I know SDRs and full-cycle reps care a little more about LinkedIn because it can help them open new opportunities, and they can build their own little content distribution/personal branding channel.
What's the best way to use LinkedIn in your playbook as an AE/closing-focused role?
Do the same principles apply? How do you know the time spent is actually worth it?
Great questions! IMO, even if you’re not putting out content or using it to prospect, you ought to be leveraging LinkedIn as an AE.
For one, connect with people you talk to. The more they see your name, the more familiar you are, and the more familiar you are, the more likely they are to trust your counsel. If you just want exposure and don’t want to do the next part (research), you can automate connects, profile views, and messages, so it would just “cost” you the time it took to set up the automation.
However, what’s even more powerful about LinkedIn is that it has the motherlode of information they’re probably not going to give you during a conversation. Look at their bio – it shows you what’s important to them and gives you insight into their vernacular. You can see their job and education history, which may indicate you have something in common. Look at the recommendations they receive, and the common language used to describe them. If three of their peers say they are diligent and pay attention to detail, notice that. Speak to that. Look at what they write about other people, because it shows you what they care about. And of course, there might be some content to look through. What do they like? What do they say? What pages do they follow?
Even if they don’t have all of that information readily available, take what you can get. Anything you can do to bring a conversation down to a person-to-person level will increase your chances of closing that deal.
It sounds like a lot, but the time expenditure is less than 5 minutes to pick up all of that information, and it allows you to talk about your solution in their language. Use your time wisely, though – not everyone needs a 5 minute deep dive.
You can A/B test it to see if you think the time is worth the outcome. It’s not a perfect test because there are other variables, but leverage LinkedIn for a quarter and compare your metrics to a previous quarter when you didn’t use it. Decide if the time spent is worth it.
The moral of the story is that LinkedIn is a free tool that can provide valuable insight into a person or account, and you are missing an opportunity if you don’t use it. Hope that answers your question!
All good points, @nicolesterkel. Thanks!
What do you think about putting in the time to post and build personal brand as an AE?
I’ve heard AEs say things like “I don’t want to look like some LinkedIn conman.”
“I want to be taken seriously by my senior/enterprise buyers. LinkedIn is a tool the little guy uses, and I don’t think it will help me build trust with the right people.”
I think they’ll use it for research like you suggest, but sometimes shy away from building a brand on it.
What do you make of that?
So I’m still working on my own LinkedIn brand and content strategy, but here are my $0.02.
On a purely practical level, an online brand is something you carry with you for the rest of your career. It doesn’t depend on the solution you sell or your current company, and it can open doors to new roles or even a new career. If you get laid off, maybe your next boss is someone who likes what you write. And if you want to get out of sales, your quota attainment might not stand out as much as a consistent content strategy.
The conman concern is super valid! I’ve felt that too, and it’s comparable to imposter syndrome. Every time you step out of the comfort zone of your existing habits, it feels weird, but you get used to trusting the power of your own voice. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.
And sure, if all you write about is your own solution like a sales pitch in every post, people are going to think that’s gimmicky. But if you make a good faith effort to bring value to people, they’ll see that.
Write about your product because you think it’s great, but also write about your day and your aspirations and share that funny Zoom fail (note: probably not the one about Daniel right out of the gate). Get comfortable projecting your passions.
Re: wanting to be taken seriously, if you post consistently and try to add value, you build a reputation of being a strategic thinker and someone who takes initiative. Those are good qualities to have. It doesn’t hurt to position yourself as a subject matter expert.
To be frank, a senior/enterprise buyer has got better things to do than go through your LinkedIn post history. If they see your content in their feed and find it so disagreeable that they ghost you or unsubscribe or you lose a deal, then they probably weren’t that invested in your solution anyway.
As a salesperson, you put yourself out there every day. LinkedIn is just another way to do that. If you create the content that you’d want to see or that you find valuable, you aren’t going to look like a LinkedIn conman and you aren’t going to come across a small fish in the big executive pond. It’s a relatively small time investment that can potentially reap great rewards.
Look at the Morgan J. Ingrams and Sarah Braziers and Colin Campbells of the world – if you create a big enough brand, your name can give you authority before you even sit down to prove your value to a new buyer.
Dang. Solid input.
That’s more like $200 than $.02.
Although I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a model to look at!
In everyday life. They should invest in Sales Nav and book it to their bookmark bar and infuse it as a normal part of the sales flow.
Using Sales Nav will allow you to “know” your prospect/account better (the people that matter and where they are located) and give you more insight into specifically how your product or service might help based on growth in specific areas.
If I was an AE i’d create lists an accounts just in sales nav if my CRM didn’t play nice, which most of them do!! So it’ll make life so much easier!
Thank you, @benjamin_larue
I second Sales Navigator. Has been worth every penny
to echo Ben’s comment.. I’d strongly suggest investing in LI Sales Navigator. Weather hunting for new leads or digging into named accounts and existing contacts, this tool is a must. Our team will create account lists and follow both companies and DM’s. This also allows us to have insights into job changes, new ‘mentions’ or posts. We can also see shared connections.. this is huge for Executive alignment. Knowing their work history, tenure, location etc.. all extremely important to know prior to your communications. Become relevant, build rapport and fall in love (in that order).
Hope this helps and isn’t overly obvious 😉
This is a great question for @zach, @sarah, @nicolesterkel, and @benjamin_larue they all have some expertise in this area.