article | October 26, 2013
The 4 Common Mistakes of LinkedIn Social Selling Initiatives
These meetings are net new sales opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise had. This drives an increased number of qualified buyers of your product into the funnel. Your team sells more. Revenue increases.
The incorrect implementation of Social Selling drives no new revenue. Worse, your sales teams’ newly updated LinkedIn profiles attract recruiters. There’s no revenue lift, and your team is being recruited away. What went wrong?
What’s the difference between correct and incorrect implementation? Get top-notch insights by downloading the Sales VPs Guide to Social Selling Implementation. Become best-in-class.
Let’s review the elements of Social Selling implementation that companies frequently get wrong.
“Give me an example of a good profile and my reps can use it to improve their own profiles.”
Many of your sales rep’s profiles probably look like this. When you ask for a meeting, prospects Google you. When they see this, you have missed out on a chance to differentiate yourself.
Profiles must explain how your sales reps solve the market problems of your prospects. Otherwise they are not effective sales aids. Instead, they are online resumes. Therefore, you must begin by creating buyer personas and buying process maps. These tools provide the sales team with the prospect’s business objectives, problems, and fears. They describe how your customers make purchase decisions. In this way, profiles become buyer centric and appeal to prospective customers.
“I’m going to buy upgraded LinkedIn accounts for everyone! They come with webinars and on-demand learning videos.”
LinkedIn is software. Nothing more. Your team isn’t fully utilizing the free version. Why spend money on subscriptions? Higher level subscriptions do get you more support for your team. LinkedIn offers recorded webinars, reading tip sheets, eLearning modules, and on-demand learning videos. The problem is the same one you face every time you roll out an initiative. Adoption is voluntary. Peak performers will dive in. B players will review, think “interesting,” and choose tidbits to implement before they get distracted. C players will ignore the whole thing. In the end, you will have implemented a software tool, not Social Selling.
“You guys need to get busy growing your LinkedIn networks.”
The purpose of Social Selling is to get meetings with decision makers inside target accounts. You do this by generating warm introductions (referrals), via LinkedIn. The quality of a rep’s network directly dictates how many referrals they can generate. Building out a high quality network of buyers takes a thoughtful and measured approach. It’s more than learning how Inmail works or how to mechanically send connection requests.
As importantly, how will you know if your team is improving? You’ll need to establish a baseline. How do you know the new connections are really your ideal customers? Or are your reps connecting to each other and their country club buddies? Giving vague direction like “grow your networks” will not drive results.
“We started off strong. But then life happened. I don’t know how much we actually got from the initiative.”
The point of Social Selling is to increase revenue. Having a fancy profile and a big network may satisfy the ego. But if it does not generate sales results, why do it? Most organizations that implement Social Selling on their own face this challenge. Without an established baseline and ways to measure and gamify improvement, the initiative stalls. What gets measured gets results. Otherwise, there are anecdotal reports of early successes, but little sustainable or measurable impact.
Download the Sales VPs Guide to Social Selling Implementation. Use it to determine if this is a “do it yourself” initiative. You may find that properly implementing Social Selling is best accomplished with a partner.