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New Study Shows 95% of Business & Sales Leaders are Irrelevant with Key Accounts & Customers on LinkedIn

Now that live events and in-person meetings with investors, prospects and customers are on hold, I had my team at Personal ABM take a deep look into how business leadership, sales leaders and marketing teams are engaging on LinkedIn.

For the last four months, we reviewed 100-200 LinkedIn profiles each day, spanning across B2B CEOs, founders, CMOs, and sales and marketing executives throughout the professional services, technology, manufacturing, supply chain, health care and financial service industries.

We found a disturbing trend; at least 95 percent of LinkedIn profiles show little to no relevance to the key accounts they want to win or the key customers they want to keep or expand. I figured we would see an improvement over time as we become more reliant on social media to build strong relationships, but the irrelevance trend has continued. To address that trend, Personal ABM along with Stop the Sales Drop will be hosting a virtual LinkedIn training that will include guest experts like Bigtincan’s VP of Revenue Enablement – John Moore.  While we will share our report with the findings during the training,  there’s a sneak preview below.

LinkedIn’s 2020 State of Sales Report shows that 44 percent of teams are seeing a decrease in responsiveness to outreach because of COVID-19

Many companies are at a standstill. Most of them are in cash conservation mode, which is why  key decision-makers may not be responding. However, I also think the unresponsiveness is because everyone is busy looking to build up their social network.

Leadership and sales and marketing teams are pushing out more invites to connect and more messaging as they attempt to rebound and grow. But it’s important to note that many LinkedIn profiles do not:

  • Show an alignment with the buyers’ new priorities and the challenges buyers face.
  • Tell a relevant business story for prospects, customers and investors to make an emotional, human-to-human connection. While everyone is social distancing, this connection is more important now than ever.
  • Speak directly to the accounts they want–nor the investors they want funding from–as there is no tailoring.
  • Teach for differentiation and show unique value. Prospects and investors need to see how you will fill an account/market gap and the personal impacts you can have. In most cases, there are no customer stories throughout the profile that support the claims that leadership, sales and marketing teams make.
  • Share relevant content that reframes the thoughts of investors and prospects, tell stories, make a business case, and build confidence and trust. Nearly three in five profiles did not share any media nor was there use of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform. Of those who did share media, irrelevant images, such as a snapshot from a conference booth, were the most common. When the publishing platform was used, in many cases, the articles were at least one to two years old. And, very few shared video (17 percent). 

LinkedIn profiles are simply resumes and do not build trust with prospects and investors.

LinkedIn’s 2020 State of Sales Report also showed that 62 percent of decision-makers look for an informative LinkedIn profile when considering connecting to or talking with business leadership or sales. Yet, most of the profiles we reviewed are:

  • Just a listing of employers, roles and accomplishments that have no relevant value to the targeted audience. For example, we found that many sales leaders talk about their biggest closes, sales awards they won, and how they are hitting or exceeding quota targets. But, unless you are selling “sales training,” no one cares about these accomplishments. These sales leaders actually show the target accounts that their sole interest is in closing them–not in building a relationship based on value. Where is the trust building?
  • Written in third person, which creates an automatic disconnect. No one talks about themselves in third person at a live event. So why are business leaders and sales and marketing professionals talking about themselves in third person on social media where they should be making a human-to-human connection?
  • Focused on the past versus the present and the future. Prospects need to see how you can help them now with their current situation and that you will continue to evolve and help them achieve their future, long-term goals. Investors need to see your role in the marketplace now, your future vision, and what it will mean for the return on their investment in you.

The lack of relevance is not limited to profiles.

When we reviewed the connection invites and nurture messages that my team received during the past four months, we noticed that sales, marketing and leadership teams are not being personal. They’re reading as if the messages are fill-in-the-blank templates, which means leadership, sales and marketing teams are speaking “at” accounts and “at” investor groups rather than to people.

Can this be the reason over one-third (34 percent) of respondents to a Pipedrive State of Sales survey mentioned that they think prospecting is going to be the biggest challenge for salespeople in 2020?

If you are not relevant, how can you build trust and a strong digital relationship with buyers and investors?

The Edelman Trust Barometer shows a clear lack of trust in institutions, with the majority of respondents seeing corporations, the media and government as unethical. In times of uncertainty, trust only becomes more important.

Not surprisingly, as organizational trust erodes, buyers seem to crave it even more. When Edelman surveyed buyers on the qualities they value in a salesperson, they ranked “trustworthy” (47 percent) at the top, followed by “responsive” (44 percent) and “expert in the field” (40 percent).

The sales teams that are successful (even now when it seems like no one is buying) are seen as “trusted advisors.” The companies getting attention from investors are those that are “earning trust” and showing investors that they are moving forward and adapting to the new environment and economy.

We can build trust and strong digital relationships with prospects and investors by having profiles and messaging that:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of our targeted audience’s business needs.
  • Show a clear understanding of the targeted audience’s role in the decision-making process.
  • Go beyond personalization and provide personal messaging. We need to speak to the humans within target accounts or investor groups rather than at them.
  • Share content that is applicable and relevant to their decision-making process. This is why we say content should always start with the selling conversations you want to have with prospects or investors.
  • Build a consensus with decision-makers and influencers.

Through our virtual LinkedIn training, you will see why business, sales and marketing leaders should invest in personal branding on LinkedIn, as well as how they can better communicate their unique value.

Click here to get free access to select sessions or take advantage of early-bird discounts on Personal ABM’s complete LinkedIn training.