Sales Navigator continues to introduce helpful features. Here’s a quick introduction to Buyer Personas which will help identify potential clients for you.
This video highlights three helpful LinkedIn features you need to know about.
1️⃣ Clickable link on your profile
2️⃣ Focused Inbox
3️⃣ Scheduling posts
How do you like these features? Let me know in the comments.
LinkedIn is entitled to some credit for trying to get better at listening to its members and improving the user experience. We can all agree that they could have saved themselves headaches and much hate mail from the user community had they started listening back in October of last year. However, at least they are now starting to make an effort.
It is also worth noting that the new desktop redesign and the elimination of features like Tags, Notes and radius search were not as result of Microsoft’s acquiring LinkedIn even though these occurred around the same time. Much as some people would like to, we can’t point a finger at Microsoft for the changes we dislike.
LinkedIn changed the desktop interface to mirror the mobile design in order to make the user experience consistent across devices. Their hope is that this will help increase user engagement and the results remain to be seen since the roll out was only recently completed.
The removal of the Relationship tab (which included Tags, Notes, and Reminders) was announced prior to the rollout of the new user interface.
We can always make the case that LinkedIn is under more pressure to become profitable now that it is part of Microsoft, but forcing members to move to Sales Navigator for basic CRM and search features is not nearly enough to change their bottom line from red to black.
On a lighter note, here are some things that LinkedIn has done right recently.
You can find videos introducing new features on LinkedIn’s YouTube Channel. They have to do a better job of publicizing these videos, but they are available.
Certain features of the new desktop interface are an improvement. Notifications are much easier to scroll through now. You can page down if you choose instead of trying to pull down the maddening vertical bar on the right which continually returned you to the top of the notifications in the old design.
The new Highlights section (Mutual Connections and Mutual Groups) when you visit a profile makes it easier to quickly find people or interests you have in common.
LinkedIn has reinstated Saved People Searches, a popular feature enabling you to save search parameters so you can return to searches that produced good results. In addition, you can receive weekly alerts when people update their profiles such that they now meet your search criteria.
They have also brought back the Title search filter which is an extremely useful feature. You have to look under the Keywords drop down to find the Titles field – strange, but once you know where it is you can always get back to it.
LinkedIn still has quite a ways to go in terms of opportunities for improvement, but are there aspects of the new desktop design or LinkedIn’s recent behavior in general that you find encouraging?
If you would like to explore how you can use LinkedIn more effectively for sales, marketing and professional branding, you can reach me at: email@example.com or 908-463-3485.
Get regular tips and updates on LinkedIn: http://eepurl.com/byi8KT
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A basic CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system enables a business to keep a record of their prospect and customer information, keep track of communications with these individuals and keep a calendar and record of past and future interactions with them. Although CRM systems are usually associated with sales teams, there capabilities can be used by anyone needing a way to maintain a searchable database of contacts, organize contacts, track communications and interactions with contacts and schedule their communications.
First, it gives you a central place where anyone on your team can access contact information for your customers, prospects, vendors, partners and others you interact with. This includes name, company, phone, email, physical address, and so forth.
Second, it enables you to keep track of your communications with them. It can capture emails you’ve sent and received, and you can add notes about meetings and phone conversations. Needless to say this information is invaluable, particularly when you have a change in staff and someone new has to take over an account.
The calendar feature helps you avoid letting too much time pass between contacts and you can schedule follow-ups and other tasks a day, week, month or year out and not have to worry about remembering them. The CRM system will alert you when these activities are due.
All of us have had instances where we lost opportunities with prospects simply because we forgot to stay in touch with them. When they were ready to purchase we were out of sight and out of mind and they bought from someone else. While an email marketing system can help automate the process of staying top of mind with your community, a CRM system is even more fundamental.
The best CRM systems also include a social component such that they import information and updates from the social media profiles of your contacts. This helps you gain more insights into what issues they may be dealing with, whether they are attending events that may be of interest to you and a variety of other valuable information.
Social CRM tools such as Nimble go beyond this to not only pull in data from social signals but also automatically build individual and company profiles based on information publicly available. One goal of a system like this is to remove as much of the manual work as possible from thee process of creating and updating records. This is brilliant since sales professionals are notorious for avoiding administrative tasks at all costs. The lack of regular use by the sales staff, particularly outside reps, is one of the main reasons why CRM implementations are not successful.
You have to get into the habit of using and updating your CRM system on a daily basis for it to be most effective for you. This is a habit that will pay you tremendous dividends in terms of increased sales, repeat business and improved customer satisfaction.
If you are using a CRM system, how are you making it work for you? Please let us know about your experience in the Comments.
For those in sales and business development LinkedIn should be an essential part of your business toolkit. If does not replace communications, presentation, sales and negotiation skills but serves to enhance these areas when used correctly.
