A guide is a piece that gives you detailed information and instructions on a subject of interest to help you understand it better. Therefore, in this complete guide to LinkedIn prospecting, we will explain:
- the concept of LinkedIn prospecting in a narrow and wide sense,
- why LinkedIn is the best place for prospecting online,
- how to get started with it, and
- we will also dive into 4 best practices and
- 19 best strategies for LinkedIn prospecting.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network aimed at building relationships among businesses through their company and employees’ LinkedIn social media profiles.
What is LinkedIn prospecting?
LinkedIn prospecting is a process of identifying and nurturing potential customers among the platform members that salespeople go through as a crucial part of their LinkedIn social selling activity.
What does LinkedIn prospecting mean?
LinkedIn is a professional social network aimed at building B2B relationships. B2B, short for business-to-business, stands for the action of promoting and selling products or services to other businesses and organizations rather than individuals as end customers. Therefore, LinkedIn is a perfect place for business-to-business marketing and salespeople to find and nurture potential prospects.
LinkedIn prospecting means both identifying and nurturing your potential prospects. That’s why LinkedIn developed its features in a way for you to take all steps of your prospecting process without ever leaving the platform.
LinkedIn facilitates identifying new prospects not only because everyone is on the platform but also by giving you a detailed insight into its members’ job titles, company names, company sizes, pain points, needs, relevant content, etc., all of which you will later need to personalize your cold outreach.
In that sense, your prospect’s profile on LinkedIn is the gold mine of relevant information. It can give you exactly the insight you need – if they are high-quality prospects indeed and should be added to your prospecting list, what their needs and pain points are, etc. This is the information you need to base your first cold outreach message and future follow-ups on.
Cold outreach or cold prospecting on LinkedIn is a form of outbound marketing. It implies contacting prospects via LinkedIn, email or phone (known as cold emailing and cold calling) you had no prior relationship with the end goal of pitching your product or service. However, the sales pitch shouldn’t happen in that one message. What precedes the pitch is sometimes very long back-and-forth messaging to build a quality relationship and understand your potential customer’s needs better.
Therefore, checking your prospect’s LinkedIn profile before trying to connect is one of the most crucial steps in LinkedIn prospecting that makes all others possible. We will touch upon other prospecting tips in detail later in this blog. For now, bear in mind that connecting with someone is just the beginning of the game. Your ability to understand how your prospect can benefit the most from your product or service, as well as the genuine care to help them overcome obstacles and improve their businesses plays a big role in your prospecting process. And it doesn’t happen overnight. Or over one message.
The nurturing process can be long and exhausting but, in the majority of cases, pretty rewarding for both sides. A big part of prospect nurturing is also understanding and taking into account their buyers’ journey. Sometimes you need to give your prospects more time. Let the idea of your product or service sink in, and give it another try after a while.
LinkedIn prospecting is not a straightforward process that goes by a formula. It depends on many factors, some of which you can influence and some of which you cannot. However, there’s a reason why LinkedIn became a place to be when it comes to social selling and online prospecting. We will explain those reasons in detail further below.
Why LinkedIn prospecting?
LinkedIn is a social network with 810 million users in more than 200 countries among which over 63 million decision-makers.
What sets LinkedIn apart from other social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., is that they are either for entertainment purposes or mainly B2C-oriented if used for business, while LinkedIn members put their social networking efforts into building relationships with other businesses and organizations.
Hence, in the history of B2B Sales and Marketing, it has never been easier to find anyone you need in one place, and on a platform that supports both your prospecting and lead generation needs.
While prospecting and lead generation often get used interchangeably, they are two terms that don’t mean quite the same thing.
As mentioned above, prospecting implies the process of identifying and nurturing potential customers. Lead generation refers to attracting customer interest and converting them into prospects. Therefore, a prospect stands for a qualified contact, while a lead stands for an unqualified contact.
Both lead generation and prospecting are done by the sales and/or marketing teams, depending on the company size and organizational structure. Before the pandemic, sales and marketing people used both online and offline strategies for prospecting and lead generation. The pandemic forced them to shift to social selling only.
Social selling is the practice of using your company’s social media to identify prospects, connect, and build trusted professional relationships with the goal of achieving your sales goals. So, ever since salespeople were forced to move to social selling only, LinkedIn quickly gained an advantage over other social media. It is not only because at the moment of the pandemic LinkedIn was the only strictly professional, B2B social network.
