How B2B Marketers Can Leverage LinkedIn the Right Way
LinkedIn is undoubtedly an excellent platform where B2B marketing professionals and their sales counterparts can engage, connect, and interact with members of their target audience. How can they leverage LinkedIn so that they can position themselves strategically amidst all the “digital noise”, make genuine connections, and build relationships successfully?
On this week’s episode, we talk to Candyce Edelen (President/CEO, PropelGrowth) about why B2B marketers and salespeople should get comfortable using LinkedIn, what mistakes to avoid, and how they can develop better (not more) content that will resonate as well as generate the right responses from target audiences.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Candyce Edelen
Christian Klepp 00:00
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discussed our thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp. All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast, where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. I’m your host Christian Klepp. And today, I would like to welcome a guest into the show, who is on a mission to teach marketers to establish real relationships (gasp) shocker with their target audience on LinkedIn so they know, like, and trust you. Read my lips “no bots”. Coming to us live from Fort Collins, Colorado. Candyce Edelen, welcome to the show.
Candyce Edelen 00:57
Thank you for having me. Hashtag no bots. (laugh)
Christian Klepp 01:03
It’s so great to be connected, Candyce, and I really enjoyed our previous conversation, and we probably should have recorded that one too. But um, let’s jump in. I think this is gonna be a lot of fun.
Candyce Edelen 01:14
Yeah, I’m looking forward to this. Thanks for having me.
Christian Klepp 01:17
Right. So let’s get started. So Candyce, you’ve been in different B2B marketing and sales roles throughout your career. And you’ve really made it your mission, I’m going to, I’m going to say that again. You’ve made it your mission to help professionals leverage LinkedIn the right way. All right. So and your hashtag on LinkedIn really says it all. Like hashtag no bots. Right? So talk to us about why you believe it’s such an advantage for B2B marketing teams and their sales counterparts to get comfortable working or interacting and leveraging LinkedIn.
Candyce Edelen 01:49
Okay. So, you know, it used to be that LinkedIn was just kind of a channel in my mindset. And I think everybody you know, it’s like, in the early days of social media, and content marketing, it’s like, okay, you publish a blog, and you go, and you promote it on LinkedIn, you promote it on Twitter, you promoted on Facebook, and whatever other social channel, and you throw it out there. And if you’re a member of groups on LinkedIn, you throw it into all those groups too. And then you go away and go, Okay, that was done, you know, next and it was just a channel to push your content out. And, and for a while, that worked, you know, it wasn’t, it’s not that that methodology was dead wrong at the time. But this is particularly true, I think, on LinkedIn. But it’s, it’s also true on other channels that they’ve evolved. And you’ve looked more toward engagement on those channels, rather than just pushing content out. So I think that the way to do social media in general has changed a lot in the last four to five years. I have stopped trying to learn every channel because it can be pretty sophisticated to learn just one channel, like how does the algorithm work, and what’s gonna move the needle in that channel, because every algorithm is different. So I’ve tended to kind of focus on LinkedIn. But I think that from a B2B perspective, marketers in almost every industry would find LinkedIn to be a really, really powerful tool, if they would just learn to leverage it properly. And take the leash off of the rest of the organization, to let the rest of the organization get out there and take a point of view and engage on LinkedIn. It takes work though, there’s no easy button, and I think a lot of people expect an easy button.
Christian Klepp 03:54
That’s absolutely right. And, you know, you’re brought up a point, which begs the question, why do you think they’re still… I wouldn’t say a lot, but they’re still resistance, you know, when it comes to leveraging LinkedIn, in the way that you’ve just described, like, why are marketers in these B2B organizations still hesitant to put themselves out there or to get even their teams to be a little bit more engaging and put out content? Like why do you think that is?
Candyce Edelen 04:21
I think it’s complicated. Um, you know, in many cases, there’s… everybody’s really busy. So to do well in social media takes time. It takes some focused effort. It doesn’t take hours and hours a day, but it does take some focused effort and paying attention to the details of what you’re doing. And you know, a lot of us are spending a lot of plates and that becomes pretty difficult to add this plate, keep it spinning consistently. And usually, you know, prospecting in general for a sales team is usually the first plate that gets dropped. Marketers are constantly trying to do lead generation. But when we’re working in a lot of channels, sometimes it gets easier to just publish content and keep pushing stuff out, rather than thinking about how do we engage people on LinkedIn. Plus, you know, there’s a lot of thought leadership out there that’s been going on for decades, you know, from the marketing automation platforms and the other martech, that you should be able to automate this kind of outreach, you should be able to do a one to many, and still create a dialogue. I remember back when we were early partners with Marketo, we were talking about the idea of creating a dialogue in marketing. But we weren’t really creating a dialogue, we were creating content and hoping people would click on it, and maybe they would click to go look at the next thing. But we weren’t asking them for a response, we weren’t actually trying to get them to reply to our emails and engage with them, we just wanted them to click until they reached a score that we can hand them over to sales, and then suddenly, they’re supposed to be a qualified lead. That’s not the kind of engagement that people I think, want and expect. But it’s also not the kind of engagement that gives you true insight into what your customers are trying to do. You can only really get that insight if you talk to them, you know, this idea that you can make data-driven decisions. And that’s all you need to drive your marketing. And especially in account based strategy is data, I think it’s a really misplaced assumption. Yes, data is helpful, but look at how that’s working out for Zillow right now. You know, you really need that on the ground insight that you can’t get from just looking at data.
