At LinkedIn Sales Solutions, we have the privilege of working with a wide range of small- and mid-sized businesses (SMB) that are creatively seeking ways to grow and expand their digital footprints. Through these experiences, we’ve noticed several common challenges, many of which can be addressed directly through LinkedIn and Sales Navigator.
Today, we’ll take a look at five of the most prevalent obstacles facing the SMB sector, and how forward-thinking companies are overcoming them through a modern selling approach powered by the world’s largest professional network.
How LinkedIn Helps SMBs Solve Top Sales Challenges
1. Lack of Awareness and Name Recognition in the Market
How can you stand out and get noticed in a niche that may already have several recognizable players? This is an almost universal dilemma for the SMB crowd, especially when it comes to creating awareness at the decision-maker level. There are no easy answers — it takes smart, clever, strategic thinking and execution — but LinkedIn offers some helpful ways to get your brand’s name out there.
Working with your marketing cohorts to develop a consistent and focused content strategy on your company’s LinkedIn Page can make a big difference in this regard (and the LinkedIn Content Marketing Tactical Plan provides useful guidance on this front). But from a sales standpoint, perhaps the most important step you can take to lay groundwork is expanding your professional networks. Connect with key individuals in the specific areas where you operate — not just prospective customers but also influential voices. Building awareness with experts and authorities who are respected in the industry is a great way to credibly get in front of their audiences, which are likely very similar to yours.
Don’t just connect with people for the sake of doing so, though. You’ll always be more successful reaching out with relevance. Scour interests, skills, and backgrounds in LinkedIn profiles for commonalities that might spark a rapport. Use the TeamLink feature in Sales Navigator to get a full view of your organization’s extended network. The long-term benefits of a robust and wide-reaching sales network are immense.
2. Stalled or Limited Growth
Oftentimes, gaining that initial momentum isn’t the problem; maintaining it is. Once you’ve shored up your early opportunities, where to next? New geographic regions and business verticals can offer prime territory for expansion, but breaking into them is tough for a budding brand.
Sales Navigator can be extremely helpful when it comes to growing the collective networks of your sales team and forging relationships that open new doors. Features within the tool, like TeamLink and Lead Recommendations, make it easy to identify low-hanging fruits outside of your initial geography.
3. Lack of Balance and Coordination Between Inbound and Outbound Efforts
Finding the right balance between inbound and outbound sales is an ongoing challenge for companies of all sizes, but one that seems to weigh more heavily on SMBs. Recognizing that buyers are now more self-driven in the purchase journey, you want to promote smart practices that help them find their way to your brand. But there’s also an added level of urgency to actively seek out new business and fill the pipeline.
LinkedIn supports the pursuit of both these objectives simultaneously. When evangelizing a modern selling strategy, reps are encouraged to build their personal brands and engage in productive conversations on the platform, which helps gain targeted visibility for themselves and the brand. Meanwhile, they can use Sales Navigator to pinpoint qualified prospects, and leverage rich professional insights for intelligent outreach.
4. Difficult to Hire and Retain Quality Sales Talent
The bottom line is that quality employees are more likely to stick around if they are happy, productive, and successful. Sales Navigator users are empowered to proactively create their own opportunities, and develop them independently. And as mentioned before, modern selling approaches are geared toward personal brand-building as well as company growth, so there’s a higher level of inherent self-motivation.
Additionally, the centralized nature of Sales Navigator as a sales enablement platform makes it conducive to training and collaboration with managers. For example, Sales Navigator Deals provides a detailed, real-time, shared view of the pipeline, which many sales leaders use as focal points in their one-on-one meetings. As you probably know, employee engagement is one of the most vital factors in retention and managing churn.
5. Nascent Sales Processes Lack Structure and Refinement for Efficiency
Running an SMB sales operation requires a lot of foundational building. In many cases there isn’t a firmly established infrastructure, which can lead to aimless or duplicated efforts. Sales Navigator helps teams organize and coordinate. With Deals, you can integrate with your CRM, and changes within Sales Navigator will be written back to the CRM instantly.
Simply put, Sales Navigator gives managers visibility into each of their sellers’ activities, provides automated alerts to help push a rep into action at the right moment, and creates a structure to scale up more easily.
Sales Navigator Helps SMBs Think Big
Many people think of LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a scalable solution for enterprise teams with global reach. And it is that. But we’ve also placed a strong emphasis on making the product highly useful for smaller businesses that need an edge to move ahead of the pack in today’s competitive marketplace.
By helping advance your brand awareness, opening up new regions and verticals, bringing balance to your inbound/outbound mix, improving employee retention, and solidifying your sales infrastructure, Sales Navigator is a powerful tool for modern SMBs.