It’s also because LinkedIn features were developed in a way to support all steps of social selling activities – from connecting with prospects to bonding, presenting the sales pitch, handling objections, and, hopefully, closing the deal. Also, people who are not sales reps but are using LinkedIn want to be involved in social selling activities. They want to be found by salespeople offering products and services that will make their businesses more successful.
However, it doesn’t mean that sales reps can just approach their desired prospects, and throw the sales pitch. It’s far more complicated than that.
Firstly, there are so many fish in the sea. Finding that ideal business and its decision-maker can sometimes be hard for the sales rep, and it could require the engagement of an entire sales team.
Secondly, all LinkedIn members, especially decision-makers, are being bombarded with LinkedIn connection requests, regular messages, and InMails. At the end of the day, only the most skilled salespeople get noticed in their prospects’ busy inboxes. Don’t worry, there are many prospecting tips and hacks on how to stand out and speed up the connecting process.
Later in this blog, we will cover 19 LinkedIn prospecting strategies used by some of the most successful salespeople to prospect on LinkedIn, and build relationships with the most qualified prospects for their businesses.
How to get started with LinkedIn prospecting?
1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile & Buyer Persona
Simply put, sales represents the group of activities that lead to selling a product or service. Each product or service has its ideal potential customer. An ideal customer is a person who will benefit from the product or service the most on many levels, and who has also shown interest in it. The ideal potential customer who showed interest in your product or service in sales and marketing is called the qualified prospect.
Defining the ideal attributes of your qualified prospects means focusing your marketing and sales efforts on pursuing specific leads that are more likely to convert. In B2B sales and marketing, we distinguish the Ideal Customer Profile as the perfect candidate-company, and Buyer Persona, as the perfect decision-maker(s) within that company. Once you’ve defined the attributes of each, it will be easier for you to identify them on LinkedIn, and know how to approach them better down the line of your social selling process.
Ideal Customer Profile is a description of companies that would benefit from your product or service the most. The companies that belong to your ICP should be the ones with the
- fastest conversion cycle
- highest customer retention
- highest LTV
- and that are willing to refer your product or service to others elsewhere.
Buyer Persona is a description of a person who is your ideal customer with all behavioral, demographic, firmographic, and psychographic characteristics. Similar to the Ideal Customer Profile, the Buyer Persona is a perfect representation of the person
- whose pain points your product or service solves in the quickest and most direct way
- who is a direct or indirect decision-maker
- who, in combination with the ICP, has the shortest buying cycle
- and who is a preacher for your product.
In short, ICP represents the company profile, while the Buyer Persona focuses on the particular type of person’s profile within that company. This implies that each company that fits your ICP can have one or more than one Buyer Persona.
2. Find potential customers
Once you’ve defined your Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas within, it’s time to discover them on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a gold mine for finding high-quality prospects, understanding their pain points, and keeping all communication in one place from initial contact to follow-ups.
It is not just because everyone’s there. The concept of LinkedIn as a professional platform encourages a series of behaviors through its features that help professionals attract ideal prospects and build B2B relationships.
For example, LinkedIn allows networking among the members attending the same LinkedIn event despite members not being connected, it awards posting relevant content by giving these members greater exposure on the platform, it gives you options to join LinkedIn groups of your interest, reach busy decision makers through paid and free LinkedIn InMails, etc.
We will speak more thoroughly about the 19 best strategies to find qualified prospects on LinkedIn in the next section.
3. Structure your campaign
Making meaningful LinkedIn connections implies more than simply sending a connection request to a LinkedIn user who matches your Buyer Persona.
It requires an elaborated outreach plan on how that professional relationship will start and be further developed so it leads to sales.
It should contain the LinkedIn outreach strategy, how the message copy flow will go, the frequency of messages (including the follow-ups after no response), identifying your prospect’s preferred means of communication (is it a LinkedIn message, InMail, or maybe you need to switch to email or call?), and finally, how and when you’re going to serve the sales pitch.
Additionally, you should also think about the organizational aspect of your LinkedIn outreach. It is not easy to keep track of all the LinkedIn users you’ve been talking to, where you’re at with every one of them in the process of building a relationship, where they stand in their buyer’s journey, etc.
This is when investing in a CRM comes in handy. Customer Relationship Management Software, aka CRM software, is a tool that helps companies collect, organize and manage data and streamline processes related to customers’ lifecycles. As such, it substitutes various spreadsheets and documents companies use to keep up with prospects’ or customers’ data, and it keeps all members of the sales and marketing teams on the same page.
Skylead’s Smart Inbox is a light version of a CRM for its labeling system and the fact that it gathers all means of communication with your prospects in one place. It significantly helps you organize communication with your prospects. But, we’ll get to that later in the Automate your LinkedIn outreach section.
