5 Top Tips For The Executive On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is THE professional platform to be involved with, and if you are not on it by now then you really are missing out.

LinkedIn is full of opportunities for every executive, sales professional and business owner to generate leads for their business and engage with those all important decision makers  – but how do you ensure that your LinkedIn account is a professional as you are?

Well, here are 5 top tips to take your LinkedIn account from office rookie to high-flying executive.

Are You Up To Date?

You need to think of your LinkedIn profile as being a 24 hour, worldwide advertisement for yourself and your company – so are you keeping it up to date? Having a 100% complete profile is a must if you want to use the LinkedIn platform to the best of its abilities, and it is so important to ensure that you regularly update your status updates and recommendations on the platform.

You need to look at your LinkedIn Profile as if you were a potential client who has never met you before and wants to know more about you – does your profile do you justice?

Time Is Money

What exactly are you hoping to get out of LinkedIn? Are you looking for a new career? Trying to build up your business connections and generate new leads? Or are you looking to position yourself as an industry expert and leading authority in your field?

You need to be clear about why you have chosen to use the platform to ensure that you are getting real value out of the time you spend on the site. So many LinkedIn users just waste their time on the platform, simple because they are not actively seeking a purpose – so ensure you know what you want out of your time and make the time you spend on the site count.

The Opportunities Are Endless

Every time you connect with a new person on LinkedIn, you immediately become connected to all of their contacts, so your network on the site is ever-growing. The key to getting the most out of your connections on the site is to not only network and engage within your own connections but to also seek out which of your connections contacts might be a valuable connection for you.

Take the time to assess your 2nd Degree connections – there might be some real VIPs right under your nose and you don’t want to miss out on getting that all important introduction to them as they could mean big opportunities for you and your company.

Don’t Be Selfish

When it comes down to it, LinkedIn is still a social networking site, so don’t be anti-social. You will not build your presence on the site by being selfish with your activity, so make sure you regularly contribute to other people’s discussions rather than just posting your own – and contribute something of real value, don’t just make everything you do on the site about self-promotion.

Do You Want To Be In My Gang?

The LinkedIn Groups are a great way to engage with and prospect for new leads, so why not consider starting a group of your own?

By creating a group closely related to your industry, you can immediately see who on LinkedIn is interested in the products and services you provide – think about it, they wouldn’t have joined your group if the first place if they weren’t! You don’t even have to go looking for new prospects, as they will come to you in the form of new group members.

You can then use your own group to network and engage with potential new clients, as well as sharing all of your great content with them and demonstrating to them why you would be a valuable connection for them to have.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

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How To Use Company Buzz To Prospect And Network On LinkedIn

As always, my focus in these Techy Tuesday blogs is to keep you update to date with the latest and greatest ways you can use social media and other internet based resources to prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – and this week is no different!

This week I have been doing some research into a new LinkedIn application called Company Buzz, to find out if the hype around the new feature is valid and how you can really use it as a legitimate business tool.

As a sales professional or business owner it’s so important to keep on top of your company’s reputation and be aware of any influential changes and developments in your industry, and this is exactly what the Company Buzz application does for your business.

This application is a great tool which combines both your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to display real-time tweets and LinkedIn updates relating to your company and any other specific search terms you request on your LinkedIn profile.

You can search on any word relating to you, your company, your products and services or your industry and see all of the recent tweets and LinkedIn updates related to that term.

You can then narrow down your search results by loads of different categories, including location, company, degree of connection, industry, time frame, update type and job title. You can then save these results and even share them to your profile. Company Buzz also shows you what words and links are currently trending around your chosen search term, and gives you a historical overview of the buzz surrounding your search terms over time.

So now that you know what the Company Buzz application is all about, how can you use it to your advantage?

Well, as with many of the great features LinkedIn has to offer, you can use Company Buzz to prospect, listen in for leads and engage with key decision makers online.

As the application allows you to be so specific with your search results, you can create a search on yourself, your company, or the title of your latest blog post, and then narrow it down to just your first degree connections, in your chosen industry, in a specific location. You can even select just the CEOs or Managers from this selection, and only view the updates which have happen in the last couple of hours…so you are literally getting the most specific and up-to-date view of all those who are talking about you and your company on LinkedIn.

Now that you can see who has been tweeting about you, commenting about your company in the groups, and sharing your latest blog posts on their profile you can go in and engage with these connections directly – using the same techniques as you would implement when engaging with key decision makers through your LinkedIn Groups.

Taking this slightly further, you can choose to view only your second or third degree connections in this same way, and you can then build up a picture of which prospects are already on LinkedIn talking about you and your company, so that you can make an offer to connect with them and engage further with them .

Not only does the Company Buzz allow you keep on top of your company reputation and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry, but when used in the right way it can also provide you with a great way to prospect and engage with key decision makers on LinkedIn.

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

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

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It Takes Only An Hour A Week To Produce Leads Through LinkedIn

I must have said it time and time again, but when it comes to modern day selling, sales professionals and business owners alike can find real value in the LinkedIn platform as a sales tool, as there is so much potential for you to prospect for and engage with new leads and current clients online.

