MEET helps international B2B growth companies soft land and scale through trade shows
+1.860.573.4821
Email Us

Leveraging LinkedIn for Market Entry How to Create Your Future Advocates

March 11, 2020

Bill Kenney, Founder and Client Advocate at MEET interviews Laura Hannan, Co-Founder and Director of Client Success at Pitch121 on the Belly2Belly podcast.

Listen on iTunes or Spotify

Watch on YouTube

Bill: Welcome to the belly to belly podcast where we explore in-person business to business market. This episode is brought to you by MEET, the company that helps international companies exhibit at US trade shows. Check them out at meetroi.com.

Welcome, everybody. And this is belly to belly, our podcasts for MEET. And we’re a company that helps international companies exhibit at US trade shows. And the whole goal of this podcast is to really help you get the most out of your marketing and leverage, really all the resources you have. And we’re so delighted today to have Laura Hannan with us from pitch one to one. Laura, welcome. Thank you very nice to be here to see Bill. Oh, it’s wonderful to see you. So when we got started talking. It sounds like you had a bit of a role change. And now you’re the director of client success, and you’re a co-founder of the company. So what is the director of client success? What’s your job?

Laura: Ah, all right. Well, let’s you know, when you’re a business owner, you’re doing everything I do. I am lucky to have a co-founder, Fergus Parker, so I lead on well, it says on the tin, it’s the director of client success. So I do have an account manager who is managing sort of day to day tasks with clients and I get to have the wonderful job of overseeing the strategy and just making sure that they get ROI. You know, it’s, it’s as simple as that. So all that we’re aiming for is for our clients to be happy and delighted and never cancel. Yeah, so obviously, the job gets bigger and bigger over time because we’re now in the beginning of our third year of business. And you know what the great thing about having this overview across lots of clients is that ideas come from everywhere. So you can really sort of them the platform changes, LinkedIn changes the way that people are using and consuming content changes, and I get to do the innovative stuff, you know, seeing what other people are doing, testing things, seeing what’s working and moving our product on.

Bill: So cool. It sounds like you think a lot like we think and that is, you know when we think about serving our clients, it for us, it’s, it’s really what our job is to assure that our relationship matures and it’s successful enough for the client to where they’re a wonderful advocate for our services. And so that you know, with that as our sort of true north, it becomes very easy to make decisions. about what your service should be. It’s very, obviously very aligned with the right outcomes for your client, which

Laura: I bet your network is full of future advocates and current advocates,

Bill: Hopefully, and we’ll get into that, for sure. And certainly talking about your methodologies. But before we do, and just so everybody knows, so, you know, the real goal of this podcast is to help give you very useful information. And obviously, to do that we want to have context in terms of the information we’re sharing. So you all you and Fergus formed pitch one to one how many years ago

Laura: And just over two years ago, cool.

Bill: Excellent. And so what was the original impetus? What was it that caused you to do it?

Laura: Okay, so I’ve been in sales for years and years as a sales practitioner and Ferguson I used to work on the same sales team. I’m looking at the date now. Let’s find out how many years was 14 years ago? And

Bill: You were just a teenager then?

Laura: Yeah, yeah, I was just, you know, thing. And what have we we’re in a content marketing agency. And I think that what you see in pitch One to One is the mix of burgers and I salespeople. But, but selling inbound marketing products, you know, we were selling content before content marketing was a phrase and you will see those influences coming in to pitch one to one. I think the thing that we discovered when we were working there, Fergus, by the way, ended up you know, working there for over a decade and becoming CEO of the company. The thing that was really overwhelming to us nothing because I went and worked for digital agencies and after that is then a tech startup after that is the time I worked at this content marketing agency was when I was the most effective at selling in terms of every quarter hitting my results. Why? Because we had telemarketers that would set up the meetings, then I’m not concentrating on lead gen, as well as closing as well as delivering a client and there is this. There’s a book called Predictable Revenue, which I’m sure some of your listeners will know. And it’s, you know, it’s absolutely convincing that you shouldn’t have your expensive salespeople, the salespeople are expensive, doing 360 sales. Obviously, telemarketing used to be effective and became less and less effective and you know, the, you need to adapt to how you’re doing lead gen. And but actually, the principle remains the same. That if you have your salespeople focused on just that part of the funnel, you’re going to help them to avoid that roller coaster of a great, great quarter. You’re so focused on closing that you haven’t done any legal so the next quarter is awful. And so that’s basically what pitch One to One is, is based on is, you know, working with in house teams to make sure they’ve got a predictable funnel, you know, got new opportunities coming in.

