Picture it: you log onto your LinkedIn profile and you notice a notification for a connection request from an individual. You accept.
Minutes later, that same person DMs you, with a 4-paragraph long pitch, documenting to you their entire business life story and how much they understand your needs and how they have the solution to help you.
All of this, and you haven’t even managed to get halfway down the home feed. Sound familiar?
According to Impact Plus, 92% of B2B buying decisions are influenced through digital channels, such as LinkedIn.
And yet, the term social selling is rather ironic in itself, as most people actually dislike being sold to on LinkedIn. For many, being bombarded with essay-length pitches in their inbox is actually more likely to hinder the chances of a sale, rather than help.
However, with over 700 million users, LinkedIn is a social-networking haven, with a multitude of opportunity for account-based marketers (ABM) to win new business: there’s just a better, smarter way to do it.
Instead, think about using the platform to open up meaningful conversation. Use it as a springboard to help you dive into new business and build successful client relationships, rather than drowning your prospects in lengthy sale-pitch messages.
How do we do that?
The Power of Sales Navigator:
Luckily for us, LinkedIn has a trick up its sleeve: The Sales Navigator tool.
This tool is essential for any ABM pioneer, as its filters can help you determine, based on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), exactly who you need to be connecting and engaging with.
From there, you can use the personalised feed to monitor only those prospects’ activities, see what they’re posting and sharing, and what topics or buyer interests they may be displaying.
You can even be generous, and like or comment on their activity. In doing so, this will keep you at the front of their mind and who knows, they may even return the favour!
Keep it conversational:
In order to avoid over-selling your business on LinkedIn, it’s essential to keep it conversational with potential clients and follow a process that appears natural.
Begin by sending them an invitation to connect with you, adding a light-touch message that addresses your common interests and potential shared connections.
Once you’ve connected, follow up with an invite to your business page, where you’re sharing the latest tricks and insights that may be useful to them.
Over time, continue to like, comment and share their posts via the Sales Navigator tool. Once you feel you’ve established a sufficient amount of activity, ask them if you could share with them a piece of content you’ve delivered that may be of interest, based on recent activity you’ve seen on their profile.
Again, continue to keep it light!
Once a meaningful conversation has been established, offer to take the conversation elsewhere, either via an email or by setting up a call over Zoom. Now with your trust built up, it is on these platforms that you can begin to sell products and close business.
However, still use LinkedIn as an epicentre to follow up with prospects if they don’t respond.
What else can you do to social sell?
As well as interacting with your prospect’s activity, it’s also just as important to focus on what you’re putting out on your own profile.
For many years, the option to put out traditional statements on LinkedIn has been the norm. However, to win business and get your prospects interested, it’s time to turn this on its head and make it more interactive.
From LinkedIn surveys, to just simply asking your audience a question to spark a debate, making your posts more collaborative allows for conversations to be opened up in the comments and messaging sessions of the platform.
Plus, where you post your content on LinkedIn, is also just as important as what you post.
Whilst initially, it may make sense to be more active on your business page, putting the focus more on your personal profile will actually allow you to widen your outreach. The business page can then be used for bi-weekly posts, whilst regular posting will remain on your personal profile.
You can even improve this outreach further, by adding relevant hashtags, as well as also tagging colleagues in your posts, enabling them to share the content on their own profiles.
Why social sell?
By implementing social selling into your ABM strategy in this format, it can actually help you to build trust and accelerate the relationships that matter to you.
Combining active engagement on prospects’ profiles, with a conversational, light-touch approach, over time you’ll eventually become the top-of-mind name for your prospective clients, and they’ll be more likely to choose you, over a competitor.
Engaging in their content will demonstrate that you are generally interested in their needs, interests and challenges, and you’re not just trying to close a deal and jump in with the same sales pitch they’ve already seen from 5 other businesses!
In fact, according to CSO Insights and Seismic (cited in Impact Plus), 31% of B2B professionals surveyed said that by social selling, it allowed them to improve the relationships that they made with clients.