Using LinkedIn Groups To Network And Engage With Key Decision Makers

Recent statistics released by the LinkedIn Ads group showed that nearly 50% of LinkedIn members are in a key decision maker role such as Manager, Director, Owner, Chief Officer or Vice President – once again proving that LinkedIn really is the biggest and best decision maker search engine in the world!

So how can you delve into this network of key decision makers and engage with them on a one-to-one level? Well, a great way to gain direct contact with these desired connections is to strike up a conversation with them in one of the many LinkedIn groups that the platform has to offer.

The chances are that you will already be connected to some of these key decision makers through your current groups, but you can also research which groups these ideal contacts are members of simply by visiting their profile. Here you will find a list of all the groups they are involved with, so it’s wise to go in to a few of these and see which ones they are the most active in – as most people will join lots of groups but may only contribute regularly within a certain few, so seek these out.

Once you have found out where your key contacts are hanging out on LinkedIn, you can then enter the discussion and strike up conversation with them by commenting on their recent posts or starting a relevant discussion of your own which you feel they would be likely to interact with.

The key to being successful when prospecting and networking via the LinkedIn groups is to be genuine with your interactions and contribute useful content – without turning everything you say into a sales pitch. By all means share your blog posts and link to your webpages in your responses, but only if this adds real value to the discussion.

Once you have gained a decent level of interaction with these key decision makers, and offered plenty of friendly and free advice (without trying to sell them anything straight away) you can then send them an invitation to connect with your personally.

Better still, you could contact them directly by email or on the phone to see if they would like you to send over your latest whitepaper or pop into their office for a chat about how you could help them in their business.

Certain groups even organise networking events for their members, so if you find out one of your key decision makers is attending one of these get-togethers then why not offer to meet them there, and turn your online networking into a face-to-face interaction.

Networking and engaging with your desired prospects in this way is none threatening and is likely to yield a better response than spamming them with emails or trying to cold call, so make the most of your LinkedIn groups and show these connections why they should want you as a contact.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by Idea Go)

How Effective Is Your LinkedIn Teaser?

Your LinkedIn “teaser” is the short header section which appears at the top of your profile on the site, and includes your picture, name, profession, location, industry and most recent status update.

It’s known as the “teaser” because it’s the only section of your LinkedIn profile which shows up when you appear in the platform’s search results and when you contribute to a discussion in one of your LinkedIn groups. This is the equivalent of your first impression on the site, and it is so important to optimise this part of your profile to the fullest to encourage people to click through to your full profile and find out more about you.

The basic rules of optimising your “teaser” for best results include using a professional image of yourself (no holiday snaps please!) and making sure the name you use is the one that you are referred to as within your professional environment – so no nicknames or abbreviations.

It’s also important to include the most relevant industry and the local area of your company within your teaser so that people can who are searching for the products and services you provide in your local area can find you easily when they are searching online. But the really important factor lies within your professional headline.

Your professional headline should be a one line power house of a bio, which explains in good detail but in few words exactly what your company does, your role within the company and most importantly what you and your company can do for your prospects.

You need to choose the keywords that will trigger a response when a prospect is searching for somebody in your area of expertise and make sure you clearly explain to them how what you do will benefit them.

For example, my headline on LinkedIn could simply read “Marketing Manager at MTD Training”, but although it does explain my role within my company, it doesn’t explain what my company does or sell me as a professional within my industry.

So, I have optimised my LinkedIn headline to read “Marketing Manager at MTD – We Help Businesses To Improve Their Sales People, Their Managers & HR Capability” – as this clearly names my company, describes my role and explains what myself and my company can do for potential clients. Bingo!

Your “teaser” – and most importantly your headline – is critical because this is the first thing people will see when you show up in their search results or respond to their post in a group, so you need to fully optimise your teaser and polish up its appeal.  Not only will this help you make the right first impression but it will also encourage new connections to read your full profile and potentially choose to connect with you.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

How To Prospect On LinkedIn Through Your Connections

So how exactly do you prospect on LinkedIn?

