The anatomy of a LinkedIn profile


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Using LinkedIn as a social prospecting tool.

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The anatomy of a LinkedIn profile

  1. 1. 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105  The Anatomy of a LinkedIn Podcast, Episode TwoJoe: Hi! This is Joe Fahrner, co-founder and CEO of I’m here with Kelly Huffman, VP-Sales at Hello.Joe: How are you doing?Kelly: Well, thank you.Joe: Excellent. This is your podcast. It’s our second podcast in an ongoing series where we talked about use of social selling, use of big data in the sales process, marketing segmentation and about our product, Today, we’re going to dive into some fairly narrowly focused strategies around using LinkedIn as a prospecting tool. Specifically, Kelly and I have both been doing sales for over a decade. LinkedIn’s been around for eight, nine years at this point so we’ve developed a bunch of strategies around dissecting a LinkedIn profile, potential prospect , and employee of a prospect company that we’re going to run through. To kind of give you a better idea of kind of when we’re viewing in a LinkedIn profile, what are the kind of context we’re pointing out of it, what’s the insight that were getting in looking at different sections and segments. So, really we’re going to dig into the anatomy of the LinkedIn profile. The first thing to talk about is that there’s actually a two versions of most LinkedIn profiles. There’s the public version which anyone can see and that’s typically the first version you’ll jump off on if you find the LinkedIn profile from like a goggle search or something on these lines. But the other type of profile is the logged-in version and there tends to be different levels of information you can see if you’re logged-in into LinkedIn and you find an individual, say through a search on LinkedIn search or something on those lines. So, we’ll talk about a little about both versions of those profiles but we’ll just jump off right into the logged-in versions because that’s were a lot of meat of the profile is. One thing, Kelly, we’re talking about earlier, is that there are some things you developed just kind of -- some strategies developed around the first time you’re looking
  2. 2. 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   at the profile to figure out even if you’re on the right track. Like is this sort of about a real person actively in that position. You want to talk about that a little bit?Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. I may think the first thing I always looked at is the particular person’s tenure versus the number of connections that they have. In today’s world, people jump around from job to job a lot. So, it’s lot uncharacteristic to see somebody that has ten more years of tenure at the same organization. But it is uncharacteristic to see someone who has been in the work force for a long time and is only showing maybe one job or possibly two jobs on LinkedIn but they have a very low connection count. So, someone that’s been working for 15 years at Company “A” and they have 14 connections, that implies to me that that’s not even a valid or active profile. Somebody filled that out at some point when they got a LinkedIn invitation and have never really comeback to it so it’s really necessarily worth even investigating further. Joe, will give you some more indicators. But generally speaking if you see that and you don’t see other activity, and there’s no recommendations, and there’s just not a lot going on the page, probably time to move and find somebody else.Joe: Yeah. The other thing I’ve noticed -- particularly if you’re searching for a specific person -- it’s not uncommon to people to have multiple LinkedIn profiles rather than updating an existing one. When they jump from job to job, they just create totally a new one for whatever reason. That’s something as well. It maybe a matter of just looking through the top couple of profiles that match a specific name that you’re looking for. The other point around that item is just that, I think LinkedIn’s got about 100 million registered users and the numbers I’ve seen online, anywhere from about 25 to 30 percent of those are active. So, that gives you an idea of kind of the rate of which you may see these is kind of – for lack of a better term -- dead profiles that have not been updated in years, these type of things. So, once you kind of use Kelly’s technique to figure out – does it seem to be an active profile, does it seem to be a place where it’s worth spending your time -- where I like start is really in that initial summary chunk at the top of the profile. You’ll see, it’s typically where the profile photo is, if there is one. You’ll see the individual’s headline. The headline is slightly different than the title. It’s a short summary that the individual profile owner can add, that gives you a
  3. 3. 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   little insight into kind of how they think about themselves often. Sometimes people just input their title and their company name. Other times, people give you very specific descriptors about how they look at themselves. For example, it may say something like, “Analytics-driven marketer,” or something like that. I almost think of that as like a tag; something that you can put on top of that prospect to say, “Gee, this is a sort of an indicator of how they think about their role broadly or specifically within in a particular organization.” Then, you’ll see things like the current job. You’ll see the previous jobs listed there. Again, Kelly, you got a great strategy around kind of using the previous jobs as a way to get some context on a potential prospect.Kelly: Yeah. I like to look at the previous few roles to get some functional expertise from a particular prospect. Typically or quite often you’ll find somebody that’s at a role, let’s say, it’s a year or two. They really actually haven’t put more than say the company description as the description of the role. So, you can take a look at what they were doing a past and make inferences about the fact that maybe they are in the right functional position that you’re looking for. For example, if somebody’s in marketing, well obviously, there’s lots of different marketing roles but you’ve found somebody that is in demand gen in the previous role. Now, they’re in business marketing or marketing communications. The implication there, is they’re doing something very, very similar.Joe: Yeah, that’s awesome. Then I think education, you can think of, as almost a similar data point which is, just giving you…. A lot, particularly if someone’s been in their career for a decade or more, the education may or may not be super relevant but it gives you some more of that background in the particular role that they’re in within the organization. What’s their starting point? How did they get there? Does the education map? Someone’s whose in a marketing role or business development role, that comes from a legal background or technology background by education, is going to have a different slant than someone that comes from a more generic business degree or something like that. So, it just good context to have when you’re figuring out how to approach a potential prospect. Then, you start getting into some interesting kind of -- lack of a better a term -- widgets that LinkedIn has on these logged-in pages along the right-end side of the screen. There’s a couple really cool
