The ultimate goal for many sales professionals is to be seen as a strategic partner– someone who works with a client on strategy, helps identify and analyze business problems and develops innovative solutions through collaboration and brainstorming. With nearly half of B2B buyers using LinkedIn to look up salespeople who contact them these days, you should make sure your profile and actions are in line with the personal brand you wish to convey. Here is what we suggest:
Make sure your personal profile is client- and prospect-optimized. If your LinkedIn profile reads like your resume (or you haven’t updated it in a while), it may be time for a rebranding. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my photo recent? Does it make me look polished, friendly and approachable? If not, toss out that stiff corporate headshot from 4 jobs ago and take a new one.
- Does my headline show my passion for helping clients solve business problems? Does it hint at my personality? Your headline does not have to contain your title. Think of it as your personal value proposition.
- Does my overview include a brief summary of what my company does for clients? If a prospect looks at your profile before calling you back, they may not click further into your company overview. Make it easy for them to guess why you are calling.
- And of course, last but not least, are my spelling and grammar correct?
Use industry groups to listen for prospect needs and add to the conversation. Positioning yourself as a strategic partner requires up-to-date insider knowledge of your prospects’ needs and business challenges, and LinkedIn groups are a great place to do that.
- Connect with your current clients and join the same groups they belong to. Look for other industry or trade groups targeted to your key prospects and check them often for insightful posts. See what people are frustrated with and what questions they are asking. Look for trending topics.
- Start leaving thoughtful comments where you can provide value–everyone will start to realize that you have great advice to share.
Curate high-quality content that addresses prospect needs. Research published by LinkedIn found that nearly 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with sales professionals who are viewed as thought leaders in their industry.
- Use the update feature to post insightful thought leadership directly related to your prospect needs and pains. Try to post a 50-50 mix of content from your company and from reputable outside sources like Forbes, Harvard Business Review, or an industry publication.
- Sharing and commenting on content posted by your clients and prospects is also a great way to show that you are interested in what they have to say.
By posting consistent, helpful thought leadership and ideas, adding value to discussions and presenting yourself as a passionate client advocate, LinkedIn can help you build trust with prospects and insert yourself into the buying process long before prospects even start looking for a solution.
Do you use LinkedIn to position yourself as a strategic partner? What are your tips?