Trending This Week: Is Your LinkedIn Profile Working For You?

October 27, 2017


What is LinkedIn to you?

Some treat it as an online résumé. Others view it as a social media feed for keeping up with colleagues and professional acquaintances. And many salespeople and marketers utilize it as a resource for researching potential prospects and accounts.

LinkedIn is all these things, and we encourage you to use the platform for such purposes. But if you’re in sales, and you aren’t leveraging your profile as a tool to convey your personal brand in the right way, you are missing out on a key opportunity.

Earlier this month, Ian Addison published a post on the Business 2 Community blog arguing that the majority of LinkedIn profiles fail to build trust or support the sales cycle. In our experience, this is unfortunately true, and Addison makes some salient points in his writeup on the topic. Let’s unpack those a little and find takeaways you can apply to your LinkedIn presence today.

Trust is a Must

Declining consumer trust -- toward government, institutions and organizations -- is one of the most urgent challenges for businesses to confront today. High-profile corporate scandals, along with the rapid rise of spam and unsolicited outreach in the digital age, have caused many web users to become increasingly skeptical of sales-related messaging or promotion of any sort.

The chart below, via the State of Sales 2017 report, illustrates this evolving dynamic:

Operating in this environment means we cannot afford to miss out on opportunities to establish that trust factor, and frame ourselves as advocates who look out for the interests of customers rather than our own.

If curious buyers view your LinkedIn profile and see the equivalent of a résumé, focusing only on YOUR work experience and YOUR skills, are they really getting that impression? If not, how many will decline to reach out, or respond to an inquiry?

As Addison puts it: “LinkedIn is the one platform where we can establish our personal brand by providing insight that differentiates us from the competition to establish credibility and trust long before we make the first dial or email draft. But, we can only do this if we think differently about our profile and turn it from a basic resume into an instrument of sales and marketing success.”

A Change in Perspective

There’s nothing wrong with presenting your professional background and summarizing your expertise in a LinkedIn profile. But if that’s all you’re doing, or it’s front-and-center, you aren’t separating yourself from the pack. Pretty much everyone offers up these kinds of details, and for customers, they don’t really mean all that much.

How can you adjust the angle of your profile so that it really speaks to those you want to engage?

Addison suggests that sales pros should align their LinkedIn profiles with an account-based marketing approach, where the goal is not to speak to everyone but instead to connect more directly with the particular type of account they’re pursuing.

“Everyone discusses breakthrough results and the ROI they’ve delivered,” Addison writes. “But the profiles lack commercial insights that would explain why they are the only solution for the specific challenges their prospects are facing.”

In his article, Addison shares some examples of revenue results companies have achieved simply by shifting the orientation of their LinkedIn profiles. It’s a minor change that can make a huge difference.

So today, we challenge you to honestly evaluate your own profile on LinkedIn, and try viewing it through the lens of your target prospect. Does it communicate specific value to them? Does it frame you as a trusted advisor? Does it differentiate you from all the other sales reps out there vying for attention share?

If not, how can you make sure your LinkedIn profile is working for you?

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