Empowering Technology Sales Teams

to Win More Deals in Less Time

A recap of AnnexQ Live Web Event held on December 9, 2020: Social Selling

by Tharani Rajamanickam, Blogger at AnnexQ

To listen to the recorded video, click here!

Jeremy Mendoza, Founder & CEO at AnnexQ and Director of Sales at Andea, moderated an expert panel discussion, hosting the special guests Tony Lenhart, Partner and Sales Drummer at Sales Empowerment Group and Ryan Charleston, Founder & Chief Marketing Strategist at LinkLeads.

To mention, Tony has 20 years of vast experience in sales and has been involved in building and rebuilding various sales teams across industries. Ryan, being a sales enablement professional and digital marketer, has launched eight startups over the past 18 years.

Here’s the recap of the panel discussion that encompasses the significance of social selling in today’s technology-integrated sales landscape, and with LinkedIn as an example, how sales leaders can focus on the platform for personal branding and generating leads, what the tips, tricks, best practices, and tools are to improve conversion rates and shorten sales cycles.

Why is LinkedIn More Important than Ever?

Tony shared his views on why LinkedIn has become more important in the present times, perhaps during the last nine months. During the lockdown, people have begun using the platform more actively than ever and started showing consistent engagement. In fact, people have started receiving invitations for at least ten webinars in a day. That’s how LinkedIn has become more important today and turned out to be the top conduit in the B2B space.

He listed the top four tenets that he believes why LinkedIn has become significant for social selling today:

    • You.com: When you feed in your name in Google search, what is that you see in the first place? If it’s your LinkedIn profile, well and good. Personal branding that brings your LinkedIn profile or your own site to the top of the Google search results is important. Yes, as a sales leader, you need to own and control your personal branding.
    • Staying in rhythm: You can follow anybody and everybody who seems to leverage your sales revenue. Staying in rhythm with relevant prospects, companies, or even competitors can help you grow your business.
    • Triggers, Insights, and Microdose Learning: LinkedIn can help you seek insights into events or happenings in other verticals and businesses. The platform also serves as a treasure trove for challenger sales, i.e., educating or giving fresh ideas and perspectives to your prospects and getting control of the customer conversions.
    • Sniper Approach: Engaging with the right people with the right message constitutes the sniper approach. Here, the two guaranteed things that LinkedIn offers to you as sales leaders are the messages that you get and the prevalence of no gatekeepers.

Adding to Tony’s four-pillar reasoning to why LinkedIn is important, Ryan shared his crucial factors, including:

    • Professional social network: A place to professionally engage and entice
    • Connecting during the pandemic: When the trade shows, meet-ups, and conferences were suspended indefinitely amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, LinkedIn helps the salespeople like you network and connect with prospects online.

Tony also quoted a statistic that today, 82% of the buyers look at your LinkedIn personal profile before entering into a meeting or a call. (Source: Unknown). He also added a fun part to the discussion by saying that people started professional stalking nowadays.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook

Tony shared his perspectives that, recently, LinkedIn has become the Facebook for Business. In the last nine months, people have become a little more open, transparent, and authentic. They have begun posting family pictures on LinkedIn, which has resulted in more engagement.

Here, Jeremy rightly mentioned the controversies that pertain to the above-said changes in the way people engage on LinkedIn. A group of people constantly warn the change makers that “Keep Facebook on Facebook and LinkedIn on LinkedIn.” But, in his recent personal experience, Jeremy found that increasing engagements took place in one of his posts on volunteering in the community. He felt this personal kind of post fetched him more engagements than for other professional posts.

The Idea of Posting on LinkedIn

Tony quoted a surprisingly crazy statistic from LinkedIn that only three percent of the total LinkedIn population posts content. There is always a certain percentage of people who’ve never been active on the platform. This shows that if you’re posting content, then you’re already standing out of the crowd.

He also shares some of the unsought answers to a few questions that sales leaders might have in their minds, such as what to post, how to convey the messages, and what to share on LinkedIn. These answers will clear the dilemma or roadblocks for the following aspects:

  • Types of posts:

    • Insights: Articles and industry news (which is historical and seen on LinkedIn by default)
    • Text (The most organic form of posts) or emoji (Fun way of connecting with prospects)
    • Video posts (Video prospecting which saw its boom in the last one and half years)
    • Presentation: Slideshare or Powerpoint
  • Share stories and experiences: Share valuable and impactful stories or discussions that happened in the weekly client calls, one-to-one meetings, or debriefing sessions.
  • Tagging: Tag people and companies whenever necessary and relevant. This may increase post engagement via the discussions in the comments section. Addressing this, Jeremy agreed that tagging is becoming key to increasing the prospects’ engagement, and it seems he has already begun using the feature much effectively.
  • Find your voice: Funny, Serious, or Inquisitive

In a nutshell, when you post, you prove to your prospects that you’re connecting and alive in the network, sharing your opinions and thoughts, finger on the pulse, and someway or the other adding relevant and relatable value to them.

LinkedIn Stories

Ryan personally felt that LinkedIn stories were industry or niche-specific. Also, it seems sporadic at business levels wherein a few businesses can use it as a potential option to increase the engagement, while it may not help few other businesses.

Gaming with LinkedIn Algorithm

Highlighting the constant changes that the LinkedIn algorithm undergoes, Tony gave an amazing tip on how sales leaders can effectively share their original thoughts coupled with insightful information on posts. As LinkedIn fancies itself as a publishing platform, Tony suggests linking the third-party content or insightful articles in the comment section rather than adding it to the post directly. This way, you can still portray your post as one of the original content.