Bill: And so your real focus is to develop the top of the funnel is to sort of continue to sort of drive new quality prospects into the top of the funnel.

Laura: Exactly. And we do have a funnel and we report on a funnel but we think of it more like a network because at any one time 3% of your audience might be ready to buy. So what you can do is you can contact everybody and find those just go Do you want to buy do on a buy to everybody and you’ll find that they want to buy so that’s a volume play and it’s okay if you don’t mind slightly annoying 97% of your audience right which is out Okay, if you’ve got more people you can throw it and burn a lot of companies, they know that they’ve just got a target list of dream clients, they don’t want to just like throw it out and see what sticks because actually what sticks could be somebody who’s not such a great fit for you. So actually, it’s about taking much more care of a slightly smaller pool of people. And instead of going sell, sell sell, you go you know, Hey, can I help you out? You know, what’s going on with you at the moment? You know, by the way, this is what we do. So I do believe in outbound and but I also believe in relationship buying and not be outbound to the extent that you know, people might say Oh, it’s not the right time for me and you go great because you know, that you’ve got a relationship enough you can go back in six months time but just until then stay friends of mine. So you’re on that shortlist when briefs are created.

Bill: That makes total sense. So What then? Is it thinking of pitch one to one? What are what’s the array of services that you all provide?

Laura: So we’re looking mainly at two platforms LinkedIn, and email. And then we look at growing the network. So we will do lots all sorts of soft-touch points around LinkedIn, and then do a connection request. And we really want that to be as personalized as possible. There’s a lot of unsolicited template looking connection requests coming out. So a lot of what we do is message creation, really bespoke messaging and testing, testing the whole time. And then once we’ve built the relationship on LinkedIn, we then we use our technology to be able to keep track on everybody, you know, are they considering booking with you and have they said no for now, and then we Know that if we send them an email, we were sending the right people the email that they’ve got the relationship up to that level where you can say, Hey, this is what I do, I can help you at all, just let me know.

Bill: It seems like there must be a fair amount of strategic work that has to happen before you even sort of begin the effort on LinkedIn or on email in terms of targeting the right people and or the right organizations and so on. Is that a, is that a fairly rigorous process to sort of build the target matrix? Yeah.

Laura: And so it is about the targeting, but it’s also about the messaging that goes out to those people. So, we have a process where we go through the servers, the audience, like how you’re perceived any, and like we’ve had one today and a new client on board, we spent two hours on a contemporary thing, so we get a really deep Got a really, really is a sound okay here? Oh yeah, sometimes sorry. Yeah, so you get a really, really deep understanding of how they’re positioning themselves in the market against their competitors, and then understanding the complex target audience structure. So we would go out, we definitely need to make sure we get the right accounts. But then within those accounts, we’ve got different job roles, different stakeholders would be important. Some of them they would want to meet, some of them are influences, and then perhaps as a partner network, as well as the direct approach. So we need to make sure that we’re bringing all of that together. Now Sales Navigator and LinkedIn is pretty good, but it doesn’t quite do enough, you know, so we’ve actually built a platform. So we’ve got every single person that is in our network, to make sure that we know they’ve got a tag on them. So we know what kind Partner they are or, you know, we, obviously you’ve got the information in, in LinkedIn about industry size company. But there might be something really specific, like the source of you know, they came up a webinar, for example. So you can then put that into the messaging. But the most important thing is that you’ve got content and a reason to be in touch. So usually our strategy goes over the next few months, what events you’re going to be at? How are we going to take this online relationship into an offline conversation? Because that’s how sales happen, and then maybe bring it back onto online. So you know, we’re actually helping clients with their content strategy, and not not to the extent that a content agency would but just to say, Okay, what have you got going on? Right? We can use that on LinkedIn, we can use that on email, we can promote that.

Bill : Yeah, those are all digital assets that can be leveraged. Yeah. Probably multiple ways. So yeah, no, that totally makes sense. And the idea of both Developing very accurate targets. And I would imagine those evolve as, as your testing sort of happens. And then it just as the messaging I would imagine, evolve. So maybe one last question, then let’s really dive into our topics. So the last question I have with regard to pitch one to one is who’s sort of the best prospect or the best type of company for you to work with? What’s the sort of sweet spot for you?

