Episode 36: ABM Prospecting on LinkedIn (or ACS)
Listen as the Social Sales Link team talks about “ABM Prospecting on LinkedIn”.
In this episode, the Social Sales Link team will discuss: ‘Why LinkedIn is, in their opinion, the most powerful tool to really optimize your ABM or your ACS, for prospecting and finding all the right people.
Bill McCormick 0:00
Welcome back to another episode of Making Sales Social Live, where today we’re going to talk about ABM prospecting on LinkedIn.
Intro (Bob Woods) 0:10
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training, strategies, and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Bill McCormick, Brynne Tillman, and me, Bob Woods, every week, Making Sales Social Live.
Bill McCormick 0:30
(Bill) What in the world,(Bob) What is “ABM” Brynne? Go ahead and tell a little bit about what ABM is and how we can use that for prospecting on LinkedIn.
Brynne Tillman 0:38
Yeah, you know, ABM in the traditional sales world is “Account Based Marketing”. Typically, this is a sales rep or sales reps are given specific accounts, 10, 20, 30 accounts, that is solely what they’re responsible for, and everyday they’re doing deep dives, and trying to build relationships inside of those accounts. It’s also typically supported by marketing, so that content is created for their ideal prospects. The interesting thing about ABM is a sales rep never has to go to find new accounts. They have, you know, their list, and that’s their whole universe. We at Social Sales Link realize that this is a great methodology to dive deep inside accounts. But a lot of companies don’t have the width and breadth of marketing and sales coming together to go after, kind of like whale hunting, right? So we talk about Account Centric Sales, ACS, which means that as a sales rep, or entrepreneur, or business owner, or anyone that’s responsible for business development, will build a list of ideal companies, but they’re not solely their prospects, they can go beyond that. But they have their top 10 or 20 that really want to get in front of–and that list is a little bit more flexible, that if for example, someone in their network gets a new job at a company that they want to be in, you can just add them to your list, there’s no setlist necessarily, LinkedIn is, in our opinion, the most powerful tool to really optimize whether you are ABM, or you are ACS, to prospect and to find all the right people. So Bob, talk about, how do we use a LinkedIn company page with the ABM or ACS methodology?
Bob Woods 2:35
So right now, no one can see it out there, but I’m looking at a company page right now for a company that’s local to me, but yet, people will probably have heard of it, at some point in time. Lexmark, so I’m on their page, and there’s obviously all kinds of information on here about that. One of the couple of the main areas that you’re going to want to look at, where it says, you know, I’ve got Shana and eight other connections that work here, I click on that, and I see if they’ve moved, or moved up in the company, or that type of thing, and then I can also click on their shared connections, to immediately see if there’s anyone who is in a position that I want to start building a relationship with, so that we really get the whole ACS process moving, and actually, and there’s several in here that I like.
Brynne Tillman 3:28
I love that you did like, a real time, like: “Hey, I’m looking at this”. So let’s, like, kind of bring that together, that is brilliant. We can identify in a company page, all of the people that are stakeholders in this account, right? Like Bob was saying, it’s so smart. You go in, you identify who are the titles of the people that I want to engage with, and what is my relationship with them. So you know, when Bob’s example it’s, I got these first degree connections, I’ve got these second degree connections, and I can build out a little map of; how do I identify the pathways into all of those buyers?
Bob Woods 4:06
Yep, exactly.(Brynne) Yeah, I love it.(Bob) And then, so then you can go, and I’m not going to get too granular. But just to give everybody a real basic idea, there’s another link that has total employee count there, you can click into that, and then you could just simply click into All Filters, and there is just a treasure trove of filters there, in the free LinkedIn account, that you could use to really start honing in on, at least the titles, especially if you use the title field and keywords, and just go to town from there.
