For B2B marketers and sales teams, LinkedIn holds tremendous potential. As a marketer, how can you help your sales team make the most of it?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Intero Advisory founder and CEO Colleen McKenna shares the strategies she’s used to coach hundreds of marketing and sales leaders on getting the most out of LinkedIn.
From how to set up your profile, to using LinkedIn Navigator and encouraging sales team members to share marketing content, Colleen breaks down what is and is not working on LinkedIn today.
Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, for details.
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Colleen and Kathleen recording this episode
Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I’m your host, Kathleen Booth and this week, my guest is Colleen McKenna, who is the founder and CEO of Intero Advisory. Welcome to the podcast, Colleen.
Colleen (00:27): Thanks, Kathleen. It’s great to be here.
Kathleen (00:29): I’m excited to have you here. We’re going to talk about one of my favorite topics. But before we get into that, I would love it if you could introduce yourself. My listeners know I’m not a big fan of reading people’s bios because I hate when people read mine and I have to listen to it.
So I always ask my guests to tell a little story about themselves, how you know, what they do, how they got to the point they’re at in their career, what their company does, et cetera. So I’d love it if you could share that with us.
Colleen (00:59): Absolutely. So Intero Advisory is a firm I started 10 years ago, actually 10 years ago this month. So we’re celebrating all month long for 10 years and we are focused on LinkedIn for branding, business development and recruiting. So we work with clients all over the country to make sure that they’re using all of LinkedIn’s best practices to really create ROI and get their work, their name out there, build their brand strategically and build really strong sales pipelines.
Kathleen (01:33): I love it. I am a huge LinkedIn fan. It is definitely the social network on which I spend the most time. I especially have really grown to love it in the last, I would say two years. I feel like it’s come into its own in a new way. And, and there’s so much possibility there and I feel like most people are barely scratching the surface, which is why I was so excited to talk to you.
And I think what makes the conversation we’re going to have today especially relevant for me is we’re going to talk about how marketers can help their sales teams use LinkedIn better and more effectively. And the reason I’m excited about that is you know, I had a conversation actually yesterday that points to this. I was speaking with another head of marketing for another SaaS company.
Kathleen (02:29): And she was saying that she finds herself increasingly being pulled into doing things that relate to sales. And I was saying, I’m experiencing the exact same thing. And for everyone, there’s a different reason for it. In my case, I’m at what I would still consider a startup.
You know, it’s a high growth company we’re in the early days still, so we don’t have a head of sales. So in my case, you know, I’m trying to do everything I can to help the sales team use the tools they have. For her, it’s different. She’s at a more mature company, but she just had the BDRs put under her as the head of marketing.
And so she’s all of a sudden having to manage the BDR team. So it’s just interesting to me and I’m going on and on, I’m going to turn it over to you in a sec, but I, what I’m seeing as a trend is that for whatever reason, I think there’s always been this concept of marketing and sales alignment, but marketers seem to be getting pulled increasingly over to the sales side of the house.
Kathleen (03:29): And I think some of that just has to do with the changing nature of how we sell the use of social media, the technology platforms that we have available to us, et cetera. So with that as the jumping off point, I would love to hear your take on this. Do you see the same trend happening of marketers being pulled over and, and working more on the sales side?
Colleen (03:50): Absolutely. you know, and I’ll just as a little bit of an aside before I jumped really jump into that. When I first started Intero, I really started out as a HubSpot reseller. And then I started to really focus on LinkedIn. Intero actually is Italian for connecting. And it really, our first tagline was where marketing and sales intersect. And I had a circular logo. And I share that because, you know, I’ve been in sales a very, very long time with what I would say, is a minor in marketing.
So, you know, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of selling. I love the sales profession, and I think that there has been an increasing move toward aligning them. But I think it often falls to the marketing department. And what I find is that very often the person that brings me into an engagement is that marketing person in order to help the sales team.
Colleen (04:52): So, you know, I think that a lot of times when I talk to a CEO, so we do a lot of work in small to midsize businesses. We have some enterprise clients, but even with the enterprise clients, they’re still really trying to help the sales team figure out how to best use LinkedIn. So they’re creating all the content they’re really responsible for that marketing strategy and yet, and they’re putting out all of that content on LinkedIn, really creating you know, great videos and case studies and all of the things that they should be creating on the content side, putting it on the right channels. And then it’s a little bit like crickets.
And so very often where we come in is how do we get the salespeople to really engage more? So I do find that the sales marketing team is always the group. I actually wrote a blog on this. If people don’t know where to put it, let’s put it under marketing. And I think that marketers are really in the position even more today than ever of being responsible for understanding all of these tools. And unless they have a lot of depth in their marketing department is really hard for every marketer to know all of the nuances and idiosyncrasies, if you will, of all of these tools to make them all effective equally.
