Linkedin for Sales Prospecting

by Craig Rosenberg, Co-Founder of TOPO Inc.

Craig Rosenberg, linkedin for sales prospecting

In this session, Craig takes a step back and reviews componants that are necessary for sales people to ensure that they have an appealing buyer centric profile. You will also gain a deep insight into touch points and nurturing campaigns.

Webinar Transcript

Welcome everyone to my session today in the social selling summit, Using LinkedIn to Connect With Hard-to-Reach Prospects. Yes, it's not one of my best headlines, but and I honestly, I'm typically very proud of my headlines. But I wanted to be as specific as possible and I think I was here. I think once I start to go, you'll sort of see the context here. So, my name's Craig Rosenburg, I'm the Chief Analyst with a company called TOPO. We study the fastest growing companies on Earth, so that we can help our clients adopt the things that we see that work so well that drive this kind of growth, that was put simply for you. But one of the things that we do see is we see a lot of LinkedIn, and so what I'm bringing to the table today is a lot of things that I see that have been working for a lot of other people. You also may know me as the Funnelholic, that's my blog that's been around for a long time now, and has really, let's see, long, long time now, and for a lot of people, that's kind of how they know me and my twitter handle is Funnelholic as well. So let's get into it. 

When I got asked to do the summit, it was obviously an honor. I also looked at the roster and I know Jamie Shanks really well, and I just know there's going to be a lot of people here that lives social selling that are going to be talking about it in sort of a big picture type of way. And a lot of those people are people that I admire. For me, social selling, and when people ask me about it, is a channel. It's another thing that we should and must use in order to amplify and scale the foundational selling and prospecting tactics that we do on a day to day basis. I'm always a little uncomfortable with the idea of the big picture social selling, because there's so much that goes into selling. But if you ask me, is social selling part of what we should be doing every day? The answer is pretty simple for me. You already are. 

All right, so I mentioned earlier, we research high growth companies and we try to figure out what the strategy, people, technology, process in place are that they run to be successful. And one of the things we found is 100% of sales organizations that are growing 20% or more per year use LinkedIn in their selling processes. And furthermore, three out of four are using some paid version of LinkedIn. And make no bones about it. LinkedIn is a social platform, right? I think we forget that sometimes, frankly. It just becomes such a heavy duty industrial strength application in a sales person's life. I'm not sure we always equate the two, so selling and LinkedIn, kind of what that is. I think we think of social selling, a lot of the times, is like tricks and tactics that we can use using social networks to reach our clients. And frankly, for me, LinkedIn is part of what a sales person should do every day. And so, when you ask me the question, should there be social selling? The answer is yes, because you already are. 

I think the one thing we've learned is you saw the data I presented earlier, but when we walk in the companies, the sales team are sitting at their desks and they've got two screens up. One is LinkedIn and the other is their CRM. And that's the reality of today. So if you ask me if you're doing social selling, I'm saying you are. And do you have to call it social selling? No, not really. I mean, it is, but the reality is, you're using every day, and I don't blame people. LinkedIn is my second screen. I don't sell full-time, but I use it for everything. If I'm going to have a meeting, if I'm going to meet someone, if I just want to find out what's happening in my network, I've got LinkedIn open. It's the same thing for sales people. It has become a part of our lives. And for that, that's why I want to focus in on LinkedIn today. 

Certainly, I've got lots of Twitter followers. I'm on Google Plus. I create lots of content and do lots of other things on socials. It's been wonderful for me. But for my everyday sales person trying to hit their number, there's too many other things we got to do. So when I'm going to talk about social selling, I'm going to talk about something that's going to have a real impact on them and that's going to be LinkedIn.

And furthermore, the focus for me today, is I want to talk about outreach and nurturing touches but I can't talk about them without talking about the self-brand and the sales intelligence portions of the platform for LinkedIn. And I've got all these sort of weird feelings because I know full well how good some of the presales are going to be on sort of building your profile. But I'll just say this, I believe there's some core things that you have to do with your profile. And you have to do them before we do outreach because the odds of someone going back to your LinkedIn profile before they talk to you are high. So despite the fact that there is, you can dedicate hours on this, I'm not, I'm going to give you what I believe are the core things you need to do, because I can't talk about outreach without talking about what a profile page would look like.

