On LinkedIn, the real opportunity is to bring your prospects into a conversation and by using LinkedIn as an engagement tool. Welcome back to the More Than Marketing podcast. I have Charlie Whyman with me from the UK.
Charlie saw a real gap in the market. There were lots of people teaching you how to generate leads on LinkedIn, but there weren’t many people showing the full process which includes how to close leads into sales. You’ll learn in this episode why building authority by setting yourself up as the go-to expert is important for B2B marketing these days. It doesn’t matter what role you have at your company; there’s a huge amount of power in building a personal brand on LinkedIn. We’re also going to be talking about B2B LinkedIn marketing and closing tips.
– [Charlie] On LinkedIn, the real opportunity there is to bring your prospects, bring your customers into the conversation, and use it as an engagement tool to get them bought in to what it is that you’re offering.
– Hey, welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. I’m your host, Arsham Mirshah, and today I have Charlie Whyman with me from the UK. We’re gonna be talking about B2B, LinkedIn tips, for developing business using LinkedIn, I mean, who is in B2B and not on LinkedIn nowadays? Like, you have to be, doesn’t make sense not to be. Charlie’s also expecting in a couple weeks, so huge congrats Charlie. Thank you for, thanks for taking the time to be with me today, even though you’re a couple weeks or minutes possibly from the hospital and giving life. So thanks for your time and Charlie, I see that you’ve been, you have a very unique background, you were talking earlier, you know, engineering, and then into marketing and then business development, sales, and now you’ve created your own course for people to, it sounds like, learn how to most effectively use LinkedIn to generate business, is that, that’s right?
– Yeah, absolutely, ’cause what I saw a real gap in the market, there were lots of people teaching you how to generate leads on LinkedIn, but there weren’t very many people that were actually showing you the full process, which is, okay, once you’ve generated those leads, how do you then close them into sales?
– [Charlie] Yeah, so.
– No, that’s great.
– I developed one which also focused on building your authority in your industry, in your niche, or your niche for your, if you’re listening. Because for me, it’s all about building authority and setting yourself up as the go-to expert.
– And I kind of, I developed an accidental personal brand, I didn’t know what a personal brand was. When I was working as a marketer, as a salesperson in business development, and then I realized oh wait, okay, there’s a huge amount of power in employees having their own personal brand as well as CEOs, as well as C-level executives for business development and also for sales and leadership too, so.
– Sure. Yeah, you don’t, I mean, if you’re a B2B service company, a lot of times what you see is that the owners or the C-level or whatever, they’ll have the authority, they’ll have the presence, and then they’ll be the main rainmaker in what it calls a business moment. But it sounds like you’re saying hey look, and it makes sense, I mean, if you’re in business development, if you’re in sales or business development, like you have to be using LinkedIn among other tools, and your course teaches you how to create that authority. Is that right? Can you tell me a little bit about your background though, ’cause we were talking before and it was really interesting, engineering to sales.
– Yeah, so it’s a very colorful background. So I studied engineering at university, very quickly learnt that I was not going to become an engineer. I was way more interested in the way that humans behaved, what motivated them, what made them do things. But I wasn’t really in a great place at the time, so I left, I did two years at university, then I left and I moved to Italy, set up my very first business, which was making and selling olive oil.
– Oh cool.
– So I guess that was kind of my first experience of marketing, which was kind of, yeah, I’d created this brand, I’d entered the oil into awards, we won awards, I was selling it in market stalls and delis and things like that, and pretty much figuring it out as I went along, I didn’t know what I was doing.
– You were wearing every hat, I mean, you had to do everything. When you own your own business, you have to, you know, you have to. You’re the sales person, you’re the marketer, you’re the product person, you’re the HR, you know, you’re everything, right?
– Exactly, so that was a lot of fun, but it, I had a really bad relationship with learning, so I was kind of typical engineer, thinking that I could do it all myself. So I mean, it was great, I was 20, it was a lot of fun but I wanted to go back into industry and I wanted to learn more and I wanted to do more, so I then found myself working for grant funding in innovation projects, in healthcare and sports. And then I was offered a job, it was just on the off chance. Offered a job for an engineering company as their marketing assistant.
– That fits.
– Yeah, so I accepted the job, but I didn’t know, I didn’t know anything about the industry ’cause we were selling to surveyors and the mining industry. I didn’t know anything about the product which was laser scanning technology.
– You’re not classically trained as a marketer.
– No, exactly.
– Right? That might be actually a good thing, frankly. I don’t know.