Christian Klepp 06:47
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. You know, it goes back to the whole question about like, you know, being a numbers game or what have you. Right. But um, you know, you brought up something, which was a great segue into the next question, which is about like mistakes and misconceptions that B2B marketers make on LinkedIn, and what they should do to address these, but just give me a second because I got to rub my cheek because it’s a little bit sore from all that pitch slopping. So… (laugh) sorry, over to you. Don’t mind me. (laugh)
Candyce Edelen 07:10
So the pitch slapping just (laugh) just drives me crazy. So for anybody who doesn’t know what we’re talking about, we’re talking about the bots on LinkedIn, that they send you a connection request, that’s a spammy salesy connection request, and you accept it, and they immediately start automating messages to you. And honestly, I mean, that used to work. The methodology was you can automate this process using any kind of tool out there, I think he recently had a guest on that has one of those tools. And the idea is you send out a connection request that’s quasi-personalized. And then, you know, it’s like, you know, “Hey, first name, I noticed that you are title at company name. And I’d like to connect with you.” Okay, first of all, I know who I am. And I know what my title is, you don’t actually have to inform me of that in LinkedIn. And like, that doesn’t do anything. When, when this functionality first came out, that was pretty unusual. And so people thought, Oh, you actually read my profile, click Accept, right. But then what happened was, then they would send an automated message of, you know, hey, since thanks for connecting with me, Christian, you know, I bet you’d be interested in this article, we just published. Content drop. And then a week later, Hey, Christian, since you were so interested in that last article that I just sent you, you’d be interested in this one, too, Content drop. Now, of course, we’ve no insight about whether you clicked that last Content drop or not. So we’re just assuming, and then now you know, another week goes by, Hey, Christian, thanks for you know, all of your interest and all of this content I’m sending. Here’s another article that I’m sure you’ll be interested in, Content drop. And then week four, Hey, Christian, since you’re so interested in all this content, then we should have a meeting so I can sell it to you, you know, you’re obviously interested in my stuff. And you know, and because we kind of think about volume when we’re doing spam bots like this, you know, we think, Okay, well, if I can put out 1000 of these messages and get three or four people that will take a meeting with me, then that’s a good result. Because that’s the results we expect on email. The thing is that LinkedIn is so completely different than email that it’s just pissing people off. And the more it’s happening, and the more volume we’re getting with this pitch slapping behavior, the more aggravated we get, because it’s like right now, the DM channel on LinkedIn is like the one. It used to be the one spam free channel where we could actually communicate with people. But by using these bots to try to automate it, we are just putting more spam on the channel. And for me, what worries me is that that’s going to break LinkedIn. Because right now when I send out… I sent out 150 messages a couple of days ago, Christian was last Thursday. And so far I haven’t counted up to date. But I’ve received at least a 50% reply rate, not a 50% click through not a 50% open rate, a 50% reply, they typed a message back to me. That’s because those 150 messages were deeply personalized to the people that I was going after. Not like just some spam, and I didn’t send them with a bot, I sent them one at a time, you’re never going to get that kind of response rate with a bot. So I’m kind of running in circles. But to me, the way that you really should be thinking about engaging on LinkedIn is not thinking about it as big numbers and volume. Think about it as one to one human to human communication, use the metaphor of going to a networking event and walking up to somebody and shaking their hand. Hey, Christian, I’m Candyce, nice to meet you. Tell me about yourself. What do you do? You know, or did you sit in that last session we were in? What did you think about what the guy said about XYZ? And start a conversation, not hey, Christian, nice to meet you want to buy my stuff?
Christian Klepp 11:06
Yeah, no, that’s, I totally agree with you. And you know, we’ve all been to those networking events where we’ve met people that don’t stop talking about themselves. And guess what happens? People try to avoid them. But, you know, you brought up some really great points in the past couple of minutes, I think it really all goes back to, you know, that numbers game. And I like to call it the theory of probability. Right? So you, you send out 1000 emails, and then you get like, you know, maybe 100 people that respond. And from those 100, maybe five book a meeting? And it’s not, it’s just not a very, I would say not not well thought out and not very sustainable. And I believe it also goes back to something that you posted a couple of weeks ago, I can’t remember exactly when, but you cannot annoy people into becoming your client.
Candyce Edelen 11:54
Exactly. Yeah. And you know, we’re used to spam on email, but we’re not used to spam in social media. So um, I guess, some I mean, Twitter, I guess people tend to do a lot of posting without engagement, but not on LinkedIn, you can post but not in the DM space. Don’t spam people in DM.
Christian Klepp 12:14
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right.
Candyce Edelen 12:17
But actually, let’s take that to posting too, because a lot of marketers tend to think about posting the same way that we think about it on Twitter and elsewhere. And when you’re thinking about posting, if we would post from a point of view of trying to get engagement, rather than posting, just to get views. First of all, your views will go up dramatically if you get engagement. But also, you’ll get feedback on the content, which can be tremendously helpful for us as marketers to understand what’s resonating and what’s not. So when we’re when we’re posting on LinkedIn, posting to create conversation is a far more effective way. Plus, it leverages the algorithm, if you don’t post links that take them off site, the algorithm will be friendlier to you. There’s a lot of tweaks and tricks that you can do on LinkedIn to make sure that your content gets seen. But thinking about it from the perspective of engagement, rather than just throwing an ad up is super important.
Christian Klepp 13:18
Yep. Totally agree. Totally agree. On that note, and you mentioned a few of these already, but like how do you think LinkedIn can be leveraged to develop better, not more, better B2B content that will resonate and generate the right responses?