Most sales professionals and business owners are only aware of their first degree connections. These are the people that you probably already knew before LinkedIn; friends, colleagues, people you have worked with in the past etc.  But these connections might not be potential prospects for you, so how can you get to the key decision makers who you really want to engage with?

The real gold which LinkedIn has to offer (more than any other social networking site) is the ability to be introduced to key decision makers you may otherwise not be able to reach. It quite literally is a prospecting power tool…in the right hands.

The real value in the site doesn’t necessarily come from who you are connected to, but who your connections are connected to – and the great thing about LinkedIn is that it doesn’t just show your own network, it also shows your network’s network. In fact, LinkedIn even shows you how you are connected to these prospects so that you can ask for an introduction from your shared connection in order to make that first contact.

Say for instance you are already connected to the Sales Manager of particular company, but the connection you’re really interested in is the Sales Director of their company who they are already connected to.

By building up a solid relationship with your current connection – giving them good advice, offering solutions to their problems or suggesting interesting content that may help them – you can then ask them with confidence to recommend you as a connection to the key decision maker you are keen to network with. After all, you’ve proved to be a good connection to them so why would they not consider recommending you to their colleagues?

But it goes further than that. Whilst asking for a recommendation to connect on the LinkedIn platform is a start, what you really want is to get to talk to this key decision maker outside of the site, via email or on the phone.

If you have a new product or an interesting whitepaper you feel would really benefit the Sales Director of the company, email or call your first degree connection and speak to them directly about what you have to offer them and the company, and then either ask to speak to their Sales Director directly or set an appointment where you can meet with them both to discuss things further.

If you have a good relationship with your first degree connection you will find it much easier getting them to pass you on to their superiors and setting an appointment with them – you are literally bypassing the gatekeeper and getting right into the heart of the company.

This is the gold on offer through the LinkedIn platform, and by putting in the time and effort with your current connections you could soon find yourself being recommended to the key decision makers you are looking to work with – an opportunity you may not otherwise get.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by  Jannoon)

Manage Your Facebook Leads Through Vitrue

According to the latest facts and figures released, Facebook is now used by every 1 in 13 people on earth, and with over 50% of these logging on every day, the ability for prospecting and connecting with your followers through this platform is at an all-time high.

As a sales professional or business owner you would probably love to be doing more prospecting on Facebook and be able to utilise this platform to the best of its abilities – but as with most social media sites, this can be very time consuming and many companies struggle to dedicate this time in order to gain the real value of the site.

With Facebook receiving so much traffic every day, it can be hard to manage all of your comments and interactions on the site, and this is where a handy little tool called Vitrue comes into play.

Vitrue excels in helping you make the most of your Facebook presence, by enabling you to quickly and easily moderate any comments left on your Facebook page, and automate sending targeted messages to people who have “liked” you or your company.

This service is designed specifically for businesses, to help companies grow their social community whatever industry or size of business you are, so it’s well worth taking a look at the solutions they have to offer.  As this particular platform offers bespoke solutions to each requirement, they don’t have set price for using their service, but you can sign up for a free live demo via the Vitrue site which will help you establish how this platform can best help manage your social media activity – specifically on Facebook.

Also on offer from Viture are some great white papers on managing your Facebook community and detailing how to structure a top-notch post to engage with your followers,  so it’s well worth visiting the site for the free content alone.

Facebook can be a lucrative platform for you and your team to engage with your online audience and build good social relationships which can turn into valuable leads for the company, but as time is often the issue for so many sales professionals and business owners it’s great to have a nifty little tool like Vitrue under your belt to help manage the process – and your time – more effectively.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by Marco Pako)

Techy Tuesday – Put Some Social Oomph Into Your Twitter Account

As 2012 dawns I have been thinking a great deal about how best to consolidate and optimise your social media efforts for the year ahead, and I have been researching some fantastic online tools which can help you to easily manage and increase your level of social media activity to continuously provide reliable leads and boost sales.

