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How to Generate Leads Using LinkedIn

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Peter Dickinson


So why is LinkedIn important to your business? Well, LinkedIn itself is brand awareness. One of our speakers, in the forthcoming lectures, they get a lot of interaction, they’re very creative, so they’ve got some very creative post going out, and they get a lot of interaction, just from that without doing anything else. 

So it can be there to raise brand awareness. You can share your expertise and get engagement. So we see a lot of traffic when we post thought leadership articles for clients onto LinkedIn. Even though views and so forth have dropped, we can still pretty much guarantee we’ll get quite a bit of traffic from that. 

With engagement, I’ve got you as I’m sure you all have got hundreds of contacts. Well, it’s very difficult to keep emailing them, phoning up and saying let’s have a one to one. But if you follow their company page, when they post something, it’s really easy to go ‘Oh, click on that’, and they can see that, so you know, there’s gonna be no conversation, but you can show that you’re still taking interest in what they do. 

And so I do recommend following all your active clients on them, or customers who are important to you on LinkedIn. If you’re following them and if you’ve got the right hashtag set up, it’s really easy. You know, it’s a five-minute job in the morning. 

There are LinkedIn groups, although we’ve got one, and it’s got Tumbleweed blowing through it. Facebook groups are probably the ones where, if you want interaction, you’ll get more interaction. Or there are the new NetHub communities, which we like, and I think could replace that. And then, as we’ve done here, you can do events. Everybody’s familiar with Zoom, everyone’s comfortable with it. So we’re now live a simple piece of tech technology called restream. We’re out on YouTube, on Facebook, and we’re also there on LinkedIn as well. And people can interact that way. 

Okay, so why is LinkedIn so important? And why does it work where you got some 40 million people on it for a start? And I think it tends to be used by more, you know, the larger demographic of the 46 to 55-year-olds. So if you’re after those hard-to-get people who are guarded by gatekeepers, then this is the easiest and quickest route to get to whoever you need to speak to. Because you’ve got the six degrees of freedom in do you can get to the Queen, or the president of United States, I was one connection away from Obama at one point. But that’s before he sort of locked down his LinkedIn before he became president. 

So you can get pretty close to people you need to know, and 61 million senior decision-makers on there, and 40 million senior-level influence. So there are 14 million decision-makers, those numbers are increasing all the time. And it’s quite fun. Sometimes when you go to a client, and they’ve not got much of a LinkedIn presence to get through to Person X, X, Y, and Z company, and I go, ‘Okay, give me their name’ and let’s set them up. And, you know, three seconds later, I’ve given them information that they’ve taken months to try and find out. So it does work. But it does need perseverance. So you do need to invest time in it to make it work. 

We’re going to be talking about business and personal pages because they do make difference. We’re going to talk about how to make connections, engage, and also do social proof. 

Okay, a key principle in marketing, you’ve got to be where your customers are. And if you’re selling to businesses, and selling to any reasonable size business – it’s bit harder when you’re selling to what, to one-person business –  anybody employing five people are likely to have a LinkedIn presence. Maybe not huge, but they’re likely to have one, and more so these days. 

A few years ago, when I was working for Vistage, which is a global peer networking group for CEOs, typically 5 million to 100 million turnover. I’d say about 25% of the companies who existed had a presence, I’d say that would be a lot higher these days. You still get blank or have very limited profiles for some business owners. But I think in a few years’ time if you’ve not got that kind of presence, it’s a bit like not having a website. Somebody somewhere in the business should be promoting the business on LinkedIn. 

So why does it work? Well, we’re now a user of HubSpot CRM. They do huge amounts of research on these things, and we’re going to be talking about a thing called conversational marketing. It’s not about selling something as soon as you’ve made a connection. That’s not conversational marketing or finding out what people want. 

So the key element of conversational marketing is the conversations happening in their time. So if you’re an early bird, you might respond first thing in the morning or a bit late at night, or Sunday or Sunday morning. 

We do use a bit of technology, but we don’t completely automate it. And so conversations are scalable, you can talk to a lot of people. We do that for clients. We’re handling multiple conversations with them. So you can keep track of these conversations and so forth. 

Because I’ve been doing this for quite a long time, I have people come back after several years, saying, ‘Oh, hi, yeah, great to connect’. You have to then try and figure out what the whole conversation was about because things have moved on. 

