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?
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.
Are you getting the most out of groups on LinkedIn? If not, you’re missing out on a huge amount of information, updates, tips, and networking opportunities. LinkedIn groups provide a great platform where you can share ideas and engage in discussion with potentially hundreds of thousands of like-minded people. This can deliver an enormous boost to your B2B sales and marketing capability – you should take advantage of it.
Here are our top 5 blog posts on which groups to join and how to use them for B2B marketing and sales:
People looking for you often begin with a search engine. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will most likely show up as one of the top results anytime someone searches for you by name. The good news is that you can control how your LinkedIn public profile appears to the public whether they’re logged into LinkedIn or not.
You can hide your public profile to prevent it from showing up in search. However, it’ll be harder for prospects, potential partners and future employees to find you. They’re not going to work harder than they have to. Compromise by making your profile visible to everyone while controlling the sections you wish to hide or make visible.
To see how your public profile looks, go to your customized LinkedIn URL, such as www.linkedin.com/in/judyschramm. (Your profile lists your URL as Figure 1 shows.)
Figure 2 displays the fields you may want to display at a minimum. Still it depends on why you use LinkedIn and the information you’re willing to share with the public.
For each field, ask yourself if you want someone who may or may not know you to see this information before connecting with you.
Here are the recommendations for each field.
Picture: Your photo lets people know they’ve reached the right person and adds authenticity. There are very few people who would have a good reason for not including a photo. Given that LinkedIn’s own stats show that profiles with photos are 7x more likely to be viewed, making your photo visible should be an easy decision.
Headline: The LinkedIn professional headline quickly communicates who you are and may compel them to keep reading.
Summary: This is your professional story. People tend to relate more to the LinkedIn summary than with a bulleted list of job responsibilities and accomplishments. If you choose not to display the details of your current and past positions, the summary makes a good stand-in.
Skills: People can quickly learn what your specialties are based on this list and the number of endorsements for each. If you don’t have many endorsements in the skills that matter to you, it may be best to hide this field until you rack up more. You can also control which skills and endorsements to display.
Current positions: What you’re currently doing affects whether someone wants to connect with you. For example, a business owner would want prospects to know about the business and what problems it solves in hopes viewers will want to do business. If you turn off “show details,” then people can only view your company name, job title and employment dates.
Past positions: Displaying the company name, job title and dates worked highlights the types of companies you’ve worked for and your career progress. It should be enough to tell your story without divulging too much information.
Publications: Some positions, such as college professors and professional writers, will want to list publications. Being a published author shows you have respected expertise and strong writing skills.
Education: Even if you’ve been out of college for more than 20 years, including your educational credentials helps classmates find you. Prospects who are fellow alumni will be excited to see you have education in common. (Hoya Saxa!) It strengthens the connection.
Additional information: This includes interests, birthdate, marital status and advice for people who want to contact you. One reason you might display this field is for the contact information. The rest is too personal, but you can control who can view your month and day of your birthday, year of birth and marital status.
Honors and Awards: Deciding whether to display this depends on what honors you’ve listed and your LinkedIn goals. This may not be information people need to know when searching for you. Some honors and awards reveal personal information. For instance, if you received an award from PTA, people will know you are most likely a parent.
Volunteer Experiences and Causes: People belonging to political or other sensitive organizations may want to hide this information or omit it altogether. Like honors, your organization can reveal personal information about you that you don’t want strangers to know.
But charity work strengthens connections, gives some additional promotion to the charity, and lets others see that you give back. So it might be something you want to share.
Interested In: This helps people know whether it’s worth contacting you. To update this, select “Communications” in “Privacy and settings” and then “Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive.” Of course, if you’re open to career opportunities and you don’t want your current company to know, then you’ll want to turn this off.
Here’s what logged-in LinkedIn users can or can’t view in your profile:
- Connections can view your name and profile.
- Some premium members can see your full name and profile if you allow InMail messages.
- Members outside your network only see an abbreviated profile without your name.
- First-degree connections and people you’ve emailed who have added you to their LinkedIn Contacts can see your email address.
- Third-degree connections and fellow Group members with free accounts will only see your first name, last initial, and the top section of your profile when doing a keyword search. One exception: They can see your full profile when searching by first and last name.
What if you want to prevent someone from viewing your profile? You can’t. But if you do, it requires doing the following — which isn’t likely worth the sacrifice:
- Hide the public version of your profile.
- Hide your profile photo.
- Change your profile display name.
In short, the more you reveal, the more likely people will connect and engage with you.
What are your recommendations for managing your LinkedIn public profile settings? Also, please share your questions in comments so we can find an answer for you.
Even if you’re not a recruiter or sales person, upgrading to the LinkedIn Premium plan for business professionals may still be worth the investment. LinkedIn offers four types of plans: LinkedIn Premium, recruiters, job seekers and sales professionals. LinkedIn Premium targets business owners and general professionals who want to find and connect with the right people to promote and grow a business, form partnerships and find prospects.
Here are four reasons business owners and professionals may want to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium.
1. Connect with more people and those outside of your network
Premium members can send direct email through InMail to anyone on LinkedIn, even if they’re not connected. The number of InMail credits for sending emails varies based on the selected plan. InMail has a seven-day guaranteed response rate. If you don’t get a response within seven days, LinkedIn refunds the InMail credit. And if they reply on day eight, you still keep the credit. Members can carry over InMail credits, but they expire after 90 days.
Free accounts can request five introductions whereas premium users can request at least 15. They also find out what they have in common with the person they want to reach. This may offer a good conversation starting point. The advantage of introductions is that people tend to respond when someone they know does the introducing rather than you cold-emailing them.
Members can join the OpenLink network, which increases your profile’s visibility because it allows other LinkedIn members — basic members included — to view your complete profile and contact you with no penalties to them. OpenLink is an optional feature that needs to be activated.
2. Access more profiles and details for more thorough research
Premium users have full access to 35 times more profiles, including 3rd degree connections. Those on the free account are limited to viewing the full profiles of 1st- and 2nd-degree connections.
3. Learn more about the people interested in you
On the basic plan, you can only see the last five people who have checked out your profile. Premium users get a full list of people who have viewed their profile in the last 90 days and analytics on how they found you such as search keywords, industries and geography.
The keywords help you adjust and optimize your profile. Reviewing views by industries and location may reveal a potential market for prospects, clients and partnerships. When you contact the people who viewed your profile, start a conversation rather than sending a generic connection request.
4. Gain more search power and precision
All accounts have access to advanced search, but premium members can access more options to sharpen searches and get more targeted results. Premium adds eight search fields including LinkedIn groups (they belong to), years of experience, function (accounting, legal, etc.), seniority level, interested in (consultants, industry experts, deal-making contacts, etc.), company size, Fortune (ranges from Fortune 50 to 1000) and when joined.
Basic accounts view 100 search results. Premium accounts search results range from 300 to 700. LinkedIn saves your criteria and notifies you when new profiles meet your criteria. The notifications per week vary based on the selected plan in which the basic can get three and the others get more than five notifications each week. Premium members can also see a list of people in their network who can provide a reference for someone they wish to contact.
Premium features speed up and target your searches, widen your network and reveal more insights. It may be what the doctor ordered to grow your business and connections. Fees are charged by the month or annually, so you can try it for one month to see how you like it and how much you use it.