Laura: Yeah, it’s an organization that has a very value lead proposition. So it’s more of a sort of commodity that you’re you’re selling. It’s, it’s less interesting. I mean, we can do it. But I think that when you need to show your expertise, you need to educate yours. We need those kinds of topics to talk about, and actually they’re the hardest kind of sales to do you know, where you’re taking people through a journey of discovery before you meet somebody. So usually it falls into three different brackets for us. And that is consultancies and tech companies. You know, if somebody’s doing something innovative, you got, you know, creates a lot of interest on LinkedIn. And the other one is agencies. Yeah,

Bill: That makes a lot of sense. So very much strategic and conceptual type sales that Yeah, are, are less tangible.

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. And I think the other thing that is the same with all of our clients, as they know that what they’re selling is not easy. They basically, the tough sell will be there will be the partner that will take that out.

Bill: That’s awesome. Well, let’s hop into our topic. And you know, this is something that, you know, LinkedIn obviously has been around for many years now. And it’s such a powerful platform. form and it’s used for so many different things from, you know, recruiting to, you know, making connections to certainly for prospecting and there are so many sort of different values that are there and you guys are really leveraging the tool very well. You thinking about market entry companies, companies that are possibly going from the UK where you’re based here to the US or going from the UK into other parts of Europe or Asia or crossing any border You know what, why is LinkedIn a particularly good tool for market entry what what values can we derive from it that are particularly supporting international market entry?

Laura: You can see the size of your market in another country. And you know, not all countries use LinkedIn to the extent that the UK and US I mean us has The highest penetration. So anybody coming to the US, like absolute? You know, it’s where you need to be. And but pretty much it’s got is it more than half? Is it half a billion users? Things have been crazy, you know. And but when you’re doing a LinkedIn search, you can actually just look up the job titles, the geography, the industries, and really get a sense for who you could contact on LinkedIn. And it’ll be relevant for you, as I mentioned, going into the US. Absolutely. It makes sense but our experiences of talking to people in the US and this is probably indicative from how, how friendly you are bill we met in Lisbon, didn’t we? And, yeah, you just got randomly chatting to us because people in the states are just really friendly and open. And keen for network? Yeah, so we found that with our servers, there’s not the people in the UK are not chatty and don’t respond, you know, we’ve got lots of, you know, people selling into the UK that are doing very well with our service. But we really like it when we have clients selling into the US because people are so open.

Bill: Hmm. Very cool. Well, that’s Yeah. So, really, and it sounds like you could also use it for pre entry beginning to create some warm relationships so that maybe you could even do some market testing and so on. Is that have you found that that’s the case?

Laura: Yeah, definitely. And so we worked with one, FinTech. And they were opening up a new office in Singapore. But we got in there first with some connection messages to say, Hey, we’re opening up in Singapore. You know, let’s connect through the roof connection rates, you know, the people we’re connecting, and we actually find that and we’ve done this Same with the Nordics as well, is when your connection message says, Hey, we’re coming to your region, really welcoming, right? Actually, people are really nice, good. Yeah, you know that, of course you can join my network. You know, let me give you a hand up in my, you know, from my local town. Yeah, what’s probably our best connection type of message is, Hey, I’m coming to your area and let’s connect.

Bill: Isn’t that interesting? It’s a very intelligent way to go at it. So when you’re doing this, I would imagine you’ve been testing different messages. And you probably Yeah, you probably developed quite a matrix in terms of different personas and different types of messages. And sort of almost say I quite often when I think about this, I think of it a bit like fishing, right? you’ve, you know, the decisions somebody that fishes makes, you know, they’re, they’re first deciding what do they want to catch, which obviously is sort of the pool As the prospect, but then they figure out where they’re going to go fishing. And then of course, what bait they’re going to put in the water. And, you know, if you sort of figure out those three things, it all seems to line up pretty well. And I would imagine LinkedIn creates a really good place to do some not just the connecting, but really testing and coming up with a system you know, sort of in a process to a lot so that as a company, particularly thinking about market entry, it’s one thing you know, sort of, you know, they go you know, expand from the UK or whatever country to another, but then to be able to do it to 50 more countries is a whole nother endeavor. Right? So, and you want each one to work better and more efficiently and, and all that. So, I would imagine that’s maybe a neat opportunity as well as to really systematize

Laura: Yeah, it is and you can make so much difference. You know, you can basically have your network you can have your potential customers in like, it’s like they’re in the room with you, you know, like you’re talking to them regularly and you’re not actually in their country yet. You know, it’s, you’re, acting like you are, you know, but you haven’t gone to the expense of opening up a new office, you’re you’re talking about the fact Hey, I’m here I’m coming. We have one client who is based in Iceland and wanted to grow the business in Denmark, you know, a couple of hours away, but as different timezone two hours for this and timezone.