So how is the buyer’s journey changing? So one of the things that’s happened with the whole sales process is because customers and prospects can do a lot of research before they speak to you, your salesperson is coming later on into the sales conversation. And so you need to use digital tools to be at the head of that conversation. So if you’re selling to businesses, you’ve got to have your website up, you’ve got to have your LinkedIn company page up, you’ve got to have your own profile up to date, and looking ship shape. Posting regular articles, maybe once a week, once a month, something that shows that your profile is alive. 

We’ve talked quite a few times about the marketing funnel, the awareness, acquisition, engagement and conversion stages. And the idea is that you’re trying to engage with everybody at these stages. 

So according to HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter, although it does depend on what you’re trying to do. But I noticed, on Instagram, people are doing less lead generation via it, and it is more of an advertising platform. And so on LinkedIn is the only time you’re going to have that kind of conversation. 

In order to get sales, you need to be talking to decision-makers, wherever they are in the company’s food chain, but if you want to be talking to people who can buy a product, then there’s a good chance they’re going to be on LinkedIn. 

So when do the buyers want to connect with a salesperson? Well, you know, according to HubSpot 19% want to do it in the awareness stage. I’m not convinced about that, because to be honest, I would never contact a salesperson until I’ve done quite a bit of research unless I knew exactly what I was going for. Then in the engagement stage, you probably need to start engaging when you’ve identified what the problem is, because you’ve probably gone to Google and you’re starting to explore a problem, you don’t know what problem is solving. 

And then the consideration stage you’re now starting to identify suppliers and so forth. And then if you are really sure, you might just go ‘right okay, I just need to speak to a couple of people’. But most people engage in that consideration stage. Once they’ve identified the supplier and identified that you can solve the problem, they then want to find out then, can you really help me? 

You’ve got to be warned. You’ve probably all been approached by lead generation experts, specialists, whatever you want to call them on LinkedIn saying, ‘Hey, we can get you leads’ and all this sort of stuff. Well, I tell you, there’s no silver bullet. There’s no silver bullet in digital marketing. I think Neil Patel is what I would regard as the world’s guru when it comes to digital marketing – he is more search engine optimization, but he does know a lot of stuff – and a few years ago, you could do a campaign on one channel, and be successful, not anymore. It is all multi-channel. It’s all about creating a system and making sure that all parts of that system actually work. 

So a couple of books that you might find useful. I always like to think that whatever we do is based on proven theories. And so the first one is SPIN Selling, it’s from the 1980s. SPIN stands for establishing the buyer’s current situation, identifying problems that the buyers face that your product solves, and then you look at what are the implications. And obviously, to do this process, you need to be in a zoom call or a one-to-one.

But it’s about doing a diagnostic, it’s trying to get in the person’s shoes, trying to understand how big their problem is because we’ve all been there with clients, and they say, ‘Oh, yeah, you can solve my problem’, and then when we start digging deeper, and actually, their problems aren’t that big, and they don’t have the budget. So it’s about identifying how big their problem is before you commit to any resources to it. How much of a pain it is, whether you can actually solve that cost-effectively. Because, you know, if the cost of your solution is bigger than that problem, it’s not going to happen. So you need to work that out and then you can use that process to qualify people out. So that you are spending your valuable time and resources on people who have got a budget, who have got a problem that you can solve, and that your solution is more cost-effective than the problem you’re trying to solve. 

So there’s also Stephen Covey, who wrote Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And one of the elements of that is to seek to understand before seeking to be understood. And that’s the whole concept of any networking. Where you go to a networking event, you don’t go, ‘Hey, do you want to buy my digital marketing agency?’. You ask about the weather, you ask how’s business, you ask about what are the challenges at the moment, what’s keeping them awake at night, etc. So, that discovery element defined. 

When we say educate, it doesn’t have to be like now where I’m giving you theory, you can be asking better and better questions, follow up questions. So if in response to ‘how’s business?’, they say ‘I’m not getting any leads coming in’, I’d say ‘Oh, how’s your marketing working?’ 

Now, I won’t say I’m an agency, I’d say ‘how’s your marketing work?’, and then even ask, ‘how’s the lead generation element of your marketing working?’ to slowly drive down to where their pain lies. At that point, they are going to engage with you because you’re listening, you’re asking questions. And you’re sort of building a model in your head as to what their problem is and, as you ask more questions digging for the pain, that is where you’re coming into the SPIN side of things, where you are trying to find out if that’s the pain they really want to solve. 

