With an 11-year online presence and 313 million members, LinkedIn is the B2B network that you cannot afford to leave out of your sales channels. LinkedIn is the network with none of the cacophonous schmooze of Facebook; it’s the one serious online resource for everything from maintaining the world’s most robust and up-to-date Rolodex to social selling and messaging.
The Value of LinkedIn
Between the Rolodex and easy messaging, LinkedIn is a goldmine for sales people and social selling. It is the filter and siphon of big data. Specifically, with a LinkedIn presence, you can:
- mine the network for unfettered customer discovery
- develop partnerships and alliances to add value to your sales networking
- access business intelligence on both clients and competitors
- improve internal networking and collaboration as team members stay in closer contact
Building a Profile
Every member of your sales team should have a LinkedIn account as part of their playbook for business networking. Those individual profiles can be linked to your company website and add depth to your “About Us” page. You should encourage your team to take the time to build their profile on LinkedIn and take their online presence as seriously as their résumé. Their LinkedIn profile should include:
- SEO-friendly content. Remember that the one billion or so searches each year include keywords. Appropriate keywords make the profile searchable.
- A catchy and group-consistent headline and summary. Attracting potential customers promotes deeper reading and encourages link requests.
- A professional and pleasant profile photo that reflects a clear and real image — no party shots, group shots or “cutesy” avatars. Get serious–this is a professional networking site.
- Lists of customer-focused accomplishments and achievements. LinkedIn allows users to attach certifications, documents and proof of their honors and awards. Tell employees to strut their stuff.
LinkedIn is all about connectivity; the site can be the flagship that helps visitors navigate to your sales staff and, ultimately, to your products and services. Encourage everyone to get a vanity profile URL and add it to their e-mail signature. Likewise, LinkedIn professionals often accept connection requests, even from people they don’t know. Also encourage your team to proactively use LinkedIn to get referrals to prospects and test their sales messaging.
Relatively speaking, LinkedIn is an oldie-but-goodie player in the social media world. When it comes to generating sales and revenue, LinkedIn is to Facebook as “Encyclopedia Britannica” is to Wikipedia. In fact, according to marketing experts, LinkedIn outperforms Facebook in the business world by a factor of 20 to 1.
So, start using LinkedIn sales and marketing resources if you haven’t already. If your sales staff aren’t already taking advantage of LinkedIn, they are missing out on golden networking opportunities. Tell them to jump in–they have nothing to lose but anonymity.