The other thing is sales intelligence. If you don't do anything else, pre-call research and being prepared for sales calls is fundamental selling. It's not social selling. LinkedIn and social make it easier, because look, this is the truth. Never before have we seen anything where our prospects and customers tell us who they are, what they do, and what they care about. That's an advantage we must use. But more importantly, look, if I'm going to talk about outreach, then I'm going to talk about sales intelligence because everything you do today, if you want to improve conversion on how many people will actually end up talking to you, then you have to do pre-call research or pre-email research or whatever it is that you're using to reach out to people, and LinkedIn is the best place to go do it. 

And final two things I want to talk about is outreach and nurturing. I have some ideas on some of the ways that you can reach out to people at scale using LinkedIn, and I just want to remind you that I take these ideas, I don't make them up myself. I look at what's working for high growth companies and high growth companies that are doing it every day and have tested and A/B tested and tried and talked about it etc. And that's what I want to bring to the table to you today. So, let's get into it. 

So, we talked about the profile and my hesitancy to talk about it, but I think I've got something that's really important, which is you got to build a buyer-centric profile. You're about to go to market, you're about to reach out to people and the first place most people go is someone's LinkedIn profile, it just is. And so you got to be ready. And the key for it is to be as buyer-centric as possible. I'm just going to tell you the message. The message you want to send is, "If you look at my profile and you're in my target market, you're going to feel like I'm the kind of person you should work with." 

Now, there's a lot of things you can go do, but I'm just going to focus on four of them. One, the professional photo, you got to have it. The people with professional photos receive a 40% higher engagement rate. That's the kind of numbers I like. Enticing headline. I'll show you what a headline looks like. We don't have to spend too much time on this, but I will say that everything people do, they're doing quickly. So to the extent that we can make as big an impact when they first hit our page above the fold is better. The summary, an engaging summary, I'll give you an example on that. And then, I wasn't going to talk about experience, but you know of what I found is that... So the studies show that 75% of people will eject from your profile after they read everything above the fold. But it's that second layer, when they're ready to go talk to you. So you set a meeting, and they're about to come in and call, that's when they glance at kind of what you're doing for that company and what you've done before. And I think people neglect that. 

So there's a lot of information out there a lot of people have fixed, they're above the fold, copy, and then people read the experience, and they just see another sales person. So those are the things I want to talk about, I want to talk about them quickly, which might be hard for me but I'll give it a try. So, I'll give you an example here. This is Robert Koehler. He's a sales solutions consultant at LinkedIn, he's amazing. So he works with people, primarily enterprises that help them use LinkedIn sales solutions. So technically, he's going to be really good at this. So I mentioned a stat before, 75% of profile viewers will only look at the information above the fold. What is that? Picture, headline and summary. 

Okay, so let's just talk on this the example is picture and headline. So one, the profile photo, remember his target market is the enterprise, so what do I got to look like. I got to look professional and gain instant credibility. Can I work with the enterprise? For that, you can't be wearing a T-shirt and holding your skateboard. You got to be professional with your suit on, looking like you're someone that can handle a 100-, 200-person company globally, and for that, they're looking for professionalism. The other thing is the headline is beautiful, right? So title and then helping sales teams grow their business through selling on LinkedIn. What does he achieve? He describes who he works with, sales teams; and how he helps them, they grow their business via selling on LinkedIn. Boom, beautiful. 

Buyer-Centric Summary. So the summary, I got a bunch of points in this. So I grabbed this from a young woman who I work with, who's fantastic and spend a lot of time working on her LinkedIn profile, in particular, summary, and there's a lot to learn from here. One is it's short and impactful, three paragraphs of one to three sentences each, very easy to read. Grabbed that from Robert as well. The language that she uses, it's who she helps and how she helps them. I've mentioned that before, that's key to everything you do in sales Okay, that is beautiful. The other thing is she expresses her passion for her job. I love talking about ... Just that phrase alone at the beginning of that sentence says a lot to the buyer is that I love this. You cannot wait to talk to me because I have so much energy about this. 

