LinkedIn has become a valuable social selling tool for sales people. While VPs of sales typically don’t do the selling, you represent the company. Furthermore, clients and prospects will do a search online to learn more about you and your company before they connect. Your VP of sales LinkedIn profile is most likely to appear at the top of the search results.
While you may not control what digital property of yours appears at the top of search results, you can control what your LinkedIn profile says about you. Take this opportunity to use these tips to improve your VP of sales LinkedIn profile.
Begin with your summary
Because of its narrative style, the summary is one of the most read sections in your profile. This is where you tell your business story. It’s your best chance to attract interest. Sales people are known for being great storytellers. Ensure your summary does just that.
In the summary, show people who you are by sharing what’s important to you and what your goal is for your sales department. Some VPs of sales list achievements in beating sales quotas, some get personal in talking about the things they like to do when not at work, and some add a touch of humor.
Mike Chasteen, VP sales and marketing at Lanvera, has a short ‘n’ sweet summary. He opens: “25+ years experience as an evangelist, strategist and teacher. Leading great sales teams as small as 5 and as large as 200. Successfully manages P&L’s, and drives attainment hitting revenue goals as high as $300M.”
He briefly states that he works to empower sales people and he’s an author. You can see what kind of experience he has in sales and he makes an impression with his short summary.
Another useful thing to include in your summary is what you’re looking to do with connections you meet on LinkedIn like David Cassady’s summary does. “I am on Linkedin to strengthen business relations and ensure customer success,” he writes.
Show how well you’re connected
Unless a person has more than 500 connections, LinkedIn lists how many connections you have in your profile. After 500, LinkedIn simply uses “500+,” so that’s the ideal number to target. For sales VPs, you should have no trouble making your number. Visitors to your LinkedIn profile will instantly know how well you connect with others.
They’ll also look for connections that have in common with you. So, it’s worth your time to connect with the right people. Ideal connections include your fellow executives, partners, key customers, employees, and influencers in your industry, such as editors and bloggers.
Support your experience with recommendations
Under the experience section, most LinkedIn users just outline what they do and their responsibilities. In reviewing many profiles of VP of sales, it turns out they’re thorough in sharing their experience, achievements, and more. No one stands out with an empty experience section.
Sales VP and teams live and die by their numbers, so it should be effortless to post results. Executives, clients and potential employees will want to know what you’ve accomplished. Ask yourself: As VP of sales, what results make me most proud? What outcomes did my sales team get for our company and customers?
Endorsements for skills are great, but recommendations are better. It takes more time and thought to write recommendations. Strengthen your experience by ensuring you have recommendations for your current and most recent positions. The most impressive recommendations come from customers, executives, and partners. Most people will agree to write one if you ask.
Better yet, most return the favor when you write recommendations for them. LinkedIn usually sends an email when people receive a new recommendation. That email also asks if the recipient wants to return the favor by writing a recommendation.
Get more exposure
Media — such as photos, videos, slideshows, and articles — balances a profile by adding color and visuals within all the text. To get more speaking engagements, add videos of your presenting.
Do you accept media interviews? Then, include articles with quotes from you. Have you written articles? Post those too.
Look past your connections
You may not know Bill Gates personally, but you can sort of connect with him by following him. The difference between following and connecting is that you’re not required to know the person or the company. Why bother? It’s an easy way to show who and what companies interest you. These include thought leaders in your industry, key partners, and important customers.
For example, a sales VP at a software company would follow respected influencers and experts in tech and software. These could be editors, journalists, and bloggers whose beats include tech topics or they work for a tech publication. Other thought leaders include industry analysts, tech consultants, CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and sales VPs at other tech companies.
Don’t forget to follow company pages of clients, partners, publications, relevant professional organizations and complementary companies that would make good partners.
Find clients and influencers
LinkedIn Groups are valuable for connecting with people and forging relationships. It allows you to join up to 50 groups. Shoot for 20 at the very least.
So many groups. How to decide? Begin with the ones your customers join. Seek groups related to your industry and the type of work you do. A VP of sales at a software company with a target market of developers would look for groups related to software development and tech.
LinkedIn has almost 2 million groups. A quick search for the keywords “software development” produces 4,000 results! A VP of sales can get more specific by adding keywords related to the software product.
Since you already have some connection with the people in your alumni and favorite nonprofit organizations, join them.
Don’t miss a sales opportunity
Many LinkedIn profiles include a link to the company website, but not to other important resources. As a sales VP, you know people are more likely to buy from the people they know. Good links to include would be your company’s social media pages, blogs, FAQ, and other sources for more information about your company’s products or services.
You know buyers do the majority of their research before ever contacting the company. Help them by making it easy to find resources from your company. And it could lead to another sale.
What else can you do to boost your sales VP LinkedIn profile?
Social media is far more than a distraction or even a networking tool. Your network may be one of the most valuable resources you have, and it’s time to dive into the realm of social selling (if you haven’t already!). Odds are you’ve been doing social selling for some time, even if you haven’t realized it. Harnessing social media to reach out, share your expertise, and touch your prospects is a phenomenal method of marketing and nurturing.
Here are our top 5 blog posts on social selling:
The old sales funnel may not be recognizable, but there’s still a framework for marketers and salespeople to use as a guide. It is important to understand that the thought process a potential customer goes through is no longer one directional and linear, but rather a web of potentiality.