Kathleen (06:15): Yeah, yeah. It’s it is a lot. And, and the scenario you described, it’s just, it really hit home because I’ve constantly found myself in that position of, you know, I oversee a team of people that puts a lot of time and energy into creating content, and then you put it out there and it, and there’s an opportunity, you know, either you can get your team to share it, and if they do, you know, number one, it gets more eyeballs on your marketing content.
So it makes your life easier as a marketer. But number two, you know, if your salespeople are using LinkedIn for anything, they, you know, it makes it should make their job easier. But it’s just funny how so often it feels like pulling teeth, trying to get them to share content, you know, and in our heads it’s like, Oh, I’m helping them.
Kathleen (07:03): I’m giving them stuff that they can share. And I, and I don’t always know why salespeople don’t share my content. That is a mystery I have, maybe you could shed light on that. But there’s definitely a lost opportunity there. And I, and to me, I think part of it is honestly that a lot of salespeople and also a lot of executives don’t understand the massive opportunity that there is on LinkedIn and, or they are using it completely wrong. Like there’s so much horrible LinkedIn sales spam.
It’s unbelievable to me. And so, I don’t know, I don’t know what you find in terms of like how, how the world of, of sales operators plays out, you know, are they more on the I’m using it, I’m just using it wrong or are they more on the side of I’m not using it?
Colleen (07:59): I think the level of proficiency across the sales team is greater today than it ever has been. So always people who are like, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m not really using it to that power user. And, you know, my goal is always to get that, that newer user thinking and up to speed and thinking more strategically and not going down rabbit holes in LinkedIn and that power user, like what’s the next way you can be more creative or you can do some things that you haven’t noticed have been released on LinkedIn.
But I think going back to your point about salespeople, I was working with somebody yesterday. We were doing a coaching session. It was a marketing person, and we were reviewing the content, the messaging that her sales team was using on LinkedIn. And it was, we gathered all of this messaging and what was so interesting and a little deflating was this is a company that creates absolutely stellar content, absolutely spot on, in lots of different ways, video white papers, case studies, blog posts, great imagery, very well done, not one of the messages contained a link to any of those pieces of content.
Colleen (09:21): The messaging sort of went, and if you’d be interested, I’m happy to send you some of our blog posts. Why not just send the blog post? Why just not send the link and drive them back to the website? And, and I think partly sales teams and the sort of, you know, very much a generalization, but they don’t want to make a mistake. They’re not really sure how to do it.
They’re not confident about putting, you know, an outside before someone’s name or their company to get that per, that called out or how to use hashtags. They spend a lot of time explaining what hashtags are. I get that, you know, and and so I think a lot of times the salespeople don’t feel grounded. So rather than make a mistake, they choose not to use that content.
And they really they’re thinking, Oh, I’m just supposed to like, comment or share that piece of that post, but they’re then not thinking about, well, how can I spark a new conversation with somebody I just recently connected with, or I should reconnect with by using that content or personally, you know, my new favorite thing, you know, as part of the liking commenting sharing is the sending let’s send something directly to a person because if we actually want them to see the content, that’s probably the better way to do it.
Colleen (10:43): And imagine if each sales person was doing that 10 times in a particular week to a particular person, just the number of touches. So lots of times I feel like they just don’t, they don’t have the confidence, and they’re not thinking about that, how that content really what its purpose is. And there’s certainly salespeople that we work with who do use it really, really well and use it very strategically. However, to your point, there’s lots of noise on LinkedIn right now, and lots of people who definitely do not you know, have a strategy for how they’re using LinkedIn.
Kathleen (11:23): And what you said about confidence is so true because as soon as you said it, in my head, I saw one particular salesperson who I worked with in the past. And it was a woman and wonderful sales woman, wonderful person. And I did some LinkedIn training kind of for the sales team. And yet every time she had to post on LinkedIn, she would message me and say, can you get on zoom with me, I want to share my screen. I want you to watch what I’m doing.
And I want you to tell me if I’m doing it right. Like she just never had that confidence. And she was so worried that she would do something wrong. And it was, I was like simultaneously very appreciative that she was putting that much care into it, but also simultaneously like, Oh my God, I’m going to spend another 20 minutes on the phone with you for one LinkedIn post. You know what I mean?
But so, and I’ve done, I’ve been asked to, and I have delivered LinkedIn training to my sales teams in the past. I wouldn’t say what I do is particularly phenomenal. So I would love to hear, like, how do you approach that when you’re first brought in, how do you, how do you approach working with sales teams and, and getting them up to speed?
Colleen (12:38): So we always start with, I absolutely want to know what the sales process is, what the what’s the strategy, lots of times there is no strategy. So ideally there’s a strategy. How are we weaving LinkedIn into that sales strategy and process? If there’s not, can we start with LinkedIn from there?
And, and usually if we’re working with a company what we’re really focused on now is let’s create a strategy overall, so that people who are handling recruiting, people who are in sales, people in marketing, everybody’s got the same set of best practices and the same strategy.