Candyce Edelen 13:34
Oh, man, I’ve been experimenting with this and I’ve had so much fun with it. To give a little bit of background on this, when I started really using LinkedIn for sales was in 2018. My husband and I are business partners and we’d made a decision that we wanted to pivot to a new industry. We had zero connections, zero network, and previous to this Christian like my content and my network were working so well to generate leads for me that I literally for 10 years did not make a single outbound sales call. So I like don’t even know how to cold call anymore. It makes you lazy too. So but all of that stopped, like wham, you know, just hit a brick wall when we decided to change industries. And so now I’ve got… I’m like, Oh, crap, you know, I got to figure out how to do this. And I don’t like have enough money to go buy zoominfo and you know, get like these fancy tools. I don’t have the money for ads. I didn’t really even have the money to go to a lot of conferences. I went to a few but it’s yeah, I’m in Colorado and the target… The market I was targeting is more New York, Chicago, San Francisco areas so I’m not going to like find them in my little town of Fort Collins. So, you know, I only have so much money for plane trips and hotels and conference freeze fees to go network. So I had to figure out something and I started experimenting with LinkedIn back then. And in that process, I figured out how to book meetings using the connection requests and DM process. And I booked 125 sales calls in six months, by myself, while running a consulting business at the same time, it was about maybe four or five, eight hours a week that I was spending on it. But then you’d like those conversations rather than like pitch, pitch slapping them on the conversation, I took the time to really interview them about trends and what’s going on in their world, because I needed to understand their world so that I could start publishing thought leadership in it, to even let my content engine start moving. And then I’m also looking at it as a discovery call to just kind of probe for whether or not they have some challenges in marketing. So from those conversations, now, I type pretty fast. So I just use… I opened up one note and took notes, as they were talking, wrote down the questions that they asked wrote down their comments, their thoughts on the trends. And then after about six months of this with 125 calls behind me, I started writing articles based on those calls. Now you don’t have to wait that long. I did, but in retrospect, I should have started writing articles after the first call. Because I’m generating insight on every one of those phone calls, that is like super, super relevant to my target audience, like you can’t get any more relevant than taking words out of their mouth, and then writing some insights about it. So for marketers that are not necessarily doing the sales calls like I was, just ask your sales team to record the calls, if you’re using gong or one of these other products that’s like a piece of cake, take those transcripts. And I would actually recommend listening to the conversation too, because you get so much nuance in the voice that the transcript doesn’t deliver, literally from one conversation, you could probably come up with three or four LinkedIn posts that then that salesperson and a few of your other salespeople can share on LinkedIn, that’s going to be like hyper relevant to the target audience and then you can create articles from it, blog posts, you can create bigger thought leadership, I aggregated all of those comments into a research report that was a 5000 word research report, bringing up like a whole new perspective to an industry that I really knew very little about. But after 125 conversations, you get some background on it. And that research report was picked up by a trade publication, and I’m still getting leads from that research report three years later.
Christian Klepp 17:40
Wow, that’s some dynamite stuff. And if I might, I mean, to your point, I mean, that was definitely like a great approach, you know, interviewing all these people, as you were having these conversations with them more, or to that other point about recording the sales calls. And I’d like to throw in also, like, using the journalists eye or the journalist approach, right? Because there’s many ways to tell a story, right? Right. Now, I’m going to go and play the devil’s advocate. I agree with your approach, but just to those doubters out there, right, that are gonna say, well, Candyce, you know, that’s fantastic that you can come up with all these insights and develop all these articles and that content and whatnot. But what’s the ROI? Like, how quickly are you going to generate sales based on that kind of approach?
Candyce Edelen 18:25
So um, that’s a really awesome question. I’m glad you asked it. Because let’s face it, content marketing is not a short play, it’s a long play. Same with outbound prospecting. You’re not necessarily inbound, you know, people are interested in buying when they arrive, when we’re doing outbound, we don’t know where a person is in the sales cycle. And hopefully, we’re getting in early because, frankly, your likelihood of closing a deal if you get in early and set the vision is far higher than if you come in late when it’s already competitive. Like literally, the Corporate Executive Board did a study on this and found that you’ve… 74% of deals go to the vendor that established the buying vision. So you know, if you get in early, it’s going to be a longer sales cycle, and you got to be patient, but you have a much higher chance of selling it. So that’s one. Number two is content marketing always takes a little bit of time. But by doing it on LinkedIn, you can get it out in front of people more quickly. So that does have an inbound effect. In terms of my results, so from that 125 phone calls, 27 of them turned into qualified leads. Now I will clarify that when I was doing that research, I wasn’t being as deliberate in terms of making sure it was all going after people that could buy what I was selling, because I needed to get more perspective across the industry, not just for the… I was going after commercial real estate technology companies, I needed to understand the audience they’re selling to also in order to be able to write for them. So that outbound resulted in a couple of deals, small deals, that happened very quickly. One deal took 10 months to close. But he ended up being a client for years, and he’s still a client. And over the course of the six months, the deals that I came up with, it took about 18 months for them all to close. And there’s still stuff coming in from that. But that 18 month period, I closed $430,000 of business. Now that’s for a two person firm, which ain’t bad, you know. So I think that it will work. But you have to understand that it’s not an instant, and it’s not a…. it’s not an instant button. And it’s not an easy button. But nothing is, I don’t think. I mean, we can wish that but that’s witchcraft, and that’s not good marketing.
Christian Klepp 20:56
Yeah, no, no, absolutely not. And I would say that, but that’s quite an achievement for a small company, or for any company. That’s absolutely amazing. Right. Talk to us about a challenge that you’ve managed to solve in the past 12 months or so.
Candyce Edelen 21:15
Hmm. Um, I’ll mention two things. One is I was working with a group of small resellers that all we’re reselling an ERP technology, and that creates a unique challenge for marketing. And, and for sellers, because you’re competing with other products on the market, but you’re also competing with this whole channel of resellers. And everybody’s kind of selling the same thing. And they tend to get their content from the software publisher. And they’re usually small companies, they don’t have a big marketing operation. So customizing that content doesn’t necessarily come naturally to them. And so you’re trying to figure out how to differentiate, and you can create content and build an inbound channel. But it’s hard to get found, because so many people are competing on those same keywords. What I was also finding is these companies were really little and not as niche focused as they needed to be, and they didn’t have time to wait for inbound to start. Which is actually the main reason that I launched the masterclass that I’m teaching now on how to use LinkedIn for prospecting is because I realized that these people needed a good methodology to go out and get leads, rather than just waiting for marketing to start working. Because content marketing, a content strategy is going to take often I don’t know about what you think about it, but 12 to 18 months to really start producing solid inbound.
