Sales People – Use LinkedIn or Get Canned

LinkedIn for Sales

This is my inaugural blog post, and while I certainly wont impress you with the prolific ability to output great content at a steady pace like Pam Marketing Nut, my goal is to get out at least one post per month.  It may be more if I get riled up about something, but generally I just complain when that happens, so I am “eating my own dog food” and following a content strategy that has been established and mandated by the marketing team here.  If you aren’t doing this for your organization right now, start.  Right now.

The reason I decided to kick my blogging career off with a post on LinkedIn is that I am a sales guy at heart, and LinkedIn is a prospectors holy grail.  You heard it, the hunting mecca of business whales, the land of plenty for cold calling and relationships.  All in one spot.

We have the pleasure of doing a lot of consultation on marketing and social media strategy, and find that with most of our clients, there is this fringe group of sales professionals in each organization that are very interested in the social media marketing efforts.  As you would imagine, these folks are generally the highest performers, and that is for a reason.  I will share more on that a couple paragraphs down.

I can proudly say that I was an early adopter of LinkedIn and can remember getting harassed by others on my team (my boss included) about “wasting my time” making friends online.  That is creeping up quickly on 10 years ago, and I am glad I stuck in there.

Since that time, I have closed easily $1MM+ in revenue driven by contacts and relationships grown via LinkedIn.  I have never had to look for a new job, they were in front of me everyday and continue to find me weekly.  I know exactly what is going on with my clients, competitors, and prospects.  All in a free (disclaimer, I pay the upgraded monthly fee) tool.

Because I feel so passionate about this subject, I normally try to teach a “LinkedIn for Sales Professionals” class for each of our clients we have on retainer at low cost.  It has proven valuable to everyone that has taken the class, but also has opened my eyes to the number of sales “professionals” that aren’t even on LinkedIn.

I have been frankly shocked at the number of organizations I have walked into that less than 10% of their sales staff is on LinkedIn, or engaging on it if they are.

Are you one of those people?  Are there members on your sales staff that are these people?

If so, here is the long and short of it.  From a sales and prospecting perspective, if you are not actively using LinkedIn to foster and build relationships, you are decreasing your close ratio, taking money from your company and yourself and robbing yourself of relationships.  Not only relationships with current and prospective clients, but future opportunities for yourself and career.

I have a challenge for you if you lead a sales organization.  Train your team on LinkedIn, and tell them they need to leverage its power.  If they as individuals are not setup on and leveraging LinkedIn 6 months from that point, fire them.  If they cant take orders from their leadership they should be fired anyway, however, those that are able to follow the directive will deliver more success in your numbers and pipeline than you have ever seen.

LinkedIn for Sales Teams6 Simple Components of Making LinkedIn Work for You: 

 1.  Get your own profile (with photo, and not of you in your Speedo) updated to 100%.  Do a search, there is a massive amount of information to help you get your profile to 100% completion.

2. Gain a deep understanding of the “advanced search” capabilities within LinkedIn.  This is how you find the money.

3. Learn how to “follow” and do it.  Follow competitors, prospects, and clients and pay attention to open roles, and who is coming and leaving the organization.

4. Join groups that make sense for your objectives, and INTERACT!  Just like a networking group in real life, joining means nothing if you don’t leverage the relationships and provide real value to do such.

5. Understand and start using the “Q/A” section in LinkedIn.  Become an expert.  If you are selling a specific product or service, I would hope you have become an expert.  Act like it, and answer some questions.  Prospecting into a new niche?  Ask some questions!

6. Don’t play “the victim”.  It’s never too late!  If you are an old school salesperson that still has 10-15 years left in your career, you better figure it out or you will be essentially overlooked for roles you have been qualified for the past 20+ years.  This isn’t rocket science, hunker down and figure it out.

That’s it for now.  Give me your feedback, and any other ways you have found to be successful with LinkedIn.  Make it work for you as one more lead funnel and relationship channel.


Happy Selling!




About the Author:

With a 15+ year background as an executive in the digital marketing space, Josh has a unique view of the business and social ecosystem. Josh has worked with teams in the technical development trenches up to the board level at entrepreneur up to Fortune 50 firms to deliver the quality of care his clients deserve and expect. Some of Josh’s areas of expertise are ROI measurement, Social Media Consulting and Execution, Reputation Management, Cooperative Database Marketing, Marketing Database Management, Web and Social Media Analytics, On-line Marketing, CRM, E-Commerce and E-Mail Marketing. He speaks regularly on these subjects, and leads many clients down the path to on-line success. Josh has a deep belief that “people buy from people”, and the technology to support the relationship is simply a tool. If you cant find Josh working with his wife Pam (aka PamMarketingNut) or enjoying time with their boys in sunny Florida, you will likely find him fishing the flats of Tampa Bay for Redfish, Snook, or Tarpon.