And, and that’s important because very often I’ll talk to a company and, you know, somebody who’s, their in-house recruiter took a LinkedIn, a LinkedIn learning class, and somebody else was on an American marketing association webinar, for example, all good. Right? And somebody else read an article or watched a video on YouTube.
Colleen (13:34): So they’ve got all different perspectives. Let’s just have one perspective in terms of best practices and how we’re going to use LinkedIn. And then we start looking at profiles. So what I find also with salespeople very often when we’re looking at their profiles, once again, I do believe it’s a little bit of a confidence issue is there’s very little on their profile or a TA it’s very resume oriented, so it sets them up.
But if I look at that and I see what an amazing salesperson they are, and I’m glad to know they’re an amazing sales person. However, if I see that they’ve surpassed quota for 15 months and they made president’s club, I’m probably going to feel if I’m a prospect I’m going to get sold. So I want to start to turn those profiles into marketing tools. How are we solving a problem?
Colleen (14:27): Who do we serve? What our market is, what it is. It is it that we actually do take out all those buzz words, dynamic results, oriented, strategic, creative, all of those words, right? It should be their story of who they are, why they do the work that they do. I love when that why is woven in there.
And then it goes back to the Simon Sinek video, TED talk, and then have some common about the company. So lots of times people are not recognizing LinkedIn is a search engine, just like Google, Bing, you know, Amazon, Netflix. And we have to, we have to build these profiles in a way that LinkedIn can see some of these really dialed in keywords.
So LinkedIn looks at the relevancy of the content on a person’s profile. So building them out, even positioning them from third person to first person makes a huge difference.
Kathleen (15:19): You know, I love your point about the sales person kind of resume profile on LinkedIn, because it’s so true. And I never thought about it until you just said it about the impact that, that has on the prospect. And it is, it’s interesting because most people do approach LinkedIn as like, this is my online resume someday. I’ll be looking for another job. So here’s what my LinkedIn should say. Instead of, as you know, this is my opportunity to market the company that I work for.
I mean, I think as marketers, we do that very naturally, but as salespeople, it’s a totally different story. So that’s really, that’s really fascinating. So you start with their profile and do you find when you’re working with a team do you find that the, the head of marketing should be involved in like crafting kind of boiler plate language for how they describe the company and then sending that out? How do you handle that?
Because also there’s that delicate balance of, I’m going to suggest you put this on your LinkedIn profile, cause you really can’t tell somebody what to do there. Right. But how do you, how do you handle that?
Colleen (16:28): Yeah, it’s we really have found that people are very open to this. So it used to be, we would craft the profile for the CEO and really in the last three, four years, it’s the leadership team and the sales team. From there, we create a template for different functional areas of the business.
I always want to work with the marketing person and that marketing team to make sure we have the most current about us and language about the company. So, you know, I can presume that what’s on the website or what’s on the LinkedIn company page is accurate, but I can tell you very often, people will say, Oh, where’d you get that?
Kathleen (17:07): Guilty. I’ve done that in the past for sure.
Colleen (17:09): Have we all have, so we definitely want to be working through this. I’d love to get the leadership team, their profiles set first because when you interview them to get the information and you talk about what their vision is for the company and for the leadership team, by the way, we really want to incorporate culture into their LinkedIn profile for the recruiting piece, because anybody that they’re reaching out to or anybody that might be applying for a job is probably going to find their profile.
So let’s talk about the culture and let’s introduce the value of people in the organization and in core values and all of that. So even with the marketing of a profile for a sales person, rather than that resume, it should always highlight them. I’ll say to people, you know what? I could pick up your about section. If I can pick up your about section and put it on a hundred other people, that’s not enabling you to stand out.
Colleen (18:06): So we want you to stand out and then we want the company. And most people, I can probably count on one hand how many people said I’m not doing that. And those were probably people looking for a new position anyway. And, but they appreciate that. Suddenly it’s a little bit like having a, make-over getting it, you know, a brand new hair guide, like you feel good and you feel more confident about the next step.
And I hear this all the time. I just had an email from a CEO a couple of weeks ago. He said, Oh my goodness, I looked so different. I get, I get what you were saying, because sometimes they’ll say, okay, if you won’t do anything else until you do the profile, okay, that’s, you know, I’m like, we can’t, I can’t help you build a really great network. If people can’t see who you are, you’re not demonstrating, you know, your expertise.
So everybody should be building their personal brand and that salesperson, especially. So we want them to seem, we know they’re a salesperson. I love salespeople. I love the sales profession, but I don’t want you to sell through LinkedIn in the, in the pitching sense of the word.
