LinkedIn recently launched it’s second annual “State of Sales 2017” report. And as detailed in coverage from Martech Today, perhaps one of the more ironic discoveries was in how sales technology adoption “allows B2B buyers to turn the tables on B2B sellers.”
While more than 91 percent of sales professionals indicated that they use sales technologies to shorten lengthy sales cycles, close bigger deals and grow revenue, this technology raises the stakes when establishing trust and communication efforts.
Reporting findings indicated that as many as 64 percent of B2B decision makers said they wouldn’t engage with a salesperson if the communication was not personalized. 77 percent of buyers also indicated that they wouldn’t engage with a salesperson who did not do the necessary homework that provided insights or knowledge into their business.
Most importantly, while personalization is one key in how sales opportunities are realized, trust in the relationship between the B2B buyer and sales is the single most important aspect in closing a deal.
Findings from the report impact on B2B marketing as well. The alignment of sales and marketing is critical for overarching business success. As covered last month, Salesforce’s The “State of Marketing” report discovered that 91 percent of high-performing marketers agree that marketing and sales share common goals and metrics.
LinkedIn for B2B Digital Marketing
Resources like LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2017 report further support why this social media network can be so impactful for B2B marketers. From LinkedIn’s own research library, to core social networking benefits, to platform functionality for content marketing and advertising efforts, there are a range of opportunities B2B marketers can capitalize on.
That said, my experience has shown that many B2B marketers focus in specific aspects of LinkedIn’s offerings. This might be based on role requirements (such as the Marketing Solutions Help Center) or simply a function of time, interests, and focus.
To help B2B marketers further explore LinkedIn, I’ve put together a list of guides and resources valuable for learning more about the social media platform’s offerings, and to better capitalize on research and B2B marketing capabilities.
LinkedIn Platform-Specific Resources
This guide provides B2B marketers with a necessary overview of LinkedIn platform functionality, including both paid and organic tactics, across all disciplines. It’s a great starting point for B2B marketers exploring all facets of the LinkedIn platform.
I’d recommend starting here and then diving into specific platform resources, whether that is the LinkedIn advertising platform, marketing and administration of a company page, or simply fine tuning a LinkedIn profile for sales and business development efforts.
What I like most about this 100+ page resource is that it walks the B2B marketer through an entire plan of action for content marketing, before applying how LinkedIn publishing solutions may have an impact.
Along the way this guide provides perspective from a series of B2B marketing influencers as well as practical application for leveraging LinkedIn functionality, again both paid and organic.
While LinkedIn’s tactical plan for content marketing is highlighted in the previously referenced guide, this summary resource provides detail on how LinkedIn solutions may specifically align to digital marketing objectives, buyer behavior, and performance metrics.
Buyer behavior is a critical concept for B2B marketers and sales professionals. In coordination with the content marketing tactical plan above, this LinkedIn resource delves into how marketers need to align lead nurturing with strategic sales objectives.
Closing the loop on organizational content marketing through the LinkedIn platform, this guide ties the integration of sponsored updates to publishing on LinkedIn company pages.
The primary objective here is to provide B2B marketers with tactical recommendations and best practices designed to make sponsored updates as successful, and effective, as possible.
While LinkedIn has a suite of advertising products for B2B marketers, this is one area of the platform that I’m less thrilled with, as it pertains to the practical application of supporting marketing collateral for each product.
That said, LinkedIn’s Text Ads Optimization Guide provides an important overview for managing campaigns and ad creative within the traditional LinkedIn advertising platform.
Here are a series of additional resources that provide quick takeaways and reference points to get B2B marketers started with LinkedIn advertising as well.
- PDF Checklist: LinkedIn Matched Audiences – Website Retargeting
- PDF Checklist: LinkedIn Matched Audiences – Account Targeting
- All About LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
LinkedIn Elevate is a newer Linkedin solution that uses data and intelligent algorithms to help organizations curate content to meet goals for employee advocacy, providing an opportunity to scale content marketing performance.