  1. MktgNutz June 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    @Kelly_Lynch Thanks Kelly! @JoshRoinut definitely wrote that one from the heart!

  2. MktgNutz June 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @SteveCassady thanks Steve!

  3. JoshROINut June 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @SteveCassady thank you for sharing Steve!

  4. MktgNutz June 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

    @socialmouths Thanks a mill Francisco!! How’s your weekend?

  5. MktgNutz June 11, 2012 at 12:16 am

    @janetcallaway thank you Janet! You rock sistah!

  6. MktgNutz June 11, 2012 at 12:17 am

    @kathikruse thanks Ms Kathi! How is your weekend? Hope you got some time off!

    • kathikruse June 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

      @MktgNutz My pleasure! Still recovering from my week in NYC at BlogWorld. Hope you had a good weekend!

  7. JoshROINut June 11, 2012 at 12:17 am

    @kathikruse thanks for sharing Kathi!

    • kathikruse June 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

      @JoshROINut My pleasure Josh!

  8. janetcallaway June 11, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Congratulations on your inaugural blog, Josh. What you say makes sense and is easy to implement. Whal done.

    • joshroinut June 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

       @janetcallaway Thanks very much!  I have a pretty good coach.  🙂  It has been a lot of fun, and I have enjoyed watching it make people think about it (especially sales people).  I am sure you are in the same spot as us, but many times what seems like second nature to you can be of immense value to others.  Hope to see you on #getrealchat this week!

    • PamMktgNut June 23, 2012 at 1:30 am

       @janetcallaway Thanks for welcoming @JoshROINut  Janet! Appreciate you stopping by and taking time to comment. 

  9. lifesizesupport June 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    @jontracey good article

  10. MktgNutz June 13, 2012 at 4:01 am

    @clarktaylor Thanks so much for sharing @JoshRoiNut’s post. We are a fan of your content as well! Keep up the great work!

  11. Karl Gibson June 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Congratulations on your post. You make solid, enthusiastic points. I have found LinkedIn to be valuable for overall editorial reach to an extent. However, a lot of sales pitches/prospecting that I encounter via LinkedIn is done poorly: jumbled, busy, link-overkill in e-mails where the objective is obfuscated by too many links and no clear message; prospective sales people connecting as ‘Friends’ when you’ve had no such relationship with them, despite the drop-box LinkedIn has that would allow them to list a professional prior connection with you if there was one. I get pitched, esp. by authors, musicians, filmmakers and writers but when I ask for information I could help them with, there’s very little follow-up. These aren’t the majority, but it happens far too often.
    People who prospect you as ‘Friends’ when they’re random associates smacks of someone wanting to mine your connections and it’s tacky. People know when they’re being ‘handled’ and farm-sourced by social media spazzes. In addition to LinkedIn, I always suggest Google Alerts for those who need to bone up on history or details of what people do/have done professionally beyond LinkedIn profiles. Educated outreach with basic rules of how to build relationships on LinkedIn is necessary or else you’re just bombarded with quantity and greasy pitches thrown at you to see what sticks. I’ve worked for The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times Media Group- I’ve been pitched for years and I am all for it and for connections. I respect it but most don’t know how to do it on LinkedIn.

    • joshroinut June 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

       @Karl Gibson Your response is a thing of beauty!  Yes, I agree that many people just simply dont know how to connect properly.  The old canned LinkedIn message doesnt work for me if I dont already know you.  If you dont know me, I would love to connect, just tell me “why you, and why now”.  Like – Hi Karl – I see we share XX group, and it looks like we have a lot of connections in common.  Wanted to extend an invite to connect and get to know you better.  Please let me know if I can ever help you with my contacts or in any other way.”  
      Your example of Google Alerts is alse really powerful.  I teach a LinkedIn 201 class where we share how to use Google Alerts in unison with LinkedIn for a very powerful effect.  
      Really enjoyed hearing from you, and will send you a LinkedIn invite!  Will you accept?  Have a great day.

