Personal Brand for B2B Salespeople: Hunting for Jobs or Deals?
Author Bio: Alex Boyd
Alex is the Founder/CEO of RevenueZen, an agency and software company designed to help revenue teams modernize their content marketing and sales efforts, and become dramatically more efficient at generating pipeline.
Are you still thinking of LinkedIn like it’s a resume?
If you’re a B2B sales professional, there’s a strong chance that you use LinkedIn quite a bit to network and develop business within your territory.
And when you were first looking for the sales job you’re doing now, you most likely used LinkedIn to show off your skills, connect with people at your prospective employer, and you may have even used your profile in place of a resume.
The problem is, you didn’t change your profile when you got hired!
It still looks like this:
Employers may have cared that you were skilled in complex full life cycle selling, or that you have a charismatic personality, but coming right out and labeling those skills on your profile is going to have no impact on prospects, or may even turn them off.
I have a fundamental mindset shift I want to recommend to you:
If you’re not actively looking for a job, think of your LinkedIn profile as a landing page for yourself – not as a resume.
Your clients will be more inclined to buy from you.
Keep your personal brand customer-centric
Your prospects and clients want you to talk about their issues, not your own accomplishments. Seriously, why do people want to hear you brag? That may be nice if you’re interviewing for your next sales role, but it doesn’t make people want to buy from you.
What you should do instead is explain to a potential client why it might be valuable to talk to you and do business with you. Don’t mention your sales skills, mention your skills and knowledge related to whatever it is you’re selling.
Let’s take Jeff’s profile, as an example. He’s a solutions architect for a company that helps engineering teams identify areas they can intelligently cut their AWS costs:
If you’re his prospect and you read this, you’re thinking, “This guy knows his stuff. And he’s kind of interesting. Sure, I guess I’ll connect with him and hear him out.”
Imagine if he had a “resume style” profile. Prospects would think, “Gross, I don’t care if you went to President’s Club, I care about my AWS bill being too big.”
See the difference?
Humans are wired for stories – even in B2B
One skill you can work on that many sales reps haven’t exercised much before is the talent of Storytelling.
Pixar is a wonderful guide for us on how to actually do this. There’s not quite a formula for a story per se, but there are themes and models that can guide your practice. You can tell stories in the content that you Post on LinkedIn, too. It doesn’t have to stop at your profile.
Here are a few excerpts from Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling and how they apply to personal branding in sales:
- Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
Lesson: Don’t get lost in the weeds of explaining every detail of your career history. Focus on the outcomes you’re driving for your customers, today.
- Admire characters for attempting more than what their successes have been.
Lesson: Put your CUSTOMERS at the center of your story, not you. Valorize their real attempts to be better at their jobs. Make yourself merely a helpful supporting character. You’re Merlin (or the Sword in the Stone) — not King Arthur.
- What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against them.
It’s almost like “The Challenger Sale” pulled directly from this! Whether you call it Rational Drowning, impact positioning, gap analysis, or any other fancy term, your customers have to know why their journey is important and what’s at stake. Again, you are a supporting character in this, guiding them along the way: help them understand why all of this matters.
What’s going to happen when you get better at this skill? Well, telling good stories releases oxytocin in your audience’s brains, causing them to feel more empathy, including for what you’re saying. It’s a great way to help bridge the trust gap that exists even more when selling digitally vs locally in person.
- Once you’re in a job, think of LinkedIn like a marketing asset for yourself – not as a resume.
- Being customer-centric will generate more leads and help you win more deals.
- Your customers are the heroes of the story – not you. You’re a valuable supporting character to help them along the way.
Take a look at your LinkedIn profile this weekend, and ask yourself if you’re making it all about you, or about the people you most want to do business with.