4. Reach out & follow up
After you’ve done structuring your LinkedIn outreach campaign, go ahead and start connecting with your potential customers.
Bear in mind that, in social selling, just like in face-to-face businesses, first impression matters. The biggest factors in forming a LinkedIn connection are the way set up your LinkedIn profile and approach your potential customers.
Your LinkedIn profile is your business card. Whenever you try to make a conversation with a LinkedIn member, they will check out your profile to see who they’re talking to. The first things they see are your LinkedIn profile picture, cover photo, headline, and LinkedIn summary section.
Furthermore, an all-star-status LinkedIn profile leads to a higher number of profile views and connections as you will show up in search results more frequently and higher up.
After you’ve set up your profile, you can start with your LinkedIn outreach. The first piece of advice is never to leave it to chance. Every message, whether it’s a connection request, a regular message, or an InMail message, should be well-thought-out and personalized. It should reflect that you’ve done your research and know whom you’re talking to, and it should, if possible, leave room to develop your conversation further.
A big part of your LinkedIn outreach is the follow-ups. Be prepared that not all of your potential customers will be keen to talk business with you straight out the gate. If you are targeting busy decision-makers, bear in mind also the number of connection requests and messages they must receive on a daily basis. The goal is not to give up easily but also to know when to stop. Maybe the moment is just not right. It doesn’t mean that you cannot wait for another convenient opportunity to try again.
5. Automate your LinkedIn outreach
If you wish to put time-consuming tasks regarding LinkedIn outreach on autopilot to make more time to find qualified prospects, come up with your outreach strategy, write compelling sales messages, or anything else prospecting-related, you should consider LinkedIn prospecting automation.
LinkedIn automation is the use of software enabled to take over certain LinkedIn prospecting tasks that you would otherwise have to perform manually. The number and complexity of tasks that a LinkedIn automation tool can carry out vary. The best LinkedIn automation tools on the market mainly automate LinkedIn prospecting messages (connection requests, regular messages, InMail messages) and follow-ups, view and follow LinkedIn profiles, engage to a certain degree with specific content and accounts, etc. Furthermore, LinkedIn automation tools also scrape your prospects’ publicly available information and use it to personalize your outreach.
LinkedIn automation can be cloud-based or a Chrome extension. Cloud-based automation tools are better because they are safer, and they can run while your computer is turned off. LinkedIn automation tools that are a chrome extension are more likely to get caught by LinkedIn and get your account banned.
The first benefit of LinkedIn automation is that it saves you time because it can reach out to a higher number of prospects in less time. Consequently, it makes more time for you to focus on other aspects of LinkedIn prospecting, such as identifying qualified prospects, writing compelling sales copy, closing the deal, etc.
Furthermore, some of the best LinkedIn automation tools on the market, such as Skylead, use smart algorithms to find the shortest possible way to your prospects. What does that mean for you? It means that one way or another, Skylead will find the way to your prospect.
However, LinkedIn automation tools go beyond LinkedIn automation. Namely, some of them are at the same time LinkedIn automation tools AND cold email software. How do you benefit from that?
6. Combine cold emailing with your LinkedIn outreach
A cold email is an unsolicited email that is sent to your prospect without prior contact as part of your cold outreach strategy. It could also be defined as the written equivalent of cold calling. Cold email outreach, just like LinkedIn outreach, aims at making contact with prospects and building professional relationships for the sake of sales as an end goal.
Ever since sales processes moved strictly and majorly online, the combination of LinkedIn outreach and cold emailing has given the best results. It is simply because, for some people, email is either still a preferred means of communication or their LinkedIn inbox is so crowded that it’s easier to stand out in their regular inbox.
By combining LinkedIn with cold email outreach, you will for sure increase your chances of getting to your desired prospects.
The 19 Most Effective LinkedIn Prospecting Strategies
Strategy is a sequence of actions designed to achieve a specific goal. When we speak of LinkedIn prospecting strategy, this will majorly depend on your professional goals. However, overall, the goal of a LinkedIn prospecting strategy is usually to find as many qualified prospects as possible, reach them out and build professional relationships in the shortest amount of time, and finally convert them into buying customers.
Here are the 19 most effective LinkedIn prospecting strategies that are likely to bring the most qualified prospects for your business independently from your industry.
Sales Navigator as your best LinkedIn prospecting tool
Sales Navigator is LinkedIn’s premium platform created particularly for B2B sales and marketing professionals to prospect and generate leads for their businesses. Every Sales Navigator feature is prospecting-oriented, and it aims at giving you the most relevant information and insights into your desired companies and their decision-makers.
