Top 10 Things I Learned at LinkedIn Sales Connect 2014

By Paul Teshima in Social Selling

I attended LinkedIn’s first global user conference called Sales Connect, in San Francisco. The focus of the conference was to bring together the community of social selling professionals and help them be more successful.  The high energy from the attendees reminded me of how marketers felt when they started the same transformation a few years back with marketing automation.

Day 1 was focused on existing customers, and since I have a sales navigator license, I count as one (yeah!).  Day 2 rolled into the keynotes, and breakout sessions.  Overall a great experience.

Here are the Top 10 things I learned in the day and a half I spent with the world’s best social selling professionals.

10. With 313 million members (2 more every second) and approximately 600 million knowledge workers in the world, LinkedIn has been adopted by 52% of their global target market.  I guess you can say they own the business network.  What ever happened to Plaxo?

9. After sitting in on a SMB roundtable discussion, although there is still resistance in many organizations, social selling is moving from a “nice-to-have” to a “need-to-have”. In fact many buyers expect you to know the information in theirLinkedIn profile before you show up for the first meeting.

8. Social sales as defined byLinkedIn uses four pillars which is measured by the Social Selling Index (SSI) scored out of 100.

  • Create a professional brand
  • Find the right people
  • Engage with insights
  • Build strong relationships

7. Linkedin members average SSI score is 22.8, and for the attendees is 61.5 (note mine is 65 – as per the cool infographic they gave every attendee).  It is interesting that the area that needs the most improvement is “Engage with insights” scoring the lowest by a factor of 2-3 for both groups.  Maybe they need nudge?

6. Social Selling index leaders are 51% more likely to hit their quota than sales people who are social sales laggards.  As anyone who has run sales knows, this improvement would have a huge impact on your ability to grow as a business.

5. In a great session with Kathleen Schaub of IDC, she presented that 84% of executive buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.  Why do they do it themselves?  “Because you can’t delegate trust”

4. Jill Rowley, social selling evangelist, went through some fantastic best practices on how to ensure you are becoming a “magnet for buyers”.  One that stood out for me, is to ensure your personal brand is consistent across the different social networks.

3. Jill Konrath, gave a great talk on how to sell change in your organization and get them to adopt social selling practices.  What she has learned after working with hundreds of organizations, is that it is best done through sharing stories.  And take your time because “going slow, is the best way to go fast”.

2. Billy Beane, the famous “Moneyball” GM for the Oakland A’s talked about how during his tenure the A’s have outperformed by $1.3 billion dollars.  And it was done by moving from a “based on your gut” industry-standard management style to an objective, data-driven one.  Sound like another shift we are starting to see today?

1. In a personal moment Jeff Weiner (CEO) revealed that he loves TV series dramas.  His favorites include The Wire, Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights.  And in the last 10 years of successful dramas, only Friday Night Lights does not have an anti-hero. Can anyone say “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose“?

Well that was it, I will definitely be back next year.  It was great to see the kick-off of what I believe will be another transformative shift in sales and marketing. Hopefully by Sales Connect 2015 I can finally get connected to Jeff Weiner 🙂

Paul Teshima
CEO and Co-founder