to commit time to you.

What this gets you is a list of people who meet your profile, through a process of outreach and elimination. Done well you end up with a list of people who know they have a problem to solve or an opportunity to reach for, that you can help them with.

It doesn’t indicate that they have an interest in buying what you offer at this point in time. That’s the next stage.

LinkedIn Tips to start sales conversations through social prospecting

1. Start with a Search in LinkedIn

The likelihood is that you’ve a pretty good idea of the parameters that define your ideal customer. If not reflect on the most recent wins you and your colleagues have had, or start with a blank sheet of paper and write down the criteria.

  • If Job Title and Location is primary, search the People section of LinkedIn – refining the criteria of location, choose 2nd connection, and sector, as a starting point
  • If Company size is most important – neither too small or too large – search the Company section and look at the Employee section of relevant companies
  • If Interests are the primary determinant – for example users of a particular software package, then find relevant LinkedIn Groups, Join and then search within members of that group.

By focusing on small batches, of 20-40 people, you can make good progress in an hour or two, be laser focused, and feel a sense of achievement once you’ve made initial contact with several people in the Tag group.

2. Save and Tag relevant people

Tags are a useful way to manage contacts within LinkedIn for prospecting purposes, especially if the objective is to connect with them.

  • Save relevant people from the Search results – 2nd connections especially, using the drop-down box to the left of Number of Connections (unless LinkedIn has moved it)
  • Having Saved 30-50 people on a specific criteria, go into Connections area
  • Change the Filters to New and Saved and you should see the names of the people you just saved
  • Select one record, Create a New Tag for the search, and then Checkbox all those you just saved.

And now you have a list of prospects (or suspects depending on your terminology) of people who meet certain criteria as your ‘ideal customers’.

3. Make initial contact

Decide what form of contact is best – and this will be influenced by your market, skills, proposition, and the amount of time you can put into each contact.

  • You might want to send them a Connection request, in which case personalise it, and give a valid reason to increase chances of take-up
  • You might want to message them, perhaps highlighting an article you or a colleague wrote, as a conversation starter
  • Or maybe you will try by phone as the next step, and use LinkedIn and other routes as a back-up if you’re unable to make phone contact quickly.

Having made contact in one of these ways with a reasonable number of people on your Tag list it’s time to move to developing sales relationships with them, while maybe trying to contact a few stragglers on the list, and maybe also initiating another search for another 20-40 people.

NOTE: If you’re doing this regularly you’ll quickly find that managing this through/within LinkedIn and/or on a spreadsheet becomes unsustainable. The way we manage this is using a CRM system from Nimble, which has many excellent productivity features for prospecting as well as for subsequent sales activity.

LinkedIn Lead Generation – Essential Strategies for B2B Business Development

If you sell to other businesses and want to increase sales and grow your business you’ll want to find out all about these Seven LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies.

Using LinkedIn for lead generation, business development, marketing, selling and customer loyalty processes is incredibly beneficial. By connecting with your clients you’re a huge step closer to your next customer.

To grow your business you almost certainly need one or more of these lead generation strategies.

But it’s also easy to waste time in unproductive activity, following the wrong strategy, or failing to execute effectively.

Many business owners, independent consultants and sales professionals use LinkedIn to find new clients. They know LinkedIn isn’t just for job-seekers and recruitment.

These strategies have been developed and refined through the training I’ve developed and delivered over since 2011, and overhauled after the LinkedIn changes early in 2017.

Which of these strategies will create new opportunities and add new clients to your business?

SEVEN LinkedIn Lead Generation Training modules

Which is the best fit for what you need to achieve?

LinkedIn Lead Generation 7 Strategies Wurlwind

1. LinkedIn Lead Generation Foundations

This strategy covers using LinkedIn effectively to support online and offline marketing and selling activity.

When buyers are looking for and short-listing potential suppliers it’s important to be found and also to not to be eliminated for lack of presence.