The first benefit of Sales Navigator is the advanced filtering options. It offers 29 Lead Filters and 15 Account Filters allowing you to target highly qualified prospects en masse. Additionally, Sales Navigator suggests leads according to your sales preferences, lets you add your prospects to custom-made lists, and organize your prospecting efforts better. It has an advanced alerts system where you can set up specific activities you wish to be informed about regarding your prospects. This way, you never miss the opportunity to engage with them. The list goes on.
Also, when you subscribe to one of 3 Sales Navigator plans, you can still enjoy all the benefits of LinkedIn Premium without additional charges.
Use the Boolean search to narrow down your prospects
LinkedIn Boolean search allows you to combine words and phrases using the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT to limit, broaden, or define your lead generation target. Both LinkedIn and Sales Navigator filters support this type of search.
Despite it might seem a bit confusing at the beginning, the Boolean search can help you focus your prospecting efforts on ideal potential customers of a niche market that works best for your business.
Learn how to use this technique properly in our full guide on LinkedIn Boolean search. You’ll also find Boolean string examples of how to laser-target specific prospects.
Target LinkedIn event attendees
Just like LinkedIn content can work well to find relevant prospects on LinkedIn, the same goes for LinkedIn events.
If you wish to target prospects that attended a specific LinkedIn event, you need to start thinking about what kind of events your ideal audience takes part in. Meaning, instead of shooting for webinars that enhance your knowledge, start thinking about where your ideal prospects would gather.
Not only can you find them “all in one place”, but attending an event of this kind gives you valuable insight into their problems, needs, and point of view on certain topics.
Read our full guide on how to target LinkedIn event attendees and understand how to use them for finding qualified prospects on LinkedIn.
Use LinkedIn groups for prospecting
Yes, we also must agree that the majority of LinkedIn groups are dead. However, their members are still there, despite being inactive, gathered around a common interest. It makes using LinkedIn groups for LinkedIn prospecting one of the common practices among sales and marketing specialists.
However, if some of these communities are active, make sure you take some time and genuinely engage with them. Ask questions, offer advice, share your experience, and answer and comment on posts. Aside from quality prospects, you might gain valuable insights into your Buyer Persona’s problems, needs, and room for improvement.
Also, one big advantage of LinkedIn groups is that the platform allows you to send a direct LinkedIn message to each group member without being connected to them.
This is how you find groups of your interest.
Option 1 – LinkedIn basic and Premium users
#1 Run a blank search or enter a keyword in the LinkedIn search engine. Use other available filters if needed.
#2 Choose your ideal LinkedIn group and click “Request to Join”.
#3 Once accepted this is where you find the list of members.
Option 2 – Sales Navigator filters: Group filter
If you have Sales Navigator, you can go ahead and find members of different LinkedIn groups through Sales Navigator filters. Unlike other LinkedIn users, you’ll have the option to further narrow down LinkedIn group members to fit your search criteria even better by applying other filters.
#1 Open Lead Filters
#2 Scroll down to the “Groups” filter. Put in a keyword or the exact name of the LinkedIn group.
#3 Sales Navigator will automatically suggest other similar groups.
Once you’ve chosen LinkedIn groups of your interest, use other Sales Navigator filters to narrow down your search results.
Take full advantage of free & paid InMails
LinkedIn InMail is a direct private message to or from a LinkedIn member who is not part of your network. LinkedIn members that are not part of your network can be your 2nd or 3rd-degree connections.
Many LinkedIn members don’t use this feature because it is not very clear to them how it works. In our Complete Guide to LinkedIn InMail you can find out everything you need to know about LinkedIn InMails.
- What are InMails and what are they used for?
- How many InMail credits does your subscription plan have?
- What is the difference between paid and free InMail?
- How to set up your profile to receive free InMails?
- How to check your InMail credits according to your subscription plan?
We threw in LinkedIn InMail templates for you to get inspired and understand how to write quality prospecting InMail messages.
The People Also Viewed feature
The LinkedIn People Also Viewed feature displays a list of LinkedIn members that the platform’s algorithm found important for your LinkedIn experience whether you are using the platform for networking, job search, or lead generation.
The People Also Viewed feature’s algorithm is based on co-occurrences found in other members’ searching habits. It lies in their straightforward analysis, and it doesn’t reflect or reveal your or other members’ browsing history. Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you personally viewed those profiles, that they ever viewed you, or that you have any relationship with them, although you might.