Laura: And, you know, now we’ve been able to grow the network. So what she was doing was going to meetings, you know, and it would be like once a month, heading over there going to meetings and we would be setting her up with those meetings each time. And now she’s actually moved there and her kids have started school in Denmark, and so Yeah, actually been part of that journey is quite exciting for us at pitch one to one. Yeah. You know, but it’s meant that she’s been able to open up that office with far less risk.

Bill: Yeah. Right. Yeah. already established. Oh, that’s wonderful. Yeah. And when, and certainly it’s always good when your customer acquisition sort of funds for market entry. It’s, it gives you a lot more flexibility for sure. But so that’s fantastic. So let’s, let’s switch gears a little bit, let’s hop into talking about both sort of the individual profiles and the company pages. Now, I would imagine, there’s quite a bit of sort of testing and science that have sort of gone into developing that and as I look at people’s profiles or company pages, they’re really in. There’s quite an array of, I guess, the way People in companies are representing themselves and some may not have been touched for years. You know, maybe it was originally put up, and we haven’t touched it. And then there are others that are very regularly posting content and, and updating and so on. So, as you look, as you’re looking to work with the company, yeah. So you have the, you know, ultimately, you’re going to need a company profile if they don’t have one. And they’re going to need, you know, the key people need individual profiles. What’s the what, how do you? Where do you begin? What’s the Yeah, how do you begin that process,

Laura: You definitely begin with the personal profile. So it’s a lot easier to connect it with a personal profile than it is to get people following your company page. So we always work with the approach, build the personal relationships, and then at a point in time, ask them to follow your company page. And so people will naturally find your company page through you being more active, and which from a sort of branding, a marketing perspective can feel a little bit like the wrong way around. You know, you think that Perhaps the brand should come first. But on LinkedIn, it definitely has to be personal profile. Then when you’re posting, basically, wherever your face turns up on LinkedIn, which is often in somebody’s inbox going, Hey, let’s connect, and they’re going to see through things, they’re going to see your profile photos. He needs to be nice and smiley and friendly-looking and not private. You know, if you’ve got a blank, you know, whatever the default is, blank, then yeah, it really affects things. And you also need to have a headline that just puts you positions you Right, so the default on LinkedIn is to copy your job title, which is usually a disaster. And obviously if you’ve got an amazing job title, key pair, but you know, award winning CEO the best company in Europe now coming to the states with a quite a good one. And yeah, we normally think of headlines in different ways, one of you got a really great profile, like a little bit of bragging, you know, or how you help the target audience or behind your sort of company, therefore, personal mission. And so that, you know, think of those sorts of things, your headline, and then the thing that we test the most is the connection message. So not forgetting your connection message cuts off. So you know, you have to click read more. And you just, we always send two versions, even though your instincts or your previous experience is telling you, this one will work better, sometimes your instincts are wrong. And so it’s always worth testing, even if it’s just like a tiny word change once you’re getting really optimized. But you can only do that if you’re actually monitoring who got what which message and who can acted on that. So, yeah, that’s, it’s a really important thing to do if you’re going to be doing this at scale, because otherwise, you could just be bouncing the wrong messages of people.

Bill: Right. So you’re tracking every message that goes out in terms of who it went to and what message do they get and then and then the results of that. Yeah,

Laura: yeah. we’re always looking at delivery action, something we’ve done, fan activity something they’ve done and measuring those against each other. But then on the profile somebody is a bit more interested. They’re going to have a look at your full profile. So then you’ve got your background photo, which is you know, often blue. And so you know, if if you’re showing that you are an expert speaker, then have you speaking if you’re showing that you are a brilliant workshop taker, then you know, have yourself in a room so that people can imagine you doing what you do best and in your role, obviously, mine is now going to change to also on this podcast.

Bill: Take a screengrab

Laura: Your about section is a really we always rewrite the about section sometimes it’s written in third person which is like a proper CV No, no like. So think about your profile and telling your target market, your target audience, your fan, you know how you can help them why you are uniquely positioned to help them above anybody else with their particular problem show empathy, say your stories or what experiences you’ve had that have got you to where you are and your belief that you you know, and you can talk about awards and things like that, but it’s more about a story and also remember that half the people are going to read this on their mobile phone. short, short sentences, get rid of the big paragraphs of text. And, and then I, you know, I’ve got no proof about how important recommendations are. I think that if somebody is getting a little bit further down The pipe and they’re thinking that they might want to work with you having like somebody who’s in the last two months, a client of yours saying how much you’ve been able to help them. And it must go a long way. It’s it’s quite sort of anecdotal my experience on that, but I think that’s an area that is really underused at the moment.

