Tuesday Tips: How to Be a Job Search Ninja on LinkedIn

We’ve talked about rockin’ your profile, interview prep and the stealth job search, now let’s talk about how to use the next level job search tools for your job hunt. We’ve got more than 10 million jobs on LinkedIn, so knowing how to filter them down to find the right job for you is important! 1. Find that needle in the haystack. If you’re looking for something specific, make sure to narrow down your desired title and location when searching for a job using filters. This sets up the initial...


How to Improve Lead Routing for More Sales

lead routringHave you recently looked at your lead routing and assignment process? If not, you could be leaking revenue and marketing ROI.

Case in point.

LeadData’s new report, The State of Lead Management, based on a survey of 527 B2B sellers and marketers found an average 25.5 % of marketing-generated leads get assigned to the wrong account owner.

Did you catch that? Over 25% of marketing-generated leads get assigned to the wrong person.

This means individuals who expressed interest are not getting the attention they deserve.

LeanData also discovered sales and marketing leaders also have different opinions on lead follow-up effectiveness. For example, the chart below shows 30% of marketing leaders believe that sales will always follow-up on marketing-generated leads compared to 61% of sales leaders.

Lead Routing

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/b2b-marketers-and-salespeople-point-to-problems-with-lead-management-76968/

There’s room for improvement.

In this post, I’m going to share seven tips to help you improve lead routing for more sales.

Tip 1: Set up a service-level agreement on lead routing with sales 

Do you have the following things documented with your sales team?

  • Written criteria for lead routing (territories, vertical focus, product interest, etc.)
  • Sales time-to-follow-up expectations (2 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours,)
  • Management support to help keep sales team accountable?
  • Clear process flow from form completion to sales hand-off?

I helped a client develop a service level agreement to improve lead routing and increased their leads-to-opportunities by over 200%. 

Here’s how.

  1. Developed a universal lead definition which influenced how they score leads. And field sales agreed to engage all marketing-qualified leads within 24 hours.
  2. Qualified all leads with inside sales and distributed within two business hours.
  3. Used a checklist to update territories often to keep up with changes.
  4. Routed leads via automated rules in Salesforce.com. The workflow notifies the salesperson and creates a task with a deadline.
  5. Setup rule if a qualified lead is not opened/edited by the assigned rep within 24 hours, they get a reminder message from their manager. And if a sales lead goes more than 48 hours, they get a call to see if that contact needs to reassigned or if they need help.

It takes some time to plan the process and collaborative work with sales. But it’s worth it. Using this approach, they converted 200% more leads to opportunities.

Tip 2: Qualify that people actually want to talk to a sales rep before routing

Use your potential customer’s and your sales rep’s time well. When someone downloads a single piece of content (like a white paper), are they ready for a sales rep to call? Not likely.

The key to lead routing to match readiness of the lead (i.e., future customer) with expectations of your sales team. If you don’t do this, you’re starting them off with an immediate disconnect.

First, you need to qualify each lead to see they are “sales-ready” which means they want to talk to a salesperson. You can find this ideal point by using lead scoring and lead qualification. There is only so much information that you can get off a Web form or that someone will volunteer in an email.

For more, read: Lead Qualification: Stop generating leads and start generating revenue.

Tip 3: Provide tools your reps can use to follow-up after handoff

Like a relay race, there’s a point when Marketing’s and Sales’ hands are on the baton when you make a handoff.

Here’s what I mean.

You need to be clear when marketing is going to hand the lead off to sales. You need to be clear when marketing is going to hand the lead off to sales. So don’t drop the baton because that hurts the relationship.

Additionally, salespeople often struggle with their follow-up approach.After working with hundreds of sales people and seeing their sales processes first hand, I frequently hear this “stuck point.” They often ask, “How do I advance the lead when there isn’t an immediate need?” And sales people are often stuck wondering, “What else can I talk to them about?”

Without your input, sales people can resort to boring or irrelevant messaging. This is not because they lack creatively, it comes down to their time. Help your salespeople spend their time connecting and selling rather than building content and messaging.

Create a few emails and some talking points to help them connect with the motivation of leads based on their interest. In sum, help your sales team with messaging and content to engage relevantly.

Tip 4: Schedule appointments for the sales team — Help cut “telephone tag.”

Here are three potential ideas you can test to optimize your lead routing for more sales:

Route leads based on sales skill

Use lead grading to rank what level of expertise leads need based on the need. More general inquiries can go to inside sales reps first. Do not frustrate field salespeople with sending them people who don’t want to talk to them. Make sure you sort your leads based on anticipated needs or interest then route them as soon as possible.

