LinkedIn Prospecting Strategies and Trends

LinkedIn Prospecting Strategies and Trends with Alyssa Merwin, #197

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If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that virtual selling is here to stay. And, in order to master the new art of modern selling, sales leaders must tap into the prospecting power of the social selling tools at their disposal. 

Because those sales reps that know how to personalize their outreach, engage prospects in meaningful conversations, and quickly identify the most pressing pain points, will have an unfair advantage well into the future.

No one knows how to leverage social media to close deals better than my guest on this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast

Alyssa Merwin is the global Vice President of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, one of the company’s fastest-growing lines of business. In her role, Alyssa leads the global sales organization to help companies around the world engage with LinkedIn’s community of nearly 800 million members, connecting buyers and sellers to support organizations’ business objectives. 

 With more than 20 years of experience in the sales industry, Alyssa has a proven track record of achieving strong business results and managing high-performing teams. Since joining LinkedIn in 2011, she has held numerous leadership positions, and most recently served as Vice President of Sales Solutions for North America, during which time the business experienced tremendous growth. 

 Outside of LinkedIn, Alyssa is a member of the Sales Impact Academy’s Advisory Board, an investor and advisor to Black Star Fund, and an investor in Stage 2 Capital. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Alyssa spent nine years at CEB, now Gartner, and held various sales positions during her tenure. When it comes to keeping the pulse on sales – what works and what trends to look out for – Alyssa’s genius is truly unmatched.

If you’ve been looking for proven strategies to get more “hellos” and make your prospecting more efficient and effective, then tune into this strategy-rich conversation with Alyssa.

You’ll walk away with at least 5 actionable LinkedIn prospecting strategies to use by the end of this episode – guaranteed!

How has prospecting changed in a post-COVID world?

Since early 2020, I’ve personally witnessed radical shifts in how sales organizations are both reaching out to their prospects AND how they’re training their sales teams. 

When you study the effectiveness of strategies like cold email outreach, it starts to paint a very different sales picture that all sales leaders must be aware of. In my research, I’ve found that the number of sales emails sent has increased by 60% since 2020, however, the response rates have plummeted over 30%.

So, it’s not just about having more touchpoints with your prospects. Selling in this new virtual environment is all about having the right touchpoints, that convey the right value and that address the right pain points.

I asked Alyssa to share what she’s seen as the sales leader of LinkedIn in terms of how the pandemic has reshaped the sales industry:

Virtual selling will be core to how we all go to market from here on out. We’ve found that 70% of people go through the entire sales process without ever talking to a salesperson. They’re able to find the information they need, make the decisions that work best for them, and feel more productive as a result – all in this virtual space. Like many organizations have, we will continue to need to adapt and evolve in this particular environment. At best we are looking at a hybrid approach, but we have to recognize and accept the importance of virtual selling.”

I couldn’t agree more with Alyssa!

As the world’s largest digital sales training company, we’re constantly reading the market to see how we can better position our courses, find new topics to offer, and ways to better engage our prospects and customers.

Many sales organizations have tried to shift to this virtual selling space by sending more emails or making more cold calls.

As Alyssa suggests in our conversation, the shift that’s needed has to go well beyond just doing more of the same tactical sales strategies and really get at the heart of buyer intent.

Join the full conversation to hear specifically what unique prospecting strategy Alyssa recommends using to get a response back on the first outreach.

Attracting and engaging with today’s modern #buyers take skill and strategy. Learn the best ways to leverage the #socialselling machine #LinkedIn to get more “hellos” 💪@GoModernSelling w guest Alyssa Merwin @linkedinselling & @M_3Jr Click To Tweet

How can sales organizations take a buyer first approach?

Today’s modern buyer is well informed. They’re well researched and they know what options are available to them even before they ever get on a sales call.

That’s why tailoring your sales process to your prospect is so important. From how you write your outreach messages, to identifying their pain points, to the way you speak about your offering – everything has to feel personalized.

I was curious to get Alyssa’s take on this “buyer first” approach and how she would recommend a sales organization go about implementing this model.

Her insights are spot on, “We know that our buyers are getting further through the sales decision or the buying decision before we even walk in the door. There’s just so much more information available – we can easily hop onto a website, we can look at a demo, we can reach out on LinkedIn. As sales leaders, we have to recognize this new playing field and truly get clear on how we have to show up differently. Part of that is getting smart about the industry, the company, the individual you’re meeting with and do it in a very detailed way that puts them at the center of the conversation.”

Taking this time to do the research is such a critical step that so many sales reps overlook. 

That’s why at Vengreso our sales team follows the “Three by Three” method before we ever reach out to a prospect. Want to hear what it is and how we use it to 10x our response rates? 

Download the episode and pay particular attention around the 20-minute mark.

Learn how your #sales team can take a #Buyer first approach, and start more sales conversations INSTANTLY! 👏 Listen to this ep of @GoModernSelling #Podcast @M_3Jr 🎙️& Alyssa Merwin Global VP @linkedinselling #modernselling Click To Tweet

What are the most important sales trends to watch?

We have to move away from the “smile and dial” prospecting strategies of the past and start to build a new level of buyer engagement.

I wanted to get Alyssa’s expert opinion on the state of the sales industry and where she saw the focus shifting in 2022.

The way she sees it, there are three emerging trends that sales leaders need to keep a pulse on:

  1. Data privacy and compliance. The level of sophistication of online sales tools is rapidly increasing, but so too is the need to protect consumer data and private information. Alyssa strongly recommends taking inventory of the sales enablement tools you’re using now and making sure they’re compliant with GDPR and other data privacy standards.
  2. Buyer intent data. We have to move beyond just focusing on who to contact and how to contact them and fully understand the science of buyer intent. Knowing when and how best to engage your prospect, what buyer signals to look for, and where your buyer is in the process will make sellers much more effective going forward.
  3. Digital referrals. With platforms like LinkedIn that give you incredible visibility into the connections in your network – mastering how to ask for a digital referral will continue to be an important skill to develop. It’s by breaking through the sales noise with a personal touchpoint that will separate average sales reps from those who consistently exceed quota without having to send hundreds of cold emails to do it.

This is just the tip of the sales iceberg that Alyssa shares in this episode. 

Make sure you listen all the way until the end to hear the best digital referral process to follow. [Hint: We use it and it works wonders!]

Time to move away from the #prospecting strategies of the past and start to build a new level of #buyer engagement. Get the latest SALES #trends and give your team the advantage 🎙️ @M_3Jr @GoModernSelling & Alyssa Merwin… Click To Tweet
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