The Water Cooler: What Decision Makers are Reading at SMB, Midmarket and Enterprise Companies, and What Salespeople Can Learn From It

March 27, 2019

LinkedIn Water Cooler

Welcome to the third edition of the LinkedIn Sales Blog’s “The Water Cooler,” an exploration of what business decision makers are reading on LinkedIn, which has become the digital water cooler of the business world. (You can find the two previous versions of “The Water Cooler” here and here.

In this month’s edition, we look at the articles decision makers — the people who make buying decisions at companies across the globe — were engaging with on the LinkedIn platform in February. We also examine how those articles differed based on what size company the decision makers worked for: small and medium business (SMB), midmarket, or enterprise.

Top 10 Articles for All Businesses

To provide a baseline, the top 10 articles below are for all decision makers on the LinkedIn platform, regardless of the size of business they work for. Two articles in the top 10, including the one at the top of the list, indicate that decision makers are concerned with creating a strong culture at their businesses: 10 Things Great Leaders Say That Creates Engaged Teams and Employees Are a Company’s Greatest Asset!. Decision makers, like anyone who travels regularly for business, are also interested in getting into first class — without paying for it or giving up too many frequent flier miles. Other common themes in the Top 10 are articles exploring leadership, personal development, and lessons that can be learned from the experiences of Fortune 500 companies.

  1. 10 Things Great Leaders Say That Creates Engaged Teams By Gordon Tredgold
  2. How to Fly First Class for (Almost) Free By Christopher Elliott
  3. Amazon is Reportedly Taking Over One of America’s Most Infamous Dead Shopping Malls By Hayley Peterson, Business Insider
  4. A Former Google Exec has Used a Simple Framework Every Time She's Decided to Switch Jobs for the Last 20 Years By Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider
  5. Nike is Facing Backlash After Zion Williamson’s Shoe Exploded By Kate Taylor, Business Insider
  6. Why Burger King Showed Andy Warhol Eating a Burger in Its Super Bowl Commercial By Jessica Wohl, AdAge
  7. There's a Single Reason Amazon Backed out of New York. And We All Should Have Seen It Coming By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  8. Tesla Launches Amazon Store Filled with Every 40-Year-Old Child's Dreams By Jack Morse, Mashable
  9. Daddy Warbucks Goes to War By Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
  10. Employees Are a Company’s Greatest Asset! By Brigette Hyacinth

Top 10 Articles for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMB)

More than half of the top 10 articles for SMB, especially when you include the “Daddy Warbucks Goes to War” opinion piece about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his battle with “The National Enquirer,” examined either entrepreneurs or large companies and the lessons that can be learned from their behavior. What’s also interesting is that the SMB top 10 includes three articles that don’t appear in the overall top 10, which is more than either the Midmarket or Enterprise top 10. But that doesn’t mean that SMB decision makers aren’t interested in big business. In fact, the top 10 shows that SMB decision makers appear to want to keep tabs on entrepreneurs and the giant companies they have built in the past few decades.    

  1. How to Fly First Class for (Almost) Free By Christopher Elliott
  2. Amazon is Reportedly Taking Over One of America’s Most Infamous Dead Shopping Malls By Hayley Peterson, Business Insider
  3. Tesla Launches Amazon Store Filled with Every 40-Year-Old Child's Dreams By Jack Morse, Mashable
  4. Nike is Facing Backlash After Zion Williamson’s Shoe Exploded By Kate Taylor, Business Insider
  5. There's a Single Reason Amazon Backed out of New York. And We All Should Have Seen It Coming By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  6. 10 Things Great Leaders Say That Creates Engaged Teams By Gordon Tredgold
  7. Daddy Warbucks Goes to War By Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
  8. Tesla Solar Shenanigans Continue By Bill Maurer, SeekingAlpha.com
  9. Harvard’s Top Astronomer Says an Alien Ship May Be Among Us — and He Doesn’t Care What His Colleagues Think (From The Calgary Herald)
  10. JUST PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL! By Daniel Disney

Top 10 Articles for the Midmarket

Overall, LinkedIn members who work for Midmarket companies are attracted to the same general themes as SMBs and enterprise companies: personal development, leadership, and insight from the Fortune 500. The single article that separates the Midmarket from the Overall top 10 explores a topic that not many would associate immediately with LinkedIn. In the article, Harvard’s Top Astronomer Says an Alien Ship May Be Among Us — and He Doesn’t Care What His Colleagues Think, the arguments for believing aliens may be closer than we think is clearly outlined. And it obviously attracted the attention of Midmarket readers. 