Bill McCormick 4:37
I love this, this is actually when I started working with my wife and I was looking for new clients for our business. This is how I use LinkedIn: I would identify, I had a certain Client Profile, who people in marketing, and I would find them, and I would add them to a list, and then I would work through that list, and use that list for my research in a social selling sense when you have that list. Now you can start looking for: “Okay, so Bob is the director of marketing, and that’s who I sell to, and I’m not connected to him, but Brynne may be a referral partner, or maybe she works in the company, and she’s not a decision maker, but I’m connected to her”. So you can start looking for these connections, so now Brynne is my pathway into Bob, so what I can do is ask Brynne: “Hey, I see you work with Bob, can you make an introduction? Or do I have permission to drop your name, that you and I may have worked together before, or we know each other from this”, this is where you can start using this information. What makes LinkedIn so great is that, this is all self populating information. So your company may use something like a Zoom info or something like that, where you’re getting information about companies, and it lists this out. The problem is, you have to wait for those companies to update that information. with LinkedI, it all happens as it happens, right? When somebody changes companies or changes positions, they change their LinkedIn profile, and you’re able to see that. One of the great things you can do is take inventory of your connections within a company and find out who has changed, have they gotten a promotion, where you can now reach out and start a conversation. You can also take a look at their LinkedIn company page, right? So when you’re doing ABM, ACS, the LinkedIn company pages are gold, and start looking to see what new initiatives are they working on, what awards have they won, what events or webinars are they having that you can help promote that you can–it’s really great if they’ve won an award for something to grab that piece of content, and share it with people within the organization, because oftentimes, what we find is that people within an organization don’t see their own press, and so when you reach out and say: “Hey Bob, I noticed that Social Sales Link was awarded, the top social selling training company in the world”. But you can do that, you share that content and people are like wow, and even if they knew it, even if they saw that, it’s like, “Bill was thinking of me”, and it puts you on their radar. So LinkedIn Company Pages are great for ABM and ACS, and if you use Sales Navigator, I’m just gonna follow a little rabbit trail here.(Bob) Yep,(Bill) you use Sales Navigator, it’s even powered, even more, because you can actually Buyer Map right in Sales Navigator and figure out: “Okay, who are your top tier connections, who are your second tier, who are your third tier”, and you can you can stay in touch with them that way and keep that map right there in Sales Navigator, you know, I’m a paper-and-pen kind of guy, I make lists. That’s what I do. I’m also a whiteboard guy, I’ve got a huge whiteboard here that I’ll write stuff down on. But if we can keep it right, all in LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, it makes it so much easier.
Brynne Tillman 7:58
So I love that, I’m going to actually talk a little bit for a moment from the ACS perspective, which is how do we find accounts that we want to add to our portfolio? Right? So how do we build our list of whales? So one of the things we recommend is go back to your best customers, the ones that you want more of, and really kind of map them out, who did you talk to inside that organization, what was happening inside of that organization when they brought you in, what challenges were they facing, and how did you solve that, and what was the journey through that? A lot of that, will first of all, start to help you create content that will attract more of the right people, so keep that in mind. But number two, we take this you know client persona and whether you’re using the free LinkedIn, or as Bill said, even better the Sales Navigator, we can build look-alike prospects. Maybe we start, you know, filtering with the industry the size of the company, which is more in the Sales Navigator piece versus the free. But you know, we take those filters and we start to identify accounts that meet that criteria. Now, the other way to go after it is maybe you are selling into the VP of Marketing, director of marketing, or the chief revenue officer. Those may be titles that you’ve now identified, go in and search those titles with whatever industry or other filters are appropriate, and click on the second-degree relationship filter. This allows you to see who meets that criteria that I have a shared connection with. That could be a really good way to start building a list. Start with your social proximity, build a list around who is in your network. So we’ve got some folks. Mark Hunter, one of our favorite sales experts, account-centric selling, loved it, well, we love you Mark, and we have Rich, our buddy Rich, happy to catch the LinkedIn guru drop knowledge. Tyler, something super helpful I’ve been doing is sorting filters in Sales Navigator to focus on Team Link, we’ll explain that in a second, and second-degree connections for my account, it’s a game-changer. So Sales Navigator, when purchased at an enterprise level, allows you to see who in your organization is connected to your ideal prospect. Even if you’re not connected to them, the bigger the organization even more powerful this can actually be. So Tyler, thank you for this, it really is powerful, because anyone inside of your organization, even if they’ve never met you, is connected to the growth of your company, and so they’re happy to make introductions into their targeted market, into your targeted market when they know them. So super helpful, and Rich again, indeed, it’s powerful to acknowledge when clients or prospects are in the news, not too many people do that. I scour the business section of the newspaper, I used to do that in the business journals. If you just Google and click on the news tab, Google their name, it’s all there. So I–you know, it’s incredible, the value that’s at our fingertips, so I love that. So you know, we really talked a lot about ABM/ACS, which we’ve coined ACS. I really believe that more people are going to focus on account-centric selling versus account-based marketing, especially the salespeople that don’t have that marketing support. But either way, we have found that it is absolutely essential to socially surround some of these bigger organizations, because it can take–you know this is depending on your solution, the sales cycle can be long, and you want to make sure that you are on the radar and providing value to all of these stakeholders.
