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If You Are Not on LinkedIn, You Should Be Fired

If sales reps aren’t using LinkedIn should they be on their way out?

In case you didn’t notice from the title, this post is a bit of a rant. Before we dive in, I suppose I should qualify the title a little bit: “If you are a sales or lead generation rep at a B2B technology company and you are not on LinkedIn, then you should be fired.”

Clearly I am a big fan of LinkedIn in the world of B2B sales, and I have been for quite some time. However, it only just recently occurred to me that there are still a lot of sales professionals out there who don’t really know how to use LinkedIn or understand why it’s important.

I recently had a conversation with a lead generation rep whose LinkedIn profile was a disaster, and who didn’t know that they were supposed to be connecting with customers and prospects that they have relationships with. Dude, it’s 2013. Get with the program.

What was even more frustrating about the interaction was the resistance to the help that I offered on how to use LinkedIn for sales prospecting.

Two Great How-to Resources for LinkedIn Prospecting

The good news (for those who do want to help themselves) is that a lot of other excellent sales trainers and consultants have gone ahead and created some amazing resources to help the laggards improve their LinkedIn profiles and LinkedIn prospecting skills.

One great resource is The Bridge Group’s eBook called Fundamentals of LinkedIn. They also posted a short version on SlideShare that is a good preview, but I would encourage you to download the full eBook:

Another great resource, though not as prescriptive, is Jill Konrath’s eBook Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code. This eBook is filled with information on why using LinkedIn is important for sales professionals, and how top performing sales professionals are almost always more likely to be on LinkedIn engaging their prospects and participating in conversations.

Even if you aren’t a “laggard” these are both great resources to improve your usage of LinkedIn as a sales prospecting tool. I consider myself pretty savvy, and I have been through both of them, but I am still in the process of improving my own usage and profile based on their recommendations.

Don’t Be the Weak Link: The Case for Leveraging LinkedIn

The world of B2B buying and selling has changed. Prospects are much harder to reach through traditional channels and they don’t need sales reps anymore for information. Instead, prospects are on your website, and in LinkedIn groups asking questions and networking with peers.

So I stand by the title of my post. If you are a B2B technology sales or lead generation rep and you don’t have a LinkedIn profile that means you aren’t engaging with your buyers through one of the now most commonly used channels for prospects to connect with their peers and find information. And if you aren’t connecting with those prospects, your competition is. So yes, if were your boss, I’d fire you.

What do you think? Is being active on LinkedIn a must for today’s salespeople?

Ori Yankelev is a Sales and Marketing Associate for OpenView Venture Partners, working with the firm’s portfolio on developing great business development and inside sales teams.

  • Jonathan Kranz

    As a freelancer, I used to think of LinkedIn as a tool for HR folks and wage workers. But I’ve come around to appreciating its exposure power: potential clients DO poke around the site looking for talent. Now I make more of an effort to keep my updates fresh, etc.

    • orisfa

      Hi Jonathan, thanks for the comment and the perspective.

  • Jen Havice

    I’ve written several posts recently about how important LinkedIn is. It’s such a phenomenal tool for small businesses. It’s interesting that so many people either feel intimidated by it or have no interest in it. I think it’s a mistake to avoid it especially if you’re in the B2B space.

    • orisfa

      Hi Jen, i couldn’t agree more. Thanks for reading.


  • neurofuzzy

    I despise work cultures where phrases like “You’re doing it wrong” and “If you’re not X you should be fired.” The internet industry would very much benefit from a more inclusive, mentorship-based work culture. Where mentorship and knowledge-sharing are disappearing from other industries, if you can find such a culture in an internet or new media company you have found a truly rare gem.

    • orisfa

      I think knowledge-sharing and mentorship are great. And LinkedIn is a great way to share knowledge and connect with mentors.

      But particularly for sales roles at B2B tech company creating a culture of winning and achievement is critical to success, and accepting mediocrity will inevitably lead to failure. In such an environment if there is a tool like linkedin that clear leads to better success and achievement in sales, it is fair to expect team members to use the tool, or find another place to work that is more “inclusive”.