Over 75% of top salespeople use social media to beat their competitors, Forbes figures reveal. So we invited Peter Staveloz to our most recent Connoisseur event to tell us how to use LinkedIn efficiently to boost sales.
Social selling is becoming increasingly important in business, and LinkedIn is part of that. Staveloz does not only call it a ‘digital form of word-of-mouth advertising’, but also a unique way to access new customers.
LinkedIn as a lead generator and nurturing tool
“The most successful salespeople spend one to two hours a day on LinkedIn looking for the right way to access a company. Rather than hunting the decision maker, they try to create a warm connection indirectly. They do this for example by engaging the CEO’s assistant in conversation and guiding them towards a sales talk”, Staveloz explains. “Anyone with a broad network can get in touch with every decision maker through indirect ways.”
Once the connection has been made, a salesperson cannot just come straight to the point and ask the decision maker for an interview. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, about 90% of all decision makers simply do not respond to a cold call. Staveloz therefore advises salespeople to maintain and expand contacts by actively blogging on LinkedIn Pulse and by mapping their social network and filling the gaps. They can also check who visits their profile and what they read or share, and actively participate in conversations.
Measuring and knowing, but first learning
LinkedIn offers its own Social Selling Index (SSI) so that salespeople can quickly adjust their strategy if required. However, LinkedIn’s SSI is not really easy to use, and this is the major challenge of social selling: only 26% of users feel like they really know and understand social media. So a lot of work remains to be done in terms of training and coaching.
Practical tips for social selling via LinkedIn
- Begin: you need to prepare your profile before expanding your network. A polished LinkedIn profile is your best marketing tool
- Measure: have a look at LinkedIn’s SSI and set clear targets: do you want a certain number of new connections? What actions can you take to get closer to a desired customer? Arrange coaching if required
- Blog: write down your expertise on Pulse and post on other blogs. Look for content you can share. Generate interest and show you are an expert in your area. Don’t hesitate to ask questions
- Connect: make a connection as soon as possible after meeting someone. Business cards are not only exchanged physically. You can also invite someone to join your network after an interaction on social media
- Monitor: check regularly who has viewed your profile and try to make a connection quickly by sending personalised invitations. First determine whether the name is already in your database and then identify where your prospect is in the buyer journey. This will tell you whether direct interaction is appropriate
- Gather information: use social selling to complement the information you already have. Not only in CRM, but also to further define your buyer personas. Social media provide a lot of information on a person’s everyday activities and interests.