Jay Baer from ConvinceandConvert.com says that many sales and marketing executives are falling into the trap of thinking about LinkedIn (and social media in general) through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. He’s alarmed at the number of B2B organizations and agencies that are jumping into social media platforms like LinkedIn to take “advantage” of audience acquisition and engagement without having an actual strategy. This is why they’re not generating many leads using LinkedIn – and the ones they’re getting are cold.

Strategy is the biggest difference between a B2B sales and marketing team that drives demand and enjoys consistent sales leads and revenue opportunities and one that just has a presence and lots of connections. And, I’m sorry to say – but I’ve also found that most sales and marketing leaders on LinkedIn do not have a strategy. They have a shopping list of tactics that need to be completed. But, there’s no cohesive strategy and that’s why most sales and marketing leaders that we talk to say that have lots of connections but very few sales opportunities. The sales leads they’re getting is cold as heck!

Proof That You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Strategy

When you have a strategy in place – you’re thinking two to three steps past the action you’re taking and your desired outcome. You’re aligning every action you take on LinkedIn with revenue goals. But unfortunately this is not the approach that most sales and marketing leaders are taking on LinkedIn and in social media in general. They’re just completing brand awareness tasks that have them just showing up.

You see, in most cases there’s no thought behind the connections that sales and marketing leaders are making. There’s no thought on what happens after that connection is made – how are they’re going to turn that prospect into a client? There’s no thought about the content they’re posting and how it’s going to position them (if they did, they would not post reminders on the LinkedIn content platform that do not differentiate them.) There’s no thought about the discussions they’re creating and how they’re going to get prospects to move from the discussions to their blog to learn more. And, there’s no thought about what happens next once they get prospects to their blog. There is no strategy for integrating LinkedIn into their everyday sales and marketing activities and programs.

So, let me show you the strategies you need to develop strong prospect and client relationships.

#1 – Your LinkedIn Presence Strategy

Look at your LinkedIn profile. Did you really take a strategic approach to creating your LinkedIn profile?

I bet you that you profile is not case study driven marketing tool and that it’s simply a cover letter and resume that talks about your sales achievements (which only shows that you care about making the sale instead of providing value and building a real relationship). I bet you that you’re not speaking to different targeted audiences with different needs and showing your value to them. It’s because you took a tactical approach rather than a strategic approach.

If you treat your profile as a cover letter and resume, you’re missing a prime lead generation opportunity. Brynne Tillman from Social Sales Link points out that prospects don’t care about what you’ve done—they want to know how you can help them. To convey your worth, find out what kind of value your prospects are looking for and optimize your LinkedIn profile to woo them.

#2 – Your Thought Leadership Strategy

Many sales and marketing professionals are using LinkedIn groups as a news feed for their blog posts that are mostly reminders. They’re just using the LinkedIn publishing platform as another place to put their blog posts. So they’re just pushing out content instead of having a strategy to use content to pull prospects in.

You need to plan out what type of content you can provide that will have decision makers thinking twice about the approaches they’re taking. You have to think about the discussions that you can create that makes you stand out as a thought leader. You have to think about whether the content inspires prospects to want to take further action and if the content is relevant– and who is it really relevant for.

#3 – An Intelligent Prospecting Strategy

Take a good look at your connections and see how many of them are “long shot hopefuls” that can possibly introduce you to so and so. If you’re like many sales and marketing leaders that we have helped, then most of your connections are irrelevant to your business because you were focused on quantity instead of quality. You’re taking a scattershot approach hoping that someone can help you instead of focusing your time and energy on the key decision makers and influencers that can positively affect your bottom line. Your intelligent prospecting strategy should be defining who your main and secondary prospects and influencers are and a strategy to get them to open their closed doors – and keep them open.

#4 – Community Building and Engagement Strategy

It’s not about how many connections you make or followers you have on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. It’s about how many people you reach and engage with. The best way to engage is to create a social media community. Inside my LinkedIn group, Get Help with Linked Strategies, I’m engaging with 500+ sales and marketing leaders through regular content and discussions. One of my technology company clients has a community of more than 900+ decision makers from companies like Walgreens, Dannon, Target, Walt Disney Store, Pfizer and many others.

Remember, B2B buyers are looking for quick access to trusted experts and relevant content that helps them with their business issues.Your custom, niche LinkedIn community is the perfect way to give your buyers what they are looking for. Because my client with the 900+ group members was giving their buyers what they want, they received more RFPs.

So you need a strategy for how you’re going to build your community and how you’re going to keep prospects active in your community so you can build a relationship with them.

#5 – Lead Generation & Lead Engagement Strategy

For most of the prospects you connect with on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, they don’t realize how and why they need you yet. You need to nurture these connections and provide them with relevant content (which gets them to raise their hand). You need a strategy for how you’re going to use case studies, white papers, 3rd party research that supports your claims. You need a strategy on how you’ll use webinars, webcasts and other thought leadership content that piques your prospects curiosity and gets them wanting to talk to you about their options.

You need a strategy for how you’re going to intrigue prospects enough that they are curious on how you achieved results. Then you need a strategy for how you’re going to move them into your pipeline and how are you going to get them to engage further with you.

Now, I just scratched the surface. Start with my ideas and then dig deeper. I can give you more ideas with a Free LinkedIn Strategy Session where I’ll review your LinkedIn profile and presence, assess the content you’re using and how you’re using the content and examine the actions you’re taking on LinkedIn. And, I’ll provide you with some ideas that will quickly improve your sales and marketing performance on LinkedIn.