LinkedIn Prospecting Done Right: Tips to Bolster Your Sales

If you’re looking to grow, run successful outreach campaigns, streamline prospecting and lead generation, LinkedIn is the place to be. 

This platform can provide all the conditions for your sales to thrive – but that’s only if you’re doing it right. 

There are so many factors and considerations that go into LinkedIn prospecting that you may start to see your plan blur and become a confusing blob of overly complicated processes. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. To combat any possible confusion or sidetracking, we’ve gathered the best LinkedIn prospecting tips to launch you straight to your digital sales goals in direct strides.

What is LinkedIn Prospecting?

You can’t beat it if you haven’t defined it clearly for yourself – so let’s start out by explaining what exactly LinkedIn prospecting is. LinkedIn prospecting is essentially identifying qualified leads with the aim of converting them to paying customers and reaching out to them. There’s an abundance of prospecting strategies sales reps employ, the most widely used of which are:

  • Pinpointing your target audience (or designing an ICP – ideal customer profile) and finding them on LinkedIn with advanced search filters
  • Leveraging LinkedIn automation options for efficient outreach
  • Building connections in groups that share your interests, networking with people in your field
  • Prioritizing personalization in connection requests and follow-up messages
  • Connecting with leads directly in InMail
  • Building trust with qualified leads using well-thought-out cold outreach campaigns 
  • Taking advantage of social selling
  • Crafting and sending valuable, relevant content to your prospects 

Good LinkedIn prospecting consists of a few key steps:

  • Identify your target audience, customer profile, their pain points and needs. Remember, you have to connect with the right people to make an impact. 
  • Utilize advanced search filters in Sales Navigator to find leads. You’ve mapped out a target audience, now it’s time to actually pinpoint it among the depths of LinkedIn. 
  • Plan out your outreach campaign. Consider your aim – what do you want your message to accomplish? Keep personalization in mind, choose a template (or craft your message from scratch) that matches your goals.

Get inspo looking through our 100 best hand-picked templates for LinkedIn prospecting

Why LinkedIn Prospecting Matters so much in B2B

LinkedIn is a huge platform and has great potential for prospecting.

But what’s so great about it?

LinkedIn is a place for professionals to grow, connect with like-minded people, and establish their business. The emphasis is put on this platform for achieving prospecting goals because of the ability to:

  • Spark connections, reach a large number of people.
  • Take notes from other salespeople employing prospecting tactics.
  • Gather extremely useful info like prospect email, contact details, interests, potential pain points, job history, and more.
  • Utilize filters to identify the right audience for maximum campaign impact.
  • Find leads within communities/groups you’re a part of – this already brings you closer to the target.
  • Stay up to date with current changes to the prospecting game.

Prospecting on LinkedIn is not only something you should consider, but also prioritize because of the abundance of advantages it offers.

Let’s take a look at some unique attributes that set LinkedIn apart from other platforms as a serious vessel for hyper-powered prospecting.

Why LinkedIn is a go-to platform for B2B sales

  • LinkedIn is huge, with an impressive 830+ million members.
  • It’s been named the most trusted social media platform by Business Insider.
  • LinkedIn is home to millions of top-tier professionals, C-level executives, decision-makers, and senior-level influencers. It is a testament to the high level of LinkedIn audience that 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive decisions in their business – a great find for keen B2B marketers.
  • The conversion rates achieved on LinkedIn are an astonishing 3 times higher compared to other leading sales platforms.
  • LinkedIn’s audience possesses buying power twice that of other average web audiences.
  • LinkedIn’s growth and development as a platform give room for it to continue unraveling its potential for driving sales and building meaningful business relationships.

What are the Steps Involved in LinkedIn Prospecting?

We’ll explore the components that make up the LinkedIn prospecting process in detail. 

1.Outline your Ideal Customer Profile

To successfully single out the perfect customer group for your brand, you have to polish off your general target audience by mapping out an ideal buyer persona & customer profile.

Identify what interests, potential issues, characteristic traits, and habits you expect your ideal customer to have.

The customer and the business should fit like a lock and key. To ensure this, you must also consider the prospects’:

  • Job title
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Revenue
  • Demographics
  • Role in company
  • Age group
  • Relevant geographic data
  • Seniority

2.Find your audience

Time to identify your prospects on LinkedIn and put the customer characteristics you’ve set to good use.

  • LinkedIn gives you the option to employ advanced search filters, perfect for this part of the process.
  • Find leads in groups for people in the same niche.
  • Comb through your 2nd and 3rd degree connections and qualify new leads there.