Distribute leads based on product or industry vertical know-how

Use your sales team’s industry experience and knowledge. The more you know about your reps, the more you can match with leads they’ll have the most success. This is why round-robin lead distribution can be deadly to conversion. It assumes every salesperson is the same.

Route leads based on location of remote employees

If you have a large distributed field team, you likely route leads via territories or regions. But smaller teams and inside sales teams can also use local lead routing too. You can help your help your sales team make local connections.

For example, if a contact works from home in CA, but their office is located in MN. Who do you route this lead too? Can that person based in CA connect work with someone local? You need to real collaboration with sales to do this.

Tip 6: Develop to track and measure sales follow-up on lead routing

Does your routing support the real-time tracking and reporting of all marketing-generated leads? You can monitor and measure lead routing in the following ways:

  • Stage of the sales pipeline
  • Industry vertical and initial interest
  • Salesperson responsiveness (time-to-open/edit and initial follow-up)
  • Territory performance (benchmark and compare performance)
  • Marketing campaign or lead source
  • Lead scoring and grading
  • Forecasted revenue and time-to-close

For more ideas, read 6 Metrics That Will Get You an Edge and Your CEO Clarity

Tip 7: Use a checklist to make sure no leads get lost or missed

Airline pilots, portfolio managers, surgeons use checklists so why not marketers? By using lists, you can improve your performance and get more consistent results. For more on this, read HBR: Using Checklists to Prevent Failure.

You can use the following list of steps to help you focus where you need to improve lead routing now:

  • Get buy-in from sales team on your “sales ready” lead definition
  • Provide qualification information for each sales lead
  • Centralize the lead qualification process with a clear lead definition
  • Document the lead hand-off process and accountabilities at each stage
  • Qualify and Distribute sales ready leads immediately
  • Communicate lead hand off to salesperson using automated rules and human oversight
  • Measure sales pursuit on leads (If not followed up will leads get pulled or reassigned)
  • Sales management must also audit and track rep follow-up
  • Close the loop on marketing-generated leads -what gets measured gets done
  • Train your salespeople on how to follow-up and give you feedback
  • Get close-loop feedback from the sales team on leads
  • Share best-practice lead generation follow-up across the sales team


In sum, you can get a boost to your lead generation ROI without any extra spending by improving how you route leads. Using the example I started with, if you were to improve lead routing, it’s like getting a 25% lift in leads. Here’s this best part: You can do this without spending anymore more budget. That’s the kind of results we can all get excited about.

It’s your turn. What’s worked for you to optimize lead routing? Share in the comments below.

You might also like

Lead Generation That Converts Leads into Sales Opportunities
16 Proven Ways to Get Better Opportunities Now (Part 1)
3 Good Questions to Align B2B Marketing, Sales, and Strategy
Lead Nurturing: 5 Useful Tactics to Get More Opportunities
Marketing 101: How to get started in lead generation

The post How to Improve Lead Routing for More Sales appeared first on B2B Lead Blog.

Is it Crazy or Crafty to Connect with Competitors on LinkedIn?

I'm frequently asked Should I connect on LinkedIn with competitors? My senior manager is Giving a lot of workquick answer is Are you nuts? Why would you want to hand over your database of prospects and customers to a competitor?

However, because not all relationships are simple and one-dimensional (competitor or not a competitor), here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to connect with a "competitor."

  • Is the identity of your customers already public knowledge? If it's public knowledge, then connecting with competitors is not as big of deal.
  • Do you hide your list of connections from your network? If you do, then they can't see who you're connected to anyway, so there's less risk.
  • Do you think you're better at LinkedIn than your competitors? If so, then maybe you're going to gain more from having the ability to look through their connections than they will gain from looking at your connections.
  • Are you connected to only people you trust or is your network more open? If you choose to connect with people who are not your trusted friends, those people could potentially allow your competitor to come over to their office and scroll through your list of connections. This is certainly unlikely, but it is possible.

Also, keep in mind that relationships change over time. If a trusted coworker who's in your network goes to work for a competitor and becomes your number one nemesis, then you may want to consider disconnecting from that person.

As you can see, there's no simple answer to the question of whether you should connect with competitors. But after you consider the points mentioned above, you can make the decision with your eyes wide open.

The post Is it Crazy or Crafty to Connect with Competitors on LinkedIn? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.

