Instead, teach them how to sell!LinkedIn's Sales Navigator is a great application - but it won't teach you how to sell! If you couldn't sell before someone taught you how to use LinkedIn, you won't be able to after you've been taught.
There's a morass of consultants lining up to teach you "how to sell via LinkedIn". People are talking about the new world of "social selling" compared to "traditional selling" - when in reality it's all just selling, albeit now in a social world.
We have to stop training sales people in how to use LinkedIn. Rather, we need to teach them how to sell - using LinkedIn as one useful tool.
Below are 8 sales workflows that LinkedIn lends itself to. If we train sales folk in each workflow, and then increase the likelihood of success by integrating in LinkedIn (and - indeed other social tools), then we really will improve sales capability.
To illustrate the point, let's examine how LinkedIn - and indeed other social tools - can assist with the first workflow i.e. Listen to identify new opportunities:
Listen to identify new opportunities
Buyers start new buying journeys when they experience a "sales trigger".
It's the understanding of the theory of sales triggers - not just LinkedIn - that will assist sales people to be successful. LinkedIn nevertheless is an invaluable tool.
There are 3 types of sales trigger:
- Buyer dissatisfied with current provider
- Buyer becomes aware of a problem they previously didn't realise they had
- Buyer changes job role and/or company.
Let's look at these in practice.
A Twitter search with the word "sucks" in it(!) will always reveal individuals dissatisfied with the status quo:
If I was selling printer based solutions I'd be doing this Twitter search on a regular basis!
Above the 2nd sales trigger in action - an individual posting in a LinkedIn group about a software licensing issue. Again - well trained social sellers will know it's important to keep an ear out for this type of "cry for help". (And - of course - because they know the appropriate sales workflow, they'll "offer to help" rather than blatantly "sell themselves".)
Finally (above) the 3rd sales trigger - LinkedIn Sales Navigator letting me know that there is an individual that has moved into a new job role in a company that I'm following, given the potential for that company to be a new customer for my organisation. Research indicates that individuals that change company and/or job role have a high propensity to buy during the first few months in their new position. Again - a great time to have an "early buyer journey" conversation.
It's all about the sales workflow
It's one thing though for LinkedIn to tell us about this new job appointment - what do we do now? This is why sales workflow is so critical.
Do we ring them up and offer to sell them something? Do we try and connect with them? The key is to reach out, engage, and offer value - value in the form of content that will be useful to them, the content identified by a brief research exercise into their individual and company aspirations, concerns etc.
Perhaps we can leverage another "social sales workflow" to obtain an introduction(?)
Whatever our approach - it's one thing to set LinkedIn up to inform us with this information - it's how this fits into our overall sales methodology that is the make or break.
So - are you training your sales team to use LinkedIn, or are you training them in how to sell in the modern world?
Bruce Rasmussen and his firm Carpe Diem Consulting enable B2B organisations to dramatically increase their revenues via sales consulting, digital marketing services, content marketing plans and social selling enablement.
Feel like your LinkedIn profile isn't up to scratch? Is it lacking a certain je ne sais quoi? Check out our FREE whitepaper on the Top 10 Killer LinkedIn Profile Tips for B2B Sales Resources, today.