  4. 4. 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   bits of data wrapped-up in there. I don’t think that’s always obvious, exactly how to use those things. As you work your way down the right-end side of the page, you’ll see things like…. One of the most interesting ones is LinkedIn will point out the profiles that have been viewed by people who viewed the profile you’re looking at. So, a little convoluted, but basically four people that viewed the profile you’re looking at. What are the other profiles they’ve looked at? Very often what you’ll find wrapped-up in there is other contacts at that same company, other similar people. It’s almost like Amazon recommendations or NetFlix recommendations. “If you’re looking at this profile, these are the other ones you should be checking out.” It’s really good to take note there and figure out, “Are there potentially weeds wrapped-up in there, other contacts within this organization?” These types of things. The other really interesting side widget there that you’ll often see, is just insight into the recommendations that this individual has received. That could get you a pretty interesting point as well because if you look at those, look at and see if they receive recommendations, who are they receiving those recommendations from. Are they’re receiving them from co-workers, subordinates, their bosses? Are they receiving them from partners and vendors? That can give you really interesting idea of not only who they’ve worked with in the past but how they work with people, which again…. A lot of this sort of cold calling, prospecting, trying to turn kind of a social lead into a warm lead when you actually reach out is about having a context. You understand how to make what you’re pitching relevant to them and also prepositioning appropriately. Another really interesting area of the LinkedIn profile page is looking at things like groups. Groups are -- feels like increasingly popular over the past year or two on LinkedIn. One of the things I find looking at groups is that you can discover a – not only groups that indicate that this person may or may not be a good fit for your product or service but the other thing that’s interesting is the group actually act as sort of sign posts into other areas where you can discover potentially other prospects. So, as we’ve been ramping up high prospect, I find lots of people that are in marketing and sales roles that are in various lead scoring or marketing segmentation groups. If I find an interesting group, I’ll sign up and follow the information flow from that group. A lot of times you’ll identify new prospects or just get other interesting insights out of the groups themselves.
  5. 5. 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   There’s also an interesting contact trick that LinkedIn allows you to contact individuals that you share groups with. In some point in the future, we’ll cover some of the strategy we’ve used to contact people through LinkedIn. But that’s definitely one interesting area. If you share a group, you can contact people more directly that way. The other stuff you’ll see, the other personalized stuff you’d see at a LinkedIn profile as you get lower on the page, is things like that individual’s Twitter handle if they’ve connected their Twitter account at LinkedIn. We did a podcast last week talking about some of the interesting ways you can use Twitter to develop relationships and generate leads. LinkedIn can be a great way to discover someone’s Twitter profile. The other things you’ll see down there is links to any additional links -- often company website. Sometimes people will also link to things like their personal blog or side projects that they’re working on; maybe even charities or organizations they’re involved with. Again, it gets back to the same thing. It’s about context and getting perspective on who this individual is and how to approach them. Spending time looking and seeing the signal that someone gives you by linking to a company website or some third-party websites is pretty strong. In line, you’ll discover what things they’re interested in or passionate about, which may be helpful in sort of positioning your pitch to a potential prospect. Are there -- anything else that jumps out to you, Kelly, on these pages that you found useful?Kelly: No. I think that more than covers it.Joe: Cool, awesome! The only other thing I’ll mention is there’s actually a cool feature on the public pages -- public LinkedIn pages -- which I actually, frankly, I hadn‘t noticed until we started preparing for this podcast today. There’s actually, if you go to someone’s publicly available page and you can find the public page from their logged- in page, if you’re already there, it will show that the public LinkedIn profile and the summary widget at the top of the LinkedIn profile. If you click on that link, you’ll go to a public page and the public page actually has widget on the right-hand side which shows you people with similar names —similar or same names that may be the actual contact you’re looking for. The interesting thing there is, I’m assuming there’s some intelligence that LinkedIn is using similar to “the people who viewed this page” type logic, that shows popular profiles that share name
  6. 6. 398 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94105   with this individual. So, in the case where you’re searching specifically for a user by name and you may click on the first ranking profile, it may not be the one that you’re targeting. You can use this widget as a way to potentially find the right version of John Smith or whoever is it you’re searching for. Just something that – frankly I’ve never actually done before. But, we discovered it as we were preparing here and I thought I’d mentioned it as well. The final thing we didn’t talked was just connections, in general. Looking at who’s someone is connected to. You talked a little bit about the volume of connections in trying to figure out, “Is it volume or number of connections? Is this an active profile?” But the other thing is obviously, the core value of LinkedIn is discovering the connection points between a given profile and yourself by way of your network. So, obviously spending time at profile to get the context around the individual is great, but then also it could be a great place to actually figure out a place to get a warm introduction through someone you know or a friend of a friend, these type of things. I think that’s hopefully a good overview of how we analyze LinkedIn profiles and potential prospects in our own work, once again at hotprospect. We’d love to answer any questions and comments you may have about specific strategies we’ve used beyond this. LinkedIn is something we’ll focus a lot on in this podcast just because it’s such a rich tool for up-on sales. You can expect us to continue to the cover these types of tips and techniques. Certainly, let us know if there are questions, or comments, or things we could be doing better to help give more insight into using these tools for social selling and identifying the right prospects for your products or service. So, Kelly, you can find him at Kelhuffman on Twitter. I’m JoeF on Twitter and our hotprospect Twitter handle is @hotpros on Twitter. We’ve love to connect with you there and always feel free to reach out with any questions about hotprospect or sales and marketing using the social web. Thanks for your time and thanks for sticking with us and we’ll talk to you soon.Kelly: Thanks a lot.