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By: Alice Heiman
Categories: LinkedIn, LinkedIn Profile, online presence, Sales

Did you know that 46% percent of social media traffic coming to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn? With that kind of reach, it’s no wonder why 79% of B2B Marketers say LinkedIn is an effective source for generating leads.

Even though LinkedIn is a great tool to grow your business, reach new leads and engage new contacts, I still see many organizations whose LinkedIn presence is inconsistent and disorganized. I see sales leaders whose salespeople aren’t putting their best foot forward on this important social and business networking platform, and it costs them big time.

If you want to improve your team’s use of LinkedIn, check out this free webinar I’m hosting with BrightTALK on Feb. 22. I’ll let you in on the five secrets that will change your approach to LinkedIn networking. Click here to register!

I regularly practice what I preach and use LinkedIn to grow my business. Here are some immediate things you need actively monitor to ensure your team isn’t tanking your LinkedIn results.

Do Profiles Look Like Resumes?

Are your people looking for a job? Maybe they are, and maybe they aren’t, but as long as they’re on your team, their profiles need to contribute to your brand and presence. Each person needs a summary statement on their profile that reflects the value they bring to your customers—not something like “sales leader with a proven track record” which we see all too often.

When your ideal customer finds the profile of one of your team members, what do you want them to know about your organization and about your salesperson? What value do they add? How can they help your potential customers? That’s the key that needs to be addressed right up front.

Another place where a profile drifts into the “sounds like a resume” territory is in the description of the current job. Something else we see all too often is those descriptions listing things like “consistently meets quota” or “top 10 achievers.” Stop that. Think about a description that starts with “I help our customers by…” and have your team members fill in the blanks with a value statement. Don’t stifle their creativity, but do insist that they include content that communicates their strengths and achievements in ways that communicate value to your potential customers.

Make sure the writing is clean, crisp, and clear to grab the attention of anyone looking at the profile. Be sure they’re not adding friction to potential connections with punctuation errors or boring information.

Make A Strong First Impression

The profile is the first impression your team members’ contacts will get, and those prospects use it to decide if they will accept a connection request. A strong profile helps people identify with team members so they can get to know them, like them, and, eventually, trust them. If your team members’ profiles make a good first impression, people will connect with them and refer them to other connections within their networks.

All the information and details on their profiles matter. All sections should be filled out so new connections can read and find common areas of interest.

The photo is a critical part of their first impression, and it must reflect your team members in their professional roles—not a super casual beach picture, not a cartoon avatar, and not a glamour shot (and yes, I’ve seen those, too).

Help your team with these tips about their profile picture:

  • Have good lighting
  • Avoid distracting backgrounds
  • Wear business attire
  • Don’t forget to look up and smile! A smile on your friendly face is the first thing that will engage them.

Want to put together a fun team-building event? Bring in a professional photographer to do head shots of your team members. This is also a great opportunity to get candid photos of your team members working together that will invite prospects into your environment.

How’s That Company Description?

The company description in each of your team members’ profiles should be consistent, on-brand, and written in terms that communicate value to your potential customers. Each team member should be properly linked to the company LinkedIn profile, allowing them to be found when people are looking at the corporate profile as well. Believe it or not, I’ve seen salespeople who have even linked themselves to the wrong company. Check this, and make sure your people know the right profile to link to.

It’s Social Media – Interact

Creating strong profiles will make a good impression on your potential customers, but if you want results, your people need to interact. LinkedIn is just like real life, so when your salespeople connect with new prospects, teach them to build a rapport by reading, commenting and sharing the connection’s content. Encourage them to send personal messages with their connection requests that include who they are and why they would like to connect. Ask them to schedule time specifically for their activity on LinkedIn. They can use LinkedIn throughout the sales process and to stay connected to clients.

BUT—and this is a big one—since “liking” a post on LinkedIn shows up to all of their contacts, coach them to like posts that will advance their professional agenda, not political posts or jokes or other things that are too off-topic (or keep those few and far between).

Remember to Add Value

Coach your team to focus on adding value to your potential customers. Share content that will advance THEIR agenda. Help them get more exposure. Share content from thought leaders in your industry, and help your salespeople add their own commentary to content they’re sharing. When your organization has a new blog post to offer, have your salespeople promote it to their networks with some consistent messaging (but let them put their own spins on that message, of course!).

Alice Heiman
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Alice Heiman

Founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC
Alice Heiman has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. Her innovative sales leadership programs, coupled with her top-down approach to creating long-term change, set up sales leaders and sales-managing business owners to get consistent and sustainable growth.
Alice Heiman
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