This is why, when you go to a specific prospect’s LinkedIn profile and check the right rail of their profile, you will find other members with similar attributes. These members are therefore likely to match your ideal prospect traits.
It is an easy way to get prospects without being involved in additional filtering. We’ve dedicated an entire guide to the People Also Viewed feature and the way you can get qualified prospects on LinkedIn through it.
The People You May Know feature
Unlike the People Also Viewed feature, People You May Know suggests LinkedIn members for you to connect with based on commonalities between you and the LinkedIn member in question.
LinkedIn recommends members who may have shared connections, have similar profile information such as experiences, company, or industry, or might have attended the same school. You will see these profiles on the right rail of your LinkedIn profile or if you go to other members’ profiles.
It is an excellent way to expand your network and get in touch with members with whom you have mutual connections. Maybe some of them fall into the category of your ideal prospect, and the mutual connection can help you with the introduction. Mentioning someone you both know or getting introduced by a mutual member increases your chances of getting accepted on LinkedIn, as well as the trust necessary to keep building a professional relationship.
Bear in mind that the better your LinkedIn profile is optimized, the more accurately will algorithms suggest members that fit your prospecting preferences.
Check your prospects’ Contact Info
If your prospect is not answering on LinkedIn, or you simply want to reach out via email, check their Contact Info.
The “Contact Info” section is available only for your 1st-degree connections. LinkedIn members know that this is publicly available information, and if they share their email address, it probably means they want you to use it.
“Contact info” can contain your prospects’ business email, private email, phone number, company website, and LinkedIn profile URL. However, not all of this information has to be filled out. It is up to the LinkedIn profile owner.
This is where you can find the “Contact info” section.
In this case, we see our lead’s business email, company website, and even phone number.
Some LinkedIn automation tools, such as Skylead, for example, collect this information for you.
All you need to do is move the toggle button to the right before creating your sequence. Skylead will collect all of your prospect’s publicly available data, and allow you to use it at any moment.
Follow job changes on your feed
If your 1st-degree connection changes jobs, you will get a notification.
It will show up in your feed as well. If your 2nd-degree connection changes jobs and the mutual connection reacts to it or posts a comment, you will see it in your LinkedIn feed also.
Why is it important for LinkedIn prospecting to get regularly updated on job changes?
Firstly, maybe the LinkedIn member now matches your ideal prospect due to their job title change. Also, people who move to new, decision-making positions are more open to innovations and changes. It is an excellent opportunity to approach them and speak about your service and product.
The new job position alert
Following specific companies’ job alerts is more of a long-term LinkedIn prospecting practice. Once you set the job alert for specific positions within specific companies, you will receive notifications regarding through LinkedIn and email.
New job positions can be an indicator of a company’s expansion, additional money invested into a specific department, or demand due to higher requests for the company’s product or service. In any case, it’s a positive indicator and a direct invitation for you to get in touch and offer your product or service.
This is how you set the New Job Position alert on LinkedIn.
#1 Write in the search bar the job position or a keyword you wish to get altered for. Then, click “Jobs”. Let’s say you are interested in the “Sales Manager” position opening.
#2 Set up the location (mandatory) first. Then, use any other filter under the “All Filters” option that will get you as close to your ICP as possible.
#3 Here you have two options.
You can either go ahead and turn the alert on. LinkedIn will notify you of any, in this case, Sales Manager position in the London area that matches your other filters as well.
On the other hand, if you already have a list of companies that you would like to set alerts for, you can manually insert them here. This way, you will create job alerts for those companies only. Maybe those are your ICPs and/or you already got in touch with someone working there.
#4 Once you’ve set everything, turn the alert on, just like above. Make an alert for each company or a single alert for multiple companies.
This way, you will be regularly notified if specific companies open your target job openings. Or, if any company on LinkedIn announces a job opening that matches your criteria.
Target specific job openings
This hack implies doing a job opening search, adding companies to a spreadsheet, and then finding decision-makers within and reaching out to them. It includes companies that have certain job openings at the moment of your search. In comparison to the previous hack that is more of a long-term solution (you set the alert and wait), here you will work with the search results that you get right away.
This is how you find leads by targeting specific job openings.
#1 Put the keyword in the LinkedIn search engine. For example, search for a “Sales Manager”. Set all filters to get as close as possible to your ICP.
#2 Add each company (or handpick your target companies) manually into a spreadsheet. Then, find decision-makers within these companies and reach out to them.