Bill: Hmm, that’s interesting. Yeah, it certainly makes sense. And I would imagine it’s a bit like the online restaurant or service provider reviews in that most of us have looked at those reviews are certainly looking at the number of stars, but we’re also looking at the number of reviewers, right. And so, you know, is this is this young enough so that it’s reliable in terms of the review of this, of this person’s recent Yes,

Laura : somebody who was your boss five years ago saying that you were great to work with is not going to be that helpful to your boss. But some of the company page, I think company pages is like one to watch for LinkedIn. It’s about putting the groundwork in now. Because they are bringing in features all the time on the company pages, they seem to be really focusing their efforts on that more than groups. We do use groups. And it’s a conversation trigger for us, you know, join our group. Thanks for joining, I noticed you did this, start a conversation but the company page, getting a follower is really quite difficult. So if you’re an admin on your company page, and you see that little line, that box that says invite your connections, invite your connections, because that turns up and then it disappears. Yeah, so make the most of that while you can. Whether it disappears because you make the most of it or not. I’m not too sure. But I don’t want to take the risk of not making the most because they’re bringing in over the next few months. The ability to do LinkedIn live On your company page. So this is an application process that you go through now. So you can do live video on your company page, then everybody who’s following your company page will get a notification. Say this is on. So that’s pretty, pretty effective. Because not very many people are doing it really makes you stand out. And the other thing is like a Facebook company page. They’re bringing in chat. Yeah. And so you know, it’s, it’s really worth getting those followers and how you get the followers is ask them, Do the tick box when that turns up, and also share your company page post with your personal network, then people get to see that company page and they start following. You should be you know it. It’s a hard slog. Yeah, the way things are going, just if you just keep doing it every week getting more and more followers, you’ll benefit from it in the long run. Right.

Bill : Right. Yeah. Well, it’s all hypothesis right? So, obviously building the personal profile really important, what are some of the best practices when it comes to the company? page in terms of what should be included on there? What are sort of some key elements?

Laura : Yes. So, you know, you can post on the company page as often as you like, we have found, and you get quite a lot of engagement. When you talk about individual team members, know somebody new on the team, this is what they do. You’ve got to make it interesting, you know, talk about what they do in their private life and add some images and posts that have, you know, three, four images on it on company pages do really well, in general videos doing really well on LinkedIn. So we think that the company page should be quite a mix of team. What your company’s doing, they can update you got new features, new clients and things like that, but also put some industry stuff in there as well. There is a tab on your company page, get as many people to be administrators as possible that, you know, then they can help to develop your company page. But there is a tab that says content suggestions. And you can then select your audience and find articles that are getting the most engagement and usually hard news, you know, your topical stuff. It’s I found that it’s not quite niche enough for us. But I think some of your audience could find that really useful. And it’s just a really quick way to find articles that you can share on your page. That one click and a comment. And you’re done. Yeah, yeah.

Bill : Cool. And so, thinking about companies that are sort of getting sort of, are more committed to sort of leveraging LinkedIn. Yeah, get all the team members to have a solid profile. Certainly setting up the company page and then we want to make sure that they’re recognized us Employees on the company. Definitely. Right. Yeah. So that’s really, I would guess important as well.

Laura : It is a one you post. Yeah, thanks. Thanks for that. Because there’s a really cool new feature on company pages, which is when you post as the administrator, you can then notify all of your employees that there is a new company page post, which only is good for employee engagement, but then that encourages them to like, comment or share that to their personal network. And I know that there are sort of actual tech companies around that will do that kind of, you know, going out to all employees. So I think it’s really great. They do not fit inside the platform now.

Bill : Right. now, it totally makes sense. And so you mentioned groups. At what point do you decide to set up a group for the company or a topic that the company might be or a constituency that the company is trying to serve?

Laura : Yeah, it’s more like creating a Personal group, which is on a topic that will be interesting to your target audience and you to be personally seen as a facilitator of discussion and networker and for it not to be like at your company branded group. Because that’s much less attractive for the people to get involved with. And you kind of it’s for your personal brand. If people see that you have a commercial interest but also a networking interest, they’re much more likely to want to speak to you and get involved. So I would say the group’s largely is quite tactical, just to help people feel more comfortable about sharing stuff with you. And eventually they become a marketing asset when people start naturally finding your group. And certainly, you know, our groups that are two years old, we’re getting to that point now. But it’s been a lot of hard work. And I would say that LinkedIn isn’t helping us with groups at the moment when we’re I would, I would suggest that you have to be prepared to put the work in and for it to be really relevant to your business. In order to start a group, you might be better off spending more of your effort on your company page, the way things are at the moment.