It’s ideal for people starting out or needing a refresher for LinkedIn. This module underpins all other modules, because if this area is weak the other activities will be less effective.

This module reflects the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) as a solid and measurable foundation on which to build other lead generation campaigns and activities.

  • LinkedIn Introduction / Refresher –  what’s available in LinkedIn, and their value for business development.
  • Navigating around LinkedIn – key areas in LinkedIn and what function is available where (especially in the new UI).
  • Profile – completing the essential areas of your LinkedIn Profile and optimising for skills, keywords and customer focus.
  • Network – finding and connecting with the right mix of people to support lead generation and other goals
  • Content – what to share on a regular basis to build profile, visibility, reputation and trigger conversations.
  • Conversations – how to engage with people on Linkedin and develop sales related conversations.
  • Processes – developing effective routines, systems and using tools for sales productivity.

Takeaway – LinkedIn Foundations Checklist and Activity Planner for daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly activity.

2. Social Prospecting using LinkedIn

This LinkedIn strategy focuses on finding and making contact with new people to build a prospect list at scale.

Most Consultants, Business Owners and Salespeople will need to do this to boost their sales pipeline at some time or another.

It’s about identifying and reaching out to say 100 people, connecting and starting sales conversations with 15-30 of them. Then rinse and repeat with another 100!

  • Search – Smart ways to use LinkedIn Search to find people and companies
  • Engage – 7 ways to reach out to people and contact them
  • Positioning – Profile update tips to improve engagement and conversations
  • Follow-up – Tips for organising and following up contacts and list building

Take-away – LinkedIn Prospecting Campaign Planner

3. Account-based Marketing (ABM) Growing Key Accounts

How to use LinkedIn to go wider and deeper in larger and higher value client and prospect companies.

Opening and growing Key Accounts can create very large rewards, but it takes careful planning to get the strategy right.

It’s about expanding into a major company through LinkedIn, identifying multiple entry points and engaging with purpose. Then rinse and repeat with another major company!

  • Research & Listening – using LinkedIn to build up a comprehensive understanding of major businesses
  • Relationships – getting closer to key people through LinkedIn
  • Account Penetration – gaining introductions to the right people via existing contacts
  • Complex sales – using LinkedIn through an extended sale/purchase cycle to improve win rates.

Take-away – LinkedIn Key Account Planner

4. Advanced Personal Branding through LinkedIn

Raising our profiles and growing our networks by being more active in focused ways creates more enquiries and opportunities to follow-up.

Ideal for Subject Matter Experts (Consultants, Business Owners, Salespeople) with a specialist skill or in a niche.

It’s about attracting buyers and prospects by building authority and visibility, becoming a go-to person in your sector or niche.

Key techniques covered include:

  • Being Distinctive – with Advanced Positioning and Profile techniques
  • Boosting Credibility – building social proof and a powerful network presence
  • Increasing Visibility – Curating, sharing and creating content to develop your specialist positioning.
  • Building Relationships – Joining discussions, starting conversations, generating interest.

Take-away – LinkedIn Personal Branding Planner

5. Developing Referrals through LinkedIn

Word of Mouth, and Word of Mouse, are important sources of business that many people overlook, or could be more structured about.

Whether the referral and partner channel is informal or formal the development techniques are similar, even if the reward structures differ.

This module focuses on tips and techniques to develop an effective referral channel through LinkedIn

  • Identifying – people who could become referral partners, formally or informally
  • Recruiting – How to approach people who you’d like to refer and introduce you
  • Educating  – Making it easy for people to refer you, and reminding them regularly
  • Rewarding – Identifying, offering and delivering appropriate rewards to referrers.

Take-away – LinkedIn Referral Campaign Planner

6. Article and content-based lead generation

Writing Blog posts and Articles is not only good for credibility but, with the right structure, promotion and distribution can also be great for lead generation.