Christian Klepp 22:53
Yeah, that’s about right.
Candyce Edelen 22:55
And that’s a steady consistent investment. You don’t like publish something and then go wait a few months.
Christian Klepp 23:01
Right, right. Right, right. That’s absolutely right. Yeah, no, that’s, um, that was definitely an interesting case study. And it’s probably like, not just unique to this specific niche you’re going after? I think a lot of companies in the B2B space are facing something similar.
Candyce Edelen 23:18
I know, are you finding that, um, that inbound itself, especially from an organic content perspective, is waning in effectiveness compared to like, 2010?
Christian Klepp 23:30
Um, to a certain degree. I mean, it’s really hard to like, I mean, at least from my experience to pinpoint and say, yes, absolutely, or no, it’s not. It really depends on… and just going back to a couple of things that you mentioned. Yeah, it’s going back to who you’re targeting, and why the this group is the right fit. And what the specific topics are, that you’re, you know, developing content for, because it’s also about, it’s also the question of relevancy. Because, you know, there’s a lot of, let’s just narrow it down to LinkedIn, there’s a lot of people producing content about the same topics.
Candyce Edelen 24:03
Christian Klepp 24:04
Right. So it’s also about standing out or taking a stand on or taking a position on certain topics that are relevant to your, you know, your ideal prospects and your target audience, but also helping, you know, the thought leadership piece certainly is one, you know, trying to try to differentiate yourself a little bit more strategically and staying top of mind. I mean, there’s so many factors that come into play.
Candyce Edelen 24:30
You know, one of the things that I’m noticing particularly on LinkedIn, but it’s off LinkedIn, too, is this idea of taking a position on something, taking a point of view. You know, in storytelling, it’s helpful to have a villain and sometimes when we’re doing content marketing It’s tough to figure out where’s my villain. And Phil, my husband was pointing out, he’s like, you know, Candyce, bots are your villain. And you can create whole stories around the villainous bots, and make them the bad guy. And I was like, Oh, wow, that’s brilliant. And so that’s where the no bot hashtag, and everything came from. I published articles on third party sites about that. And then people will reach out to me on LinkedIn saying, Hey, I saw your article about why not to automate. And that was really helpful. And then of course, I’m talking about it on LinkedIn a lot, and the clumsy approaches that bots are using. So I think, you know, from a marketing perspective, and this is not just true on LinkedIn, it’s absolutely true on LinkedIn, but it’s true elsewhere, too, if you take a point of view, and don’t be afraid of alienating the people who disagree with you, you’re gonna get further like, there’s a woman on LinkedIn, who I totally admire, her name’s Lea Turner. And if you look for her on LinkedIn, it’s Lea, and then a rainbow emoji and then Turner. And you gotta check her out on LinkedIn. The woman has tattoos from neck to toes, um, and she’s like, very, um, oh, out loud, I guess in the way that she comes across, you know, Bright Pink Fuchsia colors, and she is not going to appeal to everyone. In fact, she’s going to totally turn off some people. But she has this massive following on LinkedIn, she went from being on… and she’s published this, I’m not like disclosing something secret. She went from being on like housing assistance, and you know, receiving welfare to six figures, and probably will do seven figures soon in revenue from training people how to use LinkedIn. She’s bought her own house recently. And just like, she’s a single mom with a little boy. And like, because she’s taken a point of view. And she’s unapologetically Lea Turner, this is who I am. You either like it or you don’t. It’s she’s really one on LinkedIn. And I think that that can work for companies, too, not just individual influencers, we need to take a point of view, and don’t be afraid of alienating some people, because you look for that niche. And most of us, we don’t need to sell to the whole world, we need to sell to a niche. I mean, look at Apple, even Apple has a niche, they have a point of view. You either want the iPad, iPhone, or you don’t want the iPhone and like our family, we’re all Mac, there’s going to be some families that aren’t but Apple is doing just fine. Not going after the broader niche.
Christian Klepp 27:34
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. And I suppose to your point, it goes back to the question or the questions. What do you want to be known for?
Candyce Edelen 27:44
Christian Klepp 27:46
You want to make a difference in the lives of your target audience, whoever they may be, but what is it that you are that you are trying to solve for them, right? Like, and how do you want them to think about you and remember you and what is it you’re trying to address? Right? Well, what are the pain points? But what are the challenges? What what are you trying to do? Right? So…
Candyce Edelen 28:07
Exactly, exactly. I’m just going to put it out there because maybe somebody who’s listening will come back to me and say, Oh, I’ve got an idea for you. I want a robot like an R2D2 style robot that I can take to networking meetings, once everything starts opening up to conferences. And I’m going to let my bot go network for me because I think it’ll be hysterically funny. It needs to be remote controlled where I can follow it around.
Christian Klepp 28:35
Oh, of course. So of course, you can use your phone to like, you know, control it and what have you. But you know what?
Candyce Edelen 28:40
Hashtag no bot like on a big sign on it (laugh)
Christian Klepp 28:43
Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know what, your husband’s right. I mean, you can make the robot the villain. I mean, like, you know, like, just James Cameron did it, Terminator: Rise on the machines, right.
Candyce Edelen 28:53
Good point. Yeah.
