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SVP Marketing @ Clari | Podcast Host @ The Run Revenue Show | LinkedIn Top Voice
“You’ve got to be posting on LinkedIn.” Depending on your ICP, this may or may not be true.
A general rule of thumb: if your buyers are on LinkedIn, so should you – because those buyers want to purchase from sellers they know, like, and trust.
But how can salespeople begin to create compelling content that will build rapport and trust with their target audience?
How do you overcome the initial anxiety of writing content for the world to see?
In this episode of Closing Time, Kyle Coleman helps you start to build your personal brand on LinkedIn, determine what type of content to post (based on your experience, expertise, or from industry leaders), and how you can use your posting efforts to help crystallize your thoughts to become a better communicator.
Note: There is no shortcut. Reading, writing, and lots of practice are required.
Is your target audience on LinkedIn? If your ICP is similar to Insightly or Clari’s – in which we both sell to sales and marketing leaders – then building a personal brand on LinkedIn and engaging with other users has multi-fold benefits.
First, there’s the goal of uplifting the sales profession. This involves shedding light on ethical sales tactics and eliminating questionable practices that tarnish the reputation of salespeople. It’s about setting a higher standard and educating others on the right way to approach sales. Writing posts can also serve as a tool to express your ideas and thoughts – it’s like a forcing function to get your valuable insights out there.
Second, consider the power of recruiting. Kyle’s active presence on LinkedIn has had a measurable impact on the talent pool of potential hires for Clari. Thanks to people engaging with Kyle’s posts, SDRs, AEs, marketers, engineers, and product managers have all been exposed to Clari.
Third, although somewhat less significant, there’s the aspect of selling. While direct selling isn’t LinkedIn’s primary purpose, there’s a byproduct of increased demand. Given that Clari’s target audience consists of sales and marketing professionals, it aligns well with being active on LinkedIn. This can indirectly contribute to generating demand and interest in what you offer.
However, it may not be as beneficial if your target audience isn’t heavily active on LinkedIn. You might still achieve goals one and two—boosting the profession and recruiting. But if you’re expecting a robust pipeline and your audience isn’t present here, you will need to adjust your expectations and goals accordingly.
If you want to get started posting content on LinkedIn but are unsure what to post or how to get started… you’re not alone. This is where many sales reps struggle.
Kyle suggests focusing on two main areas for content ideas: your experience and expertise.
1. Your Experience: Reflect on your journey. Remember those career-defining moments? Share them. Think about the lessons you learned, the challenges you overcame, and the strategies that worked for you. Those experiences are treasure troves of relatable content. What did you learn early in your career? How did you learn it, and why does it matter? Craft your insights into engaging stories that resonate with your audience’s professional struggles and ambitions.
2. Your Expertise: Expertise goes beyond experience—it’s about actionable insights. What tactics have consistently driven success for you? Identify those tactics and explain why they work. Detail the best practices you’ve honed over time. Your expertise as a sales professional is invaluable; sharing it will position you as a knowledgeable thought leader and help build rapport with those who follow you.
3. (Bonus) Curate Insights from Industry Leaders: One of the perks of your profession is the chance to connect with industry luminaries. Distill their insights into your posts while giving them due credit. Highlight the best practices, innovative strategies, and forward-thinking ideas that these leaders share. This not only adds depth to your content but also showcases your network and your commitment to staying at the forefront of your field.
While LinkedIn is a professional platform, don’t shy away from adding a personal touch. Share your favorite books, hobbies, or anecdotes that have influenced your career journey. This humanizes your brand and helps forge stronger connections with your audience.
Remember, reliability and authenticity breed engagement.
Writing isn’t just about words; it’s about crystalizing your thoughts and honing your communication skills – think of writing as a way to become a better communicator and a sharper thinker.
But here’s the thing: There’s no magic bullet to success – ChatGPT won’t transform you into a wordsmith. AI-generated content often falls flat when compared to authentic human writing. Instead, you have to genuinely practice. No shortcuts. Read extensively, write diligently, seek feedback, and evaluate your clarity and impact.
Kyle recommends getting your thoughts on paper and spending the majority of your time editing, refining, and perfecting your draft. Is the rhythm right? Will it captivate the reader? How do the sentences flow with one another? Is it easy to read? There’s a plethora of resources on copywriting, but the true key is practice.
You’ve been thinking about it—creating content on LinkedIn and building your personal brand—but the leap seems daunting. Kyle’s suggestion to help you build confidence: find an “accountabilibuddy.”