– You know what? I do genuinely believe that the fact I’m not a trained marketer has worked to my advantage.
– I believe that.
– My attitude to life is all about helping other people and about, you know, if somebody has a question, find how you can answer their question or how you can help them with whatever problem that they have.
– Add value before extracting it.
– Simply put.
– So I was traveling around the world to all of these sales conferences, these marketing conferences and things, and trying to understand a bit more about what people really wanted. And what I ended up doing was creating this accidental personal brand, as I said before.
– Yeah, how did that happen?
– I know, so everybody kept coming to me for inquiries and my boss at the time, he said to me, he was just like, you know, you’re the best sales person in the company. And I was like.
– I was like, what, I think I was 24? You know, obviously.
– I didn’t know I’m doing sales.
– Obviously looking like I do, playing in a very, very male-dominated world. And then I was like I don’t wanna be a sales person. I had this awful view of what salespeople look like, which was completely incorrect, and he said to me, he was just like, you know what? Sales is all about developing relationships and finding the right product or the right solution for a problem or for a person, and as long as you’re honest and as long as you’re doing the right thing, then you’ll go far. And that was a kind of like, really, really good piece of advice. And yeah, so within two and a half, three years, I went from marketing assistant to head of global sales and marketing, got involved in setting up the offices in Australia, in North America, in South Africa.
– Was there for six years, and then I moved and I got a job as head of marketing for a company that served the global shipping industry, did that for a year, and then I kind of came to that realization that I thought, you know what? I could help a huge amount more people if I did this as a consultant, and if I did this as a trainer. So it kind of gave me the motivation to go out on my own, and create my own program if you like based on my own experience, because I knew sort of what could help people, which is where we’re at today.
– I love it, what a cool background, I love that, and it sounds like to your point, it kinda happened naturally, just by you being you, being authentic, being yourself, trying to just help people solve their problems before they even paid you, right?
– Yeah, exactly, ’cause my ethos in life generally is to just be really curious about what’s going on around you, and to never be afraid of putting yourself in front of an opportunity.
– That’s good.
– And you know, a prime example of that, I was talking to somebody yesterday, was that I was in South Africa at a conference, and we just employed a new salesperson, and they had this opportunity to go and demonstrate this new product down the world’s deepest gold mine.
– Oh, cool.
– And she didn’t like being underground.
– Of course.
– So she was kind of like, approaching this in a really negative place, and I was like, you’re so lucky, I was like, I’d love to do that.
– Right, right, right.
– My boss at the time just thought I was, I’d had a few too many glasses of wine. But the next day he just said if you wanna go, change your flight and go with her.
– So I did.
– Wait, so, aren’t you like 30 something months pregnant, and you were just in a jet?
– Oh, no, no, no, this was about four years ago.
– Oh, thank goodness, I was like holy smokes, quit drinking wine and going down deep mine shafts when you’re, right?
– It’s a kind of, yeah, I just love, I love opening myself up to new opportunities and I’m the sort of person that will figure out a way, even if I’ve never done it before, or even if I don’t know how to do it, I’ll know that I can figure it out.
– Yeah, I think that’s a great attitude to have, and I think that kind of parlays into hey look, if I’m new to biz dev, or if I am even a marketer, I need to understand what, so you say curiosity, and I really like that. I believe that sales is the customer of marketing, right? So if you’re in a B2B organization, product or service doesn’t really matter. You have a marketing team, you have a sales team, maybe they’re one person each, or maybe they’re 100 people each, doesn’t matter, the point is traditionally what you see is sales and marketing kind of butting heads, right? You know this, you’re nodding your head, but I think that if marketing can be more curious about the sales process, about the life of a sales rep or a business development person, and I think if the sales people can be more empathetic to, and open minded to let those marketers in, add a little dose of curiosity in there, and you have this alignment, not this butting of heads. So I’m trying to preach that and it sounds like you agree with that. How does your course help with that, and what tips do you have for developing business using LinkedIn? Not just leads, but it sounds like. I know that’s open-ended, but.
– Well yeah, because of the challenge with a lot of people on LinkedIn is that they look at each different part of the process rather than the customer journey as a whole.
– And yeah, I preach this all the time but I kind of add an extra layer which is customer service, because I feel if you look at marketing, sales and customer service as a whole, you get this real, deep understanding of what your customers are like, because in order to be an effective marketer, especially in B2B, you need to be able to demonstrate your authority in your market so they know you’re the best at what you do, you know the ins and outs and you are the go to person, and you also want to demonstrate your empathy in your market, you want to tell your customers that you understand their problems, you understand their challenges, and you have the right solution for them. But from a marketer’s point of view, if sales and customer service are not communicating with the marketing team, then what you find is that you have a marketing team that’s essentially going in blind, that’s second guessing the market, that’s second guessing the customer base, and trying to figure out what language to use, how to say it, how to present it, and to do it in a very generic way.