Use Closely Explorer – one of the largest B2B contact bases that now also offers revenue and funding filters. Fine emails, phone numbers of prospects right away.

3.Optimize your Campaign

For maximum cold outreach effectivity, on top of personalization, you should make sure that your campaign covers the following points:

  • Your aim when contacting this prospect
  • When should you reach out to this potential buyer?
  • How do you align your outreach with this prospect’s daily LinkedIn activity?
  • The frequency of follow up messages
  • Eye-catching content or unique pitch relevant to the prospect’s pain points

In Closely, you can set up time intervals for your messaging and adjust timezone to match it with audience’s. Make sure your message will reach your target audience at their working days and hours. Run the whole outrech on autopilot in Closely and focus on more important tasks, like closing deals or tweaking your outreach strategies.

5 Things You Should NOT do When Prospecting On LinkedIn

1.Pushing your pitch in the first sentence

Sure, your main goal is to get leads to convert. But you can’t just start selling from the get-go – people don’t see the point in even initiating a conversation if the first thing you do is bore them with black-and-white ad talk or product promos they are not yet interested in.

Hook a prospect in and spike interest with relevant content and innovative solutions to their specific problems. Share some real results that you’ve achieved using your own product or service. Add that shine to your messages and make them pleasant to read for a potential buyer by tailoring outreach, rather than committing to bland, impersonal campaigns.

2.Neglecting personalization

When launching your campaign, it’s important not to let the personalization get drowned out by a stiff, formulaic template that is identical for every prospect.

Instead, spice things up: apart from using tags like {first_name}, {job_title}, {company_name} in LinkedIn automation, throw other factors like geography into the mix; offer a copy of a study/guide etc. Let them know that you both work on the same positions in the same geographic area. That would be relevant to the prospect; make your message more dynamic and hyper-targeted based on interests, potential struggles, and characteristic prospect traits. 

3.Not optimizing your profile

When prospects head over to your profile, they should be further convinced that you are the right fit for them. Your profile should tell potential customers everything they need to know about you, your niche, your expertise, and the advantages of working with you.

This is how you can optimize your profile:

  • Add a professional profile and custom banner pictures
  • Stick to your brand’s colors and tine of voice
  • Describe your strongest competitive points of differentiation in powerful, to-the-point wording in your LinkedIn tagline
  • Complete your summary with relevant past experiences; just add general info about yourself here that prospects may need to know.

4.Not putting emphasis on content

Prospects need to understand what value you’ll bring them if you connect.

Showcase your knowledge & experience and share tips through relevant posts and articles, offer niche-specific content, post presentations, case studies, short summaries, and long-form, informative content – make use of everything under the sun to earn credibility, and prospect loyalty and recognition. 

Be active in LinkedIn groups and exchange valuable content.

5.Neglecting LinkedIn safety precautions

More is not always better in marketing and sales – especially when it comes to LinkedIn activity and connection requests.

Sending out connection requests in ridiculous quantities with automation and partaking in spam-like activity for a chance to get accepted is hindering your progress and increasing the likelihood of your account getting restricted or banned. 

LinkedIn is serious about its user privacy and authenticity, so overlooking this in your outreach is detrimental to your success on the platform.

If you don’t want these grave LinkedIn mistakes setting you back, avoid the following:

  • Sending out way too many requests at humanly impossible intervals. LinkedIn detects the usage of exploitative automation if there is a huge surge in connection requests that don’t stop flowing in all day. Kepp the warm-up mode on in linkedin automation tools.
  • Not being meticulous in choosing an automation tool. There are lots of tools out there that are right on the surface and easy for LinkedIn to detect. Make sure to use more discrete and subtle automation tools that aren’t tracked down as easily. Opt for cloud-based automation solutions and not Chrome extensions.
  • Not cleaning up any unaccepted requests and mass-requesting people you don’t know (this might end up in your messages getting marked as ‘I don’t know this person’).
  • Abusive and inappropriate activity or content. LinkedIn picks up on inappropriate activity and unusual views or other profile metrics, comments, and videos with misinformation or scams.

Now that you know the LinkedIn prospecting mistakes you should avoid, we’ll get into the most powerful strategies and tips to kick your outreach into full gear.

Some Best LinkedIn Prospecting Techniques to start out 

  1. Incorporate prospect common points in outreach

No one wants to be sent the same generic, low-effort connection requests that have nothing to do with them other than the mention of their name and industry. 

