Don’t Write Off Social Selling So Fast… 4 Tips to Sell Better on LinkedIn
B2B buyers are completing 70% of their sale before contacting the sales representative. This highlights how much buyers are influenced through social media sites, like LinkedIn, which is specifically designed for business people. Social sellers are sales leaders. They are innovative by using the right tools to socially surround their buyers. So, what does this mean for your selling approach? How can you successfully take advantage of LinkedIn for your next sale?
LinkedIn is proven to work
Back in 2012, HubSpot compiled a study that found LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate of any network available. With a 2.74% conversion rate, LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Twitter and Facebook, the study found.
Today, through our own experience we see a very low percentage of salespeople actually using Twitter for B2B social selling successfully. Nor are salespeople using Facebook for B2B, because Facebook is very much a consumer-oriented social media site.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, was designed for professional networking which opens the door for “social selling” to a B2B audience.
And it works. Consider these proof points:
- More than half of the salespeople who participated in the 2012 survey (54%) attributed at least one closed deal to their social media use.
- Nearly 80% of salespeople who used social networking outperformed those who didn’t.
Yet not many salespeople are leveraging LinkedIn the way they could, leaving plenty of room for you to gain a competitive advantage. In fact, one expert estimates that less than 5% of salespeople use LinkedIn well! Are you ready to be one of those?
How to use LinkedIn to increase sales
If you’re interested in tapping into the potential of the LinkedIn network to increase your sales, below are four best practices that will help you maximize your use of this resource:
- Start with your own profile on LinkedIn, and make sure it makes the right impression. Remember that LinkedIn goes both ways, meaning that someone might be looking for what you’re selling and contact you first. Plus they are probably going to look at your LinkedIn profile if they hear from you, in order to learn more about you while considering whether or not they want to respond to you.
- Building on your profile, establish yourself as a trusted authority and build credibility online. Building trust online is a matter of becoming a thought leader in your industry. If prospects see that you’re posting valuable advice, answering people’s questions or discussing relevant news, they’re more likely to engage with you when you reach out to them. In fact, LinkedIn research shows B2B buyers are 92% more likely to engage with a salesperson who is a known industry thought leader.
- Gather information about your prospects and competitors. Using social tools to research people, companies and industries is just smart selling, and research bears this out demonstrating that 77% of buyers are more likely to choose a vendor when the salesperson is informed about their business needs.
- Nurture potential leads. The key word here is nurture. According to LinkedIn, 59% of B2B buyers would think less of a salesperson who cold called them. Ouch! Social selling via networks like LinkedIn eliminate the need for cold calling. Instead, connect with prospects via LinkedIn groups and conversations (see the resources listed below for more).
Putting these four best practices into action should help you shorten your sales cycle because you won’t have to establish your credibility from scratch or waste time on cold calls. Plus you’ll be using LinkedIn as it was intended, for networking and making connections that can lead to even more prospects later on down the line as you increase your credibility and reputation online.
For more information, see these resources
Many resources are available for learning more about social selling best practices. A few of our favorites are listed below:
- This infographic by LinkedIn offers dozens of statistics to convince of the potential of social selling, as well as tips for doing it.
- Eloqua offers 10 tips for improving your social selling.
- This article offers proven best practices for selling with LinkedIn, including tips for improving your profile, building your presence and making connections.
- See this article for real hands-on advice and real-life examples of the potential of LinkedIn for prospecting.
- Finally, although this post is not the checklist it promises to be in the title, it still contains practical and actionable advice for using LinkedIn for social selling.
If you want to read a more in depth best practice for using LinkedIn in your strategy, check out our Ebook – Social Selling on LinkedIn: 4 Tips to Close More B2B Deals Faster, Faster!