LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing social media tools for sales reps, especially in the B2B sector. But to be successful and to close more deals, an essential sales technique a sales rep should possess is the skill to understand how buyers behave, thus making prospecting easier with greater success.
Here are seven common mistakes committed by sales reps which detract them from building a solid relationship with the buyers:
Creating your profile as a form of personal branding – It’s not always about you and your achievements. Most sales reps use their profile as a medium to showcase their ‘fantastic sales’ skills. But the truth is, prospects don’t care about your achievements. Instead, all they are focused on is how best you can help them. Also, stay away from using sales jargon in abbreviated form in your profile, no matter how well-versed you are in sales. E.g., in place of SDR, mention ‘Sales Development Reps’ and ‘Account Manager’ instead of AM.
Improper targeting of prospects – Many sales reps do not develop a specific target list of prospects or follow an ideal customer profile. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ sales approach will find you grasping at straws. When it comes to understanding your prospects, the secret lies in the details you get from your customer profiling – such as the departments your prospects work in, the business titles they hold, the budget they have, the size of the organization, the challenges with which your product/service can help them. In short, without an ideal customer profiling, you’ll be shooting in the dark.
Asking personal questions – In the name of garnering vital information, sales reps ask too many personal questions which are inappropriate and isn’t a good sales practise. Continuing to do so will give you zero results. While customer profiling is mandatory, asking questions like their age, years of experience is not ideal. These can be discovered through your research of their profile and not asked directly.
Personalizing beyond the name – If you are under the impression that personalizing your outreach with the prospect’s name and company name is all that’s required to get a prospect’s attention, you’re wrong! The key to success lies in ‘warming up’ the prospect and encouraging them to engage with you. The same applies to sales reps who send uncustomized requests when requesting for a connection. Also, same CTAs to all your prospects irrespective of their place in the buying process is a big no-no. Consider where is your first contact with the customer is and devise appropriate CTAs. A first touch could be a short call, subsequently, when the buyer has progressed to the next level in the sales pipeline, a request for a meeting with the decision-maker(s) is most suitable. In any case, avoid the same cookie-cutter messages and start personalizing.
Long texts in in-mail – Sending long and dry content wouldn’t get anyone’s attention. It will only be marked as SPAM. Buyers are smart – they sense a template way quicker than you think. 90% of prospects NEVER respond to cold outreach.
Posting self-serving content In Linkedin groups – If you are one of those self-serving sales reps, drop it today. Spamming connections by posting promotional content and not adding value to them will annoy your connections.
The Right Way To Connect On LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Your success as a sales rep is built on connecting with and converting prospects. The closer you get to them, the higher are your chances of discovering their pain points, thus paving the way for a promising relationship. Here are seven such tips to help you achieve them:
Customize Your Profile – Ditch the ‘I’ and ‘Me’ and word your profile in a way that it explains exactly how your services can help potential clients. It should have a customer-centric layout to showcase the value you offer. The example below will show you how few words can create an impression on your prospect:
Instead of [Self Centered]: I generated over $650k in total revenue annually, with more than 600% growth.
Try [Customer-Centric]: Seasoned sales executive, helping businesses maximize revenues and profits.
Also, LinkedIn has impressive features which enable you to add pictures, videos, links to your profile, that most sales reps neglect. Start today by choosing one or two best pieces of content and upload them in your summary. Bonus points if it’s a mention from reputable sources about your product/service.
Take Advantage Of Enhanced Search Feature – Many sales reps use only the basic search toolbar for prospecting. They enter job titles and other keywords, hoping to find quality prospects. However, this method gives you results that are often inefficient in terms of quality.
On the other hand, advanced search provides access to insights that helps to quickly discover the right people using filters based on factors such as geography, industry, job title, business size and the like. The background information you’ve gathered helps you decide whether a prospect be your priority and save them as a lead to engage with or to eliminate them from your list. “But what if my target prospect pool shrinks?” you might ask. It’s a good thing because it means you’re becoming focused on identifying and attracting only those that are a good fit for your product and purging those prospects who aren’t.
The friendly ‘let’s connect’ message – When people view your profile, consider it as an opportunity to reach out to them and start a conversation. Instead of scaring them with “Hi. I found you checking out my profile. Can we connect?’ email, send them something like this:
“Hi <Name>. Thank you for recently visiting my profile. Is there anything I can help you with? I welcome the opportunity to connect.”
Write a personalized message – LinkedIn offers you primarily two ways in which you can communicate with its 500M+ members – 1:1 Message and Inmail. But most sales reps get confused between the two. So let’s take a look at how these differ from one another and when to use it?
Message: This is the primary form of communication on LinkedIn. Here, you can send messages to your 1st degree (direct) connections as well as to the people who belong to the same LinkedIn groups as you do. It’s also a great tool to create a quick, personalized video message as it will help in your follow-up with a lead and also as a touchpoint message to stay top of the mind with the lead. This way, you’re adding a more personal and human element to the conversation.
InMail: InMails have a 10-25% hit rate when it comes to soliciting a response from prospects – 300% higher than emails with the same content. (Source: LinkedIn) However, only the best sales reps use InMail when a referral isn’t possible. According to LinkedIn, prospects are 46% more likely to accept an Inmail when having at least one thing in common with the sales rep. Therefore, research on them, such as shared hobbies and interests, education history, etc., as a well-crafted, personalized InMail, gives you an excellent opportunity to start a conversation.
Get Real-Time Sales Updates – Once you’ve done your prospecting and saved relevant leads, you’ll receive real-time updates that indicate what matters to your buyers. It gives you a heads-up on a lead changing jobs or sharing articles; it’s a trigger for informed outreach. It shows that you’re up to date on what your buyers value, thus establishing credibility and building trust.
Share through point driver – A feature within Sales Navigator, it makes sharing content more manageable. Instead of making your email look cluttered with several attachments, this feature will help you neatly package follow-up documentation and send to buyers via links in InMail.
It can also help sales reps track engagement by analysing how the content is consumed and understand better gauge buyer intent and follow up more effectively.
Be relevant in LinkedIn groups – In LinkedIn, your content is valuable only when it leads to engagement. Identify and engage in groups where your target prospects are hanging out. E.g., Group name is Sales best practices – strike a conversation to get noticed, also voice your opinions on other discussions within the group. Even if they don’t respond to you in the beginning, they will surely come around. It also helps you gain more details about the prospects’ needs and preferences by interacting with them in these group forums.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the way to get closer to your prospects. It helps you get close to meeting with your prospects and closing deals with those ready to buy. Focus on engaging with your prospects the right way, avoid peddling your products/services to new connections, start using advanced search tools, and personalize every activity with the prospect. Avoid selling on Linkedin; let the selling part be for calls or meetings.
Start prospecting the right way, now!