So you have this engagement and then you can obviously develop a conversation. At that point, hopefully, it ends up in a zoom call or an in-person meeting. So this is the book that’s behind all of what we do, and what we do with our clients. 

So one of the things for lead generation is that engagement is key. You need to have that curious head on. If you’re into making things, if you’re an engineer, and so forth, you’ve already got that problem-solving thing. And then during the process, you need to give them insights that will demonstrate how they could solve their problem. You’re never going to solve the problem – well you might do if it’s really simple but then you won’t for that – but it was more complex, then it turns into more of a conversation.

Shareable content is also really useful. The number of times we’ve had a conversation, where somebody wants to know about X, Y, and Z. Rather than going into a long description, you can just send a link of some pre-prepared content, so that you can spend more time in the conversation and not actually educating them, but still providing that those insights. 

There’s this book called The Challenger sale, which is all about that. It’s all about being the educator, somebody who’s helpful, so you can educate, and build trust as an expert, and that’s why we’ve written the book. That’s why we do workshops, that’s why we’re going to get other people on to do workshops, is all about developing that trust. And then obviously being found when you’re needed. Some people have badly SEO-ed websites. You need to be found, you need to be on social media. So when they’re trawling through things they can find you easily. 

So a few LinkedIn fundamentals. It is integrated with digital marketing, it does need to connect with your social media.  You also need an effective profile with a professional photograph – we’ll talk about that in a minute. You’ll also need articles and posts that engage. You’ll need to be going on other people’s profiles and liking them, connect with your target audience – that can be done manually or it can be a system. And put stuff out there that educates. You’re not going to solve their problems through one social media post, so don’t be afraid to give stuff out. And then obviously, measure your performance. Within your company page, you can see how many views and things you’ve had. And then create a process and repeat it. 

You can go into quite a lot of detail in terms of how you connect things up. And in a workshop sometime in the summer, we’ll be telling you about things like Canddi and so forth, where we can actually see who’s on the website in quite some detail. And then that coupled with the CRM and LinkedIn, you can then form a picture of whether that person’s interested or not so that you only have conversations with people who actually have got the problem, because you need to prequalify people. 

You know, there’s a lot of people who will attend these workshops, and won’t do any business with us. But for me, that’s great. Because they’re, you know, thier better educated to use the process and so forth. We just want to be talking to those people who want to talk to us about our other services, but we do this so we can help as many people as possible. 

So, you end up building something like this as a process in order to support your LinkedIn activities. You may think, ‘well I only wanted to do a bit of LinkedIn, it’s gonna take ages’. Well actually, if you do a little bit at a time, and you systemise each little bit – so How you do an article, how you do some posts – it’s surprising what you can achieve. It looks complicated, but it’s not. 

So if you look at the slides, this is a rhetorical question, or you can type into chat, you know, which picture would you go for? 

Obviously, the answer is B, because his whole picture, face lit up, he’s got a professional shirt. Thanks, Sarah. You know, logo, really, you know, these are cool shots. But, you know, humans need to see the eyes, you know. And, you know, this is unfortunate, where he’s got his hands in his pockets, and so forth.I’d rather see a logo than nothing else. 

So, LinkedIn profile, get it as best as you can. Find somebody, if you can’t do yourself, find somebody who can create your banner, we regularly change ours. So here, we’ve got what we do and so forth. We keep changing it, we’ve got key critical keywords in it. And it’s now changed because my role in the business has changed.

So don’t be afraid to do this, I quite like the vertical bar so that you can have. So my new one is my job title, which is managing director. And then we’ve got a bar and then it says some of these other things that we do. Do think about your keywords. We’ve talked about keywords and a few workshops ago, in about that, make sure that you are talking about what you do. 

I know LinkedIn is used as a job board, but if you’re selling on LinkedIn, if you’re wanting to engage with people on LinkedIn, is not about you. It’s about what you do for your customers about your customers. They don’t want to that you’re great at leadership and all these other skills, they’re interested in what you as a business can do for them as a customer. And you need to make sure your keywords are in there. A few years ago you used to get found on Google with it, but it’s a lot harder these days because there’s so much competition. But you know, get it as best as you can and make sure you’ve answered all the questions. 

In the more section, it’s got all the contact info. Make sure you’ve got the publicly available contact information. It’s surprising actually, as your business evolves, how you, if you don’t keep it up to date, it can lag behind. So I know in some LinkedIn courses say to put the value of what you do. I think I prefer this approach where you use job title and keyword. 

