LinkedIn Prospecting Done Right: A Guide for SDRs
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
LinkedIn Prospecting in B2B Outbound – The Facts
Your LinkedIn Prospecting Guide
1-Optimize your LinkedIn profile
2-Know your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
3-Find and connect
4-Personalize your approach
5-Follow-up! Follow-up! Follow-up!
6-Create valuable content
7-Other cool tips
LinkedIn Prospecting 2.0
Action! - Video Prospecting
Hello From the Other Side - Voice Notes
LinkedIn Vs. Email - The Ultimate Battle
This is Key…
LinkedIn Prospecting in B2B Outbound – The Facts
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network! Used by hundreds of millions of users who are looking to expand their professional network, LinkedIn allows you to have access to a highly receptive audience of potential buyers.
It’s synonymous with B2B sales, and therefore a must have channel to include in any outbound strategy. Don’t take our word for it, look at the facts:
There are nearly 800 million members on LinkedIn as of 2022.
Almost 65 million decision-makers are part of the network.
Over 300 million active users per month, which means that something like 40% of its users are active every month.
50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.
Impressive, right? What are the main reasons why you should use it in your LinkedIn prospecting routine?
It’s less intrusive when compared to other social selling platforms.
It’s the largest professional database out there! If there’s a place where you can find great prospects, this is it.
In fact, it's not simply a database, it’s an active community that provides you access to the most reliable info on your prospects such as their contact and company information, job tenure, skills and interests.
Allows you to be up to date on what’s happening in your industry, including new developments, game players and enablers.
Very much like almost every other B2B prospecting channel, it takes dedication and time to turn it into a lead generating machine. Want to know how to be a LinkedIn prospecting Master? May the Prospecting Force be with you. Some useful tips can’t hurt too, stay tuned.
Your LinkedIn Prospecting Guide
1- Optimize your LinkedIn profile
First things first.
Create a good LinkedIn profile, so when you start your LinkedIn prospecting, buyers will have something interesting to explore and hopefully be motivated to connect and engage.
A Profile and a Cover Photos, a good Headline and a solid About section that channels your mission statement are important things to include in a LinkedIn profile. A detailed Experience section followed by your Educational Background is also pivotal. Skills and Endorsements are a great extra to help strengthen your page. If you want to know how to get the best out of each section, take a look at our LinkedIn Optimization Guide.
After creating your LinkedIn profile is time to explore. Be an active participant in your industry. A good online presence is essential. Expand your network by adding key industry players and engage with them, see what groups and pages they are following, and see if they’re of any interest to you.
2- Know your Ideal Customer Profile
Creating an ideal customer profile (ICP) can help you identify a good-fit prospect. An ICP is the description of a customer that would be most likely to buy your solutions, since they would derive the most value from what you offer.
ICP helps you with targeting, providing direction and narrowing down prospective buyer options. A few questions that will help you define it are:
Where do your perfect customers work?
What are their job titles?
What industries do they work for?
This is a critical step as it influences your actions from now on. ICP will be essential when looking for prospects and when using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to build better prospecting lists, so if you don’t have an ideal customer profile, create one!
3- Find and connect
Optimized profile, check! ICP, check! It’s time to search for those prospects.
In the top left corner of LinkedIn’s main page, you’ll see the Search bar, start by looking for companies that might fit your target.
If you’re looking for Marketing companies, try typing marketing on the search bar. It will then open an infinite list of people, groups, services, and companies that relate to that specific search term. You can then narrow it down using some of the filters LinkedIn provides such as location and service category.
Next step will be to find the decision-makers in that company, you can do that by:
Clicking on the company’s profile
Going on the central bar and clicking people
Navigating through the list of employees
Done! You found one perfect prospect. What to do next? Connect!
IMPORTANT SIDENOTE: LinkedIn has imposed a limit of around 100 new connections per week, so make sure you use your requests wisely, it’s all about prospecting better, not prospecting more.
Connecting is much more than just sending a request. It’s one of your early steps in building rapport with your prospects. Something that can set you apart right away is sending a little note (up to 300 characters) at the time of the connection request. A good message should have a personal touch and show you’ve done your research, which brings us to our next step.
4- Personalize you approach
You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Whether you introduce yourself as you connect or later, it’s pivotal to engage in a way that resonates with your prospect. Show you’ve done your research, LinkedIn lets you have access to an incredible amount of data! Leverage the great opportunity!
Being a social network, LinkedIn allows you to have a less formal approach when compared to email. Lead the conversation with insights and similarities or common interests between you two, maybe you went to the same University or attended the same course. It’s a good starting point!
Why is it so important to send out personalized messages? Simple, higher engagement rate from your prospects. Ultimately, personalizing your LinkedIn messages will help you book more meetings and get your word across.
Personalization takes time and prospecting is an already time-consuming task. If you want to know more about how AI can deliver rich insights from multiple sources to auto-personalize your message and help you save time, click on the button below.
5- Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!
Did you know that 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up attempt? The truth is that the prospect might not be interested in what you have to sell during your first approaches, but you can always drop the sales part of selling, and ask how things are going or start a conversation regarding a post you both liked.
Being present will help you be memorable, and when the time is right, the prospect will remember you.
The buying experience you provide should also be a pleasant one. Set a sequence of touchpoints aligned with the prospect’s feedback, goals, and timeline. It’s not about being impatient and force-feeding an agenda, it’s about being helpful.