– And then they lack confidence when they don’t have that, I see your point, they second guess and then they lack that confidence, and that probably comes through in the messaging and the copy that they use.
– And I think as well that a confidence hit with that as well is that, especially in my experience, is that sales teams are quite ruthless in saying that marketing’s not providing them with what it is that they need, but they’re not very good at actually articulating exactly what it is that they need. So you’ve got marketing getting frustrated because they want to do a good job, but they’re not really quite meeting the needs of the sales team, and then you’ve got sales getting really frustrated because they know what they need to send to the customers, but they can’t communicate it in a way that marketing can respond to, so.
– Help us solve this Charlie, what do we do? What is the antidote or the silver bullet, so to speak? How do you, right? I mean, what do you?
– To be brutally honest, the silver bullet’s this, is to not have a head of sales or a head of marketing. It’s to have a head of sales and marketing.
– Love it.
– And you’ll get everybody talking, and again, it’s not just sales and marketing, it’s also customer service because customer service deal with the questions, the support, and there is so much insight that you can learn from the customer service.
– There’s so much content sitting in both the sales and the customer service departments. It’s not necessarily created yet, but the basis, the foundation, the seeds for it are there. ‘Cause otherwise, what’s marketing doing? If they are not talking to sales and service, what are they doing? They’re doing keyword research, they’re looking at what competitors are writing about, and that’s the basis, right? Or they’re like hey, what’s hot in our industry? We’re gonna write about that, or we’re gonna create content around that, whereas if they’re talking to sales, they’re learning the objections that they’re hearing, and stuff that customer service are hearing about, features that they want or they enjoy. Now they can use that in their advertisements, in their blog posts, in their service, whatever, in their website, so I think there’s just a ton of content sitting in the hills. But this is not LinkedIn specific, and I really wanna pick your brain on LinkedIn stuff, because-
– Okay, cool, so yeah.
– If I can.
– Absolutely, so from a LinkedIn point of view. Again, everybody looks at LinkedIn from a lead gen point of view, and it’s okay, how many connections can I collect? How many potential customers can I add into my network? And if you just see LinkedIn as a lead generation platform, you will be missing out on so many different opportunities there that you can use it for. And one of the, well, rather, in my experience, the biggest lever for LinkedIn is your ability to nurture and follow up with existing prospects, and also to be able to confer existing customers into fans, advocates and referral partners. Because you have this ability to communicate with a community of people that you’re serving.
– Why not do that over email though? Out of, I mean, couldn’t you nurture them over email?
– You can kinda do it over email, but I find email’s very formal and email generally people automatically presume that you’re asking something of them when you send them an email.
– I can see that.
– The other thing about B2B marketing is that it’s generally very robotic, very corporate, and a lot of B2B marketers, I don’t believe they do this intentionally, but they talk at their audience, rather than with their audience. So on LinkedIn, the real opportunity there is to bring your prospects, bring your customers into the conversation and use it as an engagement tool to get them bought in to what it is that you’re offering.
– That’s good.
– And instead of just going on to LinkedIn screaming from the rooftops about how amazing your products and solutions are, use LinkedIn as that tool that you can go and you can say look, here are all the problems that my industry is facing, and here’s how we solve them. Here’s how we solve them together. What do you think?
– What about some specific examples? I’m thinking to myself okay, maybe I can take my best customer and start… Okay, so we have one agency, we have several customers, right? And, or clients. So the ones that we’re getting the best result for, we can go and, I can email them hey, look at these results, oh yeah, those are fantastic, but how do I then parlay that into… ‘Cause I want to make that person on the other end, my client, I wanna make them my advocate, my evangelist, but how do I do that on LinkedIn without looking tacky maybe, or cheesy? You see what I’m saying?