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Are You Still Confused by LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements?

Happy 5th birthday, LinkedIn Skills!

Birthday cakeYes, it has been five years since LinkedIn Skills appeared on your profile and probably caused a bit of confusion for you. Then a few years later the confusion ramped up when endorsements started showing up alongside your skills. And because LinkedIn started asking its members to endorse their connections, people began endorsing others for everything and anything—even skills we never added to our profile.

And just when most of us started to understand and take control of this profile section, LinkedIn gave us a five-year "birthday present" as part of the new desktop layout—an updated profile section titled Featured Skills & Endorsements and what they call "skill endorsements." And I thought birthday parties were supposed to be fun!

How to optimize your Featured Skills & Endorsements profile section

Let's raise the fun factor just a bit with these nine facts and tips to maximize your use of this new profile section.

1.  You can only receive endorsements from 1st level connections and for skills you have acknowledged you possess. If you receive Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 2.31.40 PMa pending endorsement notification from LinkedIn saying, John Jones wants to endorse you for basket weaving, don't say yes if you aren't a good basket weaver or don't want basket weaving listed as a skill in your Featured Skills & Endorsements section.

2.  You can manage them to a certain extent. Scroll down to the Featured Skills & Endorsements section of your profile, and then you can:

  • Add any skills that show what you're good at from a professional standpoint. If your job duties include sales, add keywords that relate to the products and services you sell. After you click Add a new skill, type a skill in the box. LinkedIn will then give you suggestions based on the words you put in the box. If those suggestions are part of your skill set, be sure to add them to your list of skills.
  • Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 2.33.26 PMDelete a skill. Click the pencil icon in the top right corner. Then click the "X" to the left of the skill you want to delete, and it's gone—along with any endorsements of that skill, of course.
  • Reorder your skills so your most important ones are near the top. These are your best keywords, and they'll improve your search ranking. Put them in the order you prefer, from most important to least important, by clicking the pencil icon and then holding down and dragging the four-line icon to the right of the skill you want to reorder.
    Then your connections will be encouraged to tick off endorsements for the skills you think are important, and within a short period of time they'll be the most endorsed skills on your profile. This will help you get closer to the top of a search for those critical skills.
    The reordering process is especially important now because only the first three skills (LinkedIn refers to them as "featured") and the related endorsements show up until the reader clicks View XX more.
  • Choose (1) whether or not you want to be endorsed, (2) whether you want LinkedIn to suggest endorsements to your connections, and (3) whether you want suggestions for endorsing your connections. Click Adjust endorsement settings on the bottom of the page to revise your settings.

3.  You can be endorsed for up to 50 skills. These skills are essentially keywords, and LinkedIn and other search engines love keywords; so I would use all 50 slots if I were you.

4.  You don't have to endorse everyone who endorses you. If you want to endorse them, go ahead, but don't feel obligated to do so.

5.  I'm pretty sure endorsements and the skills they attach to are part of the LinkedIn search algorithm. LinkedIn doesn't publicize its algorithm, but my guess is that skills are an important part of it, because LinkedIn doesn't invest this much time and effort into something that isn't going to help their top line revenue. They are making a lot of money on their Recruiting Solutions, and they obviously think this feature helps them deliver the "best" candidate for a certain skill ("best" meaning most endorsed).

6.  List skills that are important and consistent with your current or future business strategy. Because your skills that receive the most endorsements will be at the top of the list—and most people will probably only look at the first few skills—you want them to be your most important skills. If you list extraneous skills, you may get a lot of endorsements for them, and then no one will even notice your most important skills that are now further down on the list.

7.  You might get someone's attention if you endorse him/her. Your face and name will appear on the person's profile, and LinkedIn also sends the person a message saying you just endorsed him/her.

8.  Endorsements may be the differentiator. If two profiles look similar in all respects but one has 120 endorsements for the skill you're looking for and the other has only 20, you may be inclined to choose the person with 120.

9.  Endorsements are great, but LinkedIn recommendations are still important. I recommend you get at least two recommendations on your profile. This is especially important if you're a job seeker. Great recommendations will increase your credibility—and the more the better.

You should now be ready to impress readers of your profile with your specific skills and affirmation of those skills by LinkedIn members.

If you'd like more information about this topic, check out LinkedIn's complete discussion in the LinkedIn Help Center by clicking here.

The post Are You Still Confused by LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements? appeared first on Wayne Breitbarth.

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