The Big Eight for Social Sellers on LinkedIn

social selling readyThis is for sales professionals everywhere. You think you are ready for social selling but then you realize there are some basics you have not fixed yet.

Our friends at Sales for Life created a must-see infographic to help those who are working at improving their social footprint - hopefully everyone in B2B sales - with a visual checklist for the basics. You can also see the original post here.

First of all the facts - a well-crafted profile online, in a community where millions of other professionals are will help you gain visibility, grow your brand, and attract buyers your way. It is like having a 24-hour a day trade show booth online. Knowing there are horrible trade show booths and amazing ones - the same goes for how sellers are represented online.

If you don't believe me, think of several business professionals - colleagues or competitors. Do a search for their name on your favorite search engine. Do you see how high a LinkedIn profile comes up? Try your own name - what comes up?

You can use LinkedIn - even a free profile - as a fantastic location for others to find you. Do it right, though - a very poor profile will be a deterrent to business. Are you covered on the basics?

For the study done to create the infographic, 385 LinkedIn profiles were randomly selected through a search for sales account executives. Then they went through eight areas, listed out below:

Profile picture

The random search determined that there are still professional sales reps who do not have a photo on their LinkedIn profile. Since people buy from people, it is critical that you have a professional headshot. Think of the times you have gone to LinkedIn to look someone up you are calling. If you set a meeting with me, you can bet I’ll be going online to quickly learn a little more about you. A good headshot CAN better connect you to your buyer.

Profile Heading

This is a stunning finding – 95% of sellers use their business title, like “Account Manager” instead of something that might relate more to your buyer – like, “Helping mid-market IT teams better manage assets” (or whatever it is that you do for buyers.

Now is the time to forget the old resume purpose of LinkedIn. When you are gainfully employed, actually change-up your profile to attract buyers, not recruiters. There is a big distinction.

Network Connections

We agree that every connection you have increases your chances of uncovering a business opportunity, yet 52% of the sellers surveyed had less than 500 connections. Work to get between 450 and 500, because we are all about 4 degrees away from anyone we want to reach. Build your foundation of contacts to get closer to potential buyers. My focus on LinkedIn has always been to get connected to referral partners – those who can refer multiple opportunities my way.

Contact Information

Yikes! Only 47% of sales pros surveyed had contact information in their profile – fix that right now!

Summary Sections

Learn how to leverage your summary to stand out and position yourself with a potential buyer or referral partner.


Give recommendations to others and ask a few of your favorite clients or partners for them. They do make a difference.


Leverage the power of groups on LinkedIn to learn what is important in your customers’ industries and also to connect with like-minded people. Most sellers don’t understand the power of groups. The ones who do gain insight and connections through them every day.

Activity & Content

Sales professionals are now publishers. Add content that positions yourself as an expert or leader in your field. In the survey done for the infographic, only 3% of sales pros were posting content to their profile – clearly an area of big opportunity.

Cover these basics and you will be off to a great start with your social foundation. In future posts we will talk about more advanced capabilities on LinkedIn plus other social tools.

Here are 2 other posts you will be interested in:

  1. Social Selling Resources to Maximize LinkedIn and More
  2. How to Grow Sales on LinkedIn

If you have been working on this, share with us what you have been doing – especially if you are in a sales or leadership role.

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.
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Topics: B2B

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