You Can Lead a Rep to LinkedIn but You Can’t Make Them Use It.

Brynne Tillman |
You can lead a Rep to LinkedIn but you can’t make them use it…unless they know the right activities and messaging that converts connections to qualified conversations and opportunities. I talk with thousands of sales leaders and one thing I hear consistently over and over again is, “I tell my team to use LinkedIn, but they aren’t getting any business from it, so they stop.” LinkedIn is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful tools a B2B sales professional has at their disposal, but knowing how to use it productively takes guidance, commitment, practice and a really good playbook. Getting Your seasoned Sales Team to Embrace LinkedIn and Social Selling as a prospecting tool can be a challenge. Here is what it takes to lead a sales team to be a successful social sellers: Set measurable goals – Begin with the end in mind. What are you looking to achieve with your team’s LinkedIn efforts. You may even want to back into it. Download Social Sales Link’s Connections ROI calculator to get started. Develop Buyer-centric Profile Templates – Articulate how you want your brand amplified on the LinkedIn profiles of your Sales Reps. Granted, you still have to encourage their personal brand as well, but offer a library of options including graphic banners, headline ideas, sample summaries, keywords and phrases for SEO, case studies and marketing collateral that they can add to their profile. The goal is that your Reps’ profiles attract, teach and engage their targeted stakeholders and convert them to phone calls. Encourage & Support Thought Leadership – Work with your marketing team to develop content that helps to support the sales process and make sure to have it easily accessible and top of mind. Whether you send email reminders with links to content or leverage a social selling platform like PeopleLinx to deliver the content on a predetermined cadence, make it as easy to share as a click. In addition,  encourage your team to develop their own thought leadership and offer simple templates and process for approval. Teach Buyer Mapping – It is vital that your team is focusing on the right stakeholders. There has never been more buyers involved in a sale than there is today, so make it easy for them to find their buyers and influencers on LinkedIn. Develop Boolean Searches that meet the criteria you are looking for i.e. (“Vice President” OR Director) AND (Sales OR Marketing) OR “Sales Enablement”. Leverage the other LinkedIn filters like industry, location or company size (premium feature) to narrow buyers down to the best match. Once they know how to find their target market quickly, the first challenge is solved. Establish KPIs Around the Activity that Will Produce Results – To get the sales team’s buy-in to social selling, from the moment your Reps understand that leveraging LinkedIn is now expected of them in their business development activities, it is vital that they grasp the positive effect it will have on their pipeline. The best way to do that is offer KPIs that actually drive business. Here are just a few KPIs to consider:
  • the number of the right new connections each week
  • the ratio of new connections to phone calls
  • the number of phone calls that lead to meetings or even proposals
Make sure you incorporate these KPIs in your CRM and/or social selling dashboard. Develop a Customized Playbook of Daily/Weekly/Monthly Activities – If your Reps don’t know what to do on a daily basis, it just wont get done. Offer the step by step navigation as well as messaging templates for every possible scenario. The easier you make it, the more likely they will do it. Train Your Team – Whether you provide in person training, webinar training, on-demand videos or other 1:1 sessions with Social Selling leaders, it is vital that you offer training that gets your reps motivated and prepared to begin to implement immediately. The activities need to be taught in a clear and concise way and need to lead directly back to the goal – more business. Develop a System to Measure the Results – Just like any sales activity, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Have a system in place that can easily report on your KPIs so you can evaluate what is working and not working and what tweaks need to occur to improve expected results. This can be done through a social selling dashboard like PeopleLinx, your CRM or both. But don’t expect full adoption without the measurement. Reps need to see that the activities they are doing have an ROI on the time invested. There needs to be a clear and direct correlation between activities and results, they will continue to use the tool. Add it to Your Weekly Coaching Sessions – It is up to you to emphasize what activities you want your Reps to focus on, so if leveraging LinkedIn for business development is a priority, let them know it by reviewing their activity and the results on a weekly basis. As a coach, you should be comfortable with the LinkedIn activities you expect from your team. If not, consider engaging an outside mentor to continue the social selling path as it grows sales activities and new business. LinkedIn and Social Selling works, you just have to commit to it, give your Reps a reason to embrace it and lead your team to success. If you are interested in how to put a social selling strategy in place for your sales team, I invite you to have a conversation. Whether or not we work together, I am confident our call will be full of insights and actionable steps that can help on your path to success. Here is a link to my calendar, please pick a time that works best for you. Ask me how you can get a sample playbook for you and your team. BONUS: [Tax Day Special] FREE 30 Minute Online LinkedIn Private Session for Your Sales Team for the First 3 Sales Leaders that schedule! This is for sales teams only, for one on one sessions please schedule on link above.

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