Christian Klepp 28:54
Here you go! So…
Candyce Edelen 28:56
Maybe I should just walk around in that Terminator suit. But it’s not me to like put on a costume. Somebody had suggested that and I’m like, yeah, that’s not gonna work for me.
Christian Klepp 29:05
Each to their own. I mean, you know, back to your story about Lea Turner, right, um, to never ever judge a book by its cover.
Candyce Edelen 29:12
Exactly. And you know, Lea is like, I mean, she is amazing. LinkedIn banned her for using the rainbow emoji, because that’s actually a violation of LinkedIn Terms of Service. So don’t put an emoji in your name. If you’re having trouble getting reach on LinkedIn and you have an emoji in your name, try taking it out, you might actually do better. But um, so she fought this to the point that she actually went and legally changed her name to Lea Rainbow Turner. With the emoji in her name to say this is my legal name. You have to let me use it. I don’t know if there are many people who would take it that far. She’s impressive. (laugh)
Christian Klepp 29:57
Again, each to their own. (laugh)
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
Candyce, you know, you’ve touched on a topic with in our previous conversation, which I thought was so pertinent to this discussion. So it was about Account based and Persona based approaches. Right. So talk to us about what you think are the key components of an account based strategy for LinkedIn, and how these should be leveraged? And drawing a distinction between those two approaches.
Candyce Edelen 30:53
Yeah, so and I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to this recently. But when the concept of Account Based Marketing became popularized, I was like, oh, we should do this. And then I started looking, I’m like, Oh, this is always what we’ve done. But because previous to this pivot, I always targeted really small niches for clients. So you know, my clients usually would have a niche of maybe, you know, 500 firms worldwide that they could chase. And so then we would chase like a small group of them like 40-50 at a time and made content super, super relevant to them. To me, that’s good marketing. But now it’s been called account based strategy. Right. But I see like, a lot of the martech companies talking about Account Based Marketing, that’s really just solid persona based marketing, you know, it’s like here, you can use this Account Based Marketing Strategy to target 1000 firms or, or 10,000 firms, you know, that’s not an account based strategy, that’s just a good niche. And niche based strategy, account based strategy to me, is finding 40 or 50, firms that are our solid accounts, they match your ICP really, really well. And you’re going to go after those accounts. So obviously, the revenue from an individual account the annual contract value, the lifetime customer value has to be solid enough to justify this kind of strategy. But if you can find companies that have something in common, a pain point in common, and often I find it works better if they’re also in a similar, either vertical or horizontal niche, something that’s really tightly related, then you can start to build content. And you can work hand in glove with sales, where you’re both targeting multiple people from the buying committee at those accounts. If you’re listening in on the conversations from a marketing perspective, if you listen to the conversations that sales is having, you should be able to hear the questions that those accounts are asking, the goals that they’re describing, the objections that they’re bringing up, so that you can develop content that’s super tightly related to them, and then provide that content in the form of articles, in the form of PDFs, but also in the form of posts that they can share on LinkedIn, that can be so much more powerful to help work those accounts. And if you work them in alignment like that, it doesn’t have to be hard, you know, I think we need to get away from this idea that premium content needs to be a 10,000 word white paper, ain’t nobody got time for that, you know, good solid premium content can be 1300 character posts that are hyper relevant to that target audience. So if you go about Account Based Marketing that way, then in addition to creating the content, engage, so go to those accounts, go to their LinkedIn profiles, both the company pages and the individual profiles that you’re chasing, engage with their content, share in the comments, talk about stuff, you know, and then share content from posting both from the sales as well as the company page, don’t just share from the company page, most people won’t see it there, even if they’re following you, it needs to come from the individuals that are engaging. And then I’ve recently learned that if they will engage these people by connecting with them and DMing with them, that makes it much more likely that your content is going to be positioned highly in the feed of the person that you’re engaging with via DM. So train the sales team to do that to really engage and it’s going to make it more likely that your content will be seen, then you can also run your ad strategies, but I’d start organic, and then pay really close attention to the comments and engage with people when they’re commenting and liking things too. But and then that’s the other thing is every single post needs to be more of a conversation starter, and something that piques people’s interest rather than trying to pitch to them. Don’t pitch slap, pique their interest, get a conversation started.
Christian Klepp 35:08
Well, those were some really dynamite points. I have to say excuse me, I was just furiously taking notes as you were talking. But um, you know, you made me think about something, which I thought could be an interesting point of discussion. In your experience. Candyce, do you think I’m not like trying to single anyone person out, like whether it’s in marketing or sales? But do you think both of these groups are not spending enough time doing customer research? And that’s probably also the reason why some of their culture that’s being put out there is getting like, well, less than satisfactory results.
Candyce Edelen 35:43
Oh, man, I talked to so many marketers who’ve never talked to a customer. Really? How do you write anything that’s relevant to them, and they’re relying on data-driven buyer personas, you know, and I’m like, but, but that doesn’t give you insight that just gives you information. And you know, it’s like, from a buyer research perspective, I don’t care whether you’re married or single, whether you have a cat or a dog, I don’t believe that those influence your buying decision. Now, whether or not you have a long commute to work, and whether you are driving or taking the train matters, because you might be consuming my content. And if you’re driving, you’re gonna need a podcast. If you’re on the train, you can probably read something. That matters. But whether you have a dog or a cat, or I mean one HubSpot recommendation for a buyer persona template included gender identity, I don’t believe that people make decisions about B2B technology purchases, based on those types of personal things. I don’t think it is, you know, how are you going to use that in your outreach? What you are going to use is, what are they dealing with every day when they go to work? What’s their life like? How many other priorities do they have? And what is it that triggers whatever it is you’re selling to become such a high priority, that they’re willing to carve time out of their day? What is it that makes it worthwhile for them to carve 30 minutes out of an incredibly packed schedule to talk to your salesperson? What is it that makes them want to read your stuff? Because just because it’s free doesn’t mean they’re going to want to read it? Nothing is free. It costs time at a minimum. If you’re not having conversations with people to understand what lights them up, what gets them excited, you’re never going to get content that’s going to super resonate with them. Or if you do, it’s pure luck. And I don’t want to base my strategy on luck.
