Take Your Digital Sales & Marketing to the Next Level with LinkedIn



linkedin-(2).jpgFor many businesses and key members of Sales & Marketing staff, the use of digital media is both the present and future of B2B commerce. Whether we like it or not, recent events have put much more emphasis on supplier searches being conducted online. With a significant reduction in conventional supplier selection methods, such as site visits, combined with many buyers now working from home, supplier sourcing activities over the internet have increased substantially.

As a result, companies are tasked with ensuring their digital presence is the best it can be, by outshining the competition and grabbing a buyer’s eye. In addition to enhancing company websites, businesses can boost their digital presence by making a bold impression on the social media platform LinkedIn, where more and more procurement sourcing is happening. To help your company stand out on LinkedIn, there are a few main areas of focus, as outlined below.

Your Company Page
As with a website home page, when a prospective client visits your LinkedIn company page, it should be instantly recognizable who the company is and what the company does. This is established in the page header and “About” section:


This is, in effect, your “elevator speech.” Customers will scan this section for some key words to zero-in on and determine if they will continue their search for additional information to select or short list your company. Here, brevity is essential – be sure to include what you make or supply in the first sentence. What the customer is looking for and what you describe here should be the same thing!  It might be tempting to provide information about how long the company has been operating, or how many generations have owned the family business, but that won’t win you customers. Additionally, do not overlook any prerequisites of your market(s) such as quality certifications (ISO) or product standards. Post the appropriate references, too.

Your Personal Page
Attention also must be given to your personal LinkedIn page, as this is where you establish your reputation and will likely communicate with customers directly. First, use a professional photograph. This is NOT Facebook! That photo of you and your significant other hanging out on the pontoon boat last summer isn’t the right message for LinkedIn. Your profile information, resume experience, career details, etc. should be as close to your current industry as possible. Accentuate your role or experience to your advantage, regardless of your job title.

Make your “About” section personable. Use it as your sales pitch to announce how you help clients. Include your contact information, both work email and phone number, and add a link to your organization’s website. Then, edit your public profile visibility settings to ensure it’s seen by the widest audience.

To really make your profile stand out, give recommendations. We all have talented colleagues who often excel at what they do. This is a great place to give kudos and acknowledge coworkers’ skills. And in return, why not ask for one for yourself?

Join LinkedIn Groups
On LinkedIn, you can find gatherings of people with an interest in your chosen field, so be sure to join as many of these groups as you can – especially if the population is significant. If you cannot find one you’re looking for, consider creating your own and invite your connections to join and contribute. Groups are a great way to set apart your brand and company products in front of a specific audience you’re trying to reach.

Content Is King
For both the company and personal page, the content you bring to your viewers can make a significant difference. It may not seem likely, but even sharing basic information about products and services can make an impact.

Videos can be very effective, if done well. We all have a pretty good camera on our phones, and the temptation may be to run out and make a quick video in the name of providing content. Nothing is worse than a sloppy video, so here are some great tips on how to optimize your videos. A short, well-made video of a machining operation can be interesting and convey useful design considerations. Similarly, a simple, well-crafted infographic also can hit the spot.

Like, Share & Follow
The simple act of clicking on the “Like” button under a post can accomplish a lot, including:

  • The original poster will notice you – great if you’re in sales, for example
  • It spreads the word – your “like” gets on someone else’s feed
  • It builds your profile and messaging – your brand grows

Most social media platforms allow and encourage the sharing of content. It can be a challenge to regularly add articles and videos to your LinkedIn page, so why not “Share” what others have brought to their audiences? After all, the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” counts here, too! It shows you’re keeping up with the latest and greatest in your chosen market or industry, which also benefits others.

Finally, be sure to “Follow.” Follow organizations which are current and potential customers, and follow your competitors, too. Follow people in your industry – customers, suppliers, colleagues, particularly so-called “Thought Leaders” – who post helpful insights, tips and other useful information.

Time to Make Time!
Undoubtedly, most who read about social media selling fear it takes up precious time. In reality, practice shows that, aside from creating content, videos or written pieces, the rest may take just 15 minutes each day. Perhaps you already structure your day where you set aside time to answer emails, voicemails, return calls, etc. Adding 15 minutes to your routine may not be so difficult. To monitor your progress, check out the Sales Navigator “Social Selling Index” on LinkedIn to see how you’re doing. It’s free!

Failing to Plan…
Now, before the whole Sales & Marketing department launches itself into this new and exciting domain, it’s worth creating a plan to get you collectively through the coming months. Have someone pull together a detailed project timeline – using software like Smartsheet makes this easy. Try to keep the content, in whatever format, focused on the message. Choose a theme around the specific product you’re promoting and develop material and posts to support that. The timeline isn’t a rigorous one, and a late-breaking newsworthy event, like a customer success story, supplier collaboration etc., can be added as they are encountered – as long as they don’t detract from the message too much. Of course, don’t neglect other product lines, just ensure there’s a major purpose to your campaign.

For help with this and other Sales & Marketing support services, The Center offers a course in Sales Acceleration to help manufacturers take their sales strategies to the next level. Learn more about the class and register for an upcoming course here or contact our experts directly at inquiry@the-center.org.


Nichols_A.jpgAndy Nichols, Program Manager
To The Center’s clients, Andy Nichols, CQP MCQI, brings 40 years of expertise in a wide variety of roles and industries, with a particular focus on quality management systems in manufacturing organizations. Prior to joining the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, he was the East Coast Regional Sales Manager for NQA, a “Top 5” Global Certification Body, responsible for significant sales growth in a highly competitive marketplace. He has authored two books, “Exploding the Myths Surrounding ISO 9000 – A Practical Implementation Guide” (published by ITG in April 2013) and “A Guide to Effective Internal Management Systems Audits" (published May 2014).


Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Categories: growth, Sales & Marketing