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Twenty-first Century Sales and Marketing: LinkedIn Meets Marketing, Advertising, and Sales

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What has the Internet changed about the sales process? This chapter looks at online versus offline sales, and how introverts and extroverts can work together to improve sales.
This chapter is from the book

This book describes a marketing system whereby advertisers, marketers, and salespeople can leverage LinkedIn to get more leads and sales for their company. The book is divided into five parts:

  1. This first section and chapter is an overview and introduction to the book.
  2. The second section (Chapters 2 through 6) talks about how marketing people can help their companies on LinkedIn. It covers LinkedIn employee profiles, LinkedIn company pages, content marketing, LinkedIn Answers, LinkedIn Events, and LinkedIn Groups, all from the perspective of the marketing department.
  3. The third section (Chapters 7 through 10) is focused on helping people in an advertising role. We talk about best practices from the last decade of Internet advertising, how to set up LinkedIn ads, and how to get excellent results from them.
  4. The fourth section (Chapters 11 through 13) is for salespeople. It covers the history of sales, how sales has changed, and what role LinkedIn plays in sales—most specifically, how salespeople can find new prospects and build relationships on LinkedIn.
  5. The fifth section (Chapters 14 through 16) is for everyone, including advertisers, marketers, salespeople, executives, and managers. It discusses how the three major roles (advertising, marketing, and sales) must work together to go beyond mediocre social media results and the kind of support these teams will require from company leadership.

How have business and marketing changed in the twenty-first century? What has the Internet changed about the sales process? In the rest of this chapter, we’ll look at online versus offline sales, and how introverts and extroverts can work together. Then we’ll examine the social media revenue and the history of LinkedIn. We close with a few LinkedIn case studies for inspiration.

Networking and Business: Face-to-Face and Online

LinkedIn is an online social network. Online social networks (especially Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) have become extremely popular and frequently talked about over the last few years. But using LinkedIn to get more business is not fundamentally new, because human beings have been meeting new people and socializing for thousands of years. Social networks have always existed. Business people network to build relationships and generate new opportunities. New friends, partners, and customers come from simply getting to know people on a professional and personal basis.

Historically, much new business has been driven by extroverted salespeople who thrive on social contact, love talking on the phone, and create interaction by talking to clients in person. The cliché, which surely contains some truth, is that sales come from golf outings, Kiwanis meetings, and Chamber of Commerce gatherings. Many purchases involve some sort of social contact, even if it’s just the store employee who asks, “Can I help you with something?”

Social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter remove barriers and accelerate the networking process. You can escape the physical boundaries of face-to-face networking and meet people across the globe. You can share white papers, information about your company, pictures, and blog posts instantly without needing to be in the same place or send a letter. These online networks also offer social advertising, with which you can raise awareness about yourself and your company.

Many Internet marketing and social media experts, who do the majority of their work alone with computers, are introverts. I am one. We aren’t the type to go out and socialize with new people constantly. While writing this book, I was also reading The New York Times bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.1 It quotes many studies and repeats one of the best definitions of introversion I’ve heard: Introverts are people who can be intentionally extroverted but need to recharge afterward. Gandhi, Einstein, Rosa Parks, and Van Gogh were introverts. We get our energy from performing solo activities such as computer work that the extroverted salesperson might find tedious and exhausting.

My personal observation is that many of “geeks” like me who speak at Internet-oriented conferences do a much higher percentage of our socializing via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, email, and Skype. Socializing online can be incredibly enjoyable, because it’s a Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi–style “flow” experience.2 We make an art out of multitasking our content consumption, content creation, and networking. We share business opportunities, give each other online media exposure, and create search engine and social media authority that brings us new business. It’s not uncommon for us to email, tweet, Facebook, chat, and work all at the same time, interacting with and influencing hundreds or thousands of people per day.

When we meet our online friends in person at conferences or local gatherings, we solidify our bonds further. Some use acronyms for these “face-to-face” meetings (F2F) and real-life experiences (IRL, in real life). When I first started speaking at conferences, I found the extroversion so anxiety-producing that I would use Twitter to schedule meetings with peers because otherwise I would have hid in my hotel room every second I wasn’t speaking!

When you combine introverted social marketers with extroverted salespeople, you can achieve online reach and influence plus sales-closing ability (see Figure 1.1). Each operates in his or her strengths and complements the other. Think of it the way you’d put two all-stars on the same sports team: a quarterback throwing to a receiver for a touchdown, or a point guard throwing an alley-oop to a power forward. The combination of these two different skill sets leads to championships for sports teams and competitive dominance for companies.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1. How business is created with LinkedIn, from advertising to marketing to sales.

This book teaches your team and its role players the following:

  • How to improve teamwork among the employees responsible for LinkedIn ads, marketing, and sales
  • How to improve and use their skills at advertising, marketing, networking, relationship-building, and sales
  • How marketers and salespeople can build relationships that result in more business
  • How to raise awareness of your company to new potential customers
  • How to convince those prospects that your company is the best one to solve their problems
  • How to leverage relationships to close sales and increase revenue
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