A good lead generation article will engage the emotions of the reader, provide learning and rational proof, and lead them towards wanting to take action.

This module focuses on using Articles on your LinkedIn Personal Profile for Lead Generation

  • How to design the Customer Journey to increase lead generation through your profile.
  • Key elements to include in your Lead Generation Article
  • How to promote your article to increase views
  • The Call to Action and your response – What to offer beyond the article.

Take-away – LinkedIn Article based Campaign Planner

7. Using your LinkedIn Company Page to generate leads

For those in a position to create and develop a LinkedIn Company Page there are several ways to use it to generate leads and enquiries.

This LinkedIn Training module focuses on using the LinkedIn Company Page to generate leads

  • Company Page optimisation – for keywords, call to action etc.
  • Status Updates and sharing of news and educational content
  • Sponsoring Updates and how to use them effectively
  • How to get more Followers – ways to organically grow the number of page followers
  • Ways to increase engagement – encouraging people to like, comment and share your content
  • How to generate leads through the Company Page – different lead generation techniques

Take-away – LinkedIn Company Page Promotion and Campaign Planner

Hopefully at least one of those will be relevant and attractive to you.

Which LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategy is top of your priority list?

If you’re not sure (and it’s a difficult choice to make) let’s have a chat.

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The “Mix of SIX” LinkedIn Status Updates for Social Selling Success

Mix-of-Six-LinkedIn-Status-Updates-for-Social-Selling-SuccessIf you’re struggling to work out what Status Updates to post on LinkedIn this article is for you.

The “Mix of Six” LinkedIn Status Updates will help you to get much more from LinkedIn, whether you are an entrepreneur or business owner working on your own, whether you head up a business or a sales team, or if you are a sales person working for a company.

The Benefits of the “Mix of Six” LinkedIn Status Updates

If you follow this plan for 20 business days ie. a month, I’m confident that you will notice a big difference in the results you get from LinkedIn, in several ways:

  • More profile views and connection requests
  • More traffic to your website landing pages and blog articles
  • Better sales relationships with customers
  • More sales conversations with prospects.

Once you get into the swing of this it should take you about 15 minutes a day to post these SIX updates.

The following sections cover the six elements in the graphics, with an explanation about WHY, WHAT and HOW to build them into a plan and into your daily and weekly LinkedIn activity.

Landing Page Links

While it’s great to have many connections on LinkedIn and be posting and sharing lots of great stuff it can feel very unrewarding unless there are specific results in terms of leads. From a sales perspective it’s important to identify who is moving forward in their buying process. Unless you put in place the mechanism to generate and capture leads it’s likely that your results will be disappointing.

Sure, there are other ways that people can express interest in what you do. But having an online lead capture mechanism in place is a solid foundation. It can also be a great sales productivity tool too, as you can send an email to people to download an information sheet, ebook or toolkit after you’ve had a phone call with them, for example.

Offering some ‘free’ information, such as a toolkit or report, in exchange for their email details is an effective way to capture their details. To achieve this you need suitable landing pages and ‘bait’ on your website, and ideally an email nurture sequence behind it to follow them up automatically.

Then you create Status Updates that you post in LinkedIn with an attractive message inviting them to access the tool/report. These Status Updates can be pre-scheduled in Hootsuite or other apps so you don’t need to remember to do them every day.

Tip: Think of what questions or problems your prospects have, and how you can create a valuable Checklist or Tool to help them. Then create the lead capture page. Then create a range of Status Updates, and Tweets as well, to bring visitors to the page.

Advanced Tip: Set up Google Analytics Goals against the Thank-you pages beyond the Sales pages to monitor results. Include Campaign codes in the URLs as you get more sophisticated.

Note: These Status Updates may well be shareable, if your Info offer or Toolkit is good. Show appreciation to those who do share them as this is hugely valuable to you.