To start off, here is a useful tool we’ve found:
And here are our pick for top 5 posts on the subject:
And finally, here is our take on it:
Browse your connections’ LinkedIn profiles and you’ll most likely see that some tell their professional story in the first person and some in the third person. Which is ideal? There’s no right or wrong answer. In fact, many experts’ recommendations don’t lean one way or the other. They’re split.
Support for Third Person
Those supporting third person say that a resume is written in third person. Since LinkedIn represents a person’s resume, the profile should also be in third person. It also helps prevent sounding egotistical as it’s challenging to limit the use of “I” in a first person narrative about you.
Support for First Person
Experts who recommend taking the first person approach believe it sounds more personal while third person comes across as distant, fake and like someone else wrote it. It’s harder to relate to someone who doesn’t directly speak to you. When you’re in Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, you speak in the first person. And LinkedIn is a social network. When you meet people at a networking event, you talk in the first person.
Besides, most of us write our own profile, and it feels unnatural to write about ourselves in third person. As a result, the narrative may not read smoothly. Even if you have help writing your profile, it’s still yours. To minimize the use of “I,” focus on showing how the reader will benefit from working with you or contacting you.
If you’re struggling to pick one, try first person. Whichever you choose, use that for your entire summary. One profile I looked at had a summary that started in third person and ended in first person … not a good impression.
Here are some examples of first and third person (identifying information changed):
“Jim Smith consults on customer acquisition and retention for B2B and B2C clients. He has held senior positions at Google, Microsoft and an Internet startup company. Jim teaches graduate students and is chairperson at AMA. He serves as a mentor at SBA.”
“SVP responsible for overall satisfaction for high profile client relationships within the healthcare, publishing and nonprofit sectors. Managing a team of more than seven. Volume has increased to more than 33% in annual margin in one year. Experience within each market sector has enabled ability to find success within secondary and tertiary market categories, increasing the bottom line of client portfolios.”
“IT Executive who is innovative, results-driven, and an accomplished professional skilled at directing high performance teams, cutting organizational costs and driving business growth through the management of technology.”
“Gained his expertise in technology architecture and integration, relationship and staff management, budget development, vendor/contract negotiations and formulating financial/strategic plans during in several leadership roles. Her aggressive, bottom-line approach consistently produced quick yet long-term results in every position she has held. She is a tenacious and flexible professional that leads by example, has excellent communication skills, and is decisive and results-oriented.”
“I have spent more than 15 years helping small businesses with marketing and public relations. I’ve worked with dozens of startups and small companies — I love the energy entrepreneurs have and I get a thrill from helping businesses grow. I have developed a process for doing prospecting and lead nurturing that is ideal for technology entrepreneurs, especially those who are entering new markets or launching new products.”
“Unique blend of financial and information technology experience. Began career with KPMG in the Los Angeles office, earned my CPA and then transitioned into Information Technology over the next several career moves. I possess strong communication skills, a solid financial background and deep IT experience.”
“With more than 20 years of developing deliverable products, building effective engineering teams and managing operations, I have changed IT operational cost-centers to developing IT value centers. IT value centers focus on creating extended service or product lines for better customer satisfaction and increased offerings to add to the bottom-line. By developing and implementing results-oriented disciplines, I have helped many technology executives make faster and more accurate decisions.”
A Couple More Things to Consider
Many people write the summary in the first person and the experience section in the third person because it’s like a resume. That’s what we usually do. The most important thing is to describe the work you’ve done, your accomplishments and using one voice for the summary in your LinkedIn Profile.
You can always write two versions of your summary and see which one appears more powerful, natural and personal.
Is your LinkedIn Summary in the first or third person? How did you arrive at that decision? Should people use the same point of view in the summary and the experience sections? Does it matter?
LinkedIn Premium has just added some new features to visually boost paying members’ profiles and help them show up in more searches. Here is a round-up of the new features so you can supercharge your profile.
Stealing a page from Facebook’s book, the new visual features make members’ profiles more prominent. Members get an expanded profile header and a larger photo.
Another feature coming soon is the ability to use a custom background. If you want to be one of the first to try out the new background feature, submit a request to LinkedIn. Premium users also have access to an exclusive gallery of images to use for the background.
Get Found More with Keyword Suggestions
You’ve probably heard advice about optimizing your profile with keywords and phrases. It can be challenging to figure out what works for your experience. LinkedIn now provides personalized suggestions to help you find the best words to use so you show up in more searches. If you’re already using the most effective words, it’ll let you know.
Stand out in Search Results
When someone searches for your keywords, your profile will appear twice as big as others and display more information to help people notice you.
Expand Your Reach with Open Profile
LinkedIn Premium members who choose to make their profile “open” will be seen by everyone, including those outside of their network. Anyone will be able to contact the member for free regardless of the connection, or lack thereof.
Premium users can already see “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” for the past 90 days. LinkedIn enhanced this feature by sharing the top 100 results for How You Rank against your first-degree connections and company. This tool benchmarks your LinkedIn presence so you can see how you stack up against others.
Strengthen your profile and “findability” by taking advantage of these new features as soon as they’re available to you.