Kathleen (19:12): So I want to pick that apart and talk about that because this is the biggest pet peeve I have about LinkedIn right now is, Oh my God, I get connection requests. I say yes to them. And then the first thing that happens is I get a direct message trying to pitch me. And it’s like, are you kidding? And I have one guy right now who must be on his 10th direct message to me. Like, you haven’t answered me.
How come you haven’t answered me? And I’m like, well, because I’m not intending to, you know what I mean? Like it’s so off putting and, and drives me bananas. But I think this, I do think a lot of salespeople, you know, look at LinkedIn and they, you know, they think, well, of course, I’m going to sell. And some, some think some are smart and do it a little bit more subtly than others, but I want to hear your take on this. So when you say you shouldn’t be selling on there, like how do you advise salespeople to use it?
Colleen (20:06): So I want people to connect and build really strong strategic networks. And that’s really the second piece building that network. I mean, I’m sorry, building that profile out, then looking at your first level connections, understanding who you’re already connected to, and then nurturing that network and expanding your network.
So we do a lot of that kind of work for our clients. So we work with a very specific process in terms of touches and cadence using LinkedIn. We’re straight forward, no bait and switch. No automation, which I hope we’ll talk about for a minute or so a little bit in a little bit. And, but we are trying to build credibility for our clients, whether we’re coaching them or we’re managing it on their behalf. So I think the goal is identifying the right people, having those people look at your profile and saying, well, I should definitely be connecting with this person.
Colleen (21:03): This person may actually be able to help me, or this person looks like they have a lot of expertise in X. I may not need that today, but I want them in my network. And then through the using of content and follow up and engaging on LinkedIn, they stay pretty visible at some point. And I’m fine with, you know, touch three or four asking for a next step, trying to spark that conversation.
Absolutely. But I do not believe in, in the pitching. I mean, we are all looking for people in a ready state, however, no one, no one on their LinkedIn profile has that they’re in a ready state to buy X. Yeah, exactly. So then me. Yeah, exactly. You know, I need to buy X, X and X in the next three months. So if you are one of those people that sell that, please let me know nobody’s doing once again.
Colleen (21:56): One of the, the exercises we go through with all of our clients and it usually really draws kind of an aha from pretty much everybody in the group that we’re working with is let’s download your first level connections. Let’s download them and let’s break it apart. Let’s sort it by position, sort it by company. You know, if you’ve got a thousand people or 500 people, I don’t want people going line by line. I want you to find if you’re calling on CFOs. You know, I worked with somebody a couple of days ago, that was his target audience. He had over 1700 connections. He only had 14 CFOs in this network. So that’s an action item. Let’s start there. Let’s jumpstart your network with the right people. So because LinkedIn will say, Oh, you’re connecting with CFOs. Here’s some more of them. So we need to unlock the network.
Colleen (22:51): And I want to start to understand what’s your relationship? Do you know them well enough to bring, engage? Should you know them better? Who are your centers of influence? Who are the people in your network that will introduce you? We have to have people in our network that will introduce us.
And by the way, we should want to, within our own network become a center of influence. I think that’s very, very important. How do you, how do you kind of catalyze that, that network in a really strong way? I mean, 95% of all of our business over the last 10 years has come through the network, our networks.
Kathleen (23:31): Now I get this question all the time and I, and I have an answer for it, but I’m really curious what your answer is. What is your advice to people about accepting LinkedIn connection requests? Should they accept all of them? Should they be really picky if they should be picky? What the criteria is? What do you tell people?
Colleen (23:51): Yeah, I’m a little bit of, I would say probably a LinkedIn purist. I like to know a lot of the people or have interacted with the people on connecting with. I do not connect with everyone for what I do, Kathleen. I probably have the smallest network in the country trainers and that’s okay. My network is built a certain way. I tell CEOs, you don’t have to have the largest network. You need to be connected with people who are your peers and who will, you know, you can engage with, so create the, the network that you want for the outcomes that you’re trying to achieve. Recruiters, 99% of recruiters, they’re going to have 10, 15, 20, 30,000 people in their network. That’s the strategy, right? They’re just using it as a database of when they’re doing their searches. They need more people to show up in those searches.
Kathleen (24:45): Yeah.
Colleen (24:46): Salespeople. I think that they need to be really thinking about who they’re connecting with in terms of, are you connected to your customers? I would say 70% of the people when we look at their network downloading it, they’re not connected to their customers, missed opportunity prospects those referral sources, I probably have about 50 connection requests right now in my, in that area, in my network. On LinkedIn people reaching out saying, hi, I can help you with LinkedIn lead generation.
Kathleen (25:19): They clearly haven’t looked at your profile.