– So a lot of that is it’s isolating specific points that people care about the most. So I’ll use it as an example. I used to sell mobile mapping equipment, so laser scanning equipment to map roads and highways, railways, bridges, that sort of thing. One of the big problems in the market was that surveyors traditionally had to go and measure roads by either closing the road at night and working at night, which meant that the surveying company had to pay to close the road, and then pay their staff overtime to work at night. Or they had to block off sections of the road, work in the day time, and then it was a safety risk to their staff, which again, posed a financial risk as well. So if you have a look at the problems that the target market, so that was the surveying company, were facing, and you isolate each problem in turn. So staff safety is one of them. But you talk about how you can use mobile mapping equipment to keep your staff safer on the road. You’re not talking about the benefits of, you’re not talking about the features of the mobile mapping equipment, you’re not talking about the benefits, but you’re talking about the fact that it solved a specific problem.
– And it really helps that surveying company be better to their staff, which is something that they worry about, it keeps them up at night.
– And something that when things go wrong, it costs them a lot of money.
– So instead of bombarding them with lots of information about loads of different features, loads of different benefits, you’re pinpointing one specific problem and talking about that.
– And then going deep on that maybe.
– Like creating.
– And then talking about something different, which is, you know, if you were able to survey during the day without closing the roads, you don’t have to pay your staff overtime and you don’t have to then close the road and pay the council to close the road.
– And those are benefits, and now you’re going into benefits, and that’s good, I mean, you should be talking about benefits. They’re not features, right?
– But it’s isolating the benefits as well, it’s not kind of having a box and saying.
– First you isolate it, yeah.
– Here’s a massive list of everything we can help you with.
– Right, right, right.
– It’s kind of going, it’s drip feeding one at a time a lot of these clear pinpoints that people face, and talking about them in a way that means something to them, in a way that grabs their attention. So one of the biggest mistakes that I see is that a lot of companies will try and market to multiple market verticals at the same time.
– Yeah, that’s true.
– Another case in point was that two different market verticals won’t respond to the same imagery, they won’t always respond to the same language and the same, even if the benefits are the same, the language and the imagery is really important. So it’s about, on LinkedIn anyway, it’s about being very strategic into your approach. So if you’re using LinkedIn for business development say, right, okay, this month I’m targeting the mining industry. I’m gonna go hard on mining.
– I get it.
– So all of my imagery, all of my communications, my language, my connections approach, so I’m gonna target specific people in the mining industry, it’s all gonna be consistent.
– Yes, yes.
– And then I’m gonna then pivot and then do something else, because B2B, commonly you think all right, well I can benefit so many different industries, so many different people and they go huge right from the word go.
– Too big, too fast, yeah.
– Rein it back. Just.
– Back to the basics, like how many conversations do you need to start from a business development point of view? How valuable is your customer to you? And take that into account when you are spending that time starting those conversations.
– Because a lot of people just go right, how do I scale this?
– You can’t scale relationship building.
– That’s true, that’s true.
– It’s impossible.
– Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, ’cause it’s one to one, it’s human, right? I can’t, right, I mean, maybe you could.
– And if you’re someone that just sells high value equipment, services, or whatever, then that extra care and attention will A, help you close the deal faster, and it will show that you care.
– Good tradition is gonna have a long sales cycle, so you know, there is, yeah. I love this idea of choosing a niche, I’m using it niche, not nitch. It is niche, I think that’s the correct way. Yeah, choosing a niche and hitting it hard for a month, or even a quarter honestly, I mean, or two quarters, or whatever it takes to really be able to get the message out there. And even, to your point, even if you have a niche and you’ve pinpointed a target benefit, I mean, there’s probably, or a target problem, there’s probably a ton of content or a ton of different imagery and language or messaging and creative that would, that might or might not resonate with a particular person, right? So there’s just a ton of content. We call that content theming, and content theming around, and in this case, content theming around a problem. It could be around a benefit, it could be around a feature, but I think it’s most impactful when it’s around a problem and how your solution solves that. Or, if not your particular solution, the general solution. You had other competitors that sell 3D mapping equipment, you don’t necessarily have to come out and say it’s ours and ours only, you come out and say like, you know, 3D equipment helps there, or 3D mapping helps with this, or solves this in this way.
– Yeah, and you know what? When you do it in that way and you talk about the problems and the solutions, you are the person, you are the individual that works for the company that’s remembered for talking about that particular thing.
– And the key thing to remember is that nobody cares about the technology or how you actually helped them with their problem.
– And a lot of companies just feel like they need, everything needs to be branded up, everything needs to be named for the product name, the company, and it comes across as very promotional and spammy, whereas if you talk about it just in terms of product, sorry, problem and solution, people will remember you and the company that’s being helpful.