Target your competitor’s network
If guided by the saying that in love and, well, sales, everything is fair, go ahead and target your competitor’s network. This is an easy way to get qualified leads since they obviously need and are already using a product or service like yours. It can be a pretty fruitful LinkedIn prospecting hack, if you are careful about the way you approach them and how you start the conversation.
To put this hack into practice, you need to be connected with your competitors on LinkedIn. It can only be done for your 1st-degree connections.
Option 1 – Go to your competitor’s LinkedIn profile and find their connection list
#1 Go to your competitor’s profile and click on their connection list.
#2 Once you click as above, you will be able to further filter your leads. This is when you can handpick them or copy-paste the link of your final search result to a LinkedIn automation tool, such as Skylead.
Option 2 – Search for your competitor’s connections through LinkedIn filters
#1 Type a keyword into the search bar or run a blank search. Click “All filters”.
#2 Scroll down to the “Connections Of” filter. You can target one competitor or multiple competitors’ connections. Filter further your search result by using other LinkedIn filters.
Reach out to people who endorsed your competitor or ICP
People tend to attract (and endorse) others like themselves. When it comes to lead generation, this can work to your advantage. Whether it’s your or your competitors’ Buyer Persona endorsing them for different services, pay attention to the “Skills” section of your target LinkedIn prospect.
#1 Scroll all the way down your potential prospect’s profile.
#2 As you may see from the picture above, there’s a total number of people who endorsed your prospect for a certain skill. LinkedIn automatically shows only those who are categorized as “highly skilled”. When you have many connections that endorse you for a particular skill, LinkedIn marks you as “highly skilled”. Click on the link marked above.
This is how it looks.
You can target everyone from the list or just the individuals marked as “highly skilled”. They are most likely to be from the same industry or use the services of your prospect.
However, endorsing someone on LinkedIn doesn’t have the same weight as writing a recommendation. The LinkedIn members you find through the Recommendations section are more likely to be high-quality prospects. It takes only a few seconds to endorse someone on LinkedIn – by just clicking the button. On the other hand, writing a recommendation on LinkedIn requires putting in some time and effort and publicly standing behind your words with your entire professional career displayed.
Target leads who wrote or received a recommendation
As mentioned above, writing a recommendation on LinkedIn requires putting in more time and effort. That’s why scrolling through your prospect’s profile and checking out LinkedIn members who wrote or received a recommendation can result in a positive outcome.
This is what the recommendation section looks like. We’ll show everything in the example of a received LinkedIn recommendation.
LinkedIn members’ name, current title, and relationship with your prospect is displayed. This way, you can understand their business relationship right away.
You can check out both your prospect’s recommendations and the ones your prospect wrote for other people.
When leaving recommendations, you need to specify the type of business relationships you had with that LinkedIn member, as well as the position you held at the moment.
The type of relationship will be displayed together with your recommendation.
Target members who commented or reacted to your ideal prospect’s LinkedIn post
When targeting LinkedIn posts for the sake of prospecting, make sure that your target posts are relevant to your business and that members engaging with them match your Buyer Persona.
Here are several ideas on the posts you could target.
- Posted by people from the same industry who share your point of view or ways of doing business.
- Posted by people from adjacent businesses or your client industries.
- Shared by people whose posts target your Buyer Personas or encourage your Buyer Personas to comment or post.
There are two ways to find a LinkedIn post ideal for prospecting.
Option 1 – Find a LinkedIn member whose posts you want to target
#1 Scroll down through their profile and check out the “Activity” section. Click “See all activity”.
#2 Click “Posts” to see only content posted by that LinkedIn member.
#3 Choose a post that you want to target. If you are doing outreach manually, click here to see who reacted and commented on this particular post.
#4 If you are using a LinkedIn automation tool, this is where you copy a link to a post. Have in mind that the majority of LinkedIn automation tools can target only members who reacted (not commented) to a certain post.
Option 2 – Find a LinkedIn post by using LinkedIn filters
#1 Type in a keyword in the LinkedIn search bar. LinkedIn will list all posts containing that keyword. Find the LinkedIn posts that are of your ideal prospects’ interest.
#2 Filter your posts further if necessary.
Collect prospects either manually or by using a LinkedIn automation tool.
Reach out to people who reacted or commented on your post
The main advantage of using content on LinkedIn for prospecting is tailor-making your content to attract the desired, qualified prospects. It can be anything from a regular post to a LinkedIn article or a LinkedIn poll.
You can ask a question, start a discussion, compose your post in a way to find out what your prospect or existing customers expect from a product or service, write a teaser for your next release, and then scrape them manually or by a LinkedIn automation tool.