Accountabilibuddy – someone with similar aspirations and reservations regarding LinkedIn who can hold you accountable and review your work.
With your buddy, you’re in this together. Commit to the cause and set tangible goals for your cadence of posts. Start with a pace that’s comfortable for you – once a week is a solid goal.
Now, here’s the beauty of this approach: your buddy is your content wingman. Before posting, run your content by them. Are your thoughts clear? Is the message resonating? Their feedback fine-tunes your content, ensuring it’s polished and impactful. Your words gain weight when you know they’re worth reading. This strategy is about quality and building confidence, not haste.
People buy from whom they know, like and trust. And that’s one of the many reasons why a salesperson will want to build their brand on LinkedIn. And we’re going to talk about that on this episode of Closing Time. Thanks for tuning into Closing Time the show for go to market leaders. My name is Chip House. I’m CMO at Insightly CRM and I’m joined today, very excited about having Kyle. Coleman, who’s SVP of marketing from Clari which is a revenue platform that helps you monitor team performance. So welcome to the show, Kyle. Thanks for having me, Chip.. I’m really excited to be here. Yeah, excited to dig into this topic. I mean, here we are. It’s kind of meta, many people will see us on LinkedIn talking about this, but we’re talking about building your brand, building your personal brand on LinkedIn. And it’s something that I think you know a thing or two about. You’ve been at this for a period of time and you have over 100,000 followers. So I would just love to learn a bit more about your journey. I know that LinkedIn is also rated you a top voice as well, so I’d love to learn more about that program as well. Can you share that information with us? Yeah, sure thing. So I am super honored by LinkedIn a couple of years back to be chosen as a top voice. I don’t exactly know what the criteria are to be chosen as a top voice. I think it has something to do with post frequency and reach and things like that. And the company that I was in was certainly an honor. So very thankful and grateful for all of that. My approach to LinkedIn, Chip, and the reason that I started doing it was because I,. I genuinely love helping people. I know that sounds pretty lame, but it really is true and I started thinking about the impact that I was able to make at my previous role or my previous company Looker. I had a team of about 70 SDRs. And then when I moved over to Clari, downsized a bit.. I had a team of five SDRs. And as much fun as it was working with them, I was like, Man, if I’m able to help all of these folks, what could I, how many more people could I help in a more broad based forum on LinkedIn? And so I started just all the common questions that I would get from the SDR team and all the programs and processes that we would create. I would basically just try and write it down and put it on LinkedIn and see if it helped people. And it seems to have so things as foundational as how to write good emails, how to make good cold calls, all those sorts of things, to things a bit more philosophical about the mindset that you have to have to be successful in sales and the way you need to think about career development and then everything in between. And so I’m really grateful that so many people seem to resonate with the lessons and the learnings that I try and share. And I genuinely enjoy doing it. It doesn’t feel like a chore to me, so I intend to keep doing it as long as I can. Yeah, that’s awesome. So what year did you actually start getting super active in LinkedIn then, Kyle? January of 2020, right before the pandemic. Okay. Do you know how many followers you had then? I had 2500. Okay. Yeah. So you were like a typical person basically on LinkedIn with about 2500 connections? Yeah, I had. I had maybe written an article or two posted every now and again, but had never really committed to doing it. And it was a bit of a slow burn. It took some time to gain some traction, but ultimately the benefits of it. I know we’re going to talk about this later. The benefits are personal as well. I gain a lot of value in, you know, sitting down, really thinking through concepts and then trying to crystallize them in a way that’s digestible for folks. So it’s mutually beneficial. And the forcing function of thinking and writing clearly has really helped me in my career. Yeah, I think that’s a super good point, we can just drill into it now, because, you know, posting may not be for everybody depending on who your ICP is. And so, for example, we tend to sell. Insightly to go to market teams, right? So the bulk of our intended audience is here on LinkedIn. So it makes sense for us to produce this kind of content. And so I assume you’re approaching it sort of similarly. And so when you sit down to write, like you said, it’s a forcing function to get your ideas out, get your thoughts out, which can be super helpful, especially for a salesperson, right? Right. The way that I think about it, Chip, is there are for me and this is different for other folks, but for me there are three main reasons to post on LinkedIn. One is to elevate the profession, elevate the sales profession, try and do away with some of the kind of shadier tactics and the things that people really shouldn’t be doing that give salespeople a bad reputation, help train people on the right way to do it, to elevate the profession. So that’s that’s number one. Number two is recruiting. It’s been amazing how many people or how much our recruiting funnel has been filled by people that have seen or interacted with my post or whatever it may be. And it’s not just SDRs it’s AEs, it’s marketing people, it’s engineers, it’s product managers. It’s all people that learn about Clari via the things that not just myself but