Christian Klepp 37:51
Absolutely not. Absolutely not. That’s very risky, and could be costly speculation, right? If you go down that road, exactly.
Candyce Edelen 38:01
But sales needs to let marketing in. Because I hear a lot of times that marketing says well, sales won’t let me talk to the customer. Or I asked to sit on sales calls, and they never contact me to let me know when the sales call is happening. Honestly, I think you just need to go sit down and have a conversation about this, because and if you can’t get it done at sales, then move up the ladder. But this, this isn’t optional, from marketing to have conversations, and you can hear what the customer saying, If you can’t sit in on the live conversation, at least get the recordings.
Christian Klepp 38:33
No, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. It’s it’s, it’s it’s amazing how many, you know how many people you talk to, you know, who are doing marketing that don’t actually have any conversations with clients or don’t do enough customer research, or any!
Candyce Edelen 38:48
And it’s always obvious in their content.
Christian Klepp 38:51
Yeah. Yeah, Indeed, indeed. You gave us a lot of like, actionable tips already and insights, but walk us through some of the steps based on what we’ve been talking about, that you think B2B marketers can take right now to improve their approach on LinkedIn.
Candyce Edelen 39:11
Okay, so this is a collaborative process, from my perspective on on leveraging LinkedIn for marketing, don’t assume that you can do this without sales. I mean, you can publish content and stuff like that, you could personally do some engaging, I mean, if I was in marketing at a company, I would actually be deliberately reaching out to people that are in the target audience, maybe not existing customers, and definitely not a prospect that’s in the buying process. Don’t touch them. Because that can mess up the the cadence with the salesperson. But you know, people that you are lost deals to, this is something that’s really safe for you to reach out to. And go have a conversation with them, find out why they decided against you find out what their process was find out how they buy, find out what the objections were internally, because those are just awesome sources of content and the way you do this is you, you send a connection request to that person and make it super personalized. Mentioned something on their profile that that will make it really obvious that you actually took the time to write this personalized connection request.
Christian Klepp 40:28
Sorry, sorry, you mean a personalized, personalized message beyond okay, this is your name and this is the company or for? (laugh)
Candyce Edelen 40:36
Yeah, not. Hi, Candice Edelen and I see that you’re the CEO/President of Propel Growth LLC. (laugh)
Christian Klepp 40:47
Sorry, please continue.
Candyce Edelen 40:49
Yeah, exactly, exactly. Um, and then mentioned that, you know, if they were somebody that just recently said, No, it could be that they went with a competitor or no to a no decision. Also, those are also super valuable. And just reach out to them and say, I would love to get your perspective on what the experience was like and dealing with our company, and then just go have a conversation with them. Or if it’s been a while, it’s easier to get those if it’s really recent, if it’s been a while, then you can mention something else about trends in the industry or something like that, to get a conversation started. So, just a quick plug. On December 1, I’m actually gonna do a workshop on exactly how to do that. And it’s super cheap, it’s 37 bucks. So if somebody is interested in that, it shows you exactly how to send the connection request and the meeting request to get that meeting booked. And then go have a conversation with the person and plan it ahead. You know, don’t just wing it. Have some questions planned, that are conversational, don’t try to sell to them. And take notes, you know, record the interviews, something so that you can actually go back and leverage that. Marketers could have an amazing impact just by having those conversations. But if you will integrate with sales, you’ll do even better, where we work together to book those meetings, and have the conversation so that you can turn it into content to give the salesperson a follow up. Because what I find is, a lot of times sales isn’t so great at creating those posts for themselves. But if you can help them and work with them, and walk with them, especially if you’re going after an account based strategy, this can be a powerful way to get in the door with these accounts.
Christian Klepp 42:30
That is such a great advice. And I you know, I couldn’t stress that enough. And you’ve you’ve talked about it a couple of times during the conversation about how marketing and sales should work together, there should be some kind of like a symbiosis, for lack of a better description. Because they can’t, because the danger is if they start operating in silos, and they just don’t, you know, there’s no transparency or communication between the two groups.
Candyce Edelen 42:59
I had a conversation with a woman that was hiring me to coach her years ago. And one of the first things I asked when I started coaching, engagement is telling me about your relationship with sales. She says, can I call you back? (laugh) I was like, okay…
Christian Klepp 43:17
Not a good start!
Candyce Edelen 43:18
She had to go into a private room. Because she was sitting near sales. And she’s like, Candyce, I cannot stand the people on the sales team. And I’m like, oh, boy, okay, I think I know why we’re having a problem with marketing. Like, that is not a great way to start. And so we really focused in that whole coaching engagement and establishing… re-establishing relationship between the marketing team and the sales team, because I just don’t see how they’re going to be successful if they can’t work together.
Christian Klepp 43:53
Absolutely. I mean, you know, again, for lack of a better description, they’ve always been described as warring factions within the organization, but they don’t have to be, right, there’s so many better opportunities that come out of them, actually actively collaborating with each other. And I’ve seen that happen.