Effective Tools for Social Selling

Jeremy pointed out the importance of using tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. These tools actually help sales leaders simultaneously post content across more than one social media channel. This way, you can not just post on LinkedIn, but also post on Twitter or Instagram in parallel. Scheduling posts greatly saves your time by replacing manual posting and makes the job easier.

Being a digital marketer and the one who had used most of these tools, Ryan began sharing his thoughts on how helpful these tools were in his work experiences. Coming to the pricing, there are free versions of these tools and enterprise versions costing from fifteen to five hundred dollars.

Action Generates Inspiration

Taking actions on your LinkedIn profiles generates fresh ideas, says Tony. Keeping your profiles stagnant is one of the big mistakes that sales leaders can ever make.

Here are a few tips or tricks that Jeremy and Tony shed collectively:

    • Own your personal brand: Take your time to update your “About” section and give unique headlines
    • Overhaul and mix-up your profile
    • Download the app: Make use of the mobile app to do voice or video drops, which is a huge differentiator to connect with a prospect
    • Build-up and nurture your network: You never know who’s going to land your profile, so start helping out each other.

How to Set Up a Profile with a Branding Look?

Most people on LinkedIn have their profiles look like a mere resume, instead of a brand look. For LinkedIn profiles to look like your personal brand, Tony gives three of his (important) tactics that sales leaders can actually do to polish their profiles:

    • Headline: Linkedin gives you 125 characters at the top of your profile. Be as creative as possible rather than just having your job title and the company written. The purpose of the headline is to tell people who you’re, what you do, and whom you help. Adding to this, Ryan rightly pinpointed the audiences to add their superpowers/personal value proposition into the titles.
    • About section: Citing the inspirations from Simon Sinek Ted talks, Tony suggests adding why people do what they do in their about section. In addition, include about them (the readers or the ideal prospects) to whom the about section is being addressed. This helps them identify their problems and understand how you can solve their problem as a sales leader.
    • Adding the side hustles: Adding what you are special at (Example: Zumba instructor) builds a rapport with the prospect, resonates, and ultimately takes the relationship forward.

LinkedIn Polls

Jeremy shed his insights on how polls can engage people. It becomes interesting when you answer a poll question; it’s cool to see the results right away. It gives the percentage of people who opted for each of the options in the answers. Also, unless you answer, you cannot see the results which create a curiosity to participate in the polls.

Ryan shared his personal poll experience that he had, of late, in the context of politics being discussed on LinkedIn. This way, he was able to check the profiles of everybody that submitted a click. This proves that polls are powerful tools to explore or reach several prospects.

Key Problems with Linkedin Lead Generation

Ryan lists the six top and most important problems people face in general during LinkedIn marketing, sales, and lead generation.

    • Time: Spending time for outreach can be time-consuming. You can overcome this by using tools and sales navigators to effectively target and customize your messages to the right prospects. Sales navigator is an added feature specially created for salespeople.
    • Money: Keeping costs under control can be hectic. In specific, aligning the cost per lead and cost per acquisition in line with the client’s budget needs an understanding of the goals.
    • Quality: Fetching qualified leads depends on the right strategies, tactics, and marketing objectives. Of course, quantity and quality matter. But, it depends on each sales leader’s mindset. For some, a blend works, whereas for some, quality with less quantity is adequate.
    • Reliability: People face problems with feeding the sales pipeline with the right and reliable prospects. Personalizing the connection requests (using 300 characters) can be a promising way to solve this problem. This shows that you’re honest, straightforward, and directly tell prospects why you are willing to connect with them.
    • Reach: Some companies will have a budget to run direct outreach programs. But, amid the current pandemic, reaching out online has to be strategic. Knowing what problems your prospects face becomes the very first step in outreach. Based on these insights, you can rightly brand yourself and your products and services. Hence, the best practice is to focus on the problem first and not the product.
    • Volume: The problem with quantity (volume) is the quality of each lead or prospect. Attracting maximum qualifiable prospects is the ultimate goal. Too many prospects is a problem with making a huge number of discovery calls. On the other hand, too few prospects is a problem with generating targeted sales revenue.

Did you know? LinkedIn has a maximum of thirty thousand connections!

Cold calling vs. Prospecting through LinkedIn

Ryan shared his perspectives on how LinkedIn has almost replaced cold calling, and the platform happens to directly leverage the job of sales leaders to warm calling/prospecting. A direct message or comment on a prospect’s post can be considered a warm call on the LinkedIn platform.

Jeremy agreed to Ryan, quoting one of his recent experiences, wherein one of his comments ended up in a lead generation. However, Tony disagreed as he believes that cold calling still has its potential to generate leads, as people are interested in talking to (alive) human beings rather than in automated messages. Also, with his organization, the Self Empowerment Group, he claimed nearly 85% of their leads come from sales representatives’ cold calling approach.

Q/A: When to Connect with a Prospect?

  • Before or after any trigger events
  • When you’re ready to connect
  • When you need to initiate a call or meeting


Jeremy gave Tony and Ryan a chance to talk a little bit about what they potentially do, and in the end, unveiled the topic for the next live webinar event.

Click here to register for AnnexQ’s next live web event: Building rapport and relationships in a Digital World on January 13, 2021, at 12:00 PM PST!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

AnnexQ will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.