other members of our team put out on LinkedIn. And that’s a pretty cool benefit. And then the third, and I think a pretty distant third is selling like selling things on LinkedIn is not the main reason for doing things, but it’s a nice byproduct because my target audience, Clari’s target audience is on LinkedIn. We sell to salespeople, we sell to marketing people. So it makes sense for myself and other Clarians to be active on LinkedIn because we’re going to hopefully experience that tertiary benefit of actually building some demand. For people or companies whose target audience are not super active on LinkedIn, you may still be able to check boxes, number one and number two, and that’s great. But if you expect to like build this healthy pipeline of deals and things like that and your audience isn’t there, you’re tricking yourself, you’re fooling yourself. And so you’ve got to be mindful of that, be cognizant of that, and just make sure you’re posting for the right reasons and setting the right goals. Yeah, it makes great sense, actually. And so I think, you know, what we talk about with our sales team is, you know, hey, there’s huge power in developing your personal brand on LinkedIn. And of course we get the question, well, what do I post? And so I know that in the last 24 hours, for example, you posted about the top four books you’ve read recently, and some were sort of business oriented. One was about Kobe Bryant I saw. And then, you know, legacy. I know that you have a very popular post about your career path. So you’re sharing things both personal in addition to trying to speak to your audience, right? That’s right. And the thing I, the guidance that I try and give to people is post about things that either you have experience in and have a real meaningful point of view on and have proven success doing some things, tactics, ways of thinking, whatever it may be. So experience is hugely beneficial. And if you think about your own career, there are situations that you’ve been in that are interesting to people and you just need to tease them out and tell the story in a unique way. What’s one thing that earlier in your career you learned from experience? What did you learn? How did you learn it and why? Or how could it be helpful to other people? So leaning into your own experience and finding interesting points from your own career journey is this very deep well of content that you can try and pick from to, you know, have some sort of meaningful impact on social. So experience is one.. And then the second is expertise. And the two are not necessarily the same thing. Expertise has more to do with how have you, it’s more tactical maybe, but how have you found success in the past? What are the things that you have done or that you’ve seen other people do that you’ve worked with that are best practices that can or should be repeated? And why? Why are they and how is that different from what other people do? And so those are the two main veins that. I try and tap with respect to my post. Things that I have genuine experience with or genuine expertise in that way there’s credibility and it’s genuine. And it’s not me just kind of spouting off on things that I don’t totally know or don’t totally understand. So that’s the way that I try and think about things. And then I would say maybe a third benefit and something that I am very lucky is I get to speak with some of the world’s leading operators across revenue and marketing and product teams and the rest of it. So I’m constantly learning from these luminaries in the field and I try and summarize their thoughts and share those thoughts and as best I can, and of course giving them full credit along the way. So that’s maybe the third vein is like curating insights from other people who have experience or expertise in another forum and trying to share their thoughts a bit more publicly. Of course, giving them credit along the way. So those are kind of the ways, that’s how I would recommend people start is thinking through those two channels. And it’s, I think, pretty easy to get on a roll if you’re just kind of narrowing the scope of what you can or should be posting about. Yeah. So, you know, for example, we’ve had Jay Baer on the program and Jay talks about how you need to be authentic, number one. But people do business with people that they want to engage with, people that are human, people that are authentic like that. And so it may be your hobby that might be more interesting to people. In the case of Jay Baer, he talks about marketing and customer success and customer experience, but he also talks about tequila, you know,. And so I think that’s super interesting. On the side, I’m a drummer and so I’ve talked a little bit about drums, but I don’t I don’t think the bulk of the audience wants to hear about me talking about drumming. But I think there actually are some ties in, you know, to what I do day to day. But so an individual sales rep, as they’re building their brand, they want to think about if I’m kind of restating what you said, you know, what problems do they know about, do they have passion about, or what things that they know about and have passion about? And then, in addition to, where does that sort of coincide with their target audience, correct? That’s exactly right. And if you can find that middle ground, like a lot of folks, Chip, for whatever reason, just like you just said about drumming, you trick yourself into thinking that people won’t find it interesting. You know, I’m just a drummer or I’m just an AE or I’m just an SDR, whatever it may be. And you, you make excuses for yourself to not sit down and really think about what do you know and how can you apply that and be helpful to other people. Like you’re just basically creating excuses for yourself to not do it, as opposed to saying, Man,. I just went through a 700 day sales cycle, an enterprise deal. Let me