– Charlie, you’re so right, because I go on LinkedIn and not just LinkedIn, I mean, around, I’m networking around my local area, right? And people don’t, people will email me or reach out to me on LinkedIn and say ha, I have this digital marketing idea or problem or whatever, and I thought of you. We have this website thing and I thought of you, they don’t say I thought of WebMechanix, they say I thought of you, you know? And they want, because at the end of the day, we say B2B but it’s really P2P right? It’s people to people at the end of the day, so I think that’s what you’re saying here is brand yourself as the person who has identified the problem and is solving it, and it’s you who’s gonna be remembered, it’s you they’re gonna reach out to, they’re not gonna, it’s not gonna be like hey Charlie’s talking about this problem and the benefit, and oh okay, let me go see who she works for, and then let me go to their site and call their number, no. I’m gonna reach out to Charlie, you know?
– Yeah, but people do remember company names though.
– I’m not saying they don’t, I’m just saying that when they go to reach out, if you’re on LinkedIn.
– You’re the person that you remember first.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– People do associate, ’cause the more, it’s that kind of concept of being relentlessly helpful.
– That’s good.
– So the more you can be identified as that authority, more importantly, that trusted authority, because again, salespeople have this really bad reputation in whatever industry, they’re only interested in selling you their product or their solution.
– Yeah, that’s their reputation.
– If you can develop a reputation for yourself in that you don’t care about what products or solution you’re pushing, you just care about giving the customer the right solution, and pointing them in the right direction, then you may not win that sale there and then, but you’ll have earned their respect, they’ll talk about you to other people, and they’re more often, they’ll come back to you at a later date. So it has a long term marketing benefit to the company. You’re leaving a really good impression.
– It is.
– And people will remember you and the company that you work for as well. So you don’t need to force the company name or the product name down people’s throats. People don’t care about that.
– Yeah, they don’t. They care about the solution, they care about their problem, their itch being scratched so to speak, right? Their problem being solved, and if the person can do that, and they work for some company then that’s great. I think this is what I say about social media in general, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever, you have to be active first and foremost, you have to be on there doing things, right? Commenting, liking and posting. But then, more importantly, you have to add value. If you’re just in there shoving down your features and benefits, and your logo and your brand, then that’s not adding value, right? So I think what you’re saying here is hey, if you add value, if you add value first, be relentlessly helpful, the value will come back to you naturally, that’s what it sounds like. And I love it.
– That and bring your market into the conversation. Talk with them, not at them.
– Yeah, not at them, nice. So that’s like at tagging. So Charlie, unfortunately, I have, I put a limit on these podcasts, so I want them to be only less than 30 minutes, so my time is coming up. I wanna go into more tactical things, like how do you bring, how do you bring them in tactically, like on LinkedIn, do you at mention them, do you create a group, or what do you do? Not for this episode, but maybe for another one, if you’d be willing to join?
– Yeah, absolutely.
– Now, if the listeners want to take your course, how do they find that?
– So I have a free training webinar.
– Or rather I will, by the time this podcast is released, I will have a free training webinar which runs on autopilot. Okay.
– Up until now I’ve been doing it live.
– Good for you.
– And so yeah, my approach is always deliver loads of value, and then if you want to learn more, then I’ll give you the options to do that. So my website.
– And your website.
– Go ahead, your website is, yeah.
– Oh yeah, my website it charliewhyman.com, so Charlie with an I-E, Whyman, W-H-Y-M-A-N. There is a link on there, I’ve got a free blueprint which walks you through my entire process for using LinkedIn, for B2B lead generation and sales, and then yes, I do have a free training webinar which if you feel like it’s all sales-y then tell me, it isn’t. Because I hate that, you know, you sign up to a webinar and you’re just sold to instantly, and it’s like no.
– I know, I know.
– So yeah, I have a free training webinar and then there are offers at the end of it if you’d like more help and more support. But yeah, as you said I am due to have a baby in a couple of weeks, so at the moment I’m very much relying on my automated processes. But I will be keeping an eye on my LinkedIn and everything like that.
– Sure, sure, sure, so we’ll put that, we’ll put Charlie Whyman in the show notes so free tools, free webinar, to add value first. If you like that and you like her free tools, she’s got a paid tool that hey, if you like all the free stuff and it adds a ton of value, imagine if you paid her what would happen, right? So Charlie, thank you so, so very much for your time. Congratulations again, appreciate you. All my listeners out there, hopefully you found this helpful. Like, subscribe, share this with a friend. Share it on LinkedIn actually, that’s what you really need to do. And Charlie, thank you again. Congrats, hope you have a great delivery and happy, healthy baby and family.
– Thank you.
Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder
News + Business