There's an obvious call to action at the end, how to reach them. Remember, not a ton of engagement back on LinkedIn. So we want to use LinkedIn where people spend a lot of time, then we want to offer them alternate channels to get back to us. In this case, Emerald has left her email. The final thing is colorful content offers, the rules of the internet apply on LinkedIn. And on the internet, colors, pictures, images, these are the kind of things that help conversion. You can see how beautiful her summary looks as a result. 

Okay, I told you I wasn't sure whether to talk about experience, but it's just important here, okay? It's not as important here as the top three things above the fold, because you're only talking to about 25% of your viewers here are reading this, but I just think it's a waste. And so I'm going to tell you the same theme - who you help and how you help them. What I liked about this too, this is Robert again, metrics that show the breadth of his experience, "You should talk to me because I work with lots of people like you." Recommendations that are geared towards what he wants to express to his prospects, and Robert does, when he asks for a recommendation, he will say, "This is what I'm trying to get across." And then, once again, colorful content. And those to me are the key. If you get those things locked down, then it's time to go to market and start interacting on LinkedIn. 

The next part I was going to talk about was Pre-Call Research, that is mandatory in all selling. If I might date myself, right in the old days, when we wanted to do our pre-call research, we're looking at SEC filings, we we're looking at newspaper clippings, you name it. Now we have LinkedIn, and it is extraordinary. And so I beg of you to use it. 

So everything you need for pre-call prep is on LinkedIn, everything. So pre-call research is obviously, at its core, what we're trying to do. Let me just go over a couple of things for you. So relationships, people are good at that. They're always trying to figure out, "How am I tied back to this customer?" That's the difference maker of all bid. Now they know I'm one of you. Yet, the big one here is roles and goals for me. Because we used to live in a title-centric world, and we hope that the title would tell us enough, but it doesn't. What we want to know is what do they do and how are they measured. And you can find that on LinkedIn. That's how you figure out how to sell to someone. If you can understand what they do, now you can craft anything you tell them towards how it will help them in their job, and how they are measureable allow you to tie directly to ROI, all things that are critical to successful selling. 

Business drivers are things that are happening in their business that you might tie back to your value prop. LinkedIn is a place where people share. You might find that they've changed jobs. You might find that they have posted a recent announcement or content or anything like that. Those things we want to identify. 

The final two are one, mapping stakeholders. One thing we've seen is in the inbound lead realm. So you get an inbound lead. The obvious reaction is work that lead. But what we're seeing is companies that are really smart, they get an inbound lead and the first thing that they do is they go to LinkedIn to find two or three other people that are related to the prospect. Then they load those stakeholders into SalesLoft, then they reach out to them right away. That's what I love. So a marketing manager comes in, they send a note to the CMO out of the gate, because they know there's some level of interest and they identify those people using LinkedIn. I love that. Turning an inbound lead into a fully mapped outbound campaign, it's beautiful. And so, either way, if you're not going to do that, you're not going to proactively go after stakeholders, it doesn't matter. You need to know who else surrounds this prospect, so look them up right away and earn the CRM and keep doing your thing. 

The final thing is what am I trying to do here. You're trying to find one to three reasons that this person should do business with you and that's how you sell. So really quick, right, it's at your disposal so use it.

Okay, so now I was talking about reaching out. All right, I had to use Spam. Look my family is from Hawaii, I ate Spam my whole life. I always try to throw on a little bit of a plug for it. Those are some really odd flavors, but anyway, the picture notwithstanding, the goal here is to help you use LinkedIn to reach your buyers. They're hard to reach. They're really hard to reach today. So if you take some of the most recent statistics on just call stats, 18 to 22 to 1 to reach someone on the phone. And you know everyone loves email, but you get a 10% conversion rate when you're doing all, that means nine people ignore you. Any advantage you can get to get to people is what you need and LinkedIn is a good channel to go do that. 

Okay, so there's a number of touch types. I'm only going to cover a couple of them on this webinar today. I'll just give you them all now, and then we can dig into a couple. So one is profile viewing, never hide your profile. Thirty percent of people will look back at your profile after a view. That has been tested by one of my clients. They go as far as that as their campaigns. They spend all their time just clicking on people's profiles and getting them to click back. And they found 30%, after hitting about 100, they're getting 30%, so 30 people looking back. What does that tell you? One is follow my tips on getting your profile set up; and two, never hide your profile. Three, if they do look at your profile, then reach out immediately, not on LinkedIn, but on phone or email. 

