Top 4 concerns we have encountered from employers
Our tips on the best way to write a killer LinkedIn profile are well documented, and in terms of number of downloads is our most successful piece of content ever!
Salespeople in particular are just waking up to the power of using their LinkedIn profile effectively - as well as their connections strategy, engagement in groups, and blogging on LinkedIn - to both attract and engage with prospects and customers.
Numerous pieces of research point to the fact that B2B buyers typically get at least 60% of the way through their buying journeys before engaging with a salesperson. That is of course unless during their web-based research when they are “Googling” the symptoms of their problem, they accidently land on a salesperson’s LinkedIn profile!
As Google is giving LinkedIn heavy weighting in their search rankings, salespeople’s profiles are appearing regularly as customers research their problems online.
The profiles of enlightened salespeople that used to be full of “I regularly make 120% of target” statements are now full of keywords and content relating to the types of business symptoms/problems they and their companies solve (especially if they are a Carpe Diem client!).
This, and regular refreshing of their profiles, can attract very high Google/Bing rankings which you would think employers are rejoicing about. Surely now we have “multiple company websites” that are attracting prospects as they embark along their buyer journey?
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth and many employers are running scared.
Top 4 concerns and antidotes
Below we list the top 4 concerns we have encountered from “nervous” employers – and we offer our commentary as to the “antidote” for each concern.
If my salesperson connects with all my customers they might all leave with her if she goes and works for my competitor.
It’s great that your salespeople are building strong personal brands, and that customers want to connect with them - but it shouldn’t just be about “relationship building".
If your customers are really going to follow the salesperson to their new employer – what does that say about the value you’re offering the customer via the salesperson? Make sure all your salespeople are mouthpieces for genuinely disruptive insights that are developed proprietary to your organisation.
My competitors will know who we’re talking to if my salespeople connect with our prospects.
In our “internet everywhere” world and with the propensity to post everything on social networks, it’s safe to assume that everyone knows everything: what prices you quote at, who your customers are, who your salespeople are talking with etc.
Again, if you develop a strong value proposition and adopt the Challenger approach by offering them unique customer insights – they’re going to stick with you anyway because of your superior value to their organisation.
What if my salesperson “says the wrong thing” online?
Many organisations, particularly publicly listed ones, tie themselves in knots in case an active LinkedIn member “says the wrong thing” online, which gets repeated over and over again. But it’s no reason to not “do” social media – the pros can certainly outweigh the cons.
You need to educate your staff and have a social media policy in place - as part of a broader communications strategy - so you can limit the risk.
A prominent LinkedIn profile will surely attract recruiters, who will endeavour to poach my sales staff.
Recruiters are getting canny – they can now largely see through the “sales journeymen” and are less attracted to statements around “personal sales brilliance”. More of them understand that the BEST salespeople are using their LinkedIn profile to attract customers.
You need to consider - what is it that you are actively doing to keep your star employees even though everyone else wants to get them?
Sales coaching is a great example here. Don’t just coach your “mid-tier performers”, sales managers also need to coach their stars so they know they’re loved! As much as you need to market to customers, you need to ensure you’re “marketing” to your sales stars to ensure they recognise the value in staying with your organisation.
So - yes there are some downsides - but if all of this makes employers realise that they have to "up the ante" in terms of organisational value proposition and the attractiveness of the organisation to start sales employees - then the downside is worth the upside. Contact us to learn more about how to use LinkedIn to drive sales and marketing success.