Bill : Got it? got it So really leverage those key resources. And I would imagine, though, participating in strong groups that other people felt is probably an interesting tactic.

Laura : Yeah, it is. And yeah, I mean, we’ve the groups where lots of different people are posting other ones more interesting people are getting more engaged with so of course, I think it comes down to the kind of content so people hate you promoting your company and groups, obviously, but you can completely promote your company in an implied way through a really good quality piece of content. So as long as you’re, you know, it does really come back to your marketing department or the content that you’re generating. is it relevant to that target? audience are they going to get value from it, and then share, share, share away. So you can join up to 50 groups, you know that that’s a lot of sharing. And all you need is for the group owner to recommend it, then it’s going to come up in your notifications, as one key thing is to try to come up in notifications. Lots of people are looking at what’s happening, because that’s where they’re getting updates from their network. And a key thing we’re doing to get into notifications is getting trending on LinkedIn. So as soon as you’re trending, you turn up on the notifications. So it would be Mills been trending for network, hashtag networking, you know, it’s got millions of followers, and it sort of associates bill with networking and so great for thought leadership and but also, it doubles the amount of views on your posts when you get trending. So yeah, that’s

Bill : Very, very cool. So um, Let’s maybe go on to talk about the term future advocate you’d use this early in our conversation. So let’s first start by defining what is a future advocate? Why what is that role.

Laura : a future advocate knows you and has over time built up enough trust that they would talk to others about you in a favorable way. And advocate, so an advocate could be a customer. And, and because you’ve done the targeting so well in the beginning, that they will be a great fit for your services, you’re going to do a good job, they’re going to get great results, and therefore they’re going to advocate you to others. But actually, in this network of people that haven’t worked with you yet, or you know, potentially will never work for you, but they are talking about you. You know, and we find that, you know it takes time but you start getting referrals from people who just kind of seen you around a bit And, you know, that’s where, you know, the people that we’re gathering we call them future advocates because we can’t say that everybody’s your advocate yet. It takes time some people will just do immediately and some people could take years. Yeah, so the future Advocacy Network is what we’re building but they’ve got to be a good fit in the first place. I think the biggest mistake that people make when it comes to their sales and their client retention is just working with the people that happen to need to buy something similar to your service at that time. And, and then because you haven’t got enough in your pipeline, you don’t say no to the business. And then you know, you do an awful job, your team get demotivated, you then you make a bad review, you know, or something terrible and it’s a downward spiral that you end up on and it all comes down to has your account management team on client retention, fed back to your sales prospecting team. What makes a perfect clients? And you know, it’s got to be joined up. And if you just sort of throw it out and see what sticks, you’re just bringing the problem, right all the way through your business.

Bill : Yeah, we tend to see a lot of our clients and just prospects even have a condition we think of as prospect creep. In other words, their definition of a prospect because of some sense of scarcity or something tends to really creep fairly quickly over time. And we’ve kind of gotten very disciplined about saying no, a prospect has only three qualities. They have a need. They have money, and they’re urgent. And if they don’t have all three, then they’re not they’re not right for us.

Laura : Yeah, but that’s where that is the difference. Seeing a prospect and a fan?

Bill : Hmm, yeah, totally.

Laura : If you come up with the mindset of thinking that everybody you speak to needs to have an urgent need right now, so you can sell to them. You just step back a bit. And you’re a,

Bill : you know, well, yeah, I mean, sure, I would buy by your definition advocates. Yeah. Not only are potentially past customers or current customers, but they’re also maybe associates or people, service providers that are complementary to what you do and all that kind of

Laura : competitors. Interesting.

Bill : Yeah.

Laura : The market is usually big enough for a few of you. And actually, you’ll all have your strengths. And if you can advocate a competitor, I think that that shows that you’re really comfortable with what you’re doing, you know, you, you’re not scared of competitors. And I actually think that you can learn so much from competitors. And it just brings the whole industry up. Yeah.

Bill : So let’s So let’s talk about future advocates and sort of how do you go through the process? I would imagine, there’s first sort of an identification and then a nurturing. So what are the what are the sort of steps in there to to develop that pool of future advocates?

