Picture it: A bubbly, new marketing manager enters the training room with a 40-slide LinkedIn Powerpoint in tow. 35 sales guys who have been selling office furniture for a collective 713 years are forced to be there. What could possibly go wrong? [Cue: eye roll]
TRUTH: Aging sales people do not always want to learn new ways of selling.
Also, TRUTH: LinkedIn still seems “new” to people and it can be very intimidating.
Traditional businesses (think accounting firms, healthcare companies, manufacturers, ahem…printing companies) with older, but successful salespeople have not needed to use online tools for selling until very recently. Believe it or not, many of these businesses have been selling the old way and have not seen much of a change in status quo.
“$1.80 LinkedIn Strategy for growing on LinkedIn: 1. Search things that matter most to your world. 2. Read the post. 3. Leave the most relevant comment.”
I see clients every week where the marketing manager is trying desperately to get salespeople to use online tools like LinkedIn, CRM, sales enablement tools, even email! But think about it from their perspective: driving to local companies, walking up to reception, asking for the right contact, and leaving a business card has worked for them in the past, why stop now?
But still, we, as marketers, know the power of digital sales tools, and we want our salespeople to be successful. LinkedIn is such a powerful tool for getting your company message out there into the right news feeds – it’s a win/win. So how do we get the sales team to embrace it?
Here are a few suggestions that have worked here at Ironmark to get our sales team to use LinkedIn regularly for prospecting and networking:
1. Help them Build their LinkedIn Profile
To a LinkedIn newbie, the fear of getting it wrong or looking dumb can be so daunting, they won’t even try. I have literally walked around to the workstations of my sales team and helped them build out their profile. Focus them on seeing themselves from the eyes of their most profitable customer.
People always seem to think that their summary or profile needs to look like they are looking for a job. Reframe their thinking by explaining to them that they are not job-seeking, they are opportunity-seeking. Structure their experience from the viewpoint of how they help their clients, or on achievements that helped toward their customers’ success. Ensure that their profiles are complete – have them fill in as many sections as possible.
2. Show them Boolean Searches on LinkedIn
From my experience, sales folks get super excited if they have a nice, clean list of brand new prospects for them to research. With LinkedIn People Search, users can use Boolean logic to find just the right title, industry and location of potential buyers and create a list to comb through while prospecting.
3. Help them Find Content to Post on LinkedIn
Sometimes salespeople have a difficult time finding topical content to post on their LinkedIn feed, and it’s important for them to post and be active on a regular basis. It’s also important to ensure that the content they share is relevant to the business you’re in and to problems (and solutions) that pique the interest of their prospects. That’s where us marketers come in.
Hopefully you have blog content for them to share – bonus points if you’ve created videos or presentations for them to use. Physically show them how to post or share content. Also, encourage them to create original posts within the LinkedIn article platform that show their own personality.
4. Encourage them to Comment on Clients’ / Customers’ Posts
One of the best ways to get people to engage or connect with you on LinkedIn is to help them. Everyone wants their posts to spread widely, so go ahead and like, comment and share on posts from your clients. If nothing else, you’re giving them a reason to remember you exist – and that’s always a good thing in sales. Have them set a daily reminder to go to their news feed and comment on the posts of five connections.
It’s our job as marketers to enable our sales team to expand their reach and get the good word of our company out to the prospects we seek. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together and we are working toward the same goals.
So, get out there and train your sales team to be LinkedIn warriors – and if you need a helping hand, our social media experts can provide a free LinkedIn training session for your staff. Contact us to set it up!