The triple touch which I'll talk about in a second, but the idea here is people use voicemail and email within seconds of each other. If they can add LinkedIn, then that improves conversion on their email, which I'll talk about in a sec. 

Thumbs up in sharing content. If someone puts content up, they care about that content. And if you can show them the respect and say, "Hey, that was good content," that's a great touch. I'm just going to tell you this right now, incredible story, company trying to reach an enterprise client, a year, I repeat, a year of calls and emails into them but nothing, okay? A year later, they thumbs up, share a piece of content this person put up, call him and email him immediately after that and they reach him, one year later, directly equated to their acknowledgement, so to speak, of their content. 

The "Who's viewed your profile" play, I kind of mentioned that a bit, but I love this. Someone unsolicited looks at your profile, hit them up right away. That was one of our biggest clients here at Topo, very early on, was not returning my calls. The minute I saw her look at my profile, I reached out right away and got her. She did not realize that I had done that. She said, "My God, I was just thinking about you." Love that. 

Okay, so that's kind of level one. There's the stuff you should be doing. Level two is referral or introduction request. I think if you can get a warm intro, that's the best. I'm not sure if I'm saying anything really remarkable there. But it is important to put in as a LinkedIn touch type. The other door, kind of really advanced, answering questions, commenting on comment. Look, if you're going to do that, you got to be good right. Because you're basically at that point putting a public, it's an indelible marker on your intellect. So that's why it's advanced, right. You got to be able to offer value, otherwise don't do it. 

All right, so let's talk about some touch types. All right so first is LinkedIn is the third leg of the triple touch. So we talked about triple touch, you can look here in our data. We looked at sales development teams, high growth sales development teams, and 50% of them are using a combination of email, phone and LinkedIn in their touches. That's a big number. Okay, because I'm telling you, LinkedIn years ago, while everyone was always, I mean, not always but people been smart to the fact that you can do your research there, using it as a touch point is new. And the fact that one out of every two is using it as part of their groups of touches is a huge deal. That tells you that you should be using it as well. 

So here's kind of where it looks like in a touch pattern, where it looks like. Here is where what it looks like in a touch pattern. You want to do it on your first outreach. You want to hit them with three different channels: voicemail, email, InMail or messaging, LinkedIn messaging. They should be your first touch.Aand I can tell you right now that companies that do that are getting a higher conversion, 5 to 10 points higher on their email as a result. Not many people are getting responses on LinkedIn, but they are getting responses on their email. That's a huge win, huge win. 

Now how do you do it and how do you do it at scale? Here's what we've seen works. All you got to do is write a brief message and forward your email. Now if you're listening to me, I'm going to show you an example of a great email in a second. You're running a highly custom, highly personalized email. You don't want to recreate that. So just forward what you did before on LinkedIn and that should do the trick. And you can see here, I left you this message, right, it's from the extent of, "Just want to make sure I reach you, wrote you this great message," and then allow them to follow up with you on email rather than LinkedIn. Because the odds on LinkedIn follow up are low. Okay, that's it. The other thing is we've seen higher conversion rates on LinkedIn messages with prospects of 500 or more connections. 

So the personalized email. You might ask me why is that in the present? Well, let me tell you why. I just spent all this time talking about pre-call research, and the question I always get is well, now what am I supposed to do with it? And that's a good question. I was once on a panel with Jill Konrath, social selling panel, and she said, "Well, you can teach people to research, but if they don't know what to do with it, it's really of no use." And that was just a great quote. Let me tell you, you have all this data at your fingertips, and it's hard to connect with people. If you want to connect with someone, make a highly personalized email that touches on all the things you've found on LinkedIn. 

