Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

By Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn

@JasonMillerCA

Social Selling is the way forward for modern-day digital sales reps that are looking to exceed their quota, improve their sales productivity and become a sales linchpin within their organization. In this world where relationships are the new currency, the sales folks with the best networks will become rock stars. Why? Because they’ll be the ones who connect with and glean insights about decision makers via social channels to move deals along.

So how can a sales professional best utilize LinkedIn—the world’s largest professional network—for social selling? It boils down to three things:

  1. Build your network on LinkedIn
  2. Identify prospects
  3. Engage with them

Here are 10 ways that best-in-class sales teams use bleeding-edge Social Selling techniques on LinkedIn to be more productive:

1. Lay the foundation with a solid company page.

Once companies begin implementing a social selling strategy, it’s vital to establish a “home base” on LinkedIn for messaging, content, products/services, and campaigns. Post helpful, targeted content consistently, and encourage current customers to follow the company’s page. When an extra push is needed, try using a Sponsored Update to reach beyond the company’s initial following.

2. The “who’s viewed your profile” play.

“Funnelholic” and Social Selling expert Craig Rosenberg uses this technique. He says, “On LinkedIn – the prospect clicks on YOU. You aren’t ‘nameless sales guy x calling me again’—they looked at your profile. It’s a prime opportunity to talk to potential buyers. Isn’t that better than ‘checking in’? They see your face, glance at your headline and summary…It is especially effective with people you have already connected with. (Think lead nurturing).”

3. Use InMail for personalized emails.

Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing recommends “taking three minutes to learn three things about someone before reaching out to them,” and I absolutely agree. Reps should leverage the insights they gather from profiles and other social networks to indicate they’ve done research on the person they’re connecting with. For example, reference a blog post or speech given by that person.

4. Organize prospecting with LinkedIn contacts.

With LinkedIn contacts, sales pros can combine their address books, emails and calendars, and keep them up to date in one central place. LinkedIn will automatically pull in the details of past conversations and meetings, and add those details directly into the prospect’s profile. Reps can take it a step further by utilizing Tags, Notes and Reminder features as well.

5. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups.

LinkedIn Groups are a great way to build a personal brand, but they’re also terrific for reaching out to group members as if they were a first-degree connection. In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected.

6. Give wings to LinkedIn Updates.

When reps post an update to LinkedIn, with a check of a box they can easily syndicate that update to share it with their Twitter followers as well. Just select the Public + Twitter option in the Share With dropdown before clicking Share in the LinkedIn update composer.

7. Leverage @mentions in Status Updates.

In 2013, LinkedIn rolled out the ability to tag or @mention other users and companies in status updates—much like the way it works on Facebook and Twitter. Want another LinkedIn user or company to see a status update? Include the @ symbol immediately followed by the user’s/company’s name in the update. That user or company will get alerted about the mention, and their name will also link to their profile/page in the status update itself.

8. Apply the 4-1-1 Rule.

The 4-1-1 Rule, coined by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, states:

“For every one self-serving tweet, you should retweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”

It’s easy to apply this simple rule to activities on Personal Profiles and LinkedIn company page. For social selling, the 4-1-1 Rule is particularly useful when applied to building relationships with prospective customers. This helps reps foster an informative dialogue regularly and also keeps them at the forefront of prospects’ minds as they move through the buying process. As Jay Baer says, “Sell something, get a customer for a day. Help someone, get a customer for life.”

9. Get employees in on the discussion.

LinkedIn isn’t just for marketing and sales folks. In fact it gives everyone in an organization a path to become a thought leader and establish their personal brands. Consider third-party apps like GaggleAMP and Addvocate to empower employees to share the company’s most important content with their networks.

10. Take a cue from the marketing team.

Reach out to the folks on the company’s social, content and PR teams as they are likely seasoned pros at posting great content and engaging within social. For example there are many parallels between social selling and influencer/customer marketing. These teams can likely provide tips around the messaging and content that resonates with the company’s target audience. Sales reps can then apply that strategy to interactions with their prospects.

What are your tips for developing relationships with your partners?

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