Blog Article Links

Articles that are educational are the bedrock of content marketing and social selling. Articles of 600 words+, with a strong headline, images and maybe video, do take time to create (say 2-4 hours). Therefore, pick evergreen topics that have a long shelf-life, and which are very applicable to your prospects and your personal branding. They should be written so they are very shareable, so not too salesy and promotional.

Now that LinkedIn has introduced Pulse and opened it up to everyone this allows individuals to write long-form articles within LinkedIn. This is a powerful alternative to having to have a separate blog or a blog as part of a website.

Tip: If you’ve not written a post in LinkedIn yet, write one. Then write a second, then a third, perhaps a month apart. You can pre-schedule Status Updates to attract readers to them using Hootsuite or equivalent. Check regularly for who has Liked and Commented as these are prime opportunities to engage with them, thank them, connect with them and start a sales conversation. LinkedIn has also updated the analytics and stats on articles to make this even more powerful and easy to do.

Advanced Tip: Ask your colleagues, power group, advocates, key customers etc. to Like and Comment on them. Send them a request by Email within LinkedIn to a small distribution list is a good option. Be prepared to reciprocate – see later.

Industry News

As an expert in your subject you should be reading articles by respected industry sources. It may actually be worthwhile reviewing your sources and tracking down new ones. Having done that, pick an article a day, in your area of expertise, to share with your connections. Add some insight to it, highlighting an important element of the story, for example.

Tip: Email newsletters from trade associations, research bodies and similar authority sources are a great source of articles.

Advanced Tip: Install the Hootsuite Hootlet in your Browser and connect it to your various social media accounts. This is a very quick way to share a web page to LinkedIn, and to Twitter and other social media too.

Sector Leaders

Who are the people in your specialist area who have created a powerful presence for themselves on LinkedIn? Not only can you learn from them about the subject area you can also learn how they are using LinkedIn.

More importantly, by commenting on and sharing their material you are raising your profile with them, and also with the people who follow them. This has the potential to increase the number of people who visit your profile and accelerate your ability to reach out to others to connect.

Tip: Search for your keywords in LinkedIn Pulse and see who is writing articles about your area. Choose to follow a couple of specialist Channels within Linkedin Pulse. Take a few minutes to look at their LinkedIn Profile and Activity. Like and Comment on 2-3 of their Status Updates and Posts. Follow them and also send a personal invitation to connect with them.

Advanced Tip: Have a look at their Connections, and see which Connections you Share. This may indicate people in your network who are actively researching a topic on LinkedIn, and an opportunity to re-engage with them. Alternatively, it may indicate peers who could become part of your power group, where you can actively support each other on LinkedIn, by sharing on a reciprocal basis.

Super-Advanced Tip: Becoming an Industry Leader whose content is shared by many people is an aspiration that some people are able to turn into reality. It takes dedication and commitment to achieve, and infrastructure to monetize it as well. What is amazing is that LinkedIn provides the vehicle, for those who want to make this journey.

Customer Content

Sharing content created by your customers has many benefits. This includes maintaining your relationship with them for repeat business, as well as testimonials, referrals and other sales related pay-back.

The other side is that you are actively raising the profile of their business to your connections. The more successful your customers are the more likely they are to refer you and give you more business.

Tip: Take care to share quality material that is reasonably consistent with your personal brand and relationship. You may need to visit their website, LinkedIn Page or the profiles of senior executives to find suitable pieces. If you add the name of the author into the status update you create your contact will be alerted to the mention, giving you kudos.

Advanced Tip: Create a Tag Group within Contacts for your prime customer contacts – and ideally they will be 1st connections. Now set a reminder in LinkedIn in the Relationship Tab for each contact for 1 month and recurring. And check the ‘Keep in touch’ area regularly! You can also send an email within LinkedIn to this group, perhaps asking them to Like one of you articles.

Prospect Content

If your target list is senior executives, business owners, or other hard-to-reach people, you can improve your chances of getting through by sharing their content on LinkedIn. It helps if your target people are present and reasonably active on LinkedIn, otherwise you may need to look for alternative strategies.