Here's the one I loved, so this young man from Yesware reached out to me, wrote me this incredible email. I asked him where he got all the data, he said LinkedIn and my website, so perfect example. One is the key for me on email is you can write something that says like we should talk whether we do business now or we do business later, we should be talking, okay. The second thing is can you take these bullet points. He did four, I like three, but they're all really good, and he's trying to say to me, "Craig, here's what we have in common and why we should talk." The final thing is, I'll just tell you this, you got send it via email. So, I know I'm doing a LinkedIn webinar and I'm bringing up email, but the key here is everything you get is from LinkedIn. You follow it up with a forward on LinkedIn message and you got yourself a higher conversion rate. Personalized custom research especially with executives, emails that just hit home, these things are going to convert for you much higher than the canned template-tized approach. 

So referral request, I just got to tell you, I firmly believe you should make referral request outside of LinkedIn. You should find every opportunity in LinkedIn and then take it outside. Don't use the get introduced feature. It's too impersonal. It's almost like scale, right. So ease for you makes it looks less thoughtful on behalf of the person that you are asking for a favor. So that's one thing. The second thing I'll mention to you is make it really easy for them to help you. Give them a sample email that they can forward. And that works like a charm. When you make it hard, someone asked me, "Hey, can you introduce me to so and so," I'm like, "Yeah, but I'm not going to sit there and write an email and tell them why." So we all know warm intros are the best. But I got to tell you, people make a lot of mistakes in asking for a referral. 

Joanne Blanc, who I respect quite a bit, believes you shouldn't just email them the request. Call them and talk to them about it, sell them on it. That's how great a warm intro is. You should spend the time to make sure the person making the referral feels really good about it and can do it really easily. 

All right, so the final thing is nurturing. Can I tell you something? I worked with demand gen and sales. I can tell you right now demand gen people, marketing departments, spend lots of money to nurture. What is nurturing? Nurturing is a constant, always on, cadence of touches to prospects who are not engaged with you currently in a sales cycle. Marketing has a person in charge of this. They've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on content, on systems, you name it, to do this, and we have LinkedIn, the easiest place to go do it. And I'll tell you how easy it is. In my opinion, you should just share content. It's that easy. 

Okay, so what I found is four to six updates a day, you get the highest yield. I know that's hard, so you can see my title. Just share content every day, start with that. As you get better and better get that number up to four to six, but I'll tell you how I do it. So one is I find content for my clients and I share that, because that works two ways. One is they feel really good about the fact that I'm sharing their content, and two, I get a piece of contact and it's a win. The second is I use Twitter feed. It's basically you can time it so that blogs that you read, that you trust will be always fed into your LinkedIn feed. So, I've got probably 25 blogs with people that I trust that it automatically puts it into LinkedIn, so I'm feeding content in my sleep. 

The other two are really important which is create relationships internally to share content. So marketing is creating all this content and they often don't share it with sales to go use. I went into a client, they said, "Well, we really need to help sales work on nurturing their clients." I say, "Great, so what's the content?" "Well, we got to create some." Then I go and look at the Twitter feed of the marketing person who's brought me in and she's got 15, 17 things she shared just that day alone. I say, "Can't you just share that with sales and let them use it?" It's a communication gap, and if you really want to go do social selling at scale, that's important. 

The other thing is sharing content internally. So we're all trying to find content. Can we share with each other? My company, we use Slack. We share with each other. That way everyone gets new content all day from leveraging everyone's research and makes it really easy. 

The final thing is to reuse earlier content. Everyone asks me about that. I'm like, "Guys, you're throwing it into the feed. The looks like the stock market ticker. I mean I can't even keep up. You should be confident that most people missed it. You should put it up again, not that same day or an hour later, but the next week, the next month, the next quarter, whatever that is. But reuse your content along the way and that allows you to scale." And like I said, what we found is four to six updates a day really works. Those people are getting 2X the amount of view backs on their profile more than others. That's all we can ask for. All we can ask for is that client, that customer, that prospect that we have not talked to in a while is staying in touch with me every time. And our easy way to know is they'll look at it and they'll go look at my profile. And that's a win. 

So that's me. I think I would say this to you: One is you are social selling. Two, it's okay. Three, it's not a bunch of tricks, it's part of what you should do every day. And I hope this was helpful. And I hope this social selling summit was helpful because there's a lot of great people on it. If you want to reach me and engage me more, you just reach me at Funnelholic, you can see there, that's my Twitter handle, or you can reach out to me at the Topo blog Topohq.com. Thank you very much everyone, and I look forward to talking to you soon.