Seven selling resolutions to set you up for 2019 success
These simple changes will get LinkedIn working harder than ever to help you reach quota
January 15, 2019
A new year means new targets – and if you’re anything like my sales team, you’ll have come back from the Christmas holiday with renewed determination to meet them faster and push past them further. January is a month for selling resolutions: the hours you’ll work, the meetings you’ll book, the size of deals you’ll close. However, in between firing yourself up with targets and personal goals for the year ahead, take some time to make some subtler and simpler changes. Make sure that LinkedIn is working as hard as possible for you in 2019 and you’ll make sure you get full value from the other efforts you’re making.
I’ve pulled together a list of seven selling resolutions that I know make a big difference for the sales teams making most effective use of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. They’re drawn from the experiences of our clients, the advice of LinkedIn selling experts, and the evidence of LinkedIn data. Start putting them into practice this month, and I’m confident they’ll propel you towards your quota faster this year:
Resolution 1: Start refining your ideal customer profile
A closed deal isn’t just a closed deal. It’s also a new piece of data that gives more clarity as to what your ideal customer looks like. Go back over the biggest deals you’ve closed so far in your current role. Pay particular attention to those that are delivering the most onward value to the business. Look for the characteristics they have in common and then focus your attention on finding similar-looking prospects this year.
Resolution 2: Nurture the connectors in your network
Warm introductions have real value in modern selling – but not all warm introductions are equal. This year, invest some time in securing the type of willing, credible introductions that can make a real difference. As part of your prospecting, identify the connections you already have that can secure you the highest number of relevant referrals. If they’re not connections you’re particularly close with, then make an effort to change that: invite them for coffee, share content about a mutual interest directly with them, work hard to find a way to add value. Reinforce the relationships that can do most for you.
Resolution 3: Broaden your range of situational triggers
The more relevant signals of opportunity that you’re primed to respond to, the more relevant opportunities you’ll find. Alerts of management changes through Sales Navigator are one of the clearest and most dependable signals that an account is suddenly a more promising target – but they are not the only ones out there. Scan your news feed for other potential catalysts of change: recent funding events or acquisitions, or evidence that a business might have missed a KPI. It can be very telling what people in and around a business are sharing.
Resolution 4: Challenge yourself to give value first
Why do so many sellers introduce themselves with a thinly disguised product message? Because it’s the easy thing to do. After all, you know your product details inside out. However, your prospects know this just as much as you do… they know that you’re being lazy.
Starting out with a determination to find common ground and add value before you start selling is harder. However, if you’ve identified a timely and valuable opportunity then it’s well worth the effort. Identify the points you have in common with a prospect where your expertise and experience will be valued. Is this an important time of year for an interest or hobby you both share? Is something in your shared educational background particularly relevant to the role they’re in? Do you have a view on LinkedIn posts they’ve commented on? Research which of these points is likely to have most resonance with that person at that moment. It may be relevant to the solution you’re selling; it may not. But be a person, make a real connection and earn the right to the conversation you want later on.
Resolution 5: Personalise your InMail subject lines
Because Sponsored InMail delivers a response rate 300% higher than emails with the same content, it’s easy to assume you don’t have to worry so much about details like subject line. That’s a mistake. Research shows that personalised email subject lines generate a 58% higher click-to-open rate – and a similar dynamic plays out on InMail. Make 2019 the year that you spend time crafting personalised InMail subject lines – and push yourself into the top performers on response rate.
Personalisation doesn’t just mean including your recipient’s name. If you have a common connection or warm introduction to leverage, make sure that you include it. Referencing a mutual interest or passion point is also an effective tactic – and if your prospect has posted, shared or commented on LinkedIn, you’ve got a great opportunity to reference their views, and praise their content. “Loved your post on innovative manufacturing processes,” proves you’ve done your homework and have a point of view that aligns – and who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back now and then?
Resolution 6: Be more demanding of your data
Being forced to work through sub-standard data and correct names, titles and contact information is one of the biggest threats to sales productivity. Make 2019 the year you hold your data to a higher standard. Importing CRM data direct from the Deals feature in LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great place to start. And you can also build out your data by using the Buyer Circle feature to identify all of the relevant stakeholders for a buying decision.
Resolution 7: Get strategic about content curation
Curating content on LinkedIn is the simplest and most powerful tactic available for signaling your commitment to a sector. Tipping your hat to relevant experts is evidence of credibility. Commenting on the content shared by prospects is an important foundation for reaching out later. And finding common ground with your connections strengthens relationships that could prove invaluable.
Investing some time in approaching content curation more strategically can make a big difference to the value it delivers. Follow respected industry figures so that you have the opportunity to share content you know your prospects will pay attention to. Map out the issues that you know correspond to a target account’s pain points and be sure to comment when they appear in your feed. Work out how you can share expertise that’s relevant to your solution without mentioning the solution itself (and signaling that you’re only interested in a sale). That way you’ll be able to respond quickly and appropriately when opportunities arise.
Finally, be selective about what represents a relevant content opportunity. You’re not spraying shares and comments out whenever you can. You’re targeting your content shares on issues that have most relevance and value for your target accounts. Developing your own content curation strategy will focus your efforts far more efficiently in the year ahead.