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With the emergence of social selling, business relationships are moving out of the conference rooms and into social networks. In conjunction with Inbound sales tactics, your social profiles can make or break a deal. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is the first step towards successful social selling in the digital age.
Start With a Strong Bio
Start by making your LinkedIn profile “sales ready” with a professional photo and a strong headline. Ensure your headline projects creativity, appeals to your target market, attracts the right people and answers the questions, “Who do you help and how do you help them?”. Use your summary to expand on your personality and experiences, by describing what you do and why you do it. Next, create a personalized LinkedIn URL to increase searchability and finally, add your contact information so prospects can connect with you in their preferred method.
Intrigue Prospects with your Experience
Fill out the “Experience” section of your LinkedIn profile with your buyer persona in mind. Include relevant blog posts and other content that your buyer personas would resonate with. List 3-5 major role responsibilities under your description using industry specific long-tail keywords.
Show your skillset rather than just talk about it. Mention awards or impressive stats that you & your company have earned. Intrigue your viewers by highlighting the value that you bring and keep the focus on the results you’ve helped clients achieve.
Qualify leads that hit your LinkedIn profile page! Identify aspects of your buyer persona within your experience section, such as company size or industry, so prospects can understand why they should or should not be interested in talking to you, and can then self-select as a good or bad fit.
Recommendations, Certifications and Education
List accomplishments in the form of certifications, courses completed, and/or awards won to shows off your talent rather than just talk about it.
Aim for a high number of endorsements for individual skills pertinent to your buyer personas and a few recommendations from past supervisors or clients. Strive for 2 recommendations for each of your most important former positions. Wait 6 months before asking for recommendations and be specific in what you want to be recommended for. Client recommendations are also a powerful referral tool and are a high-quality trust signal.
Strive for a high quantity of endorsements that your buyer personas would be impressed with. Make sure to identify which skill is of importance to your prospects and start by trading endorsements with the people you know.
Outreach Best Practices
Customize your message to the business, experience, and personality of the prospect you’re connecting with. Provide value before extracting it! Don’t ask for anything when you’re connecting for the first time, work your way up to it naturally. Social selling is about building relationships and working a network of individuals, not just one lead. Share content with your connections to show that you’re an active and knowledgeable member of your industry and spark conversations with prospects over time.
In conjunction with sharing, interact with your connections to strengthen your community. Request recommendations and endorsements from your past co-workers and current clients to build your credibility. Comment, like and share your prospect’s content when you can provide value. Groups are a valuable resource for like minded individuals and can support you on your way to social selling greatness. Lastly, expand your network in meaningful ways, connect with past coworkers, schoolmates, and colleagues, as well as the prospects you’ve already engaged.
Optimizing for Search Engines
Optimize your LinkedIn profile for a higher chance of showing up in the search results. The first step is to completely fill out your LinkedIn profile and switch it to “public”! LinkedIn gives higher authority to profiles that are 100% completed. Then, check your professional headline, job title and job description for long-tail industry specific keywords that speak to your prospects. Focusing on one long tail keyword for your job title and optimizing your job descriptions around a variety of secondary keywords will improve your profile’s visibility. Make sure to change your LinkedIn URL to a customized SEO friendly version following the format (www.LinkedIn.com/in/yourname).
There is potential for LinkedIn’s search engine to prioritize results based on popularity rankings. If so, endorsements will play a key role in your profile’s visibility. Either way, increasing your endorsements will improve the value of your profile, so it’s a worthwhile task regardless.
Add your LinkedIn URL to your email signature, other social channels and any website you maintain to create inbound links to your profile. Be active! Profiles that engage in groups and discussions are five times more likely to be viewed.
Leveraging Other Social Platforms
LinkedIn is the main driver when it comes to social selling, but it can be supported with other channels. Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a little too personal and are often private. Twitter, however, is a perfect blend of both personal and professional that can accelerate your social selling.
You’ll find a more robust personality on Twitter compared to LinkedIn. Information the individual tweets/retweets will shed light onto their pain points or values, and you may discover a door opener in the process. Not only can you independently interact with prospects, you can also create personalized lists and monitor their activity.
Optimizing your Linkedin profile for inbound sales will provide the first step towards successful social selling. Ensuring that each aspect of your profile is fully optimized, speaks to your buyer personas, uses the right language, and shows your value will increase your visibility and encourage leads to reach out.
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Sales conversations are a tricky thing. Each word exchanged can bring a buyer closer to to signing the deal or push them farther away. A simple phrase can either trigger a fear your prospects have or calm a concern they’re stuck on.
For that reason, it’s likely your sales team members are constantly concerned with the art of conversation, and will do everything at reach to become better at it. They’ll wonder: Did my prospect feel listened to? Did I acknowledge their objections and use positive information to neutralize them? How did they talk about competition?
These are some of the questions sales reps probably ask themselves at the end of each call. But that’s also a lot of guesswork — even if backed by long-time experience. In the end, unless you’re doing sales call post mortems regularly, nothing is really being measured.
That’s finally changing. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it has become possible to measure and analyze many things, including sales conversations. That’s what Gong.io self-learning conversation analytics engine does. It records, speaker-separates, transcribes and analyzes sales calls.
Gong used their tool to analyze over 250,000 B2B sales calls, which helped them find some interesting patterns and optimal behaviors or timing windows. From what language to use to how many minutes your prospect should talk uninterrupted, their findings are a game changer in the sales industry. The infographic below sums up all you and your sales reps need to know:
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