Candyce Edelen 44:13
It’s amazing. It’s, it’s such a powerful situation, when it actually happens. I just, I have a hard time believing that if you work in a lower position in marketing, you’re not the CMO that you don’t have some level of the ability to actually just go reach out to a salesperson personally, and talk to them and engage. I don’t think and maybe this is my naivete, because I don’t work in large corporations. But I don’t believe this has to be dictated from the top. I believe it can be a trickled up just as much as it can be dictated down. In fact, it would probably be more effective if it’s just based on real relationships what a concept right, human relationships?! (laugh)
Christian Klepp 44:57
Well, here’s a buzzword for you, synergies. Right? (laugh) You’re probably gonna have a field day with this next question, but you know, like, like everything else, and I’m not just necessarily talking about the past two years, but LinkedIn has changed a lot. Right? There’s a lot of things that have been going on on that platform, mostly for the better. And it’s important for B2B marketers, and again, their sales counterparts to understand how these changes impact the way they work and engage with others on this platform. So talk to us about what you consider to be the most important trends that we should be mindful of.
Candyce Edelen 45:43
So the one I like the best right now is that LinkedIn is finally trying to crack down on the bots. And so now you cannot send more than… it’s a little vague on the number if you’re on a free LinkedIn account, but roughly three to five connection requests a day. And if you’re on a paid account, you can only send 100 a week, if you’re like, have Sales Navigator. I’m delighted that this happened because the whole business case for the bots, and for the outsource LinkedIn services, it will get you hundreds of meetings, you know, thing is volume of connection requests and messages. It’s you can’t make spam work without huge volume. And so that prevents them from doing what they’re doing. I’ve been so worried that the bots were going to break LinkedIn. And so I’m delighted that LinkedIn is cracking down on this. Um, also, you have to be really careful about profile views. Because I’ve seen people getting restricted on LinkedIn recently for viewing too many profiles.
Christian Klepp 46:46
I’ve heard that. Yes, I’ve heard that as well. What’s the limit on the profile views?
Candyce Edelen 46:51
I don’t know. LinkedIn doesn’t tell you that. But one person was all she was doing was viewing… Now she was on a free account, she was viewing profiles, to curate a list of influencers to follow to provide to her team. And she had about 70 tabs open. Now, before that she had already gotten a notice that she’d sent too many connection requests. So she’d gotten one restriction. And then she got a warning. And almost immediately after that, because the warnings are a little bit delayed from the behavior. And so sometimes you’ll get a warning, you’ll stop the behavior. But the second warning will come as a consequence of behavior that happened before you received the first warning. So she got it’s a three strikes you’re out thing at LinkedIn. So she got the restriction for sending too many connection requests, her account was reactivated and she started doing it again, then she didn’t send the connection request. But she viewed too many profiles. And then she got permanently banned from LinkedIn. On the third thing, which had, it had already happened, so she wasn’t able to fix the behavior. Now, she fortunately works for a firm that has some pretty significant influencers on LinkedIn. So they were able to make a lot of noise and get LinkedIn’s attention and her account was reinstated. If you don’t have that good fortune, I don’t know how you would get it reinstated. Like, I don’t know how I would manage to get reinstated on LinkedIn if I lost mine. So you have to be really, really cautious about that. But um, what was the other question? What was the question again?
Christian Klepp 48:30
The question was like about the trends on LinkedIn that B2B marketers need to be mindful of?
Candyce Edelen 48:38
There are some new things happening on LinkedIn right now that I’m still trying to get my hands, my head wrapped around. One is that they have established this newsletter thing. And I think that you have to have creator mode turned on, which I don’t recommend. And then you can create a newsletter. And the invitation for the newsletter goes out to your entire audience. So if you have 10,000 followers, and only, you know, 1000 of them would be relevant to that newsletter, too bad all 10,000 get the invitation. So I’m hearing people get really excited. It’s like, oh, my gosh, I’ve got 5000 followers for my newsletter. Well, that’s because it’s really easy to just click Accept. And it’s like, oh, Christian sent this, I like Christian. The challenges that people are getting, I mean, Mark Williams says he’s getting 30 to 40 newsletter invitations a day, which is insane. So I think that the newsletter trend is going to quickly die off and then hopefully LinkedIn will tweak it and give us a better ability to target and then the newsletter thing might get better. But don’t assume just because you’re getting 1000s of followers for your newsletter or subscribers, that those people actually are going to read your stuff. I think that that’s a vanity metric. And then there’s another thing that’s going on right now where you can create a services page and people can send you an RFP. This is like… I mean, it’s clear that the people that develop this have no understanding of how business is conducted.
Christian Klepp 50:19
Didn’t you post something about that, like I could have sworn I saw you like, you actually tested it out.
Candyce Edelen 50:25
I tested it out, I sent an RFP to Rachel Simon, who is a friend and somebody I’m connected to on LinkedIn. And like, first of all, it’s like really lame, the amount of information that you can give about your project is like 1300 characters is the limit. And then you can say how big your company is, and when you need it, and I want SEO or whatever, like, you know, it’s a category thing. And then I did it on my mobile device. So I don’t know, I haven’t tried it on the laptop to see how much bigger the screen is. But I literally had this little tiny box to type in my 1300 characters, and you can’t expand the box, and you can’t go back and review what you typed. So I mean, it’s just such a poor customer experience, but then it’s also going to set the expectation that the person’s going to respond with a proposal. So it’s like your first experience with me, if you’re sending that request for proposal is going to be a negative experience. And then I can’t possibly propose to you on that instead of limited information. So, you know, I’m going to get back to you with I need more information. And if it’s if the customer is not an experienced buyer, I feel like that can actually create a negative… it’s, it’s like worse than trying to put a bid out on Fiverr, you know, request for bid on Fiverr without information. So I’m sure LinkedIn will tweak this. And they are they may ditch it like stories, I don’t know. But it’s a very, very poor setup right now. Makes me want to take down my services page, just because I don’t want people to have that negative experience.
Christian Klepp 52:12
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, like, I kind of had a funny feeling. Or maybe maybe that’s not the right word, but reservations about LinkedIn stories, because it seemed it was too similar to like, what you see on Facebook and Instagram. And I think, I for one, like, I’m really appreciative that you conducted that little test with the Services page, because that tells me something about, I suppose the intention is good, but what they actually ended up doing with that is like making it seem a bit too commoditized. Right?