Twitter has grown significantly over the last year to become one of the most powerful social media platforms out there, and considering that Twitter users are now averaging a record breaking 200 million tweets per day – according to a report by Marketing Gum – it has never been more important to consolidate your activity on Twitter, and ensure that you are getting the most out of your efforts without wasting your time.

So, I’ve researched a free online tool called SocialOomph.com, which is designed to help you manage and consolidate your activity on Twitter to ensure you’re getting the best out of the platform.

One of the main time-saving features of Social Oomph is that you can schedule a selection of tweets to post throughout the course of the day, week or month to ensure that you are consistently updating your followers without having to do so manually. Whilst I am in no way suggesting that you should load Social Oomph up with a year’s worth of tweets and not bother with it again, having a catalogue of interesting and relevant information about your business whirring away in the background – supporting your to-the-minute updates about the company – does help to keep your corporate Twitter account brimming at the forefront of your followers newsfeeds.

Another great feature of Social Oomph is the ability to track related keywords and @replies, ensuring that you never miss an opportunity to connect with your followers and discover new leads. Instead of having to go in and manually search for mentions about your company or discussions about the products and services you provide, Social Oomph will periodically send you an email with all of this relevant information so that you can enter the discussion at a time which is convenient for you.

Social Oomph even goes one step further to help you stay on top of your Twitter interaction by providing you with in-house URL shortening which you can track yourself, meaning that you can see how many click-throughs a particular link has had, specifically from the tweet it was sent out in. This will not only help you monitor what content is getting the most response from your followers, but it can also help you work out what keywords in the related tweets work best and even show you what time of day is best to publicise your key content on Twitter.

Social Oomph allows you to take control of your Twitter activity in all these ways and more, and that’s just with the basic free account. If you choose to upgrade to a professional account for around £23 a month, you could access a whole array of other great social media management features, including adding your Facebook to the system and strategically building your followers through targeted follow backs.

Social Oomph really is a great piece of kit to have under your belt when it comes to managing your Twitter activity and with all the great features you can gain access to with a free account you can consolidate and optimise your corporate Twitter account without spending a penny.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by Slava Baranskyi)

Techy Tuesday – 6 Top Tips For Optimising Your LinkedIn Company Page

Techy Tuesdays takes the reins of the MTD Sales Blog once again this week as we steer you towards a brighter future in the online world.

Last week I showed you some great uses of the LinkedIn Answers platform when looking to test your marketing strategies and generate ideas for new content, and this week I thought I’d give you some top tips for creating a successful LinkedIn Company Page.

Setting up a Company Page on LinkedIn is a great way to connect with your prospects and keep them updated about your business and your products and services. It’s very simple to set up a basic company profile on LinkedIn, but really you should have more than just the basics if you are looking to position your company as industry leaders and develop your company’s branding – so here are 6 top tips for taking your LinkedIn Company Page to the next level.

1.       Write a keyword rich and concise Company Overview

Creating a short but detailed Company Overview which explains exactly your company does and why will help prospects find you when they are searching for the products and services you provide. Simple but very effective.

2.       Add in your company’s specialities to increase LinkedIn SEO

As with your personal profile, LinkedIn gives you the chance to link your company to important keywords which best describe your business, which will help increase your chances of being found by your prospects in the vast sea of similar companies on LinkedIn. Consider the words and phrases you would like prospects to use when searching for your business and treat the specialities section as an open SEO opportunity for your LinkedIn page.

3.       Link to a Lead Capture page rather than your homepage

On your Company Page you get given a chance to link out to your company website, and whilst this works well for redirecting traffic to your website, is it providing you with any more value than just extra traffic? Probably not, so instead I suggest linking out to a specific landing page or lead capture page which offers freebies, extra content or has a sign up form included. This will bring any extra traffic which LinkedIn provides you with to a page which is designed to generate leads for your business – rather than the traffic simply landing on your standard homepage and not going any further than that.

4.       Host your blog feed on your page

As we discussed before, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to link out to a select web page on your profile and some companies will use this option to link out to their company blog – but I suggest you save this for your chosen landing page which is designed to generate leads, and instead use the WordPress or Blogger application for LinkedIn to host your blog’s RSS feed. This will appear further down on your profile but it will show a list of your most recent posts, which is likely to encourage more people to click through and read your content.