Make your outreach campaigns interesting and actually connection-worthy by looking into these aspects:

  • What type of influencers your potential buyers follow, what content do they like and engage with
  • The LinkedIn (or other social media) groups and communities they’re a part of
  • What could be their potential pain points
  • What kind of solution are your future buyers looking for

You can connect and bond over the interest group you and the prospect are members of; 

Or mention an influencer you both follow or a post you’ve both liked as a good hook for a convo. You can scrape for likes and comments and reach out to these leads.

These common points are much more refreshing than basic outreach and will make the prospect more likely to connect and engage further.

You know that in Closely you can try hyper-targeted outreach, uploading audiences from LinkedIn groups, events or posts to boost conversions. Reach out to them with a super-efficient, highly targeted message on autpopilot!

  1. Delete unaccepted LinkedIn connection requests

It’s definitely not a good look to keep a pile of old connection requests lying around. LinkedIn can pick up on this and suspect you’re not being genuine and mass-reaching out to people you don’t know. 

It’s recommended that you delete requests that are a few weeks old to avoid any possible LinkedIn connection restrictions.

  1. Tap into the possibilities of LinkedIn search filters

LinkedIn has incredibly powerful search filters for you to identify qualified leads.

Some of the filtering options include:

  • Industry
  • Location
  • Current company
  • Past company
  • Connections

Not to mention that you get advanced search filters with LinkedIn Sales Navigator that launch your prospecting to new levels. These include:

  •  Seniority
  •  Company size
  • Company type 
  • Posted content keywords

and others.

  1. Discover the game-changing perks of Sales Navigator

Speaking of Sales Navigator filters, it’s worth it to look into upgrading to this plan for the other advantages it offers LinkedIn salespeople, including:

  • The ‘view similar’ feature, allowing you to view profiles similar to your leads
  • Real-time notifications of buyer interest signals, company decision-maker changes to better align with your prospect’s current challenges and goals
  • The ‘Posted on LinkedIn’ keyword filter for leads
  •  Advanced search filters – arguably the most powerful benefits of SalesNav
  • InMail – LinkedIn direct messages.

To name a few.

  1. Join and Be Active in Niche Groups

By joining and being an active member of LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry, you’re opening the door to opportunities to build connections with like-minded professionals, establish your presence and pick out qualified leads you have common ground with.

Actively post content in the group and analyze how members engage with it to further narrow down who you should reach out to – this way you identify more interested potential buyers.

  1. Experiment with different message sequences

This is a great strategy to figure out which message template and follow-up hits the hardest and generates higher acceptance rates to employ it with maximum results. It’s great that in Closely you gain access to the campaign analytics and can instantly see what works best for you.

  1. Explore the ‘People Also Viewed’ list

Find profiles similar to the one you’re viewing with the ‘People Also Viewed’ feature. 

The profiles are displayed based on:

  • Similar job titles
  • Common niche/industry
  • Searches from viewers of current profile

Take advantage of this feature to find prospects who could fit your ideal client criteria and form an understanding of what creators your prospects may have connections with and how they can shape their objectives and buyer behavior.

  1. Account Warmup

To keep your outreach on track and avoid your account being restricted or banned by LinkedIn, it’s vital that you don’t jump into sending out hundreds of connection requests per day straight away. 

You have to progressively increase your daily number of requests and slowly work up to your desired leadgen pace.

Start out by sending only a couple of connection requests daily.

Put focus on campaign personalization and quality. Make sure that each message holds value to your prospects and is tailored specifically to them.

To avoid any ‘I don’t know this person’ reports or suspiciously low acceptance rates, reach out to your 2nd and 3rd-degree connections as opposed to people with no mutual acquaintances.

At Closely, we focus on your safety because it’s paramount to us. With the help of the warm-up feature, Closely starts your automated prospecting with a limited number of messages that will later be increased. It’s done to ensure your activity doesn’t look suspicious. Tap into the power of safe automation and personalized campaigns.

  1.  Do some Digging on Competitors

Looking through your competitor’s employees’ networks helps you generate leads similar to your client base. 

You can also take hold of this opportunity and the similar issue & benefit targeting by your competitor to pitch your solution straight to your competing business’s customers. 

If your products or services offer a clear advantage over other companies in the field, this is a solid way to hook in their customers straight to your pipeline.

Co-founder and CEO at Closely – Lead Intelligence and Sales Automation Platform.