      • Karl Gibson June 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm

         @joshroinut Absolutely I’ll accept! Thanks again for your post. I’m always more than glad to help others in my professional capacity when I can, so your tips for people new to the LinkedIn landscape are needed. I think the pressures for sales people, especially, can lead to those common mistakes. We’re all guilty of canned invites from time to time but a little homework for people learning the medium is invaluable. Your tip for 100% updated profiles is huge – I was on LinkedIn as ‘Freelance’ when I was in between gigs two years ago. A lot of people don’t want to lose brand recognition and  so they leave outdated current jobs on their profiles – if they can’t be contacted because they don’t work there anymore, the missed opportunities are vast.  Thanks for letting me share and will look for your invite. Continued best to you!

    • PamMktgNut June 23, 2012 at 1:33 am

       @Karl Gibson I see this a lot too Karl. One of the funniest msgs I received on LinkedIn was a few wks ago. The woman literally sent me a msg immediately after I accepted her invite that only had the words “let me know if you are interested.” Note, I did not know her, she had not introduced herself to me, nor told me what I should be interested in.  I then sent her a note and asked specifically “am I interested in WHAT?”  Her response was only a link to her website with the words “this”.  Priceless and case study in fail.  Needless to say I did NOT click thru.  Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment.  Agree with all of your points. 

  12. AnneKilraine June 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    @markwschaefer @MktgNutz Love the new blog. Smart info. Everyone works in sales one way or the other!

  13. Steve Marx June 14, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Hi Josh, I arrived at your site Via Pam (twitter automation of a sort)      and give a thumbs up on the first post.
    Should be interesting to see more posts.
    I’ll be back
    Steve Marx

    • joshroinut June 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm

       @Steve Marx Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you again.  I am formulating one as I write this, so hope my second will be as valuable as the first.  Let us know via Twitter, Facebook or any of our other platforms what you would like to hear us write about.  Have a great week!

  14. JohnRichardBell June 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Welcome to the world of blogging, Josh. Great start. Beware; it can be addictive. I’m betting you’ll esurpass one post per month.

    • joshroinut June 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

       @JohnRichardBell I sure hope so!  It has been a lot of fun sharing the conversation with people and feels great to be heard.  I think I may be a blogging addict after all!  And you are correct, I am working on my follow up to this one now.  Thanks for reading my stuff, and for the encouragement.  Have an amazing week!

    • PamMktgNut June 23, 2012 at 1:29 am

       @JohnRichardBell You’re exactly right John.  He’s already got a list of ideas! Great to see you around these parts 😉 One of these days soon we do need to talk in real life! I have much respect for your work and experience and all we can learn from you. 

  15. sangereby June 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    @PamMktgNut @MktgNutz @JoshROINut LinkedIn is an awesome way to turn cold calls into warm ones; this is spot-on!

  16. EastValleyGuide June 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    @PamMktgNut @mktgnutz @joshroinut thanks Pam for tweeting that article, thanks Josh for writing it, great advice and tips.

    • PamMktgNut June 15, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      @EastValleyGuide @mktgnutz @joshroinut pleasure! Happy to hear you received value from it!

  17. MktgNutz June 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    @gmansoor thanks so much for the share!

  18. Mike_BostonMBA June 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    @PamMktgNut @MktgNutz this is the truth!

  19. SpitToonsSaloon June 23, 2012 at 1:39 am

    @PamMktgNut A toast: Here’s 2 less multitasking, and trying 2 do it all, and 2 more keeping our eye on the ball. (;>))

    • PamMktgNut June 23, 2012 at 1:41 am

      @SpitToonsSaloon That’s exactly what I did this week. Learning to say “no” to more. Carving out more time for fam, life, God, community!

      • SpitToonsSaloon June 23, 2012 at 1:42 am

        @PamMktgNut (;>)) (;>))

  20. jmaysIMC July 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Super True! RT @BoKnowsMarkting Sales People… Use LinkedIn or Get Canned —>

  21. MktgNutz July 19, 2012 at 3:17 am

    @jpcheno Thanks Jean-Paul!

  22. rm6290 September 18, 2012 at 1:24 am

    hi mike. What level of subscription to LinkedIN do you recommend

    • joshroinut September 18, 2012 at 8:55 am

       @rm6290 Hi RM-  If you are really going to dig in, and want to do searches, the Sales Basic package is great.  It is about 20 bucks a month.  If you dont have very many connections in a specific vertical you are trying to penetrate, and are running into roadblocks when trying to research or reach out, the Sales Navigator may be the best way to go.  It is twice the price (40 per month), but the ROI may be really good if you close one deal from it!  I would suggest using your free membership first, really DIG into LinkedIn.  They have excellent training resources and support.  Once you find an area that you feel like a paid membership will advance your ability to prospect better, or close business, then pay.  But not until then.  Hope this helps!

  23. rm6290 September 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks for the advice Josh

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