5.       Add your products and services to your Product Page

This page is designed to showcase your products and services so don’t waste it. On a basic level you can simply link out to and describe each of the products or services your company provides, but it is wise to go one step further with this and explain in the description of your product/service WHY it is valuable. Do the work for your prospects and tell them why the products and services you provide are worth investing in.

6.       Add a Youtube video to your Product Page

If you don’t have a Youtbue video which showcases your products and services then make one especially for this opportunity, as this is one you don’t want to miss. It may not be as great as the fancy, professional video you no doubt have on the homepage of your website but it is still a great opportunity to really show people what your company has to offer. Plus, if you have a Youtube Channel then this is a great way to showcase a selection of your video content over time.

Company Pages are a great way to bring your business, staff and products and services together under one branded page on LinkedIn, and offers you an extra platform to showcase all that your company has to offer – so don’t waste it. Optimise your page and ensure your company profile is something you are proud of – as this page is just as likely to come up in Google’s search results as your company website is. LinkedIn is an authority site and will rank highly in search engine results so ensure your Company Page does you justice.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by KROMKRATHOG)

Introducing Techy Tuesdays – How To Use LinkedIn Answers To Improve The Quality Of Your Content

Introducing Techy Tuesdays!

Every Tuesday from now on I will be taking over the MTD Sales Training blog with a quick fix of interesting and innovative updates from the technological world which will help you to generate real leads and boost your sales pipeline. For those who don’t already know, I’m Louise, Sean’s Marketing Manager, and I am really looking forward to bringing you some top tips on how to prospect, network and engage with your clients via the digital world.

Our new Techy Tuesday series is designed to help sales professionals just like you to make the most of the vast range of internet-based resources and social media sites out there, by showing you how you can tap into these valuable online tools to support your business.

So, following the launch of MTD Sales Training’s new course, LinkedIn For Sales Professionals, I thought I should give you a taster of some of the great ways you can use LinkedIn to keep your pipeline full over the festive period.

A hot topic on LinkedIn that I’m particularly interested in at the minute is the LinkedIn Answers platform. LinkedIn Answers gives members to ask and answer business related questions, meaning that you can really get to the bare bones of what your prospects and potential competition think about aspects of your company, the products and services you provide, your content and even your upcoming marketing ideas. LinkedIn Answers has the potential to give you direct feedback on your business by those whose opinions you value most.

Here’s 3 top ways LinkedIn Answers can boost your business strategies:

1.       Generate content ideas

By tapping into the vast network of conversations which are going on in this platform you can uncover some truly brilliant content ideas for your blogs, webcasts and whitepapers. Some of the best content you will ever produce for your audience will stem from an idea which is either highly topical or of major interest to your target industry as a whole – and LinkedIn Answers shows you exactly what people are talking about and what topics have caught their attention as of late.

2.       Test drive your next marketing campaign

You can use LinkedIn Answers to test your next big marketing campaign on a small cross section of your desired audience before you launch an expensive and time-consuming campaign on the grand scale. By using bite sized aspects of your whole campaign – such as taglines or images – you can gain instant feedback on what people like and what they don’t, and from there you can adjust your campaign accordingly.

3.       Get your terminology right and boost SEO

It is sometimes difficult to steer clear of industry jargon when you’ve been working in the business for so long, and it can be off putting to some of your audience if they feel your content isn’t written in a way they can understand – so a key use of LinkedIn Answers is to find out what terminology your prospects are familiar with and what they understand.

By listening in to conversations on LinkedIn Answers it will give you a good idea of what key words and phrases you should be using in your own content and ad copy from the perspective of what your prospects would be comfortable receiving.  This terminology can also help massively when it comes to increasing SEO as you will be able to determine how your prospects are most likely to describe your product and service, and therefore you will be more aware of what keywords they are likely to use when searching for what you provide.

Those are just three nifty little tips for using LinkedIn Answers, but there are many more ways that you can use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to generate real value for your business, so stay tuned for future posts.

