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Enabling B2B Sales & Marketing

New research from LinkedIn - it's about sales, not the platform!

Posted by Bruce Rasmussen on 16-Aug-2016 15:05:53

If you already know how to sell, you'll be more successful using LinkedIn

Our recent blog post on why you need to STOP training salespeople in how to use LinkedIn was one of our most popular over the last 12 months.

Almost on cue, LinkedIn has just announced some new research validating our fundamental beliefs.

Our core premise is that "if you can't sell before you're taught how to use LinkedIn - you still won't know how to sell after you're taught".

The LinkedIn study

LinkedIn's Head of Marketing for Sales Solutions Justin Shriber was recently interviewed by Mark Fidelman for an article published in Forbes magazine - and it was interesting to hear that in a study of 1,000 B2B sales professionals, 70% have in some way incorporated "social" into their sales workflows.  

Indeed, it appears that 90% of the "best performers" (ie either exceeding quota, in top 25% of cohorts, or indicated would exceed quota this year) are integrating "social" into their day to day activities.

The study revealed fascinating insights around topics including how to best prospect via LinkedIn, how people are using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in respect of social selling, and just what successful companies are doing to improve close rates obtained by using social within sales workflows.

(And - on this point - despite this blog's headline, we don't favour the term "social selling".  To us it's now all just selling, albeit in a social world.)

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Millenials more active - "old sales dogs" more successful

Here's the punchline for us - whilst millenials are the predominant users of social media, it's the more experienced sales people that are using social for the greatest sales success

The "up and comers" are dazzled by the platform - but that doesn't mean they know how to leverage the platform for sales success.  Jack Kosakowski, Global Head of Creation Agency summed it up nicely:

"The no. 1 reason most sales reps don’t see any success with social selling is pretty simple – they get lost in the platforms and have no clear direction around what they are trying to achieve."

Blended approach to sales force success

The Millenials will agitate hard to have access to shiny toys such as LinkedIn - but they get caught up in the platform, not fully understanding what will lead to sales success.

The "old sales dogs" however know what "sales success" encompasses, and hence intuitively see how social platforms can amplify their reach, efficiency and effectiveness.

A mix of "keen" Millenials and "sales savvy" experienced sales reps provide the combination to drive organisational success (ie increased sales closures).

A framework for incorporating social into sales workflows

We'd value your feedback - the following slide shows the 8 sales workflows we believe should be taught to sales resources, the teaching incorporating how to include social elements to maximise success.

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So - what's the plan in your organisation?  Are you teaching your sales team how to use LinkedIn - or indeed are you teaching them how to sell? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

The Forbes article referred to above can be found here 

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Topics: Social Selling, Sales, LinkedIn