Social Selling I: Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Sales
Social selling is a lead generation technique through which businesses and salespeople can directly interact with potential prospects on social networks. It is the edge that a person in sales needs to surpass their competition. Social selling enables salespeople to make their prospecting process more targeted: one can build a great rapport with their connections and become the go-to person that their prospects reach out to when they want to buy something.
In the B2B SaaS space it is essential to engage with prospects across multiple channels in order to avoid getting lost in the crowd. There are various platforms that have been created and made available for professionals working in different industries. Among these, LinkedIn is one of the most effective for social selling.
Is your LinkedIn profile part of your sales arsenal? Looking to attract prospects on LinkedIn? Well, it's certainly possible but not without a stellar LinkedIn profile backing you. LinkedIn is the hub of all online professional activity and interaction. It has great potential to lead you to new business, if you play your cards right. Step one is getting your profile right! Transforming your LinkedIn profile into a sales funnel helps to improve your profile and optimize it to generate leads.
1. Background Picture
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a way to showcase your brand to potential prospects. Thus, it is necessary to create a strong impression. Use the background picture of your profile to your advantage by displaying your company logo prominently for everyone to see. This logo represents your brand or company.
Background photos are used to position oneself at first glance and sets the tone for prospects visiting your profiles. You are not just limited to having a logo be your background image but rather have a diverse range of options to choose from. You can have a relevant image to your brand, company or profile to set the tone or you could even use infographics, testimonials, and banners, among others, to have as your background picture.
Tip: Having a customized background photo sets you apart from others and gives your profile its very own color.
2. Add a Profile Picture
Having a profile picture puts a face to the name for the prospects. This way of giving an identity to the business through a picture increases your chances of being viewed. The picture that you use should not be random but rather represent you in the best light possible. Hiring a professional photographer to take a headshot for you is the best way to go.
To give a strong first-impression, make sure that you showcase a professional look in your headshot. Wearing business attire like suits or formal clothing that fits you well is a great place to start. Try to wear solid colors as it is easier on the eyes and also consider your color theory. Wearing casual clothing, ill-fitting clothes, too many bold colors, and worn-out clothing does not give off a look that builds credibility in the eyes of the prospects.
Tip: If you have budget constraints, you can call in a favor with someone who is good with a camera.
3. Make The Headline Your Elevator Pitch
Sometimes, simple is the best. Your headline should highlight two main points: Who do you help and how do you help them? Take your headline as your sales pitch and craft it to be a catchy unique value proposition for the viewer and prospects. Describe your current role using active language and verbs to emphasize it. This way your prospect will know what you can do for them before they even get to know about you or your company.
For example: “Helping B2B companies secure clients through inbound sales”
Tip: Appear in more LinkedIn searches by using strategic keywords in your headline.
4. Describe Your Current Role
Your prospects need to know what your current role is to build a connection with you and check if your company is relevant to them or not. You can add in key areas of your expertise using bullet points to make it short and bite-sized for the viewer. This helps them easily and quickly get an idea of what you do.
For example: Under your current role you can write:
Work with businesses in the SaaS industry to expedite their B2B communication and increase client acquisition rate by 5%.
Tip: Do not just write a job description but deliver it as a story to engage the prospect.
5. Add Current Location
LinkedIn users generally look for connections and business by searching for specific locations and jobs. To make sure that you pop up in the right searches, add the current country of the company that you are representing.
For example: If your company is located in Seattle that is the location that you will enter on your profile.
6. Make Your LinkedIn Profile About/Summary Engaging
When you open someone’s LinkedIn profile, one of the first things you do is skim through the headline, check the image, and finally, read the LinkedIn summary. The content of the summary plays a great role in determining if the profile is relevant to you and if you think it is worth connecting to. Your leads also act in a similar manner.
The Summary section of LinkedIn is a representation of who you are and what value you are offering to others. The LinkedIn Summary can also be sometimes called the About section and they are one and the same thing. Thus, take this section as the About section of any page or website that you visit before making any purchasing decisions.
When you are doing LinkedIn outreach, you should make sure that your summary is strong, clear, authentic, and interesting. Keep your summary concise and to the point, having all the details summarized expertly in one paragraph. Describe your current role, your unique selling points, and what you are passionate about. Use it as a way to solve specific pain points of prospects. Adding relevant keywords in your summary helps you rank higher in search results and attract the right connections.
Tip: Cut out the jargon and make your first sentence count as it will set the tone of your profile in the mind of the viewer. Try to keep the paragraph as short, concise and clear as possible because people do not have the time to read too long of a summary.
7. Utilize the Feature Section
The feature section is an innovative way to elevate your profile by using it to highlight any videos or content showcasing the identity of the company and its quality of work. Adding links to videos and articles that your company has published can give the prospects an insider’s view of your operations.