Colleen (25:22): They’re automated. So I’m really, I’m telling people, be careful with these automated messages, because that is absolutely going to trigger what you just talked about, which is, can I talk to you when can I talk to you? Here’s the demo, you know, et cetera. What you said about people connecting and then asking for call every CEO business owner, president, everybody I talk to says the same thing. So, you know, I don’t believe in, you know, if I see somebody’s profile and they have 20,000 connections, that’s great, but I pretty much know that they’re not using their network in a really strategic way. You know, they just want a large network and that’s fine, depending on what they’re doing. If they’re trying to just create an audience on LinkedIn and get content out there, I totally understand. But I think for salespeople, it really is time to be much more strategic with how they build their network and how they engage with that network.
Kathleen (26:21): So let’s talk about that then being strategic, putting together your strategy as a sales person. I mean, as a marketer, I, you know, I’ll say I have a very different approach. Mine is to have a bigger audience. And so, you know, and this is one little hack I use that maybe people will find it useful. Maybe people will find it bad? I don’t know.
But like my last company, for example, I was head of marketing for cybersecurity company and we were selling into the internet of things world. And I didn’t have people in the internet of things world in my network because I had a bunch of marketers, but I needed to get the word out about some events we were having. And so I would send connection requests to people like IOT engineers, and I, I’m a big believer.
Kathleen (27:10): You have to customize every connection request. You don’t just hit it, hit connect and let it go. And so what I would do is invite them to a free event. I’d be like, Hey, I have this, this free, you know, virtual seminar coming up that I thought might be of interest to you because you work in IOT. It’s a little spammy because obviously I’m sending them something. But my thought, and you can tell me, honestly, if you think this is bad. So my thought was like, it’s a free event.
I’m not asking them to buy anything. I’m not asking them to take a meeting and I’m not asking them for a response other than to hit yes on my connection request. But it’s interesting because that enabled me to build quite a large network in IOT, which I now have, but now I’m not selling to IOT, which is sort of funny. So that’s the approach I’ve used. I’m just curious, like, I don’t know. How do you advise people on that sort of thing?
Colleen (28:01): Well, I think it makes absolute sense. So when I talk about nurturing and network, I’m talking about really nurturing that first level, but we need to expand our network always. And so I, you know, I kind of differentiate between marketing and sales in that marketing’s casting a wide net, whether from your individual LinkedIn profile or from the company page. So it is about reaching that large audience for the salesperson.
It’s about more one-to-one though in my opinion, and creating that, that relationship, that conversation. So I’m all about that. I mean, for many of our clients, we have them, we have probably in the last year and a half had about 200 clients in sales navigator and for those sales teams and and marketers who are working with sales teams, that’s really the product to be leveraging if you want to use LinkedIn for very intentional and organized B2B business development and sales. So that’s, that’s more of the numbers game for sure.
Kathleen (29:08): So let’s, I want to talk about that for a second, because you said not just for salespeople, but for marketers who are working with salespeople I’ll admit I’ve, I’ve had sales navigator in the past, but I it’s been awhile. I’m not as deeply familiar with that tool. So as a marketer who wants to be very deeply involved in sales enablement, what should I know about sales navigator?
Colleen (29:31): Just the ability, the power that it has to organize and help create more granular and better searches. There’s more filters in there. There’s more ability to, so for example if I’m looking at a particular company and I’m sorting and searching by by company, which is account or lead, which is a person, but I could start to build out buying communities within sales navigator and really organize that.
So I might say on the average B2B the number, and it might’ve changed, but somewhere around 5.4 people involved in every B2B buying decision. So now within sales navigator, I can have that account and I can start to save multiple people to that account. So I think that that’s helpful as marketers and sales is kind of looking at how should we approach this and what messaging I’m like send to somebody who’s the economic buyer versus, you know, an influencer. And so I can get really much more granular within sales navigator.
So that’s one piece. It also if you have the team version of sales navigator and certain CRM such as HubSpot, Zoho, Salesforce, obviously Microsoft Dynamics integrates into those CRM systems. So where this is, you know, the marketing side might be more involved on this with the CRM. Suddenly now we’re taking that record in the CRM and we’re bringing the person in and the company. So we see a whole lot more information right from the CRM.
Kathleen (31:12): Mm that’s good to know. So especially if you’re, it sounds like if you’re doing account-based marketing, particularly this would be really important. And then, and then, so, so one thing is your profile, as you mentioned, getting that straight, and then it’s all about having the strategy to expand your wallet, to, to expand your top level connections. But then as you mentioned, nurturing the connections that you have, and it sounds like that’s where sharing content comes in.
Colleen (31:42): Yes.
Kathleen (31:43): I guess where I would love to begin on this, selfishly is that from the standpoint of the marketing leader, you know, I said before, like I work with teams that create a ton of content and I don’t know that I’ve ever had a really great system for working with sales on sharing it. I I’ve done everything from copying the link to the company, LinkedIn post and posting it in Slack and saying, Hey, could you all please like comment and share on this? And I may or may not get a response, you know, like, I don’t think I’ve had a good solution. So what is the best way to tackle that
Colleen (32:21): That’s a $64,000 question for sure, because that is one of the most difficult things, regardless of the size of the marketing department. And, you know, LinkedIn does have a solution to that called elevate. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with Elevate, but it is so Elevate is for enterprise level clients in transition. It was supposed to be shuttered at the end of 2020.
