Introduction to Linkedin Marketing and Social Selling
LinkedIn is the perfect tool for the modern salesman. It allows you to connect directly to your potential customer, bypassing email spam filters, forgoing cold calling gatekeepers and approaching the conversation as casually as you would like. Some even go to suggest that its ability to contact buyers makes it superior to email prospecting and cold calling, and its versatility makes it far quicker than face to face meetings.
But many firms who want to make LinkedIn a cornerstone of their sales funnel are worried that if they automated the process, they would come across as non-genuine, fake and irritating.
After all, we have either encountered or tried cold emailing and calling before and know how rare they seem to work. Best case you get a prospect who might not be qualified, and worse case you sink your company's brand and reputation.
But there is a way to automate the linkedin sales process to bring you business, by automating a social selling funnel through Linkedin.
How does social selling work on linkedIn?
If you are unfamiliar as to what social selling is, there is a great definition on the LinkedIn blog that sums it up perfectly.
“Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. This sales technique enables better sales lead generation and sales prospecting process and eliminates the need for cold calling.”
The Linkedin blog is a great resource and you can read more about the four pillars of social selling here.
However, we want to slightly expand on what social selling means for Linkedin. We want to introduce you to the idea of building relationships through value bringing content.
What content is, could be another article in itself. What you are reading right now, an article, is a form of content. Content can also be videos, tools, statistics, photo galleries and more. The purpose is to show that you know what you are talking about and that the content brings value to the receiver. You don’t want to write 1,000 words hard sell like it's the late nineties. That does not work and is commonly associated with multi-level marketing (pyramid schemes), a comparison your business does not deserve.
You want to introduce potential leads to what you do, and how you are a thought leader in your industry, without giving them a hardsell. For example, if your firm sold cloud based security solutions you would want to start by becoming an expert on all things in the cloud space. Customers would see your valuable content and conclude that you must be the best company to go with. After all, if the industry recognizes you as a leader in the space, why would they want to go with a second rate choice?
And the statistics back up social selling on Linkedin. The connect rate for social selling, is 30-40%. If we compare that to cold email outreach it's shockingly high. For example, sending 1000 emails to get 15% open rate and only 2% connect makes it seem like a fool's errand. Compared to social selling, If you send 100 connects you will get 30-40 leads.
The bottom line is that email is a quantity game, whilst social selling is a quality game.
Why use linkedIn automation tools?
So now that we know social selling is the most effective way to find and convert qualified leads on Linkedin, why risk a mistake by automating linkedin?
There are a few different reasons why using linkedin automation tools are superior to trawling through connects yourself.
- It is simply the best way to find new prospects and build relationships is on LinkedIn. The right tool can search and find qualified candidates to add to your sales funnel. If you are having a little bit of trouble finding potential leads, consider using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool, which can automatically narrow down business managers depending on who they are, their role, industry, location, activity on the platform, connections to you and far more.
- LinkedIn automation tools serve as a successful time-saver. You only have 8-10 hours in a work day and you don’t want to waste any time on a possible new venture that might not pan out. Linkedin automation tools can take minutes to set up and operate day in/night out.
- Additionally, the Sales team can better reach the target market. The users that are on these platforms are there to connect with people. An invite on LinkedIn is much more approachable than an email or a cold call. Plus this is also more targeted and you don’t have to deal unqualified leads.
- You don’t need a person or intelligence to do these tasks, they are repetitive and can be done by a machine that doesn’t require days off. In the past we might have recommended hiring a outsourced worker, but some of these operations are so simple that you would be wasting time even explaining the sequence of Linkedin automation and engagements you want to orchestrate. You can focus on content and social selling.
- Linkedin Automation tools also allow you to give more attention to existing connections and continue to develop relationships. Linkedin allows you to create an ultra personal EDM list (a network of potential customers and readership/followers where you share your brand) that is eager to hear from you.
- Lastly, these tools allow you to keep your brand top of mind with potential prospects, don’t let hot leads go cold!
What features can you automate on Linkedin?
So what can you actually do with linkedin automation tools? The idea is to ‘hijack’ the current linkedIn system to insert yourself into the prospects conversation. Linkedin automation tools can do this through this process:
- You can access thousands to hundreds of thousands of potential target contacts, instantly filling your database.
- Send all of these prospects a warm, personalized invitation, even to 2nd and 3rd level contacts.
