Sep 30

A Company-Wide LinkedIn Strategy

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , Marketing on LinkedIn

I recently finished a full day training the support staff, sales force, and leadership team of Oswald Companies, an independent insurance brokerage firm based in Cleveland, OH, with offices in multiple states.  I have to say that I am truly inspired with how they have embraced the power of LinkedIn and are working to leverage it in ways rarely found in corporate America.  Essentially, they are creating and leveraging a company-wide LinkedIn network that can be accessed by the business development staff.

I first have to mention that as powerful as this strategy is, it will not work for all companies.  It is a strategy that is highly dependent on a strong collaborative corporate culture and high levels of trust in the company leadership.  Companies that use head to head competition to motivate and incentivize their sales staff are not good candidates because there likely is not a significant amount of trust between employees.

One component that really makes this strategy work for Oswald Companies is that non-business development staff earn bonuses when they play an active role in introducing or opening the doors to potential clients if the deal closes.  Therefore they have a true personal incentive to connect with the sales staff and to continue to update and add to their LinkedIn network.

Connecting is obviously the first step.  The sales staff must be connected to both the support staff as well as the leadership team.  More importantly, the leadership team needs to be especially diligent in adding all of the new people they meet into their LinkedIn network because those connections are most likely to include connections with the decision-making authority that you would want if they are a prospect for your company.  Additionally, you want to encourage the administrative staff to actively add connections.  This may be difficult because employees in these positions are often not as active in networking and meeting new people in professional settings.  However, the new “blood” in the network is crucial for the strategy to continue providing new prospects.

The second step is for the sales staff to develop custom searches and run those searches at regular intervals to uncover the new prospects that have been added into the company-wide LinkedIn network.  The searches will uncover how the sales person is connected to the prospect – internally and/or externally.

The final step is for all pertinent employees to work together to develop the most effective strategy leveraging the strongest and most valuable relationships.  When possible, take advantage of connection paths that go through the leadership team.  I simple phone call or email message from someone at that level can quickly open the door and then they can turn things over to the appropriate sales person.

Interested in developing this strategy for your company?  Feel free to contact me and we can schedule a conversation to explore it’s feasibility and likelihood of success.

Aug 02

Does Your LinkedIn Profile Match Your Purpose for Using LinkedIn?

By LinkedIn Ninja | Branding with LinkedIn , Latest Articles , LinkedIn , Marketing on LinkedIn

One of the most common errors I see when reviewing LinkedIn profiles is when people fill out the profile as if it’s a history document without first considering what their purpose is for using LinkedIn. Now, don’t get me wrong, people are interested in learning about your experience because it gives your credibility. However, experience and history are two different things.

When you treat your profile like a biography, the problem is that it’s not likely to compel people to action. Further, if it does, it’s not created to compel a specific type of action, such as contact you about a job opportunity or to do business.

Essentially, I have found that most peoples’ purposes for being on LinkedIn can be boiled down to three main purposes: Business Development, Personal Branding, and Job Seeking.

Business Development: The goal obviously is to find clients and customers on LinkedIn to grow your business. If this is your purpose, then your profile should be focused on what you do. It should identify the services or products you provide, who your target client is, and what results you get. Your summary is your elevator speech. Your past is only as important to the extent that it builds the case of why people would want to do business with you.

Personal Branding: A personal branding profile is for people who are career oriented but not working in a sales capacity. This profile is about who you are. It should address your mission and values and identify your future career goals so that those opportunities can find you.

Job Seeker: The job seeker profile is a combination of the business development and personal branding because it has to address both what you do and who you are. Recruiters want to get to know both sides of you as a candidate. With the third party applications, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to show recruiters that you are much more than a resume.

Ultimately, when people land on your profile, you want your purpose and message to be crystal clear. If you’re looking for a job, say you’re looking for a job. If you offer payroll services to small and mid-size businesses in the Greater Cincinnati area, then say that! The more fancy you get with your language and the more you leave up to interpretation, the less likely people are to understand what you want.

>