New LinkedIn Tools for Sales
“There is no reason to do anything, other than act like a media company in today’s digital age,” said Gary Vaynerchuk, five years ago. The cost and expertise required to produce content continue to drop, and now there is no reason for sales organizations and their sales reps not to be producing content. LinkedIn is now the go-to content platform for business-to-business organizations. This year, LinkedIn has been busy and launched several new initiatives to help sales reps and their organization expand their reach. In this article, we will explore the new features and how you and your team can leverage to drive awareness and increase engagement.
LinkedIn Audio Events
Have you hosted or attended a LinkedIn Audio Event? Did you even know that such a thing existed on LinkedIn? Audio events are a new LinkedIn feature, but the concept is similar to Clubhouse. Instead of needing to upload an audio recording to a third-party hosting platform, you can launch and record directly on LinkedIn. With audio events finding serious traction since COVID, LinkedIn has expanded its offering to support audio only content on their platform.
For sales teams and individual sales reps, this can be a great way to expand your audience and position yourself as the subject matter expert. I see this as an effective social selling tool in three areas. First, you can directly send invites to prospects who are connections. Second, you can invite other speakers to participate and send invites to their connections. Third, you can attend other Live Events and participate in conversations with your ideal customer profile (ICP).
For example, if you sell marketing automation solutions, you could join a Marketing Live Event and interact with others at the event. There is an opportunity to build rapport and establish credibility. By participating in live events and sharing your expertise, potential clients are more likely to be open to a conversation.
LinkedIn Audio Events are all about having conversations with your audience. To set up an Audio Event follow these steps:
- Login to your profile and navigate to the “Home” screen via the top menu
- On the left side of your profile screen, click the + add icon next to events.
- Click the Event Format dropdown bar and select Audio Event
- Select a time and fill in all required information
- Click Post
Pro Tip for LinkedIn Audio Events: If you are attending a live audio event seeking to learn something new or share something of value to the conversation, speak up. But if what you are going to say it is promotional, then keep it to yourself. Modern sales professionals are trusted advisors, not pushy sales reps.
This is a relatively new feature that LinkedIn deployed, which is highly underutilized by sales teams. Connections are able to receive posting notifications from you by clicking the bell icon on your profile page. This feature subscribes your followers to your content. The challenge for users is that they must go to your main profile to activate this feature. The solution? Create a call to action in your post directing users to do just that while backlinking to your profile. For example, “Like this content? Click the bell icon on my profile and never miss an update @NickKane.”
The second way notifications are underutilized is by sales reps not leveraging the feature to their advantage. For example, if you follow a prominent prospect, you will be the first to be notified if you clicked the bell icon on their profile. Then, if you comment on their post early, your comment tends to stay at the top of their post, to be seen by all their followers. Is the light bulb going off?
This feature is very powerful for social selling because it provides double value. First, you can stay top of mind with your highest value clients easy. Second, you can grow your following by engaging in conversations with LinkedIn influencers in your industry. The key, like always, is to write something of value, that is either educational, thought-provoking, or stimulating.
Of course, you don’t have to limit the use of the notification bell to prospects and influencers. You can also engage with leaders in your field, potential industry partners, or industry competitors to stay up to date on their offerings. By engaging with connections in your industry, it will teach the LinkedIn algorithm what type of content you prefer. This feature will help you improve the quality and relevancy of the content in your LinkedIn feed.
Responding as Company to Any Post
LinkedIn now allows company page users to comment on or respond to any post in your feed as the company. You must be a super admin or content admin to react to or comment on posts as your page. You can react to or comment on public posts that you find in your feed or via search. The catch is, it’s only currently available on the desktop version.
If you are a company page super admin, you will notice your picture with a drop-down arrow, next to the comment section. Just click the drop-down button and select the company page. The reason I like this feature so much is for sophisticated social selling organizations, you can create a commenting strategy. Commenting on posts as the company helps you build brand awareness, new relationships, it increases your organization’s visibility, and helps position you as a thought leader. Were in the past a LinkedIn super admin was most likely a marketing person, this new feature opens the door for sales reps to drive engagement.
For example, it is not uncommon for a sales rep to be required to make a specific number of outbound prospecting attempts. However, most LinkedIn company pages are only used for posting original company content, not engaging with audience posts. With the new feature, a sales rep could be given super admin access and required to engage with 10 prospects on LinkedIn per day. Depending on the number of sales reps, this has the potential to exponentially increase a company’s reach.
I can hear the marketing department wondering, “Do we want our sales reps posting directly as the company?” My reply is, you trained them to talk to prospects and trust them to do that. It would make sense to provide some training and give them the ability to leverage their network for the company. I am not saying give access to untrained sales reps and let them start commenting. But for companies that want to expand their reach and engage in conversations that matter, giving sales reps access to react or comment on any post in their feed on behalf of the company can be a powerful tool.
LinkedIn GitHub Skills Explorer
This is a tool that is little known but worth exploring for sales leaders as well as sales reps. It allows you to identify the top skills in your industry based on the title and see the change since 2015. There is no question that sales roles have changed since 2015. For sales leaders who are recruiting talent, this LinkedIn tool can be informative to see the top sales skills based on country, industry, and job title. Here is the link to see how sales skills are changing in your industry.
LinkedIn is reporting that, on average, skills have changed 25% since 2015. Doing some sample research for sales roles across a variety of industries, the numbers match. A few big takeaways I found around sales positions is that sales presentation is a new skill for modern sales executives. It is also a top-five sales skill to have. Clearly, this is a result of switching to virtual or hybrid selling models, post-COVID. The second skill that stands out is that Business Development is now on the list, while it wasn’t in 2015. I attribute this new skill to the fact many organizations are going to a full-cycle sales process and requiring sales executives to develop their own opportunities as well. This tool provides sales leaders with an understanding of the skills they need to develop to keep their sales team competitive in a changing sales force environment.
LinkedIn has been busy adding new features and tools to their platform for content creation and distribution. LinkedIn is no longer just a job site platform but a content platform. The disparity between people creating content and those consuming it is so wide, LinkedIn has no option but to distribute your content to your audience. Each new feature creates an opportunity for sales reps to leverage to achieve their desired outcomes.
Success on LinkedIn comes down to two primary actions: First, your ability to hypertarget the right individuals. Second, consistently posting quality content for your audience. The bell notification is a way to target high value connections without wasting time. The live audio events are a new way your company or sales rep can stand out from the crowd, build awareness, and increase engagement. As the number one platform for B2B organizations, sleeping on these new LinkedIn features can be an expensive mistake.
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