It’s still in inaction, if you will, through, I think the first quarter of 2021, but it is an enterprise level product, it’s an amplification tool, but we have some clients that use it. So it’s a LinkedIn product. It has its own app. Their content goes in and basically all the sales team needs to do is go share that content or schedule it. So it’s an amplification tool like buffer or Hootsuite or Sprout Social, any of those.
Colleen (33:14): And you know, I’ve kind of leaned lately on, can we work to build trust with the sales team that we actually use a third party amplification tool and either work with the sales team to build it in and schedule it.
So they don’t have to think about it in the moment, or can we as the marketing team work together to, and we’re going to schedule it for you because truly there has, it feels like there has not been a lot of progress in getting people to just share it on their own because we’re sending them the link.
Kathleen (33:52): I totally agree. But I’ve tried that too, and it’s really hard for me to get people who are willing to say, yeah, go ahead, publish to my account. How do you do it?
Colleen (34:04): Yeah, I think it’s I think it’s a lot of collaboration that there has to be a high level of trust that I’m not just gonna put everything out. You know, you’re maybe going to approve it. I mean, we work with clients on this, so we might send them something and say, you know what? These are some of your posts for this week. Just take a look at them. Are you comfortable with this? If so, we’re going to schedule them for you.
Kathleen (34:27): And are you using a particular tool for that?
Colleen (34:30): We do use buffer and we’ve used Sprout Social in the past, but for some especially independent salespeople, we will, we’ll use buffer and sometimes we’re just scheduling it right through LinkedIn. You know. I think that sometimes, and I’ve heard this from salespeople and I absolutely get this.
Colleen (34:53): I hear from them and their feedback is I don’t want to just share my, all the content that’s coming out of marketing. I’m like, okay, that’s, that’s no problem.
Kathleen (35:04): Yeah.
Colleen (35:05): Like I get that just to have that conversation with marketing and by the way, build out some of your own content. Right? Look, look it, look at industry content. So maybe you only share one or two pieces a week, or you comment on one or two pieces that comes from marketing, but how are you building your own expertise? How about giving a shout out to somebody else? And sometimes they’re like, Oh, I never even thought that I could do that. Why not? So, you know, there’s this, how can we have the best approach that’s personalized because some people are not comfortable just sharing one type of content. I’m like, does it add value to your network?
Colleen (35:49): Yeah. This would, this comes from our industry by all means. Yeah. So it, you know, I think sometimes it goes back to finding the group of people that are going to be the most comfortable doing it within the sales team and letting them do a little bit of experimenting on their own, but say, how can I best support you on this? Because I’ve noticed that if I just send you something, it doesn’t actually get shared.
So is there a better approach? And a lot of that comes out of one-to-one coaching. We did a lot of, I do a lot of group webinars on LinkedIn training and typically the second or third part, you know the follow-up, if you will, the marketing will say, should we do another webinar? I’m like, actually, no, you know what, let, can I schedule one, two, a 30 minute one-to-one with each sales person.
Colleen (36:45): It’s remarkable, Kathleen, what you’ll learn. And you know, over the years I can think of clients. I can think of one just recently where pre COVID we, we did an in-person three hour training marketing was there. We had a great training session, but three weeks later, the VP of sales and the marketing director of marketing said, should we do another one?
And I’m like, Nope, let’s just do a one-to-one let me have a one-to-one conversation. There were five people, five business development professionals in that session. And I talked with each one of them, two of them totally got everything, you know, like they were like, right on, they were doing it. One of them wanted to know how they could then automate. They wanted to, you know, like, how do I automate this? This is awesome, but I need to automate it.
Colleen (37:39): We talked through that one person was just like, really spot on super steady. Another person, she just simply admitted like, every time I log into LinkedIn, I go down a rabbit hole, I just get lost. And, and plus, I get so distracted. And then I am like, what am I here for? And she said, I just, I feel like I never accomplished anything. And it has really good network.
And then another person who has the most unbelievable network and has closed more new business in LinkedIn than anybody else on the team, subsequent to this conversation, it was as though had never been in the webinar, because she got the, all the strategy and just has an unbelievable network. Was in that group that just didn’t really feel confident, pressing the buttons, but a relationship builder, like you cannot a network, just, she’s probably one of the best networks I know.
And, and people respond to her and she has really developed it as a referral engine. So it’s so very often, just those one-to-one conversations. If I was in a marketing department, I would really kind of reach out. Now I recognize the people on this call might have marketing in marketing, might have a hundred, 200 a thousand salespeople. So you really can’t manage that. But if you have a smaller sales team, could you just have a one-on-one and kind of tailor a strategy?