Tip: Search the Internet for Press Releases by your prospect, case studies, senior people being quoted in the news, etc. When you find one, create a positive status update highlighting the ‘good news’ and giving the key person a name-check. If they see it, or pick up the email notification, then it could start a conversation. If they don’t see it there’s no harm done. Doing a “I found this article and thought you’d find it interesting…@mention  “ type of message could well be seen as intrusive, and doesn’t look good in your own Recent Activity stream either.

Warning: Do this in moderation, otherwise every other connection you have will be flooded with random status updates if you share say 50-100 items a day in an attempt to get noticed by prospects. On the 1:6 basis, be very strategic about choosing which prospect you are trying to get through to before sharing their content on LinkedIn. The alternative, for higher numbers of shares is Twitter, if they are active there.

Check your LinkedIn Settings so people can see your Updates

Before you start ramping up your activity in LinkedIn it’s worth check that people can see your Recent Activity and can Follow you.

Go Into Settings / Profile and Privacy Controls.

  • The Second Line is “Select who can see your activity feed” – I suggest you select Everyone or Your Network.
  • The Sixth line is “Choose who can follow your updates” – I suggest you select “Everyone”.

Ask a colleague to view your profile to double-check.

What not to share on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a professional network and a place to build a positive business brand for ourselves and for our companies, businesses and organisations. Therefore be very careful before Liking and Commenting or Creating content that has any of the following characteristics:

  • Confidential – an HR department or lawyers may be straight onto you
  • Commercially sensitive – competitors may well pick up on this
  • Critical – there are private ways to get things off our chests
  • Complaining – being negative in public can have unforeseen consequences
  • Condemning – personal attacks in public are not pretty
  • Cats and other whimsical content – belong on other networks
  • Mathematical challenges – even if you know the answer you risk looking a fool
  • Personal material, about you or others – belongs within a family & friends network

How long will all this take?

To be fair, planning, sourcing and developing some of these elements if you don’t already have them will take time. However consider it to be an investment as it will have a long term payback. Monitoring and following upon the sales conversations that this starts, through LinkedIn, by email, over the phone etc. is then part of regular sales activity.

I suggest, set yourself an activity based goal over a 20 day period, to research, set-up and run with this plan.

  • Set aside half a day to re-read this article and to work through the planning worksheet which you can get below.
  • Then set aside 30 minutes a day – and be focused about finding and posting suitable articles, and not wandering off on interesting thought lines, triggered by what you find during your activity.
  • Creating a Worksheet, like the one I have that you can download below, may take you an hour or so.
  • Writing articles takes longest, and is the most frequent activity, so prepare ahead. This article, and graphic, and the Linkedin Post to go with it has taken 6 hours. However, if it generates half a dozen inquiries and 3 sales, and saves me time repeating myself, and raises my profile, it’ll be time well spent.

Sales people working in small, medium or large businesses may well be able to use articles written by the business owner or other specialists in their business rather than writing their own articles, at least initially.

LinkedIn Status Update Planning Worksheet

To help you research and organise the websites and pages you need I’ve prepared a short worksheet. Work through the SIX sections, find and record website URLs on the sheet, so you have them all in one place, to use and to add to.

Then use the document to work through day by day to write and post status updates, and record your progress.

Until I get a Form set up you can request the Worksheet by emailing me: Mark Stonham here.

And Finally:

If you’ve found this useful please Like and Share this page.

Ten Tips to Connect LinkedIn with Sales

If you’re looking for a roadmap or playbook to Connect LinkedIn with Sales you’re in the right place.

What follows will pull together the various strands of Sales for Sales and Social Selling and join them up into a cohesive framework.

This is not a 5 minute Quick Fix – but individual steps it have produced results for others pretty quickly.

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Sign up below to receive regular tips by email.