The post above highlights findings from this platform in an effort to determine what types of content perform best for three common employee advocacy goals: employee participation, content engagement, and downstream business outcomes.
These findings are worth review from B2B marketers considering opportunities to scale the organic reach of content marketing assets distributed through company pages and internal communications.
As illustrated previously, alignment between sales and marketing is critical in accomplishing broader business objectives. To that extent, I’d recommend B2B marketers review LinkedIn material that sales professionals are interested in as well.
The sales prospecting toolkit provides access to four key resources for sales professionals.
- PDF: How to Build a High-Quality Network on LinkedIn
- PDF: Securing Introductions with LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- eBook: How to Sell to Multiple Lines of Business
- Article: How to Break Free of the One-Relationship Habit
And finally, here are a few additional LinkedIn FAQ’s and Platform-Specific reference points worth bookmarking.
- Company Pages – Frequently Asked Questions
- LinkedIn Groups – Overview for Managers, Owners, and Members
- Lead Generation on SlideShare: A How-to Guide
LinkedIn Third Party Research
In addition to research above and found directly through the platform, LinkedIn partners with other organizations to provide further research and information. Here are two additional reports I’ve found of value.
The B2B Persona Report is a research project conducted in coordination with LinkedIn and Salesforce Data.com. The objective was to provide a high-level yet detailed view of B2B personas resulting in accurate data on audience growth, churn, and size.
For B2B marketers, findings from the project can be important when considering how to invest in resources related to the build out of email databases and social audiences. Recommendations are provided across a range of acquisition channels and practices.
Edelman also collaborated with LinkedIn on a recent research study of more than 1,300 business decision makers and C-suite executives. The objective was to explore how thought leadership influenced their behaviors throughout the B2B purchase process.
Findings from the report included the impact of thought leadership from awareness building to purchase behavior, as well as perspectives on quality and missed opportunities in development.
Third Party Resources on LinkedIn Functionality
While it’s important to review what the LinkedIn platform has to offer for B2B marketers it may be just as valuable reviewing what colleagues and peers have to say as well. Here are a series of third party resources I’ve found valuable, organized topic.
- How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Generate Quality Leads Continuously
- Join the Perfect LinkedIn Group to Boost Your Bottom Line
LinkedIn Publishing Resources
- LinkedIn Publishing Trends Every Marketer Must Know
- How to Write Engaging B2B Headlines: Analysis of 10 Million Articles Shared on LinkedIn
- B2B Paid Content Distribution: Facebook vs. LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Ads: A Comprehensive Guide For B2B Marketers In 2017
- LinkedIn Matched Audiences: A Remarketing Guide for LinkedIn
LinkedIn Sales Tools
- Drive More Leads With LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- The Ultimate Playbook to Finding B2B Customers on LinkedIn
LinkedIn Resources from the KoMarketing Team
Lastly, a shameless plug highlighting some of the material the KoMarketing team has put together over the past few years. From profile optimization to LinkedIn Groups to the benefits of Slideshare for SEO, our team continues to explore LinkedIn for B2B marketing opportunities.
- 10 Examples of Highly Impactful LinkedIn Profiles
- 8 Examples of B2B Businesses Managing Powerful LinkedIn Pages
- 5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of LinkedIn Groups
- 5 Underutilized LinkedIn Features B2B Marketers May Be Missing Out On
- Understanding the Relationship Between SEO and SlideShare
Even though I check into LinkedIn daily for professional networking and information gathering (mobile and desktop) it’s not often that I make a direct connection between those activities and the further exploration of Linkedin offerings.
That said, it is great to see a social media platform provide resources for users, that extend beyond direct FAQ’s and datasheets, and are designed to aid B2B marketers in broader digital marketing endeavors.
Have you found LinkedIn resources valuable for both day-to-day as well as strategic B2B marketing initiatives? I would love to read your perspective via comments below.