Laura : Yeah. So be accurate about the accounts that you’re going after, be less accurate about those that work in those accounts. So as long as you’ve got the right companies, you’re alright. So we usually start with either a target list of companies or we do an account based search on Sales Navigator. And then we find the people that work only for those companies, and we consider them into influences and decision makers. But of course, over time, those influences can become the decision makers. And, you know, referrals are a really, really powerful way to open up a new sales opportunity because when you’ve been referred into somebody it’s weirdly more powerful than having gone in directly. Sometimes you know, because they see That, you know, if a colleague saying you should check this out, then they will do that for the sake of their colleague, at least. So yeah, we always go quite wide with the stakeholders, but tight on companies. And my advice would be in order to do that you want to get onto Sales Navigator. And it’s a bit pricey, you know, as was who I was going to convert it to dollars, but I would mess it over, you know, 70 pounds a month or something. And you can, I would also recommend that you do Boolean searches. So that’s where you’re putting keyword and or not, rather than waiting for the drop downs that happen automatically from LinkedIn. It’s like, it’s a really small change, then it’s amazing how few people do these Boolean searches. Because if you do a pool where you just take those set job titles, you’ll end up with a much smaller pool than if you do the bidding because people People have got sort of such different job titles, you know, like Director of Digital Strategy and design or something like that, you know, and so yeah, keywords and making sure you get that seniority into the job title, rather than the seniority as a selection box. So you can use Boolean searches in the companies that is unreliable. And from my mistake, there are so many companies that are called the same name. So yet don’t do that. And you can also do put Boolean into the keywords. Keyword search, if you use on its own, it’s really inaccurate because it’s finding those keywords anywhere on the profile. So it could be like a previous job or something like that. In combination with the right account, and the job title, then actually, it can give you ideas about the sort of experience or and their focus. So if you want to really narrow it down, you can use Boolean in the keywords. One way that we also narrow down as two more ways are the most active on LinkedIn. You know, if you’ve got like 10,000 people you could contact then you may as well go for the 2000 that are the most active to start with people are more active depending on how their month is. And then the other thing is people tend it does vary this, we keep testing it, and it’s not conclusive, but more times than not second connections are more likely to connect them connections. So, do that filter as well.

Bill :Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, the closer they are relationally to you, they Yeah, the easier they are. Yeah. So let’s maybe shift gears and this has been such great information. And I think you know, the one thing we see a lot of today is probably people not putting the right message out and And maybe having poor etiquette on LinkedIn. You know, people behaving badly, I would say,

Laura : Is that going on?

Bill : Yeah, And so it’d be great to talk a little bit about sort of the sort of things that you see that probably challenge successful relationship building on LinkedIn. And then we can talk about sort of what you see as the best practices. But let’s talk about what’s what do you see is sort of the big challenges for people who are endeavoring to create good relationships on LinkedIn.

Laura : Yeah, it’s standing out. There’s so much noise happening on the platform compared to before, you know, you just have to show like the one that you can stand out, it just takes time and effort. And so you need to show that you’ve like looked at their profile, you got to show interest in them, you got to find a way you can help them and then there is value in connecting. You know, the biggest mistake that you see is you just send out Thousand connection requests a day, then, you know, you maybe you get 100 people connecting, and then you get slammed with a sales message without, you know, and you know, it’s the I know because I get competitors to us obviously doing this. So, you know, I know there’s a lot of it going on, because if they’d done proper profiling they would realize that was the wrong person to sell to a man a chaser and have you seen as chaser they’re not giving you than adding any value. They’re just chasing, chasing. And it’s a bit of a shame really, because it means that people get turned off from the platform. Because some people are doing it badly. It means that when you do it well you do stand out.

Bill : Yeah, I the most frequent messages I get are either for lead generation, or they’re for website or SEO type work and some type of development work and yeah, it’s it’s It’s amazing the volume of those messages that are coming through and it’s I kind of a baby helped me here I almost analogize it like going to a country where you don’t speak the language and being in a restaurant, and you know, ordering a meal and you know, you’re sort of communicating to the waiter or waitress and, and of course, if they don’t speak English being an ignorant American and my one language and my only sort of an I immediately show my ignorance be because the only way I can get them to understand me is to speak louder. And yeah, that that’s, that seems to be the way a lot of marketing goes today is, you know, if you don’t, if somebody doesn’t understand you, or they don’t react, then you just, you speak louder and you you hit them more often, and it seems like

Laura : it’s all about personalization. And actually, you can still do things at volume and you can still use too And as long as you do it in a really nice way and you taking the time, right, so what’s a lot of things that we’re experimenting with is finding a variable that is really personal to them, so that we know what their last post was. We know how many likes they got on that post. We know how long ago that was. And so it was ages ago, then, you know, say, Hey, I was looking at this post noticed it was three months ago. Would you like any help with being more active?

