I like to start articles like this with some stats. I was looking for view and engagement stats for company LinkedIn pages vs. personal LinkedIn pages, but unfortunately, no such stats were to be found.
This leads me to my anecdotal research, of which there is a ton.
In short, your personal LinkedIn page is more important than your company page, and if you’re a sales rep, it should be the center of your universe.
In the rest of this article, I’m going to lay out how you can use your personal LinkedIn profile to create your own brand, generate your own leads and position yourself within your organization and outside your organization so you become the LeBron James of sales.
What I mean by that is LeBron James can go to any team in any city and command any salary, and they would be happy to have him. You can do the same – here’s how.
Before we get started with the playbook to take over the world, let’s quickly review the differences between personal and corporate LinkedIn pages. This is important because most people don’t understand this and don’t use their personal page correctly.
With over 810 million users, LinkedIn is the business world’s ultimate platform for getting, keeping and leveraging attention to make money.
However, companies are fumbling this opportunity, and that’s an opportunity for salespeople to pick up the ball and score big. First, people do business with people, not companies. This means your personal page is uber important and should be your top priority when managing your own career.
You think you’re obligated to go to the market with your company. You think your company’s job is to get you leads and sales opportunities. But that’s old-school thinking.
On LinkedIn, you can be your own lead generation machine, and if you do that well, you can write your own ticket with any company in any industry and in no time be their top salesperson – guaranteed!
The secret is your personal LinkedIn page.
You think your company has a brand, and it does, but that brand is not in your control. Your personal brand is 100% under your control, and you have to take control of it and build it aggressively.
Use your personal LinkedIn pages to position yourself as an expert in your field. That field could be sales, but it could also be your industry or your area of expertise. Depending on your career aspiration, decide how you want to position yourself and create a profile that elevates you above the rest of your peers.
That means the visuals on your page (headers), but it also means your profile, your experiences, your recommendations and your posts. We’ll get to what you post in just a few minutes.
Before we do, you’ll want to practice some of the same tactics we recommend to our corporate clients. The first one is you have to be remarkable in your space. This means when people look at your profile, they should say, “Wow!”
Make sure every aspect of your profile is remarkable. The pictures, graphics, recommendations, skills and about section all must be so creative that people are impressed immediately.
With your amazing profile ready to go, you’re going to create your own audience. How do you do that? On LinkedIn, it’s relatively easy to get started. You have to reach out and get connections. While corporate pages get followers, you’re working on connections.
Think about connections like media companies think about readers, viewers or subscribers.
The more you have, the more valuable you are to any potential employer. Just consider it for a second. If you have 100,000 connections, are you more valuable as a salesperson who with a single click can reach all those people, or would you be more valuable if you had 1,000 connections? It’s obvious, right?
Start working on this immediately. In a few minutes, I’ll share some ways you can get a lot of connections faster, but in the meantime, individual outreach is going to be your best bet – anyone you meet, anyone you know, anyone you talk to and any new leads that come to you from your company. And remember to connect with multiple people at the same company.
LinkedIn experts suggest working on this every day. If you put aside 30 minutes to do this daily, you’ll have a nice group of connections in no time.
Pages that post weekly have 5.6x more followers than those that post monthly.
OK, so what do you post? I have an answer for that too – thought leadership! Yep, you have to position your brand and yourself personally as a thought leader, and you do that by posting thought leadership content.
Use videos, articles, opinions, interesting snippets – anything that gets people to start thinking about you as someone they want to follow because you’re giving them information that they can’t likely get elsewhere.
This also means you are going to have to take a stand, make a point, be contrarian or, as we said earlier, be remarkable. If you’re saying and posting and sharing the same stuff everyone else is, why would someone follow you? Why would they recommend someone else follow you? Why would they share your stuff?
You have to stand out, and the best way to do that is to take a position and ride or die with it. At Square 2, I started with an anti-advertising slant. Then I moved to inbound marketing before it was called inbound marketing. Today, I talk about revenue needing a system, a Revenue Generation System.
I blog about it, and it gets shared on LinkedIn. I have a podcast and videocast where snippets get shared on LinkedIn. We publish other content that also gets shared on LinkedIn. They are all designed to build my personal brand.
The more you publish content that is helpful, interesting, insightful and disruptive, the more followers you’ll get and the more engaged your audience of followers will be.
It’s going to be a journey for sure. It’s going to be a long journey. But it’s going to build your brand and create an audience, and you’ll be able to leverage this any time you want for any company you work for.
Now it’s time to monetize your audience. This is where it starts to get very interesting for salespeople.
Historically, sales has relied on companies to generate leads and give them sales opportunities that they then work to close.
First, I’m sure all salespeople have worked for at least one company that struggled to generate enough leads to feed all the salespeople. This usually leads to companies asking sales to generate their own leads by calling and emailing strangers.
Not only is this inefficient and very old school, but today, it’s practically illegal. You are not supposed to email anyone who hasn’t asked to receive your stuff or with whom you don’t have an existing business relationship.
But if you have 100,000 followers, they have all given permission for YOU to talk to them. They have NOT given permission for your company to talk to them. This gives you all the power when it comes to your own value at any sales organization.
Now you can go about generating your own leads. By offering your audience interesting content that aligns with their buyer journey and nurturing those people through their buyer journey, you can create a steady stream of leads and sales opportunities at any business in any industry.
Again, this makes you extremely valuable.
How valuable? Great question. To answer that, all you have to do is put some monetary value on your audience, and this has everything to do with your ability to move those followers through a sales cycle and the value of the product or service you’re selling.
Remember, these people already trust you. They’ve been trusting you for months or maybe years as you’ve built up your brand and educated your audience. When you say something, they believe you. When you ask them to act, they act.
Let’s do some math.
Imagine you have 10,000 contacts at 8,000 companies (because you do have multiple contacts at the same company). If you could engage just 10% of that list in an active sales cycle, that would be 800 leads.
If just 10% of those wanted to talk to you about your company’s products and services, that would be 40 sales opportunities.
Because they already know, like and trust you, your close rate is going to be higher than regular leads generated by the company. So, let’s say you’re able to close 75% of them for 30 new customers.
If your company is selling $100,000 annual contracts for services or a $100,000 product, you’d be looking at $3 million in sales from your follower base on one social platform.
How much would it be worth to your company to get $3 million in new revenue? Remember, this is just the first year’s revenue. What is the lifetime value of those customers?
I’m guessing you could write your own ticket at the company of your choice, just like LeBron James can walk into any team’s office and write his own ticket.
The old thinking around salespeople, sales teams and sales organizations is quickly going out the window. Pretty soon, salespeople will figure out they have the power to control their situation, and they’ll start building their own network and acting like free agent athletes instead of for-hire sales reps.