6- Create valuable content
Buyers expect more for SDRs nowadays. 9/10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions, which is why you should use it to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
You should not only publish things that interest you, but also your target audience. Trends, new developments, stats, polls, testimonies, personal experiences worth sharing are great examples of content you can share.
If you’re not comfortable creating the content yourself, re-share posts which resonate with you. Follow some names like Daniel Disney or Kyle Coleman, they have great content and you’d be getting inspiration from the best in the business.
It’s always good to give the posts you share a little personal touch though, so make sure to write how you feel about the content and ask for your followers to engage with it. You can achieve this by just ending the post with a question, this will encourage an exchange of ideas. A moderate amount of emojis to make things a bit more fun and engaging could also be a nice touch.
Content is an essential part of social selling. What you publish and share will partly determine whether your prospects regard you as an authority in your space or not.
7- Other cool tips
If someone views your profile, connect with them, and send a personalized LinkedIn message. These prospects are warm since they had an interest in you.
Don’t set your profile visibility to private. Transparency adds an element of familiarity.
Make use of the People Also Viewed section. They most likely won’t be prospects, but they could be competitors, and this way, by exploring their connections, you can reach potential targets.
Follow relevant hashtags and check on a daily basis what is being discussed. Participate on the open topics and maybe start a new one yourself.
Join some groups on LinkedIn and engage with what’s being published. LinkedIn groups are a great channel for creative outreach.
Congratulate your connections on their new positions/jobs, this might serve as an icebreaker, and you could have a chance to pitch your product again.
LinkedIn Prospecting 2.0
You’re now a LinkedIn Padawan, but to be the ultimate prospecting Jedi. To fully master the art of LinkedIn Prospecting there are a few other tricks you can have up your sleeve.
Sales Navigator is a LinkedIn paid subscription service that aims to elevate the overall user experience.
The tool gives prospecting superpowers to those who have a well defined ICP, allowing them to find key prospects, conduct personalized outreach, and develop relationships over time.
Besides having almost 50 filters to help you narrow down your search, sales navigator includes amazing features to help you get as much as you can from your LinkedIn prospecting, including:
Saved Searches and Alerts – Allow reps to save their current filtered search and receive notifications each time new prospects fitting your search criteria pop up. This means having a continuous automated and streamlined flow of new prospects.
TeamLink – Helps filter your results to view bridged or team connections.
InMail and Smart Links – Enable SDRs to send messages with trackable links, or relevant downloadable pieces of sales content for the prospect.
Lists and CRM Embedded Profile – Provide the opportunity to record and update contact information via lists or directly through CRM, enhancing SDR workflow..
If you want to know more on how to take advantage of all Sales Navigator’s features, read our quick guide.
Action! - Video Prospecting
The mobile version of LinkedIn now allows you to record video and, since visuals are processed 60,000x faster when compared to a text, using it in your LinkedIn prospecting might help you stand out!
Video is an amazing channel of communication since it can put a face to a name, allowing your prospects to connect with you on a much deeper level. In fact, LinkedIn messages which include a small video can increase the response rate by five times the average.
Here are few tips to help you make the perfect prospecting video:
Know your prospects – try to personalize it as much as you can, mention the prospects’ name and company and maybe add a special fact you found out about them or their company.
Keep it short – be concise. Buyers have limited time, so after a short, personalized introduction, go straight to the point. Prospecting videos should take between 60-90 seconds, no more than that.
Have a clear call to action – once you have the prospect’s attention, lead them to where you want them to be.
Hello From the Other Side - LinkedIn’s Voice Notes
Last year, LinkedIn released voice messaging on their mobile app providing you another way of personalizing your engagement. LinkedIn voice messaging allows you to record a voice note of up to 60 seconds that you can swiftly send through the messaging screen of LinkedIn’s mobile app and has great advantages.
Message on-the-go – people speak about four times faster than they type, making voice notes great for explaining certain ideas without the fuss of typing and editing a message. It’s particularly handy when you’re on the move and don’t have time to stop and type.
Good alternative to calling – leaving a voice message can be better for your prospects when compared to calling, since they can listen and reply when they have the time and disposition to do so.
Personality comes through – it’s difficult to convey certain things in a written message. Speaking in your own voice will allow you to create better connections with your prospects and get your message across more thoroughly.
Linkedin Vs. Email – The Ultimate Battle
The cold email has long been at the core of any successful outreach strategy. However, social selling represents a new imperative for finding success, with an estimated 76% of buyers ready to have sales conversations on social media.
Cold emailing may have great reach and convenience but is seeing low response rates that have been declining further over the last few years. LinkedIn presents reps with a powerful proposition to raise those response rates significantly through combining precision targeting with personalized messaging.
Both channels have pros and cons, so by combining them you’ll get the most out of each. Multichannel prospecting is a great outreach strategy. With it, you’ll be able to generate quality leads, book more meetings and create great relationships with your target audience.
Alternate between email and LinkedIn messages and build your own outreach sequence and meetings will rain down on you.
This is key for LinkedIn Prospecting
Although time consuming, LinkedIn prospecting is essential in any outreach strategy and an integral part of social selling. A successful LinkedIn prospecting strategy must have five focal points:
Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Know your ICP
Find your prospects and connect with them
Personalize your approach
Follow-up and nurture those connections
Create valuable content
To make your life easier and get better results, try a LinkedIn prospecting tool, but never forget, personalization is what differentiates you from a cacophony of sales reps. Only then you’ll be allowed to be a proud user of the hashtag #myprospectingbringsallthebuyerstotheyard.
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