Bill McCormick 12:17
And one of the things, and we’ve talked about this in previous episodes, is when you’re looking at a company page, like Bob had talked about looking and searching and filtering through the employees, it gives you the opportunity to connect with more than one person. Because what we know is on average, about 20% of the workforce changes jobs in a given year, that number has probably gone up in the current climate,(Bob) undoubtedly,(Bill) and so if you’re only connected to your one decision-maker, then you’re one move away from being just a commodity, to just being just like everyone else. Because no matter what your track record is with that one person that you’re connected with, if they go away, you’re starting over with everyone else, just like your competition is, who’s trying to get in the door. So the more people that you’re connected to, in looking at an account centered or an account-based marketing way, the more people within that organization that you’re connected to, that you’ve had conversations with, whether they be in person or on the phone, or via social, the better chance that they know who you are, they know the value you bring to that organization, how you serve that organization. So when one person leaves, the person who takes their place, whether it’s someone that gets promoted, they know you, or if it’s somebody comes in from the outside and says: “Okay, so who do we use for our XYZ software, who’s that vendor”, and they have six or seven people that say: “Oh, it’s Brynne Tillman in social sales, like they’re the ones, they’re the go to, you don’t want to go anywhere else”, and the more buy in you have for more people, the more secure you’ll be, because one of the things we know, and we teach this, the best chance for change in an organization, is when there’s a change in the leadership, and so you want to make sure you solidify yourself so that you have more champions, and you have more people advocating for you within the organization. So there’s not even a thought like we’re gonna go with someone else.
Brynne Tillman 14:24
Yeah, I think that that is absolutely vital, and you know we talked about, an account-centric sales per minute that, you know, there could be triggers that create new opportunities. One of them, to Bill’s point, is a new you know, someone has a new position or a new job. So you see in a notification that, you know, a stakeholder is now at a new job and that gives us two opportunities. There’s some you know, we’re going to follow them into you know, that new opportunity because that’s a great for change, right, where they’re open to change, they came in to make a difference. So they’re open to those conversations, and now there’s their old position that will be filled with someone new. So those are opportunities to bring in potentially a new account into your account-centric sales. So I guess we’re gonna wrap this up with a little bit of a bow. But I would highly recommend that if you are selling a relatively complex sale, or long sales cycle, or you are selling to big companies, start building a list of your top 10. You don’t have to go with 100 right, start with your top 10, go deep and wide, socially surround the organization, bring value to the many different stakeholders, and you’ll start to see some bigger opportunities pop-up over time.
Bill McCormick 15:45
Definitely, thanks once again for watching us and listening to us here, and be sure to tune in next time as we’re joining you with Making Sales Social Live. We’ll see you next time everyone, Bye-bye.
Outro (Bob Woods) 15:57
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