I have frequently written about the different ways you can use LinkedIn to network with c-suite decision makers and build your internet footprint, but in today’s post I thought I would take you back to basics and show you how you should be maintaining your LinkedIn presence on a weekly basis.

You see, in order to get the best out of the platform you need to contribute frequently on LinkedIn, to ensure that you are always at the forefront of your prospects’ minds whenever they access the site.

Keeping up-to-date with your LinkedIn connections – as with any social media site – requires a certain level of dedication, but there are a few simple tasks you can pursue on a weekly basis to ensure that you maintain your presence on LinkedIn. After all, you have worked hard to build up your LinkedIn activity and you shouldn’t let this fall by the wayside simply due to time constraints, so here are 4 quick tips to help you manage your LinkedIn account on a weekly basis:

1.       Keep Your Content Fresh

Generating new content consistently is a vital aspect of building your personal brand and positioning yourself as an industry expert in your field, ensuring that you are the go-to-guy when your prospects and searching for the products and services you provide online.

But more importantly than just generating new thought leadership content, is making sure that you distribute this in spaces where your prospects will find it. LinkedIn is a great platform for sharing your content and there are so many applications you can use to do this, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t have your most recent blog post on your profile, your latest business read on your Amazon Reading List and an up-to-date presentation on your Slideshare app.

The more content you distribute the more you will build your presence on the platform, and taking 5 minutes out of your week to ensure it is all up-to-date is definitely worth your while.

2.       R&R – Recommend and Be Recommended

A recent survey by Nielsen found that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, so the fact that the LinkedIn platform gives you the opportunity to request and display your recommendations is a real bonus for any sales professional – so make the most of it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations via LinkedIn, and ensure that you follow up with this on a regular basis, as the more glowing recommendations you have for your work, the more trustworthy and reliable you will appeal to any prospects that land on your LinkedIn profile.

It’s also important that you are seen to recommend your LinkedIn connections whenever they ask, as few people will want to recommend you if you are selfish about returning the favour. Take half an hour at least once a month to request new recommendations from your satisfied clients, and return the favour for any connections who have requested one from you. After all, we all need a bit of R&R every now and again!

3.       Take 10 To Make A Contribution

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Your LinkedIn Groups are a hotbed of potential contacts, and contributing regularly to key discussions happening in these groups will help you to network and engage with more and more connections – as well as helping to build your profile as an industry expert.

Taking 10 minutes out of your day to contribute to 2 or 3 discussions via your LinkedIn groups or on the LinkedIn Answers platform will help to keep you at the forefront of relevant discussions surrounding your business.

4.       Turn Your Business Cards Into LinkedIn Connections

As a sales professional or business owner, you’re likely to collect a tidy little pile of business cards from your meetings with your clients over the month, so don’t let these vital contacts go to waste. Instead, find a bit of time in your week to search for these contacts on LinkedIn and invite them to connect with you.

If you find that some are not currently on the platform then you can also use their information to invite them to join you as a LinkedIn member, which will give you an opportunity to engage with them further following on from your meeting.

An Hour A Week Is All It Takes

Prospecting, networking and engaging with key decision makers via LinkedIn doesn’t have to be taxing, and taking as little as an hour out of your week to keep yourself up-to-date on the platform will really help you get the most out of your activity on the site. By maintaining your presence on LinkedIn you are maintaining that all important contact with prospects and clients alike – and this is a hugely important factor in selling the modern way.

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

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Techy Tuesday – Be In The Know With Google Alerts

When the Google.com domain first went online in 1997, few could have guessed it would soon become the massive online entity that it is today. With over 620 million visitors to the site every day, who produce more than 87 billion worldwide searches every month, Google should be considered any business’ first point of call when it comes to building a successful online presence.

Thankfully, Google provides you with a whole heap of fantastic tools to help you boost your business through the site – so this week I have been taking a closer look at Google Alerts, to show you how you can make the most of this brilliant free tool.

Google Alerts allows you to create free searches related to yourself, your company and the products or services you provide which run continuously.

So how can this tool help the modern day sales professional and business owner?

Well, each time there is something new found in the Google search you can be notified by email, meaning that you can continuously track the success of your online presence.

By setting up Google Alerts for your name, the name of your business, your competitors’ names, your client’s names and key phrases related to your company and the products or services you provide you can be involved in the whole world of news and discussion surrounding your business.

Google Alerts can help you to manage your reputation online. If someone mentions you, your company or products and services you are informed of this and can track and monitor any further updates or discussions closely.

With Google Alerts, you can track what the competition is doing and find out about the latest news and developments within your industry, so you’ll never miss a trick.

Also, by searching for related keywords surrounding what you sell you can find out what discussions are taking place online and where, and then go in and enter these conversations – enabling you to engage with potential buyers and create qualified leads for your business.

If you haven’t got Google Alerts set up already I urge you to get started today, as this is a great tool for gathering online intelligence and listening out for potential opportunities.  Head to http://www.google.com/alerts to see what this tool can do for your business.

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

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

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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

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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)

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