And click on the buttons to go Forward and Backwards through the series.

 

 

 

LinkedIn Company Page – outbound and inbound Lead Generation strategies

As vendors and buyers do more research online so the relative importance of the LinkedIn Company Page rises. Business Owners and Sales Leaders can take advantage of this opportunity for outbound prospecting and inbound lead generation to get ahead of competitors. Outbound lead generation and prospecting techniques – the first strategy below highlights how you […]

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LinkedIn Lead Generation – develop the ‘Y’ and find new customers

LinkedWin - LinkedIn Lead generationLinkedIn lead generation is a way to use LinkedIn for far more than a professional directory and somewhere to put a brief profile or your CV.

If you’re responsible for sales and personal lead generation, then LinkedIn has so much more potential for you.

If your role or job title resembles these then read on to find out how to make much more of LinkedIn.

  • sales person
  • account manager
  • business development manager
  • business owner
  • entrepreneur
  • sales manager
  • sales director
  • VP sales

 

LinkedIn Lead Generation – develop the ‘Y’

Our experience with hundreds of people in training sessions, consultancy assignments and more have been distilled into a pragmatic approach to developing Lead Generation within LinkedIn.

Some would call it a LinkedIn Lead Generation Framework, a LinkedIn Blueprint or LinkedIn Sales Playbook.

Our name for the framework is LinkedWin

We’ve designed LinkedWin to help busy sales focused people progressively develop their skill and results from LinkedIn.

Graphically, the approach looks like this:

 

Linkedin Lead Generation - 5 Areas for Success

LinkedIn lead generation key areas

The 5 areas of the Wurlwind LinkedWin approach – and links to more information- are:

Find contacts and opportunities in LinkedIn

There are several techniques where you can search for and find opportunities. Think of it as seeing someone across the room, and making a b-line for them. For example you can search for companies or people or find opportunities to reach out to people. Ad-hoc inquiries is one way, and saving advanced searches is another.  View the ‘Find’ section for more ideas and tips.

Get Found within LinkedIn for your expertise

There are  several ways to pro-actively put yourself in the right places to get found by people who are looking for what you offer. This is rather like having your 60 seconds to introduce yourself to the room, or taking an exhibition booth and getting into the program. Take a look at the ‘Get Found’ section for more techniques and strategies.

Engage and make a connection with people

A bland and unemotional connection will achieve very little. Making a positive impression, and engaging with head and heart are part of being memorable and making a strong first impression. Discover techniques to raise your game, and really engage in a memorable way with people you Find and people who Find you, as well as in other areas. Discover ways to be pro-active when you ‘Engage’, here.

Categorise your contacts and new connections

Qualification is such an important part of effective selling, so decide up-front which categorise you want to put people into. You’ll have a way to categorise leads as A, B or C, Hot, Warm or Cold, and put similar contacts together so you can treat them as a group or cluste. TAG groups are the way to do this withing LinkedIn, you just need to decide what the groups are. Learn ways to organise your contacts, and techniques to review them, in the ‘Categorise’ section here.

Nurture relationships with Customers and New Contacts

LinkedIn provides various means to pro-actively build relationships, and also to be triggered or to find opportunities to reach out on an ah-hoc basis. Follow-up is what generates returns from networking events, trade-shows and inquiries, and it’s no different in LinkedIn. Get some ideas in our ‘Nurture’ section so you stay top-of mind.

Five sources of leads from LinkedIn.

Of course, not all leads will stay within LinkedIn. Some people may find you in LinkedIn and then phone you up. You may decide to call someone having sees a tasty tip in their social profile that you’d like to explore in a phone call. In some ways it would be simpler if there was just one path to success for LinkedIn Lead Generation. In reality LinkedIn is a powerful tool, but it does need to be understood, and used in ways that help you achieve your goals, and stay close to your customers and prospects and how they buy now.

Download our Pocket Guide to LinkedIn for Lead Generation today