No matter the level of experience you have with prospecting, it’s never easy to gain a stranger’s interest. It’s no surprise that marketers and sales reps are always looking for new, easier ways to find relevant leads. That’s why the question “how to use LinkedIn for prospecting” is not uncommon, as thousands of leads are active on the platform every day.
If there is one thing most professionals can agree on, it’s that using LinkedIn for prospecting those leads is efficient.
Here is why LinkedIn works so well for finding quality B2B leads for your business.
LinkedIn is a social media platform with over 180 million LinkedIn users just in the United States. It aims to be a more professional platform than Twitter or Facebook, such as listing job titles, job descriptions, and someone’s industry in their profiles.
This large platform gives you ample opportunity to locate relevant leads and start a conversation.
Another important part of LinkedIn’s sales functionality is that the platform allows you to search for users by category. You can search based on industry, company, job titles, interests, and location. You can even note who they are working for at the moment, and who they worked for in the past. This is helpful because you can learn more about your prospect and your target audience overall; you might have a shared experience and can use that to reach out in a genuine way.
As cold outreach efforts can take time to get started, searching LinkedIn for prospects gives you another time-saving option. It’s the perfect environment for finding real prospects who fit into your target audience.
To help you better understand your target customer and audience needs, you can start with researching your competitors and who they interact with. Once you understand what they offer and how your product or service compares, you can differentiate your sales pitch. This will benefit your unique messaging when you reach out to new prospects.
Scroll through your competitors’ business page followers and think about these target audience questions:
While finding your competitors' customers can be enlightening for revising your target audience, they aren’t necessarily the ones with the most immediate need (they’re buying from your competitor, after all!). Ultimately, you want to pursue prospects who have pain points you can address. Your competitor's customers may have less of a need than other leads who are similar to them.
Your main effort should go towards finding people at target companies or with target job titles that would be interested in your offering. Ask yourself what need would they have that makes your service or product the perfect solution?
Try researching who has interacted with posts in hashtags related to your industry. There are bound to be LinkedIn Groups related to your company — it also gives you something in common with them. Once you’ve joined a group, click the “See All” button to view the list of members. Then, a search by name or a title you want to target.
Once you have a neat list of prospects and their profiles, you need to work on politely connecting with them. This method of B2B sales is more time-consuming, but has a larger impact on your lead generation efforts than posting a poll and waiting for a lead to respond.
To find other relevant leads, you can see who has interacted with your LinkedIn posts. If you’re not frequently posting on your LinkedIn page, or interacting with people on your feed, you should consider starting. You never know who is going to interact with a poll and start a conversation.
In addition to searching for target companies or specific people to connect with, you should be posting on LinkedIn to attract potential leads. A good place to do this is in LinkedIn Groups. This will help prove that your profile is real to prospects when they research you. Make sure the content you post is original and thoughtful, or at least be sure you’re curating content from legitimate thought-leaders.
While it helps prove you’re a real person, the more important part of posting unique content is that it helps you expand your network. If you create an intriguing post about an industry-related news article with your commentary, you might find that potential leads will respond and discuss it.
After you have conversed with someone on a post, you can send that prospective customer a personalized message on LinkedIn. Since they will recognize your name (and face from your profile picture), they’ll be more inclined to connect. Simply rinse and repeat to reach more customers.
While you’re performing this lead generation exercise, you will be building a reputation on LinkedIn as a thought leader. It would show you’re an authentic professional, and also personable to those who communicate with you on various posts.
One popular method of posting content on LinkedIn is using videos. According to LinkedIn, a video is five times more likely to start a conversation among users. For example, 30-second case study videos are an effective way of communicating to prospects how your product or service helps companies like theirs.
Another way to use LinkedIn for prospecting is to scroll down to a potential customer’s “Skills & Endorsements” section. This will show you the names of users that endorsed their skills. It tends to be coworkers or close friends that endorse each other, so you might find like-minded individuals that could be future B2B sales leads.
This is an easy way to use your current customers to prospect new leads. When you go to a customer’s profile page, look to the right sidebar and scroll down to “People Also Viewed.” This is a list of people similar to your customer! Who better to sell to?
If you have exhausted these avenues of “organic” LinkedIn prospecting, maybe you need a boost.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can help you zero in on the right decision-makers and prospects. It can also help you stay informed and up-to-date on your current accounts and leads, as well as find you more sales insights. Unfortunately, understand that this sales tool is a premium feature on LinkedIn; it’s not free for users.
One of the main beneficial features includes “Advanced Lead and Company Search.” This feature will help you target leads by narrowing down your search by industry, geography, company size, function, and even seniority. The “Lead Recognition” feature will then give you similar type prospects at the same, or similar, company.
Some prospecting email tools actually integrate into LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and provide verified email addresses of leads instantly. While LinkedIn Sales Navigator may seem like the perfect solution, it has a number of limitations. We'll go into more detail further in this blog.
When it comes to prospecting on LinkedIn, make sure to personalize and fill out your profile. If a profile is empty, that raises a red flag when users come to check the validity of your business. If you’re not taking LinkedIn seriously, they won’t take your business seriously.
Plus, your profile is an opportunity to share a shortened version of your sales pitch and begin winning over your prospect.
Another way that you can turn members away from you is by not being genuine. Tell your prospects how your offering addresses their pain points. Let them know that you mean business and you give them a reason to contact you.
And lastly, pick quality leads over quantity. Don’t waste your time with poor-quality leads that take up your efforts and energy. By spending more time researching quality leads, your conversion rates will be much improved.
The issue with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is that you can only send a certain number of messages for free each month. Plus, people may not use LinkedIn messages nearly as much as they do email, since email is so much more ubiquitous.
Cold emails still remain a highly successful way to reach leads from LinkedIn. If you want to use LinkedIn to build your email list, there are excellent LinkedIn email tools for doing so that are less costly and potentially more effective than LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. Once you have their information, you can email your leads using your business email or one of the many automation tools on the market.
If you want to successfully use LinkedIn for prospecting, you’ll want to keep your profile up-to-date, know where to find your prospects, and keep an eye on your customers’ profiles and actions.
But to find business email addresses for prospects in seconds, you want to use Skrapp.io for accurate information. The Skrapp.io extension enables you to get verified email addresses using LinkedIn in real-time.
Try our email lookup web extension to find business emails from LinkedIn, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, or on a company’s website today!