So regular posts, and be prepared to do things a little bit differently as well. So in a workshop that was quite a few months ago now, we were playing within the Mentimeter the presentation software and one of the guys spotted that he can enter things multiple times. So we were talking about our biggest challenge of concern at the moment. He managed to get paper cups as the biggest concern. I then wrote a post about it because it was interesting, it was different. And it warned anybody who’s using Mentimeter to make sure that they can’t enter multiple times. 

Always use hashtags when putting posts up and if you can, name three or four people don’t overly stuff it because LinkedIn’s not keen on that, but if you enter in five or six people who you think might share it and so forth, then immediately LinkedIn tells them that someone has done that and they like and share etc. You’ve got about an hour to get engagement and then LinkedIn will see it as interesting. And then they’ll put it out to the bigger world. If you don’t get engagement, early doors, LinkedIn won’t promote it on their feed, and you’ll be stuck. 

And these days, it’s really important because to get views is getting harder. It all change started in lockdown. Before that, you could get 2000 views on a post quite easily. Now to get 2000, you’ve got to be quite creative. But there’s still a way of doing it, we still see traffic coming through onto people’s websites. It’s just a little bit more frustrating. 

And it is worth thinking about having a plan. Don’t randomly stuff shove stuff onto LinkedIn, dedicate a couple of hours, or maybe half a day at the beginning the month, and just work out what you’re going to do during the month. You’ve probably heard of motivational Mondays, throwback Thursdays and fun Fridays. You know, LinkedIn is becoming more like Facebook – it’s one of those things. 

We’re going to be talking later on in the workshop about something that’s going to disrupt that. But yeah, just accept the fact and, and have a go. If you’re short on time, just keep it to thought leadership articles. And those are the primary things and with the others things, you can help to create more engagement and add more personality. 

So what types of posts are there? Well, there are posts about sharing expertise, and blogs or articles from your website. LinkedIn doesn’t really like people going off of LinkedIn to a website, but it still works. And case studies about what you’ve done for clients, people love a story. That’s how we’re programmed to receive information. You can share other people’s posts and articles if they’re interesting and help educate your audience. And we use it a lot to promote these events, because I think LinkedIn is going to make that easier as well. So we’ve found that really useful. 

Obviously, you do your own PR, new products, awards and recruitment. I’d say a lot of posts I see are about people winning awards and achieving goals, success Stories. You may want to share sector-related stories, although I suspect that’s dying away. And then charitable projects always get good traffic, people like to see organisations doing something for good. 

If you’re not sure what your target audience want to see content about, answerthepublic.com is a brilliant tool for finding out what questions people are asking. 

We’ve got Sales Navigator, and if we do a search on the free version, the results are pretty poor these days. If you’re serious about it, you do need to do the Sales Navigator £59.99 plus VAT. Posting onto company page is a bit frustrating because it has the better stats. So what you do every month, you need to invite 100 people to like your page, and in order to restream – as we discovered a few weeks ago – that page has to have 150 views and 250 people who have liked it. We tried to do it on the business success page that Rachel had set up. 

We couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t connect via restream then realised after a bit of research, LinkedIn couldn’t tell us we found it all on a help page that is restricted 250 plus. So it is important you get people to like your page, but you do get better stats. And, and so you can invite your connections to like your page. I don’t think anybody I’ve not heard of anybody getting hacked off through people doing that. So I would encourage you to do that. 

Company page gives you far better stats, you can see what’s working, what’s not working. And if you’ve got somebody who’s doing your marketing for you, then I’d certainly encourage them to provide that information to you, or learn how to look at it yourself. 

Each person on Sales Navigator gets a social selling index. It ranks you on how well you are connecting and so forth. As I said, LinkedIn events. So this was a LinkedIn event I did with

a company called Engage over in the states. And that was great. You get this sort of global audience, you can now invite up to 1000 people. Do we know how many we’ve got today, Rachel?

About 12.

Yeah, that’s growing, and it’ll grow bigger. And then, of course, it sits on as a post as well. 

Sarah’s asked would you start adding content to a company page before connecting. Well, absolutely, nobody’s gonna follow the page without good content. You don’t need a huge amount – only five or six articles, nobody sort of scrolls back and checks. But if you can see that the page has got a nice banner and it’s got some activity on it. Yeah. Don’t do invite them to a blank page and make sure it looks pretty good. And the great thing about this is that you’ve raised awareness and the thing about an event is that it then sits there on the system. 