Check your company’s LinkedIn page followers
Who’s better to target than people who are not using your product or service but are following your company page on LinkedIn?
The reasons for following your company are numerous. Maybe they are in the same or adjacent industries, interested to know more, are exploring different options for their business and found you interesting, and want to stay updated in case you come out with something they need, etc.
The only way to find out is to approach them.
Option 1 – Check out your company page as an admin
Step #1 You need to be your LinkedIn company page admin to see the list of your followers here.
This is what the follower list looks like.
Option 2 – Sales Navigator Spotlights filters: Leads that follow your company page
Step #1 Go to Sales Navigator Filters. Click “Lead Filters”.
Step #2 Choose the “Spotlight” filter. Click on “Leads that follow your company on LinkedIn”. Once you select this filter, you can use other filters to narrow down your search result.
Check out the Who’s Viewed Your Profile feature
People on LinkedIn have different reasons to view your profile.
You appeared in their feed, their search results, came as recommended by someone, they were checking out your company’s website and saw you listed, you came out in the “People also viewed” or “People you may know” sections, you have mutual connections and many more.
However, it all comes down to some kind of interest and link between you two. Therefore, it wouldn’t be smart to miss an opportunity like this. Check out their LinkedIn profile and see if there’s a reason for you two to connect.
This is where you can see who viewed your profile on LinkedIn.
Option 1 – Check your notifications
Option 2 – Check out the Analytics section
The LinkedIn Analytics section is right below the section containing your profile picture, name, headline, and other information.
Step #1 Find the “Analytics” section.
Step #2 Check out who viewed your profile.
You’ll find the list of LinkedIn members who viewed your profile. Additionally, you will notice 4 filters by which you can further narrow them down for quicker and more relevant insights.
Interesting View is a category of profile views that Linkedin’s algorithm assumes you’d be most interested in talking to. Aside from that, LinkedIn will categorize certain contacts according to their company, industry, occupation, etc. This categorization is unique to each profile and it can turn useful for LinkedIn prospecting.
Activate the Bell feature
This is a practical (and pretty wise) LinkedIn hack that not many people know. Let’s say you found your ideal prospects but are not sure how to approach them. It is a hit-or-miss opportunity or you are simply waiting for that perfect moment – whatever that might be.
Use the “Bell” feature and you won’t miss it. Not only will you be at the right place and at the right time, but you will have an excellent way to personalize your approach. Furthermore, you’ll react in real time. As soon as the notification appears, you are ready to go. Send your lead a message and attract their attention despite their crowded inbox.
Step #1 Go to your prospect’s LinkedIn profile. If you are not connected, click the “Follow” button first, and then turn the bell on. If they are your 1st-degree connection, just click the “Bell” button.
Step #2 You’ll get a notification each time your lead publishes something. It looks like this.
LinkedIn Prospecting: Best Practices For Sales Prospecting
Here are the top 4 LinkedIn prospecting best practices to take into consideration.
1. Connect on a human level
Good salespeople never forget that their prospects are first and foremost humans. Each step of their sales process – from prospecting to sales pitch revolves around it. That’s exactly what makes them so successful in social selling. Also, that’s something they pass on to other sales reps from their sales teams.
Social selling is much harder than face-to-face sales. Yes, LinkedIn is a gold mine where anyone can find high-quality prospects for their business and identify their pain points with ease. But it’s still an online platform. There’s no immediacy in your dialogue. You need to follow up many times before you maybe get a response. There’s no direct energy exchange between you and your prospect.
That’s why you need to find a way to connect with your prospects on a human level. Don’t just brag about your success and share stories that worked out for you. Show them that you genuinely care and believe that your product or service will help them become more successful. Make them open up to you. Share your business struggles or advice in case you were in a similar situation, and how you got out of it. Finally, know when to quit. People will always come back more gladly to those who respected that they needed more time to make a decision.
2. Provide value
Sales reps should always strive to provide value in their social selling process. The most common ways to provide value are through relevant content, and while talking to your prospects independently from their final answer to your sales pitch.
What does that mean?
It means that sharing knowledge that can improve other people’s businesses through your content on LinkedIn will help people see you as an industry expert. Thus, they will be more likely to come to you for your product or service than to other sales reps that would only do it for money for many reasons. One, they will know you have the knowledge. Two, they will appreciate everything you’ve done for them for free.
On the other hand, even when connecting with prospects on LinkedIn through direct messages, you should always strive to provide value independently of their buying decision. Recommend a resource that helped you grow your business, share an ebook, or just give simple advice on something you’ve noticed they struggle about.
