How B2B Salespeople Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile to Engage Buyers

March 15, 2018

your linkedin profile is more than just your online resume

In our ongoing quest for qualified leads, we search, research, size up, and scrutinize. We examine the digital clues at our disposal and then ask ourselves, is this prospect worth my time?

What we tend to overlook, is, B2B buyers do the exact same thing to us. They evaluate our credibility, experience, connectedness, approach, demeanor, and any other factor that helps them answer: Is this salesperson worth my time?

When buyers pull up your LinkedIn profile, one of two things will happen: They will gain confidence in you, or they won’t. This post contains advice on getting your LinkedIn profile to perform meaningful work, even when you’re not.

Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Meet Your Sales Objectives

LinkedIn profile optimization boils down to a basic concept: Present the digital version of you that will be useful and meaningful to the buyer you hope to attract.

In the IDC white paper, Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience, analyst Kathleen Schaub notes that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives use social media when making purchase decisions. They’re looking for ideas, answers, and a trusted partner to take them where they need to be. Will they find what they’re looking for in your profile?

How to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Magnet for Buyers

Headline: A concise summary of who you help, and how can be much more powerful in this field than a simple job title. A well-crafted headline implies that you’ve taken time to make the rest of your profile more enjoyable, too.

Photo: Choose a photo that gives off a warm, genuine vibe. Shoot for approachable, but not too casual. We’re drawn to faces so be sure yours is in focus and in full view.

Contact Info: Check to see that all fields contain your current information. Pay close attention to spelling and number sequence to ensure inadvertent transposed numbers or misspellings don’t keep someone from getting in touch.

LinkedIn URL: A personalized URL is memorable, easily linkable, and will help distinguish you in search. Aim for your name, or a close variation with middle initial.

Connections: Your network reflects the quality of your professional relationships. Be thoughtful about making connections. The invitations you issue should convey your interest in connecting, and the value you intend to offer. Personalize each connection request by giving the recipient a compelling reason to accept. If you have trouble coming up with a compelling reason, it may be best to wait until you have one.

Summary:  Think about what information could be most influential in getting someone to read more. A brief, meaty data point or area of professional pride might entice someone to dive deeper into your profile. Concentrate on answering the question, what’s in it for my ideal buyer?

Articles & Activity: This section is a brief recap of your personal activity on LinkedIn. If you publish on the LinkedIn platform, post an update, or interact with the content of others, that activity will appear in the LinkedIn feeds of your connections. These actions can demonstrate how you conduct yourself, contribute to solving the problems of others, and how you introduce your own solution into discussions.

Rich Media Content: In-profile media gives a reader more context about your skills and experience. Be selective about what you post and check to see how the image renders to make sure you’re happy with it. Consider periodically rotating or refreshing rich media content to avoid looking stagnant.

Experience: The experience section resembles the layout of a resume. While it’s appropriate to list your title, company, and tenure, this area shouldn’t read like a list of your duties and responsibilities. Those items might interest a recruiter, but don’t hold value for buyers. Instead, emphasize the results you helped clients achieve and the methods you used to serve them. When you showcase client successes, the implication is you were instrumental to the process.

Honors and Awards: Think about how your achievements might be relevant to a prospective buyer. Personal honors are acceptable here, too. If you’re committed to a cause or organization, others may admire your other-centered spirit and deduce you’ll go the extra mile for them, too.

Publications: Does your company have a case study that highlights a satisfied client of yours? Do you maintain a blog? Showcase your critical thinking and writing skills in this section. As with all the areas of your profile, periodically check back to confirm all looks as you’d like it to. If you link to your blog, keep it current. Jill Rowley’s profile serves as an example of how to keep your profile fresh and compelling.

Education: List any degrees, as well as any coursework or certifications that demonstrate your qualifications and credentials.

Groups: Your participation in groups can be good way for a prospective buyer to learn about your offering and discover how you work with people. List the groups you’re a member of to make it easy for buyers to find you at your consultative and conversational best.

Recommendations: Third-party recommendations carry a lot of water with B2B buyers. A recommendation should come from someone who can directly speak to your characteristics and strengths. Ideally, they should also be able to mention specific benefits from their association with you, either in terms of a statistic, dollar figure, or achievement. Recommendations increase your credibility and are quick trust-builders, but you already knew that.

Your LinkedIn Profile is the Sales Tool That Works When You’re Not

As you conduct your due diligence, so will buyers. Take care to craft a LinkedIn profile that impresses the buyers you’d like to attract.

For more ways to accelerate your sales this year, download our latest eBook, Read Me If You Want to Create an Effective Sales Profile on LinkedIn.