Why Most LinkedIn Profiles Fail to Drive Demand and New Business

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Most LinkedIn profiles are worthless as sales and marketing tools. Learn what your profile needs to drive new business.

Your profile is the foundation for all your LinkedIn efforts. Your profile is the first thing that B2B buyers see when you invite them to connect. It’s the first thing they see when you share content or a status update and they want to learn more about you. How you communicate your business value to prospects on your personal LinkedIn will determine if a prospect:

  • Accepts your connection invitation
  • Responds to your LinkedIn InMail
  • Joins your LinkedIn community
  • Starts a business relationship with you
  • Enters into a sales conversation

But most LinkedIn profiles lack the foundation because they are not focused on the main goal of driving demand and new business.

Related Article:4 Secret Ingredients For LinkedIn Content Marketing Success

For Example, Take a Look at This LinkedIn Profile Summary for a CMO

LinkedIn Profile example of a CMO

Here’s an Example of a Profile Summary for a VP of Sales Who Should Be Focused on Driving Business Using LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Profile example of a VP of SalesInstead of driving business and demand using his profile, this VP is creating a wall between him and his prospects. He’s showing potential B2B buyers that he’s after the sale instead of building relationships based on value.

6 More Reasons Why Most LinkedIn Profiles Fail to Drive Demand

Reason 1: Failure to Differentiate

To demonstrate what I mean about how business leaders and sales and marketing professionals are failing to differentiate, here are two example summaries

Example One:

LinkedIn Example of bad summaryExample Two:Example of bad LinkedIn summary

Related Article:LinkedIn Etiquette: What’s Crossing the Line?

2) Failure to Communicate Value in a Concrete Way

The consultants above used generic, blanketed benefits like results and improved performance without getting into specifics. Technology companies are doing it too. They all take about “cutting costs” or “improving productivity”. Every cyber security organization mentions that they are helping their clients mitigate risk.

And, the “business” challenges that they talk about fixing are discussed in an abstract way.  If you can’t talk about specific, concrete benefits and challenges, then the prospect can’t picture it in their head. Abstract images do not feel real. You are asking prospects to take your word for it that their product, service or solution creates value. It’s magic.

3) Making Claims and Not Providing Supporting Proof

Gartner did a recent survey of B2B tech buyers and Gartner Research VP Hank Barnes said that all the data points, interactions and information sources came down to the fact that trust drives the buying process. Their study also shows thatB2B buyers distrust vendors that make claims without providing any substantiated proof.

You can’t boast about your results and think that’s going to excite me, push me to connect with you and answer your call to action to setup a time to talk. I need the case studies and stories to show that you actually did achieve the results you claim and show me why your approach, technology or solution is the better alternative.

A recent study from a 50,000 member strong marketing community on LinkedIn showed that 88 percent of B2B Marketers cite case studies as the most effective form of content marketing. Yet, most profiles do not incorporate case studies.

4) Failure to Personally Connect With Buyers

B2B buyers are looking to connect with “trusted experts” and their story first not the company. This is something that even other social media firms are forgetting. For example, here’s a profile summary for a CEO of another LinkedIn marketing firm:

Example of bad LinkedIn summary

This social media firm CEO put an automatic wall between herself and her prospects because she's not letting her prospects see that she is a thought leader and that you should trust her advice. I also don't see her unique business value as other social media firms work with technology companies to build relationships.

5) Failure to Show Risk of Not Connecting and Doing Business with You

A recent study that was commissioned by Corporate Visions showed that it is not good enough to just communicate your solution or resolution to your prospects’ challenges.

A risk + resolution messaging where you show how the status quo is unsafe and demonstrate that you are uniquely prepared to resolve the risks had a nine percent higher behavioral impact and a 12 percent boost in emotional responses than a risk only or resolution only message.

6) Providing the Same Old, Generic Content

You can position yourself as a subject matter expert on your LinkedIn profile to win the trust of potential buyers and have all the “positioning” benefits be taken away from you by posting generic content on the LinkedIn publishing platform. Remember, platform posts are linked directly from your profile so if you are focused on differentiating yourself, why would you want to post tips and ideas that are being shared by your competition?

You see, the posts on my LinkedIn publishing platform, support my thought leadership instead of providing the same me-too content shown below by my competitors. 

Example of LinkedIn Posts on a business page

Related Article: Beyond Job Search: LinkedIn as a Tool for Building Relationships

I challenge assumptions, ideas and approaches. I show how CMOs at companies like Xerox, G2Crowd, Lithium, Wiley, XOJet and others are failing to go beyond brand awareness and prove a clear social media ROI. I demonstrate how B2B buyers are calling for a change in how they are being marketed to.

I discuss how LinkedIn Sales Navigator is not enough for most sales and marketing teams despite how marketing leaders at one of the world’s largest software companies think that giving their teams LinkedIn Sales Navigator and training is a “sound social media and social selling strategy.”

Review your own profile. Are you part of the minority and actually have a sales and marketing tool? Or is it like 90 percent of the profiles I see that are worthless to prospects. Is it time to change your LinkedIn profile?

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