Personalization should be a crucial part of your prospecting strategy. And by that, we don’t refer to just calling your prospect by name.
All salespeople should include thorough research as part of their prospecting process. The most important source of information is your new prospect’s profile on LinkedIn. It will help you get insight into whom you’re talking to. Also, it will segment your prospects into smaller groups to optimize your prospecting efforts if necessary.
Then, you can use a LinkedIn automation tool to put the personalization aspect, among many others, of your prospecting strategy on autopilot. In simple words, it refers to the use of variables for personalization inside LinkedIn automation tools. Howe
ver, more skilled salespeople know how to use CSV files, and really scale up their prospecting game.
Another prospecting tip that sales teams use to increase their response rates is Image personalization. Image personalization incorporates eye-catching, often custom-made images, combined with each recipient’s publicly available data, such as name, surname, company name, etc. It helps salespeople stand out in their prospects’ inboxes.
Some LinkedIn automation tools, such as Skylead, have Image personalization as a native feature. You can upload any image you want, include the variables, and Skylead will customize each image to the recipient.
4. Be patient
One of the most common prospecting tips that seasoned salespeople will tell you is not to be pushy with your prospects. However, taking into account that there’s a monthly or quarterly quota, many sales reps struggle to just let go and give their prospects a breather.
Undoubtedly, salespeople who focus on nurturing their prospects, and recognize at what stage of buyers’ journey their prospects are, hit their sales quotas more frequently. Prospects appreciate when you give them time to do their thing, and when they realize that you don’t want to sell at all costs.
Frequently Asked Questions About LinkedIn Prospecting
What do you mean by prospecting?
Prospecting is the process of identifying and nurturing prospects. Qualified prospects are potential customers who would benefit from your product or service the most, and who showed interest in it.
Is LinkedIn good for prospecting?
Yes. LinkedIn is a gold mine for finding qualified prospects for the majority of businesses. It has over 810 million users in more than 200 countries among which over 63 million decision-makers. In the history of B2B sales and marketing, it has never been easier for salespeople to find everyone they need in one place.
How do I reach a prospect on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn allows you to send connection requests and paid and free InMail messages to your 2nd and 3rd-degree connections, and regular messages to your 1st-degree connections. Also, if a LinkedIn member left an email or phone in the Contact info section, you can use it as a point of contact.
How do you use LinkedIn for sales prospecting?
Set up your LinkedIn profile to establish credibility, and give your prospects a way to know whom they’re talking to. Then, use LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a LinkedIn prospecting tool to find qualified prospects. Speed up your LinkedIn prospecting and obtain better results by using a LinkedIn automation tool.
How do I use LinkedIn for prospecting?
First, you need to define your Ideal Customer Profile. Then, identify companies matching it. Lastly, find your Buyer Persona within those companies. Use LinkedIn and Sales Navigator search filters to find qualified prospects. In this blog, we listed 19 additional strategies to find prospects on LinkedIn.
What are 3 prospecting techniques?
1. Get introduced to your prospect if possible. People are more prone to do business with someone who’s not a complete stranger.
2. Nurture your leads. Establish the relationships, and the sale will follow.
3. Establish yourself as an industry expert by providing value through your LinkedIn content.
Should you connect with prospects on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn encourages meaningful professional relationships, instead of reaching out just for the sake of connecting. You should use your 2nd-degree connections to expand your network. If a 2nd-degree connection matches your ideal prospects, it’s a good idea to get introduced by a mutual connection. LinkedIn recommends using InMail messages for your 3rd-degree connections.
How do I start prospecting?
You must first define your Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Persona. This way, you don’t waste your time and resources on people who are less likely to buy.
How do you get sales on LinkedIn?
First, research your ideal prospect’s needs and pain points. Use LinkedIn and Sales Navigator search filters to find prospects. Focus on building professional relationships. The sales pitch should happen after you’ve established trust with your prospects and evaluated that they are in the right stage of their buying journey.
What are the 5 sources used for prospecting?
- Content marketing
- LinkedIn events
- LinkedIn cold prospecting
LinkedIn prospecting is a complex, yet rewarding process, necessary to grow your business.
Luckily, nowadays, you don’t have to do all the steps of your LinkedIn prospecting manually. LinkedIn automation tools have evolved enough to help you put many time-consuming sales processes on autopilot.
Test Skylead for 7 days for free. See how our LinkedIn automation tool uses smart algorithms to find the perfect path to your lead. Consequentially, it leaves you more time to focus on closing the deal instead.