Candyce Edelen 52:43
They’re just assuming that, you know, yeah, it’s like, if I’m buying a copier, I might be able to, yeah, but why would I? You know, I’m gonna go to the Xerox page or whatever. The other problem with it is I submitted this proposal to Rachel, she never received it, for the request for proposal.
Christian Klepp 53:00
That can be a little bit problematic.
Candyce Edelen 53:02
Which again, negative customer experience, if I’m expecting a response from you, and you didn’t respond, well, then you suck, you know, like, I don’t know that you didn’t get it. I contacted LinkedIn support, and they’re like, Well, you can’t submit the support request because it’s Rachel’s profile, only the person who receives the request for proposal can submit this request it for help. And I’m like, but she doesn’t know that she didn’t get, like, how can you submit a support request for something you didn’t know happened?
Christian Klepp 53:30
Yeah, that doesn’t really make sense.
Candyce Edelen 53:32
Or that didn’t happen for you. So LinkedIn’s got something to work on there. And you know, it’s like, a lot of this stuff comes out. And in the early stages, it’s not very good. And then they’ll, they’ll refine it. So you know, the other thing that’s going on is they’ve got this digital wallet thing that they’re building. And I saw yesterday that they sent out a survey, I did not personally receive the survey, Mark Williams shared it in his podcast, and it asks a bunch of questions about if you had a digital wallet on LinkedIn, how would you want to use it and it was a bunch of different options. I don’t have it in front of me to tell you what those options were. But that looks both interesting. But also just another example of things that a misunderstanding of how people use the LinkedIn platform here. I think I just found it. Yeah. So it’s like they’re asking, you know, what would you want to use to monetize through your contents or post pick the top three ways? One is subscriptions, I would definitely think that would be a useful thing to charge a fee for some or all of my content, affiliate programs, receiving a commission for products that got sold because you promoted them. That could be a problem, adding more spam to LinkedIn, brand partnerships, content sponsorships. Like if a brand decides to sponsor your post, direct ad revenue shares, product sales like if you want to sell a physical or digital product directly to your audience, product services, paid opportunities like speaking at events, a creator funds like some sort of platform fund, where creators are paid a stipend to support content creation, or other. So those are the questions that they’re asking on this survey. I haven’t seen this. I don’t know how many people got this, but at least LinkedIn is trying to do some research on this instead of jumping to conclusions, which to me, that is encouraging. But it’ll be interesting to see where they go with this digital wallet concept.
Christian Klepp 55:39
Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely, plenty of room for improvement with these, these new features, I would say. So just to wrap up this conversation, and you’ve given such great advice already, throughout the discussion, what is one thing that you think B2B marketers should start, and one thing they should stop, when it comes to LinkedIn?
Candyce Edelen 56:01
I’m going to start with the stop, stop thinking of LinkedIn as a channel for promoting content. Start thinking of it as a place where you can directly engage with customers and prospects. And it really start conversations with them. If you do that one thing, it’s going to transform the outcomes. And just a little plug, I am doing a mini workshop on December 1st and 9th, where I’m going to talk specifically about how to do that, how to get those meetings, how to get those conversations started, and then how to turn that content into posts and, and useful insights that you can be sharing on LinkedIn. So if you want to get information about that, please send me a message on LinkedIn. Or you can also check out learning.propelgrowth.com, it’ll be coming soon, up there. But you know, that’s it’s cheap. It’s an easy way to get started and really learn this stuff. And it’s going to be a workshop where I’m actually going to give feedback so people can practice this stuff and get feedback.
Christian Klepp 57:09
Fantastic. What’s the one thing that people should start doing?
Candyce Edelen 57:13
Start engaging, start really engaging on LinkedIn, directly with people via DM connection requests, and DMs, and commenting and engaging on their posts and sending out posts where you’re starting conversations. That’s why polls are so popular and so annoying at the same time, because the reason LinkedIn keeps pushing them through the algorithm is because they get all of this attention. They’re getting high dwell time, which is the number one indicator for the algorithm to push a post out further, because people stay on it, because they’re reading the comments. Clips, they’re clicking to read more if you’ve put enough content in there about the poll, and then they’re clicking to vote on the poll, and comments, because lots of people I mean, it’s a natural conversation starter, you’re asking people for their opinion. So if you look at the way polls work, and especially the ones that get a ton of engagement, and then you don’t have to necessarily do a poll, but mimic that behavior in starting conversations on LinkedIn. Don’t give them all the answers, ask them questions, let them tell you, you’ll learn more. And that’s going to be really powerful in terms of feedback for you to tell whether your content is working.
Christian Klepp 58:26
That’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Candyce, this conversation did not disappoint. Let me tell you. (laugh) So thank you so much for coming on. And you know, sharing your expertise and insights with the listeners. So please do us the honor of introducing yourself and letting folks out there know how they can get in touch with you without pitching.
Candyce Edelen 58:47
Okay, you got it. Best way to get a hold of me is send me a connection request on LinkedIn. You’ll find me at Candyce Edelen spelled with a “y” Candyce Edelen is my LinkedIn profile. I’m pretty easy to find because my name is unusual. So please do reach out to me send me a connection request and I will answer you just you know, if you’re gonna use the bot like thing just as a humor thing go for it but you got to mention to me Just kidding, you know.
Christian Klepp 59:19
I can, I speak from experience because I’ve tried it a few times. Candyce, thank you so much again for your time. Take care, be safe, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Candyce Edelen 59:31
Thanks so much for having me, Christian. This was fun.
Christian Klepp 59:33
Yeah, it was. Alright, bye for now.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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