See you next week for more updates from the world of technology on another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by Mario Sundar)

Sales Summit 2011 – Where Straight Talking, Bare-Knuckle Negotiating, Magic And Mystery Stole The Show

Hi all,

It’s Louise here again, filling you in on the latest news from the MTD HQ. November has been a very busy month for Sean and the team as we held our first ever Sales Summit recently!

MTD’s MD Sean McPheat has had many successful experiences keynoting at business events and conferences across the country, and he thought it was about time MTD had our very own sales event…and what an event it was!

Our 2011 Sales Summit was held on Thursday 17th November in Heathrow, and with over 100 UK and international sales professionals in attendance it certainly was a packed day.

The Summit played host to 3 fantastic speakers who presented four must-see sessions on all manner of topics, from prospecting, networking and building value during a sales interaction, right up to influencing, negotiating and communicating with potential customers.

Sean kicked off the day with his first session on “The Ultimate Sales Audit”, where he helped guests to thoroughly rip their sales approach to pieces and really analyse the way that they currently sell. Sean encouraged his guests to make the most of their sales interactions and gave great direction on how to pre-sell their products.

The second session of the day was taken by international public speaker Simon Hazeldine, who had our guests rolling with laughter during his fantastic session on “Bare Knuckle Negotiating”. As an ex-bouncer from a former life, Simon had plenty of real-life experiences to share with our guests as he took our delegates through the negotiation process – sharing with them the strategies, tricks and tactics they need to survive and thrive when negotiating with a client.

Following a networking lunch in the beautiful atrium of the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, guests took their seats once again as Sean McPheat returned to the stage to present his much sought-after session on eselling®. Sean is the creator of the alternative sales approach known as eselling®, which helps businesses to prospect and sell online through the use of social media and other internet based services. Guests, of course, were very keen to see this session in particular, as this is fast becoming one of the biggest successes of Sean’s recent accomplishments.

During this session Sean showed his guests how they can use the internet to network with key decision makers, listen for leads, prospect online and position themselves as an industry expert.

One of the main focuses of the eselling® approach is to teach sales professionals how to use social media within their business, and to gain a real and substantial return on their investment – so Sean treated his guests to a 20 minute LinkedIn video tutorial, in which he gave guests a guided tour of the benefits of using LinkedIn as a business tool and showed them how they can create valuable business leads via this medium.

The day was capped off nicely by a very entertaining session from Sean’s number one Sales Trainer Mark Williams. Mark presented a session on The New ROI, in which he showed guests how to get a return on influence with their clients. Mark taught guests how to better understand and communicate with their clients, how to get clients on their side and how to influence people on a subconscious level.

In a final flurry of magic and mystery Mark even turned four grown men into a human table which went down a storm with the attendees!

Following the event, both Sean and the team have received some brilliant feedback from our guest, with many commenting that they are very much looking forward to next year’s Summit. Here’s what a few of our attendees have said about the Sales Summit:

“Sean delivers an excellent approach to selling that has helped me tremendously with my sales techniques. The conference he set up was great and I would recommend attending it to expand your abilities as a salesman.” – Andy Naisbitt, Business Development Manager at Gen3 Kinematics

“Sean is an inspiring and well prepared presenter. His ideas on today’s buyer are clearly well researched and his modern day sales concepts are backed up with practical examples and his own living proof that they work – Sean “walks his talk”. An expert in his field, Sean is also down to earth, personable and appreciative of his audience.” - Stephanie Keller, Sales Coach and Consultant at S2 Strategic Skills

“A fantastic and informative Sales Summit day, full of brand new content. I have learned more than in any other course I have attended in the past, the event was well organised and the speakers were amazing. I really look forward to attending some other courses with MTD Sales Training and thank you very much for your on-going email support which I highly appreciate and respect.” Kubilay Tunc, The Cumberland Hotel

Both Sean and the team have been thrilled with the feedback we’ve received from the event and we are now looking forward to the 2012 Sales Summit – bring it on!

Happy Selling!

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

MTD Sales Training