think back over the last two years, what did I learn and how can I summarize those two years into, you know, a thousand characters? That’s a hard task, and I guarantee it’s, again, mutually beneficial. If you sit down and you do that and you write through the main obstacles that you face, how you overcame those obstacles, how you got the deal across the line, and you tell that deal story, you’re going to be helping yourself because you going to be better suited for the next time this comes around and you’re going to be genuinely interesting to a lot of people that are going through something very similar right now. So there are a million reasons that you could always trick yourself into not sitting down and doing something, but just know that the things that you do know and the things that you care about are interesting to other people and are applicable to other people. You just have to tell the story well. I mean, what you just said there, Kyle it’s a forcing function and it’s a way to get your thoughts out on paper. And it’s interesting to me how important writing as a skill has become for salespeople. It’s always been, I think has been important for marketing people. But it’s just emerging, whether it’s cadences or now, social engagement where writing is a critical skill to have as a sales person. And so how do you guide a sales person? Should they put time in the calendar and do it every day? Or, you know, in addition to posting, what else can they do? You’re totally right, Chip. Writing is critical and clear writing is clear thinking. And so this act of writing is to make you a better communicator and make you a better thinker. It’s really, really important. I can’t stress enough how beneficial this journaling or social journaling or whatever you want to call it has been for me to crystallize thoughts and become a better communicator. And a lot of salespeople know that this is true through the lens of verbal storytelling. You know, a lot of sales training has to do with how can I be a better storyteller, whether it’s in a demo circumstance or asking the right discovery questions or whatever it may be. And there’s a lot of focus on verbal communication. There should be and has to be in this digital age, as much of a focus for sellers on written communication. And there is no shortcut here. There’s no secret sauce, like you can’t go to chatGPT and it’s not going to make you a better writer. The writing that comes out of AI bots right now anyway, is garbage. So you can’t just rely on that. You need to genuinely practice. So there’s again, no shortcut. You have to read a lot and you have to write a lot and that’s it. And you have to get feedback from people and really be critical. You know, am I communicating clearly, effectively? Don’t just sit down, write for 10 minutes and then post that thing on LinkedIn. The way that I work is I write a draft and then I spend a lot more time editing and wordsmithing and looking at how does it look, how does it sound? Is there a good rhythm to this writing? Is this line going to entice somebody to read the next line and being really thoughtful about that and getting into that habit, and learning what good writing sounds like is really, really important. So there are a million resources out there for effective copywriting. Nothing beats practice, reading a lot, writing a lot, and it just takes time. It’s like any other muscle. You’re not going to go out and run a six minute mile today if you’ve never run before. But if you go out every day, commit to it, you start just by walking around the block. You know, over time you’ll get to that. You’ll get to that goal. So you just have to start somewhere. Yeah, building on that. So Lao Tzu has the famous quote that a thousand mile journey begins with your first step. And I love that. And because it seems so daunting to begin this, and so why don’t we have that be the final question here, Kyle, I’m going to ask you if I’m a sales rep and I really want to do this, but I’ve been procrastinating, what’s the first thing that I can do to kick myself in the pants. Get an accountabilibuddy, get somebody inside of your company or outside your company who has similar aspirations and similar reservations and hold each other accountable in a couple of different ways. One, shake hands, say, Yes, we’re doing this together. Okay, cool. Two, set real goals, real, meaningful goals. You do not need to post something every single day on LinkedIn. You don’t have to do it, once a week is fine. Start there and get over some of the, you know, anxiety that you may have about sharing your thoughts publicly by having your your partner in crime here, review your stuff before you post it, give you notes, give you feedback, read things, and then say, does it flow right? Are you being clear about what you’re trying to communicate? And just work together to do it. It’s hard to do alone if you have somebody who can be an accountability partner for you, you’re going to be more successful and your content is probably going to improve as a result. It slows things down a little bit, but it’s intentional that it slows things down. It’ll give you more confidence that what you’re writing is worth reading. And so that that would be my advice to start find somebody that you trust, that you respect and go tackle together. I love that. I’ve never heard that before. The accountabilibuddy. I think. I took that from a South Park episode. So inspiration comes from everybody. Even better. Cartman Yeah, that’s amazing. Well, Kyle, any final thoughts? This has been great. Thank you. Yeah, of course. I think we’ve said it all, so it’s been a pleasure, Chip. Okay, Well, thanks so much and thanks to all of you for tuning in to Closing Time and we’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Make sure you tick subscribe, hit the bell so you don’t miss any episodes. And we’ll see you next time.