Social selling has become an increasingly common method adopted by organizations to connect and build relationships with prospects on social media networks. As the social media network designed for business professionals, LinkedIn is the preferred platform for social selling efforts in the B2B segment. LinkedIn has more than 950 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. With over 21.9 million members in Canada, LinkedIn is used by over 50% of the Canadian population, the majority between the ages of 25 and 34 years old (Statista). We’ve put together an overview of the key features of LinkedIn and discuss how they can be used by B2B tech sellers to successfully begin their social selling journey.
Getting started with social selling on LinkedIn requires a regular, free LinkedIn account. Although you many realize increased value with a LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator account, these accounts offer the most value once you have maximized the potential of your free account.
LinkedIn Social Selling Index
The LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) is a measurement tool that helps you quantify the value of your social selling efforts. The SSI measures sales success based on four skill points:
- Establishing a professional brand with a well-optimized profile.
- Finding the right prospects.
- Sharing relevant, useful content.
- Building and strengthening relationships.
These four components are each assigned a value between 1 and 25, culminating in a total SSI score between 0-100. You can find your SSI score and your score on each of the four components by signing into your LinkedIn account and navigating to your Social Selling Index dashboard. The SSI dashboard also gives you an average SSI score for people that are in your industry, and your network and identifies how you rank comparatively. Your score is updated daily, so there is an opportunity to see improvement immediately once you begin your social selling endeavors.
5 Pillars of LinkedIn Social Selling Success
To maximize your social selling efforts, it is important to understand the 5 pillars of LinkedIn social selling success:1. Profile
Developing a strong profile that highlights your business’ key information will help you gain the trust of your target prospects. Daniel Disney, author of The Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Guide, describes the importance of optimizing your LinkedIn profile: “Your LinkedIn profile is like your own personal website. Your prospects and customers will be viewing it, and it will influence whether or not they buy from you.” Create a profile that exhibits the same first impression you aim to achieve when you meet someone face to face.2. Network
Growing your network is a critical and ongoing social selling activity. It is important to connect with the right people; “50% of buyers are less likely to engage if they aren't the right person to contact about a new product/service” (LinkedIn). A good start is to check who’s viewed your profile and engage with relevant viewers, and to review the details of your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections. LinkedIn groups and other forums that your target prospects engage with also provide networking opportunities.3. Messaging
Being authentic and genuine when engaging with prospects will help you create trust and build strong relationships. Ensure to qualify the prospect and personalize your message to the individual. Remember that nobody likes spam! Your objective is to start a conversation, not to launch into your sales pitch at the starting gate. It is critical to ensure the quality of your message; a poorly written one can quickly get it deleted or ignored.4. Content
To successfully connect with your target prospects, it is important to regularly share valuable, engaging content. Sharing content that is relevant to the problems your target prospects are facing will help them feel recognized and understood and may encourage them to engage. According to LinkedIn, “89% of buyers are less likely to engage if the products/service is not relevant to their company.” Use multiple different content formats and include both original content and relevant insights from industry thought leaders.5. Personal Brand
Personal branding gives you the opportunity to highlight your unique qualities, knowledge, and values. Your personal brand plays a key role in helping you establish trust and credibility with your target prospects. It can also help you differentiate yourself from the competition and positions you as an industry expert (LinkedIn). Daniel Disney suggests that “Your personal brand is your opportunity to show your prospects and customers that you are a human being and not just another salesperson trying to sell them something…”
Social Selling Success Reported by LinkedIn
- Leaders in the social selling space create 45% more sales opportunities than those with a low social selling index.
- Businesses that prioritize social selling are 51% more likely to reach their sales quota.
- 78% of businesses that use social selling outperform those that do not.