I saw this post, you’ve got loads of engagement. That’s fantastic. I’m curious, how many views did you get? Because we know we might be able to help increase the views? No, you could if you’re selling into big enterprises, often in the news, you could be saying, you know, hey, I was going to get in touch and I just read this article today. And, you know, I thought it might be worth speaking about that. So and it means you, you know, you’re doing using all the tools and technology but you’re still spending the time upfront. To find out what is that personalization that you should put in and you can get more creative and just sticking somebody’s name in. It takes a bit more time, but you get a better conversion rate, more responses and more replies from it, then it’s completely worth it. And you know, and I think that the, the, you know, what’s going on with those kind of messages that you’re getting is, they’re annoying people, but they don’t care because there’s always more people to contact. And you just have to be really, really careful to not do that if you’ve got a limited audience base.

Bill : So if I were going to summarize the best practices from what you’ve talked about in terms of communication, number one is be real specific in terms of who you’re trying to connect to. And then to it sounds like it’s personalized the message to something that’s important for them, or or relevant to them and test. Yeah, yeah. So what are their additional Things that we want to make sure that people know about in terms of, you know, best practices in terms of communication.

Laura : Yeah. And track everything. So if you’ve already asked them to follow your company page, and you don’t track that you’ve asked them. Yeah. And you asked them again, that’s a bit annoying. And just to make sure that you if you’re doing anything, which is app volume, you know, like, if you’re sending 100 messages, just test everything. Because I mean, we have gone from really poor results to fantastic results, just from the perseverance of test this against this, this against this, this incremental changes that we, we know makes a difference.

Bill : Yeah, yeah. No, that’s, that’s it. That’s sort of test measure, iterate, test, measure, iterate, yeah, keep it and, ya know, just that makes so much sense. And I would imagine, you know, thinking about the types of companies that can really balance By leveraging LinkedIn, as you said off the top, you know, really looking at where your sale is strategic, where it’s conceptual, where it’s relationship oriented. And where it’s sort of a multi step and maybe multi influenced process is probably the idea. It sounds like the ideal scenario for leveraging LinkedIn and, and also, you know, as you said, off the top was the, the idea of of market entry, you can really have a strategy that helps you sort of warm the market and maybe even give you some early wins. Yeah, so that so that you’re sort of entering a lot further advanced than you would be otherwise.

Laura : And if you’ve got a sort of limited number of companies you’ve gone out to you don’t have to do mass marketing mass advertising to the whole of the industry. engaging with multiple stakeholders in a smaller number of companies, you’re kind of becoming famous. Yeah, within those companies as an A little bit of LinkedIn advertising or some Facebook advertising onto that, and you just, it’s super targeted to the same companies. You’re just you seem a lot bigger than you are. You know, so I would just say it’s absolutely ideal for Super targeted, you know, just really penetrate into those companies that you that can basically bring you into the country, you know, it’s, you know, you end up closing that dream client that actually, you know, will make it a success. And,

Bill : Yeah, well, I know where we need to finish up. It seems like there are so many more opportunities. I think, you know, other things that maybe would be great in a future conversation, you know, talking about using LinkedIn for competitive intelligence or developing strategic partners, it seems like there are many more ways that this tool and platform can be leveraged. And yeah. Would you come back at some point and maybe help us talk through those issues?

Laura : I’d be delighted. Thanks.

Bill : So my sense is there’ll be people interested in connecting with you and asking more questions, and maybe even learning more about pitch one to one. What’s the best way for folks to get a hold of you?

Laura : Send me a connection message.

Bill: Yeah, there you go. Connect with you on LinkedIn.

Laura : Yeah. Say I saw you a Bill’s podcast. I’ve heard you have a podcast. Let’s connect and then we can take it from there.

Bill : That sounds brilliant. Well, Laura, this has been such a pleasure. Thank you for taking time to this just for those that are listening. We’re recording this on Valentine’s Day. I’m keeping Laura from her date this late afternoon. So certainly appreciate it. Thank your husband for us for allowing you to spend time with us today.

Laura : We’ll do. Bill been a pleasure. Thank you very much.

Bill : Oh, thank you. Really appreciate your time. Bye. Bye bye. Thank you for joining us on today’s podcast. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or we can be of any service like us. If you’d like to stay in the know on current episodes.


About
MEET (meetroi.com) helps international B2B growth companies soft-land and scale in the U.S. through trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward.  Contact Bill Kenney for a no-obligation conversation: bill@meetroi.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.