Kathleen (39:10): Yeah. Now, what do you, how do you advise salespeople in terms of crafting a good post? Especially if they’re sharing company content, because I did do a training on this recently, and I have just personal opinions on this, but like, you know, I’m always telling people don’t just paste the link.
Don’t just parrot what the company said in the post. Like, you have to add, you have to add some opinion, you have to add value to what you post and, and often, like longer is sometimes longer is better on LinkedIn. My posts tend to be pretty long. I often find myself having to cut them shorter to fit within LinkedIn character requirements.
But I think a lot of the salespeople that I’ve worked with in the past, err on the side of very, very brief, almost to the point of like, you know, not typing anything with their posts. And so what do you tell people is the right way to tackle it?
Colleen (40:06): I totally agree with you. This is where they have an opportunity to stand out. I’m like, you’re trying to get somebody who’s looking at their LinkedIn feed to pay attention to you, to see your name, to stop, to read whatever you’re sharing.
This is why I’m not a big fan of just liking, but I am a big fan of commenting and sharing and even sending and put something in there. You know, obviously the number one thing to do is you have other heads who have read that article, watch that video. You know, you need to know something about what’s being said and discussed so that you can put your expertise.
This is where the salespeople who are really using LinkedIn well are standing out because they are adding value. There very often will be a statistic, a quote that you can pull out a point of view just to elaborate on that. And once again, it goes back to just being confident. If you make it, if you have a typo, you can go back in and edit it. Everybody makes a mistake. It’s not a reason not to do it, but definitely pull it out. And as you said, LinkedIn likes longer.
Kathleen (41:15): Yeah. Although I think you can you have to use your powers for good and not evil because there is a trend on LinkedIn. Maybe you’ve heard of it called broetry, and it’s these like super annoying long form posts and it’s called broetry because it’s a lot of mostly white guys and many of them are in sales positions that do it. And they don’t even write full sentences. It looks, it’s like little short snippets of, and oftentimes I find the topics they write about are like, I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it.
When I’m done reading it I say, duh. But they take, you know, paragraphs or not paragraphs because they’re writing in short snippets. But like they, they fill up a long post with a lot of words that when you add it up, say nothing. And so that’s my only pet peeve is like, yes, write longer, but like, really write about something where you can add value and not just to check the box and post.
Colleen (42:12): Add value please be positive, stay away from particular, ytou know, like let’s not alienate people on LinkedIn. We’re trying to do business on LinkedIn and stay away from buzz words. And you know, I read, we read so many posts, our team last year, sourced, you know, in that probably the last 15 months, over 130,000 LinkedIn profiles, C-level leadership profiles.
And there’s a, probably a pretty good percentage. Really? What does this person do? Who are they? What are they talking about? Right. You know, just let’s be professionally conversational. We don’t need to sound all corporate. We, we do need to put the context in because while we might know what we’re saying, if the other person doesn’t know what we’re saying, there’s no value.
Kathleen (43:02): Yeah. Now you earlier mentioned automation. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Is there good automation? Is there bad automation? What should we know?
Colleen (43:16): I haven’t found a great automation solution. I, you know, I wish there was really great automation. However our experience over especially the last four years is that the automation ends up diluting a person’s network more than it ends up adding enhancing that network. Will people get business from that? Sure. It’s a numbers game. The automation, all the automation I’ve seen and you know, much like you, Kathleen probably you get a number of people saying here, test this automation, right? Test this LinkedIn lead gen tool.
We have the best LinkedIn lead gen tool in the world. And I mean, I’ve actually stopped testing them. I can’t possibly, it could be a full-time job being a LinkedIn lead gen automation tester. And, but what we, what we see is that it presumes two things. It presumes LinkedIn’s search algorithm is always accurate. It also presumes that what that person has on their LinkedIn profile is accurate.
Colleen (44:24): And I think they’re flawed assumptions. And so there’s so much nuance, especially if you’re using CRM. Like we have, we have a client who uses the CRM. So when we’re working with them on LinkedIn lead gen and looking and doing those searches and we’re sourcing, we don’t take just the first 50 or 60 people that come up in that search, we’re actually hand selecting them. So we’re looking at that person.
Does, do they really fit the criteria? Do we think that they’re going to pay attention on LinkedIn? Are there some indicators that tell us they’re actually using LinkedIn and then we go into a CRM. So if you don’t have a CRM, you know, it probably can, it can work better. Certainly. However, there’s so many ways for it to go wrong. And I had one, you know, I mean really, I probably have 50 of them from just this week.
Colleen (45:21): I can help you with LinkedIn lead gen. Somebody actually sent me a connection request saying, Hey, you came up as somebody that might be interested in entry-level extra part-time work for data entry. When can we talk about it? I was like, Hmm, I don’t know that there’s anything on my profile that fits that. I’m not quite sure how that popped up. And you know, I have an example in a deck that I use for training where the keyword was president.
