Top 3 Reasons LinkedIn Navigator Strategies Fail
Most LinkedIn Sales Navigator strategies failed in 2015, and I know why. Let's quickly understand why most small, medium-sized and large corporations see poor results when investing in LinkedIn social selling via Navigator — and what you can do to thrive in 2016.
These are the three reasons why most Navigator strategies fail:
- Inappropriate training: Sales training focuses on technical LinkedIn know-how — instead of effective communications methodology.
- Experimentation with InMail: Sellers use InMail as a message testing ground — rather than testing in a less costly and restricted environment (standard email).
- Misguided content/messaging: Sellers use inappropriate message structure and follow-up cadence — rather than sparking replies by planting questions in minds of potential buyers.
No. 1: Select Communications-focused Sales Navigator Training
Navigating LinkedIn itself is not simple. But learning how to get around the Navigator platform is the entry fee.
The force multiplier is a communications methodology that is simple, effective and repeatable.
Don't get me wrong. Sellers should be trained on how to use Navigator's interface. LinkedIn has free video training resources for customers. YouTube tutorials also come in handy.
But make sure you/your team is trained on how to communicate in ways that produce response and meeting requests.
Yes, make sure your team is expert at using LinkedIn Navigator's search tools when prospecting in a territory or industry vertical. Yes, they should know how to listen / monitor news tidbits about prospects. They should use Navigator's ability track comments, posts and updates made by prospects.
However, the key to earning appointments with Navigator is communicating in ways that provoke potential buyers' curiosity in what you/your team is selling.
Not just knowing how to use Navigator's interface.
Beware. As Anthony Iannarino says, “The curriculum for many social selling programs is not in line with what really needs to happen.”
No. 2: Don't Use InMail as a Testing Ground
InMail is one of LinkedIn's most attractive offerings for sales prospecting. But many sellers start off on the wrong foot — using InMail as an email message testing ground. They jump in head first, yet are not able to generate the minimum 40 percent response rate to make InMail work.
The results are costly and frustrating—leading to abandonment of what can be an effective prospecting tool.
Make sure you are good at provoking conversations using email messages before you start sending InMail.
InMail is not the best place to test your email prospecting prowess because InMail:
- costs serious money, it's expensive;
- has limits (there are restrictions on how many InMail messages you can send).
Every InMail is gold. Even if your employer/client pays for it.
I see a lot of sellers becoming frustrated because InMail places so much pressure on how well an email message is written — how well it sparks replies.
You/your team need to be exceptionally good at generating response before you start with InMail. If you're not it risks becoming turned-off to prospecting in general.
Instead, experiment until you develop expertise in provoking response at least 40% of the time using standard email.
Yes, 40 percent.
Then bring that successful approach to the realm of InMail.
InMail should be used as a supplemental touch to a tele-prospecting and email campaign. It should be one facet of a prospecting approach that surrounds the target.
There is one exception: Canadian sellers tend to rely more on InMail when worried about CASL compliance.
Alex Castle of Magnetic North agrees. Before I met him, he was blowing through his InMails getting next to no response. Today he's practicing outside InMail and perfecting — then bringing the technique into the realm of InMail.
“I decided to save my InMail credits till I invested in a bit of training. That said, my response rate was almost none existent and I’m not surprised judging by my original emails.”
Today Alex has his response rate up to 50 percent and is making gains on that number. All because he stopped asking for appointments in the first message and committed to trying a new approach.
As a bonus, Alex says he now has, “a framework which could be applying to any prospect and easily followed every time.”
No. 3: Structure Messages to Provoke Immediate Response
Most sellers are using inappropriate message structure and follow-up cadence — resulting in poor response and lack of appointments. Most “first touch” prospecting messages suffer from deletion because of:
- subject lines that provide too much detail about message content
- message content that is self-centered and request appointments too soon
- too much information about the seller's solution, too fast
The job of your subject line is to spark curiosity about its contents. This gets the email opened. Most subject lines sellers are writing today are way too specific about what is inside the message.
This will kill your chances every time.
Even when subject lines are short, sweet and provocative enough to earn an open most sellers are using too many references to themselves. One litmus test you can apply (right now) is counting the “I'” “we” and “my” usage in the message copy.
This is the first step in realizing how self-centered your message is — so you can fix it.
Instead, talk exclusively about the prospect. Sounds obvious, right? But it's rarely practiced to the extent that you see here in this example.
Subject line: Just like Panera
Panera Bread is increasing sales over 66% for their most important menu items — over 40% for others and over 24% for desserts. All with just a $40/mo investment. Would you like to hear about their unusual (but effective) approach to making this happen?
In the interest of time would a short email conversation make sense — to see if a detailed conversation is worthwhile? Let me know what you decide, Susan.
Thanks for considering,
Keep it short. Brief, blunt, basic. Just like you're on a date, don't forget to create curiosity in the other person by dangling a carrot. In this case, the Panera Bread success story provokes the reader to think, “how are they doing that, exactly... what is this unusual but effective approach?”
It creates questions in the mind of the potential buyer. Even if they're not in “buying mode” at this moment.
Perhaps most important, never ask for an appointment in your first touch email. Doing so literally eliminates perfectly good leads that are not in buying mode yet. Instead, provoke a reply based on a pain, fear, goal or desire.
Develop a writing approach that gets you invited into a conversation. One you can help guide toward — or away from — your solution.
Yes, away from what you sell too. This way email works as a filtering device. In fact, prospects qualify and disqualify themselves faster — so you avoid wasting time warming up bad leads.
Now you know why most LinkedIn Sales Navigator strategies fail — and what you can do to thrive in 2016. Good luck and let me know what your experiences have been in comments!