LinkedIn ads are a little bit controversial. The conversation ads are where you actually pay to pitch into an inbox. Now, we would never suggest you do that. I have no idea why LinkedIn, where they want people to engage, are allowing people to pay to drop messages in people’s inbox – Makes no sense. No idea. So I’d definitely not recommend that because that’snot conversational marketing. 

I think putting things in the feed works. I’m not convinced about these two on the side. You know, these personal adverts and so forth, I have never clicked on those. But I have taken an interest in and in sponsored stuff in the main feed. So yeah, I’m not I’m not convinced about these as LinkedIn ads is expensive, you do need to manage it really carefully. 

So reaching out. So first of all, as we’ve talked about in previous workshops, buyer personas, know who you’re targeting. This works particularly well on LinkedIn. So for example, I’m a coach, and we’re looking to do a few team building days for corporates in the Shropshire area. So I was able to look for training companies who might be interested in reselling what we’re going to do. Geography is Shropshire, the sector’s training companies. For company size, I went for small companies – I think one to 10 or one to 20 size employees, job title, business managing director because I want to speak to the boss. 

There’s tonnes of pain well, you know, everybody’s working hybrid, everybody’s split apart and it’d be great to get people doing an activity that was not work-related. And I don’t need that many – we only need about four or five companies that may be interested. So you can see really clearly focused, it’s a two-minute job in Sales Navigator, and I found about 30 People, sent them all connection requests with a personal note. A few of them connected and then hopefully we’ll have a conversation with those guys. 

It is a bit of a numbers game, as well. There’s a figure of 1% or 2% that in the old days when you used to do a big mail shot, you’d expect to – if you drive traffic to an eCommerce site, about 2% of those will buy from you. If you do an email shot, the open rate maybe about 20%. And then the click-through rate will be between 2 and 5%. So this, it is a numbers game, in digital marketing, whatever you do, I think comes down to the size of your audience. In your audience, you’ve got a bunch of prospects, maybe 80%, who are not ready, they possibly have the pain, but you don’t know. And then about 20% may be interested. And then about 5 or 10% may actually be in the market for what you actually do. So that’s why the response rates are as they are. If you get in between 1 and 5% actually completing and going through to an order or to a conversation, then that’s about normal. 

So start a conversation, search for individuals on the profile, connect with them. And then start with questioning how’s business. 

So conversational marketing, social selling, it’s the same as networking – don’t start pitching. So you meet them. You ask nice open questions to qualify prospects. Use what and how, not why, why is interrogative. Be specific keep digging for the pain that you can fix. And only close on a call to action when you know you can help them. So at the moment, keep it really low commitment, telephone call, possibly webinar, sign up, free up sign up, or a zoom call. 

So, you know, make sure you have clearly defined Tips and Tricks, a clearly defined target audience, clear defined pain, do that analysis, what is it? What is it you’re trying to fix? And what are they willing to pay for? And make sure you go with a low commitment start to the sales process, the free diagnostic, or more questions to get a quote or something like that, or a workshop like this, something like that. You know, make sure you’ve got easy access to supporting information. So when we were working with a regional plumbing company, they had a pull-up PDF and when they spoke to somebody they could then send more information. 

I wouldn’t really take them to the website. Or you can do. I’ve had instances where a telesales person would talk me through elements of the website – that can work. 

But just think through the whole selling process. Make sure you’re up to speed on what you’re selling. Try and get social proof on your LinkedIn so forth. But the key thing is to not pitch on LinkedIn. 

The only thing I’d add to that is what we found when working with construction companies or anything where there’s an approved supplier list, and you don’t get past go without getting on it, is to just be blunt, if you are approaching contract managers, for example, or buyers, ask, do you have an approved supplier list? We found that the most effective way for certain types, but you’re not pitching there either. 

So the future – really excited to tell you about Net Hub. If you go to NetHub.com, we’ve now got our group on NetHub, we redeveloped the website for them. It’s all free, it’s forever free. And if you go to it, we’ve got a community page. So if you go to services, go to Vision 2 Success Services, Vision 2 success community, it’ll tell you more. But this is the NetHub community, if you register and then log in, you can then join that. I will be putting out valuable stuff on there. 

I’m encouraging all the people that I know who good providers of digital marketing services to be on there. And so we’ve got a great community, if you need any help, got any questions, you can ask the group and so forth. 

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