So they’re looking for presidents of companies. It went to a president, unfortunately it was the president of a student fraternity, right? So it got the right keyword. It got the right title, wrong, wrong context there. So most people, I really I think that most people are pretty aware. Especially if you keep getting these subsequent messages, if you accept that connection request that it’s automated. And I get the, I get the goal of wanting to automate.
Absolutely. And you know, can make a difference, but you have to think about how does it reflect on the brand? How does it reflect on the person and then make judgements from there for some people they’re going to be like, it’s worth it, the upsides greater than the downside for our clients who want a more personalized high touch approach to LinkedIn, it doesn’t fit.
Kathleen (46:48): Also, you can run the risk of getting your account put on hold because a lot of automation tools violate LinkedIn’s terms of service, and they’re pretty aggressive about sniffing those out.
Colleen (46:59): Almost all of them do. So what we’ve noticed just in this last week is two tools that clients asked us to evaluate for them. And both of them, the limits that they’re enabling through LinkedIn are much reduced, are very, you know, they’re far less than they were last year because they got found out and they’re trying to stay under the radar.
And I, and I get that, you know, I mean, but I said, okay, this isn’t really going to get you very far, very fast. So I, you know, if there was some really great automation and it’s not that the tools are not good, it’s just, you have to think about what the unintended consequences are.
Kathleen (47:49): Totally agree. All right. We are going to run out of time. And so I have a couple of questions for you. The first one is to sum up kind of what we’ve been talking about. What are your top three pieces of advice for marketing leaders regarding how they can best help sales teams do better on LinkedIn?
Colleen (48:09): The very first point I would make a point, I would mention, is for all marketers, sometimes I think they’re really focused on the sales team and how they look on LinkedIn and not to forget how they as marketers look on LinkedIn too, and really build out their profile because that’s an opportunity. And number two potentially have a conversation and a little bit more on the training really is to coach them through how to best feel comfortable sharing the content.
And I wouldn’t even say to a marketing team, can you please talk to your leadership because your leadership needs to buy into and your leadership needs to advocate and explain that this is a really important initiative for the company, but because if the leadership doesn’t buy in and it’s only on marketing, marketing’s going to have a more difficult job. So marketing makes sure that your leadership team is bought in. It’s the, one of the first things I talk about to leaders, CEOs when I’m talking about putting an engagement together.
Kathleen (49:11): Great piece of advice. All right. Now I have two questions I ask all of my guests. First one is, of course we are all about inbound marketing on this podcast. So is there a particular company or individual that you would point to that you think is a great example of inbound marketing done right?
Colleen (49:30): I love Intercom and love what Intercom is doing. I certainly, you know, always HubSpot, right. I, and, and we use Pipedrive. So I’m always sort of watching what some of these companies are doing, but I love Intercom’s tool. I love their marketing. I love their kind of look and feel. And I think they have done a really, really great job. HubSpot. I love all their content.
I mean, they, you know, they continue. I mean, they’ve just done such a great, consistent job year over year of standing out and you know, every post I, and I pay attention to quite a few of them teaches me something. So I just love the educational aspect. And so those would be, you know, really two that got a lot of them in my inbox. I tend to look at it a little bit more frequently.
Kathleen (50:25): Second question. Many of the marketers I speak to say that they, one of their biggest pain points is just trying to keep up with the changing world of digital marketing. How do you personally keep up with it all?
Colleen (50:38): Yeah, that is a work in progress. I love the Marketing Brew from Morning Brew. I love that I can pay attention to that. I do pay attention to Social Media Today. I also pay attention pretty, pretty frequently to Business to Community. I kind of like a little bit of a different lens. I love you know, I’ve learned a lot. I read the Wall Street Journal every day and there’s usually a marketing article or two, you know, kind of woven in throughout the week. Just learn more on the business side, but like how, how companies are looking at things. And so those would probably be my, my main sources of information.
Kathleen (51:23): Great. All right. Well, we’ve come to the end of our time. And so my last question for you is of course, if somebody is listening and wants to connect with you online or learn more about Intero Advisory, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Colleen (51:39): Absolutely. So our website is Interoadvisory.com and on LinkedIn, Colleen McKenna Intero Advisory. So those would probably be the two easiest ways. We have lots of content on our profile, on our website and our profile. So lots to learn. We write a lot about LinkedIn and so there’s lots of tips.
Kathleen (52:02): And of course, as always, I will put those links in the show notes. So you can have an easy way of finding them. And if you’re listening and you enjoyed this episode, please consider heading to Apple podcasts and leaving the podcast a review. And of course, if you know somebody else who is doing amazing inbound marketing work, tweet me at @workmommywork because I would love to make them my next guest. That is it for this week. Thank you so much, Colleen.
Colleen (52:28): Thank you so great to spend time with you, Kathleen.
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