- Push a contact notification to the prospects mobile phone and email. Unlike email, Linkedin notifications make a tone noise, are not yet ignored and will be instantly recognized.
- This causes the prospect to visit your profile, and if you have created some excellent content they will start to read about your product and services.
- The client will now be ready to either receive a causal message from you, or will contact you through your content.
- Linkedin Automation tools can automate profile visits, connect invites, requests and follow up with a personalized message after the connect.
- The best linkedin automation tools also have team management features, allowing sales managers to manage their team, monitor engagements and follow up if needed.
Why you need to automate LinkedIn Profile visits
We have touched on the surface level of automating LinkedIn profile visits, but now we need to discuss the why. As we mentioned above, Linkedin tracks who visits your profile, and you will be notified if a company checks out your page to your phone.
This is fantastic for prospecting, as these profile visits are essentially soft engagements. Prospects will be notified and become curious. They want to see who it is and why you are visiting, reading through your content and generating what is known as a ‘social lookback’. It is the modern business equivalent of a facebook poke or a nudge on the street to say “Hey, I’m here!”
The reason why you want to do that, is to drive traffic to your Linkedin profile, landing pages or website. Your Linkedin profile is an extension of your personal and company brand, it serves as a landing page on the platform, and you are driving traffic to your content. You are social selling softly and subverting the natural connection process.
Every app these days, especially the social apps, use their user experience to hook their users. They use these notification systems to pull their users back onto the platform. We are taking advantage of this feedback loop system to get our brands noticed.
How to automate linkedin connection and connection requests
Above we discussed why we needed to automate linkedin visits, but let's discuss why linkedin connections and connection requests are a must automate to.
Starting with the obvious, a connection request is a invite to connect. But so is a cold email. With an email, the receiving party is not a party to the connection and its unsolicited. The point of an automated cold email is to try and elicit a response, and getting them into a discovery call to qualify them as a lead. However, with a automated connect request and automatic invitation to connect on Linkedin, it’s almost like an opportunity to start a relationship and start chatting right away. You and your sales team are already right into the discovery call. The cold email has an extra step that is unnecessary in 2019 social selling.
One common mistake that many sales team members make is to send a connection request and then ask for a discovery call in the chat. The problem is, you are already in the organic process of discovery and you should remain in the chat until it is time to discuss options. Keep it casual and organic, like you would be doing at a networking event face to face.
A 2nd problem that some sales teams have is treating automated linkedin tools like cold emailing tools. They connect with someone and then start sending a massive sales copy pitch (Just like our muti-level marketing friends above). You should be less formal and treat it more like a chat.
Do’s and Don'ts on LinkedIn Automation
We just touched on some of the most common problems that sales teams have when it comes to Linkedin Automation, but let's go over some rapid fire Do and Don’t when it comes to Linkedin.
- DONTt: Spam hundreds of connections,
- DON’T: Don’t follow up multiple times if they don’t respond to your messages.
- DON'T: Don’t endorse people that you don’t know, people know it is fake and you will come across desperate.
- DON'T: Don’t cold sell on linkedin, it's about social selling, they become potential buyers and ambassadors of your brand. The tactics of email don’t align.
- DO: Use creative content for your audience, find what brings them value and saves them time/effort.
- DO: Optimize your linkedin profile page to the specific audience, it is your brands landing page on the platform
- DO: If you are in a team it's fine to connect with the same people. In fact, it is good and you can have multiple touch points.
- DO: If there is some content that you find interesting and brings value you can share it, especially if it means you can take a break from generating your own or just talking about your own services.
Final Thoughts on Linkedin Automation
The above is a simple guide on how best to use Linkedin automation tools for your business and expand your social selling network throughout the platform. Some critics might raise the idea that Linkedin frowns on businesses using their platform more efficiently, but you have to remember that Linkedin wants businesses on their platform and that constant engagement loop.
Once you have reached out to possible prospects, your next step is to qualify them. You want to do this organically through the messaging service and encourage a light hearted back and forth. Build a relationship with the business, send them value bringing content and eventually ask for a sale.
Businesses that recognize the power of automating linkedin will find themself opening a whole new door of potential revenue. By using these tools, a sales manager can focus their teams efforts, be productive on tasks that drive meaningful revenue and develop a whole new cornerstone of their business.