Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hey healthcare sales exec, can you please read LinkedIn profiles carefully?

I could have written a rant how healthcare sales executives are using LinkedIn to prospect. But in thinking it over, I decided to provide some helpful tips for using LinkedIn for becoming more sales productive.

And maybe in the process stop getting useless, poorly targeted, as well as disjointed sales emails and calls. Oh and this goes for their employing companies too.

Now that being said, I get that currency for being on LinkedIn is relationships, connections, networking and the ability to prospect. I am okay with that.  What I am not okay with is the seemingly increased amount of inappropriate prospecting that is going on from sales execs.
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I am a marketing guy that is a Miller Heiman alumnus and Huthwaite SPIN trained as well. I also pride myself on having integrated sales and marketing in healthcare vendors. The end results were that marketing improved, sales improved, revenue and market share grew. Sales and marketing teams went from “if the feet-on-the-street would just sell as we said”, and “marketing just makes things look pretty” to highly collaborative, productive and successfully integrated operations.

Tip 1:

Pay attention to the profile. Carefully read what they are saying in their intro. Clearly understand their current employment status and industry. Pay attention to the groups they belong too. What companies are they following? Read any post and view their recent activity. All of the above will provide you with the clues to decide if that person is even a viable prospect.

Tip 2:

With all due respect to Richard Ogilvie, think the man in the chair to understand who we are. Answer those questions before hand and you will be more successful on LinkedIn and stop wasting so much of your time and mine. It may be old, but it’s still true today.

Tip 3:

When contacting someone, please write in English that is spell checked and grammatically correct. Enough said.

Tip 4:

When requesting me to make an introduction, how about a compelling reason on why I should take the time out of my day to help you?  Why should I risk my reputation and credibility on you and your product or service? It’s a simple request. I am not looking for payment or a quid pro quo.  Just a rock solid reason on why I should take that action.

Tip 5:

Don’t tell me what to do. Now that’s an easy one.  Emails that request an action or provide information for your benefit to selling me something go to the recycle bin. I especially like the cold calls and emails from the data list sellers. Please tell where in my profile you see that at this current time with my employment status that I need to buy an email or mail list of anything?

Tip 6:

Make it about me. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, but it has to acknowledge in some form what’s important to me and how you can solve my business challenge. If you paid attention to my profile and the attendant activity you can pretty much figure out what is important to me and the issues that are keeping my up at night.  Make your introduction along these points of interest.  Not about what you are selling.

Tip 7:

Find a sales mentor in your company. Someone that is proficient at using LinkedIn and social media for that matter. Learn from them on how to use LinkedIn properly for prospecting and outreach.  Using LinkedIn to find prospects is an activity. I do have to admit that it looks great on your management reports. Using LinkedIn is not an outcome. Don’t confuse the two. To all vendor sales leadership, please help them out! It reflects just as much on the brand as it does the sales.

Tip 8:

Don’t argue with me!  I especially dislike the phone call that starts with “Hello Michael we are connected” on LinkedIn and then proceed to tell me about what they need.  Then the argument starts when I ask the simple question of did they read my LinkedIn profile and from understanding that what made them think that I was interested in whatever? I don’t mind the calls when someone has paid attention and what they have or want is relevant.

Tip 9:

Respond to me.   I understand sales compensation and the hard work it takes to be successful sales, person. Sales are not easy. Know that I try to be courteous and respectful of your time and efforts so that you don’t waste your time on a prospect that will bring little economic value for your efforts at this time.

When I respond to your email that I am not interested, or the offer isn’t relevant to me at this time, do yourself a big favor and respond with a thanks for letting me know. Today’s no interest no sale may be tomorrow’s client as things change. 

Tip 10:

Pay attention and act accordingly.  Now is that so hard?

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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