Tip: Use the Feature section to showcase your best work so the prospects can see the integral information about you early on. This can be a blog or website you authored, a case study, or any of the noteworthy content that you are responsible for.
8. Work Experience
This section authorizes you to elaborate more on what you do. The recommended rule of thumb is to have a short paragraph of three lines which depicts the overall scope of your job responsibilities and work. Add a couple of bullet points on the core accomplishments of your company along with tangible results and stats. Fill up this section with positivity and a dose of humble bragging about your company.
Tip: Adding a brief overview of the job then moving onto highlighting your achievements, explaining them in concise bullet points, makes your work experience clearer and easier to understand, But remember, do not overdo the bullet points!
9. Educational Experience
A word of advice would be to highlight any non-profit or volunteer work that you have under your belt. Doing this will give some insight to the prospect about the human behind the screen. It is better to steer clear of mentioning any high school or fraternity experiences as it may unconsciously create a bias in the m/inds of the prospect about you.
Tip: Mention relevant qualifications, high-achieving positions, university GPA, or extracurricular societies that you have been a part of. However, do not create extra sections for your honors and awards unless you are looking to fill up empty space. Mention them under the appropriate school.
10. Use Skills and Endorsement to Build Trust
The LinkedIn profile allows you to pin specific keywords which highlight your skills related to the industry and area of expertise. This is a great source of optimization for any salesperson. Use long-tail keywords relevant to your top skills and highlight them on your profile. Think from a buyer’s persona and what they would want to know.
Do not become a wallflower on LinkedIn.Update your profile, engage with others and post quality content related to the skills you have mentioned on your LinkedIn profile. This will help you come onto the radar of your connections and encourage them to endorse you. When requesting someone to endorse you, it will do you good to send personalized messages that talk about your contributions to the project that you worked with them on.
Tip: Adding endorsements from past/current clients or industry professionals also gives a major boost to your overall LinkedIn profile.
What opinion about your company do you want to endorse and promote to your prospects? Having an idea of the image that you want to portray to your prospects helps in framing your LinkedIn profile accordingly. Ask your clients and satisfied customers to publish an authentic and positive review of your product and services.
Having recommendations from people who have worked with you and have seen your performance first-hand has a stronger impact. A good word from your colleagues, managers, previous employers/employees or even batchmates can help the prospect form a clearer opinion about your capabilities. This builds credibility and trust in your brand and brings in more customers.
Recommendations highlighting your personal qualities along with how you have helped clients in the professional setting are a great addition to your profile. “Mr. Ahmed is a highly motivated, professional and goal-oriented sales specialist with extensive experience who helped us greatly reduce our costs by managing our inbound sales.”
Flaunt what you have got, while still keeping it to a humble brag level and professional obviously. If you have won any certifications or industry-related awards, make the best use of them to strengthen your LinkedIn profile. Let the people know of your achievements so they feel assured when choosing to buy from you.
For example: ‘Certified Sales Executive’ 2020
13. Utilize the Interests Section
Use LinkedIn as a tool for prospecting. It is never a bad idea to follow pages and people on LinkedIn who are relevant to your industry. This helps in building connections and also gives you references for people you can pitch your product to. Another benefit of doing this is to give an idea to the prospects who visit your profile about which groups you are present in. It also makes your profile more personable for the prospect.
Tip: Listing out your interests and following groups that target those interests can lead to meaningful conversations and proves to be beneficial for relationship building. Thus, a higher chance of successfully converting a prospect.
Add the languages that you are certified in and can use to communicate with customers and clients. If you can communicate in your prospects’ language, it will make them comfortable to approach you, leading to a smoother collaboration. However, if you don’t really speak the language, it’s better to not include it.
Make your profile easy to find and search engine friendly by customizing your LinkedIn URL. This makes it easy for people to search for you and is also helpful in linking your business and pages. You can also add a long-tail keyword relevant to your work or industry to optimize your URL for SEO purposes as well.
For example: www.linkedin.com/yourname
16. Grow Your Network
Networking is a central part of all activities on LinkedIn. Make it your objective to make at least 500 connections on the social networking platform. These connections should be diverse but still relevant to your industry and must share a few interests with you. You can approach buyers, both clients and colleagues, to vet good connections from the extensive options. Join groups and engage with others through valuable discussions to gain visibility and strengthen your relationship with your connections.
Tip: Personalize your requests when connecting with potential prospects. A good place to start when expanding your connections is to reach out to your current colleagues, former colleagues, batchmates, managers etc.
This guide to fully optimize your LinkedIn profile for sales aims at equipping you with the knowledge you need to effectively connect with prospects. Implementing these tried and tested tips is sure to elevate your social selling whilst also enhancing the quality and value of your LinkedIn profile. Following these steps, you will be able to stand out from the rest of the competition, generating more business on LinkedIn.