  1. 10 Things Great Leaders Say That Creates Engaged Teams By Gordon Tredgold
  2. Amazon is Reportedly Taking Over One of America’s Most Infamous Dead Shopping Malls By Hayley Peterson, Business Insider
  3. How to Fly First Class for (Almost) Free By Christopher Elliott
  4. A Former Google Exec has Used a Simple Framework Every Time She's Decided to Switch Jobs for the Last 20 Years By Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider
  5. Why Burger King Showed Andy Warhol Eating a Burger in Its Super Bowl Commercial By Jessica Wohl, AdAge
  6. Nike is Facing Backlash After Zion Williamson’s Shoe Exploded By Kate Taylor, Business Insider
  7. There's a Single Reason Amazon Backed out of New York. And We All Should Have Seen It Coming By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  8. Tesla Launches Amazon Store Filled with Every 40-Year-Old Child's Dreams By Jack Morse, Mashable
  9. Employees Are a Company’s Greatest Asset! By Brigette Hyacinth
  10. Harvard’s Top Astronomer Says an Alien Ship May Be Among Us — and He Doesn’t Care What His Colleagues Think (From The Calgary Herald)

Top 10 Articles for the Enterprise

The top 10 list of articles engaging decision makers are enterprise companies had only two articles in it that differed from the overall top 10: Seven Things That Make Great Bosses Unforgettable, an article by LinkedIn Influencer Dr. Travis Bradberry that discusses, among other things, how great bosses aren’t afraid to reveal their human side, and This Indore Girl Started Up With Just Rs 3.5 Lakh in 2014. This Year She Will Rake in Rs 100 CR in Revenue, an article by Athira Nair. Ironically, this story of the smallest of businesses appeared only in the enterprise top 10, which shows that even the biggest companies are looking inspiration anywhere they can find it.  

  1. 10 Things Great Leaders Say That Creates Engaged Teams By Gordon Tredgold
  2. A Former Google Exec has Used a Simple Framework Every Time She's Decided to Switch Jobs for the Last 20 Years By Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider
  3. How to Fly First Class for (Almost) Free By Christopher Elliott
  4. Amazon is Reportedly Taking Over One of America’s Most Infamous Dead Shopping Malls By Hayley Peterson, Business Insider
  5. Nike is Facing Backlash After Zion Williamson’s Shoe Exploded By Kate Taylor, Business Insider
  6. There's a Single Reason Amazon Backed out of New York. And We All Should Have Seen It Coming By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  7. Seven Things That Make Great Bosses Unforgettable By Dr. Travis Bradberry
  8. Why Burger King Showed Andy Warhol Eating a Burger in Its Super Bowl Commercial By Jessica Wohl, AdAge
  9. This Indore Girl Started Up With Just Rs 3.5 Lakh in 2014. This Year She Will Rake in Rs 100 CR in Revenue By Athira Nair, Your Story.com
  10. Daddy Warbucks Goes to War By Maureen Dowd, The New York Times

Lessons for Salespeople

This month, one key lesson comes to the forefront. When it comes to LinkedIn, the world’s digital water cooler, interesting stories win. In Daddy Warbucks Goes to War, The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd explores the fascinating story of Jeff Bezos vs. David Pecker. Other fascinating stories explore why there’s footage of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger and how it made its way into a Burger King Super Bowl ad. And there’s the tale of a 14-year-old girl in Indian building a successful startup. For salespeople the lesson is that, to paraphrase advertising legend David Ogily, you can’t bore prospects into buying your product, you have to interest them.   

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