Here we will give you a perspective on what LinkedIn is beyond an online resume, why it is a powerful tool, and how to use it to become a more productive sales professional. I will be using the terms sales and business development interchangeably here, these concepts will apply to both groups of professionals.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is commonly viewed as a platform where you can display the equivalent of your online resume. Though this is true, it far understates the value of LinkedIn. It will serve you well to view LinkedIn as a business tool rather than a resume.
LinkedIn is a place for you to display what you offer as a professional including a summary of your personal brand, work experience, accomplishments, certifications, awards, languages and more. If you speak multiple languages you can create a LinkedIn profile in each language.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 460 million members and rapidly approaching half a billion members. When Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is complete its membership could top one billion users.
LinkedIn is a Searchable database
Even more impressive than the size of LinkedIn’s membership is the ability to use its search features to find people of interest. You can search by name, keyword, industry, location, title, school, profile language and non-profit interest (those interested in Board service or willing to volunteer their skills).
LinkedIn is a publishing platform
You are able to publish status updates (called posts), photos and long form posts (called articles) on LinkedIn as well as comment on content published by others.
These publishing features enable you to raise your level of visibility within the professional community by sharing original and curated content. In addition because influential business people such as Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Sallie Krawcheck and others are publishing here, executives turn to LinkedIn as one of their sources of information.
An interesting study by Frog Dog Research (no kidding..) about how C-suite executives use LinkedIn revealed that they use it as an information resource as well as a networking tool.
Importance of personal brand – promote yourself and your company
Today, more than ever potential stakeholders are interested in the people behind the organization.
Your personal brand can be viewed as your unique combination of experience, skills, business philosophy, attitude, character and other attributes. Taken together these differentiate you from everyone else on the planet.
Most people do not make the effort to think about what their personal brand consists of and how to describe it to others. All too often we spend so much energy trying to compensate for our weaknesses that we don’t give adequate attention to our strengths and what we do have to offer.
For business owners their personal brand and business brand are usually deeply intertwined, although those whose strategy involves the eventual sale of the business will want their business brand to stand on its own.
Your LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to promote your own accomplishments, but it should also be used to promote your employer as this will benefit you and them.
Manage Your Professional Network
Your professional network is one of your most valuable business assets. The people you are connected with are a source of information, sales leads, job opportunities, and a variety of other opportunities. LinkedIn can be used to help organize your network using Tags and gives you visibility into your extended network – those who your direct connections are connected with.
In addition, smart employers and others who may use your services realize that your network can be an asset for them if they work with you.
Accelerate Your Job Search
Sales professionals can use LinkedIn as one of their job search tools. When you enter a term in the main search bar and hit Enter, you will see the Jobs tab as an option. You can search by keywords, company, title and location, date posted, job function, industry and experience level. A Premium membership will enable you to filter by salary as well.
LinkedIn Sales Applications
LinkedIn has a number of features that enable you to use it as a sales tool to find and connect with prospects, stay top of mind with clients and gather business intelligence.
LinkedIn’s Search feature enables you to search for people based on a number of parameters including keywords, location, company, name, industry, title and school. It allows you to fine tune your search to a high level.
The Search feature even enables you to save search parameters so you can easily revisit your favorite searches. You can save up to 3 searches if you have a free LinkedIn account and choose to receive weekly notifications showing you a list of new people or jobs fitting your search criteria.
When you find someone on LinkedIn that you would like to connect with, you can see who your mutual connections are so you can ask for an introduction. In addition, by looking through their profile you can often find areas that you have in common with them that you can refer to when introducing yourself if you do not have a mutual connection.
If you and a potential prospect are members of the same LinkedIn Group you can send them a direct message. Currently you can send a message to a maximum of 15 fellow Group members per month.
When you view someone’s Profile, LinkedIn provides suggestions on People Similar To and People Also Viewed individuals. The People Similar To feature is helpful if you are looking for other individuals who work in the same capacity as the person you are viewing. LinkedIn’s algorithm is finding other people with similar elements in their profiles which is a big help if you are in sales or business development.
Here are suggestions for a simple, easy to maintain LinkedIn routine that will help you see consistent results.
- Review your LinkedIn messages.
- If you have pending invitations to connect, scan the profiles of those who have invited you to see whose invitations you should accept. You can Archive the others.
- Look at Who’s Viewed Your Profile – some viewers may be valuable connections you will want to contact.
- Use the “15 ways to keep in touch” feature to note and acknowledge personal and professional events highlighted by LinkedIn for selected contacts.
- Based on your criteria for those who would be good business connections invite others to connect with you. You can use LinkedIn’s People You May Know suggestions and use Advanced Search to find people based on specific criteria you choose.
- Engage in Group discussions where you can add your expertise to the conversation.
- Like, Share and Comment on posts from others in your network, particularly those from current and prospective customers.
Please let us know how you are using LinkedIn for personal branding and sales.
Get regular tips and updates on LinkedIn: http://eepurl.com/byi8KT