“By 2020, 30% of B2B transactions will be influenced by LinkedIn”- quote from Gartner’s October Sales Conference.

That is, on the surface, a very broad quote.  I mean what does ‘influenced’ mean?  Well, I think as long as we’re talking in broad terms we can say that ‘influenced’ means just that- LinkedIn can influence, or have an effect on, B2B transactions.  I think we can narrow down what that means to those in the leadership of sales teams by citing a few other stats:

93% of sales executives have not received any formal training on social selling (source)

80% believe their sales force would be more productive with greater social media presence but, 2/3 of companies have no social media strategy for their sales organization (source)

53% of salespeople want help in understanding social selling better (source)

In order for your sales force to be ready to influence transactions via LinkedIn, they (and you) need to understand how LinkedIn can play an integral part in your sales cycle.

Move from ‘relationship building’ to ‘credibility building’.

The old paradigm was ‘Know, Like and Trust’ but in the modern selling world, where everyone has the answers to their questions at their fingertips, we must move to ‘Attract, Teach and Engage’.

1. Attract- converting your LinkedIn profile from a resume to a resource by writing from the perspective of those whom you are trying to attract.  Ensuring your headline shows the value you provide your clients and when possible, who that client is.

Using your summary not to sell, but to point out the pain points you help resolve (and don’t forget to use rich media!).

The challenge is many companies today have disjointed content creation plans split between the sales department, marketing department, and sometimes, the HR department- that’s if they have a plan at all.

2. Teach- the old adage “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” isn’t true on social.  Instead, it’s “People will know how much you care when they see how much you know” with a caveat: you must be genuine and not a know it all.  You can’t share your knowledge in order to sell them, you must share it in order to help them.

Where do you find content? How should you share it and when is the best time?  These are just a few of the questions most salespeople have when it comes to sharing their thought leadership.

You can start with your own organization’s social media feeds to find content- just make sure that it provides value and doesn’t sell!  Other sources could be industry websites or blogs- a great source for these would be Feedly.com.

When sharing content from an outside source make sure it’s accurate and always share some of your own thoughts. Remember, you’re educating your network!

The best time to post can depend on numerous factors.  Industry and geography are two, but the list could go on and on.  I suggest you evaluate your sharing over the course of several weeks to observe what day of the week and time of day gains you the most engagement.

3. Engage- my friend Ed Weeks Jr says it like this – “It’s called SOCIAL media- don’t forget to be SOCIAL!”  This can be accomplished in as little as 5 minutes per day spent on your LinkedIn feed liking and commenting on posts made by your connections.  The key is, your sales force needs a plan.

Imagine if your sales force was not only trained in how to attract, teach and engage, but they were also provided with a Playbook of actionable steps they could take to obtain fast results.

Why wait until 2020 for LinkedIn to start influencing your sales?  I invite you to have a conversation with us at Social Sales Link, we can get you well on your way to that number in 2019!