If you want to become a fashion influencer than you know that Instagram is the place to be. Want to stay in touch with your friends and family? You will surely check on Facebook. If you have a knack for blog writing or you simply enjoy reading them, I’m almost certain that you are on Medium. But what if you are in the B2B world and think that paid ads are not worth the trouble (and money)? Is there an online place with a high density of high-level professionals? And preferably where they want to talk business, and not about the type of dog breed they have. Of course, there is. And you must have heard of it by now. LinkedIn. What a surprise. Let’s talk about LinkedIn Lead Generation.
Just in case your opinion of LinkedIn is not as high as mine, here are some stats that will help you see the light:
- According to LinkedIn’s stats, they have 660 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide.
- There are more than 30 million companies represented on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites & blogs.
- 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix.
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn vs. 13% on Twitter & 7% on Facebook.
- 79% of B2B marketers see LinkedIn as an effective source of lead generation.
- HubSpot found that LinkedIn is 277% more eﬀective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.
LinkedIn – the B2B lead generation king
So if there is a spot, where you have businesses and decision-makers available at your fingertips, and there are not just a few of them (like those really expensive summits) – but probably more than you can handle – than that is definitely LinkedIn. And it’s not just the biggest professional network, but it is the professional network.
So if you are looking for specific business people to focus your B2B outreach efforts on, the answer is as plain as day. We (the mere marketing mortals) pronounce LinkedIn, the new B2B outbound king. Don’t get us wrong, we are still in love with cold emailing (you can read more of our romance in this e-book).
But if the email is the evergreen queen that we all know and love (like the ultimate Queen – yeah, I’m talking about Freddie Mercury), then LinkedIn is the new up and coming king (something like Ed Sheeran – we can all keep saying that we are sick and tired of yet another wedding dance to Perfect, but we can’t stop singing the lyrics and it seems like our bodies start moving involuntarily when Shape of You comes on).
What could LinkedIn lead generation do?
LinkedIn Lead Generation, if done properly, can bring a lot of clients to your company. LinkedIn as a platform has a huge amount of data regarding the companies (industry, size, location, etc.), as well as the people within these companies (positions, name & surname, how long they have been at the company, etc.). Using the right approach, you can utilize LinkedIn data to find the right target, and make a friendly approach.
Managed properly, LinkedIn can be a fantastic source of leads, saving a lot on advertising. In addition, it can be the main channel for nurturing existing connections until they are ready to buy. Here are a few examples of how LinkedIn outreach has helped our clients.
- We’ve managed to introduce and warm-up 20 CTOs in the first month for a code optimization USA based SaaS.
- We helped a Leadership Guru (working with 150 Fortune 500 companies) from Australia to get more than 25 warm leads per month consistently for 3 months.
- For a management consulting company from Belgium, our LinkedIn Lead Generation campaign was so successful, that after the second month we had to pause the campaign so the client could catch up with all the leads!
I can go on and on with these types of examples. This is why I decided to write this blog post – to share the knowledge obtained through working with 300+ clients in BizzBee Solutions. I want to help other companies struggling to get their word out there, find their voice and bring more clients on board.
Top 3 LinkedIn lead generation benefits
With our experience and expertise in implementing BizzBee’s LinkedIn Lead Generation solution, we will help you build a high-quality network, generate high-quality organic leads, leading to landing high-quality clients. Here is what you can expect if you implement the guidelines detailed in this blog post:
- Built network: We recommend that you send 2000 highly targeted connections per month. Building up your LinkedIn network will give you access to your target audience without any additional cost. Therefore, you will be able to follow their problems, their comments, their reviews – in short everything that is happening in their business. This gives you a non-intrusive opportunity to ask for additional questions, offer thoughts and suggestions. At the end of the day – that is how trust and loyalty are built.
- Generated leads: The right message at the right time brings the right leads. Engaging with your prospect, even automatically, can keep you from being forgotten. Sending smart call-to-action messages can keep prospects interested, wanting to hear more.
- Land clients: Personalized human touch moves prospects toward sales. Having a human responding to their custom questions and requests for information ensures that prospects are educated and interested.
BizzBee’s 6 steps LinkedIn approach
When it comes to LinkedIn Lead Generation, at BizzBee, we have a very well-structured approach, built over the last few years. Our approach can be summarized in 6 steps:
- Define your ideal client – Who are you trying to approach? Who are you trying to attract? What kind of companies? What kind of people/positions within these companies? You must know who you are targeting before moving to the next step.
- Sales Navigator filter setup – LinkedIn Sales Navigator has fantastic filtering options that you can utilize to narrow the type of people you want to connect with.
Start approaching your target audience by introducing yourself to them. Grow your network of prospects, and bring your target closer to you.
- Build a profile that sells – Having an outdated profile, or CV-like profile, will not yield results, no matter how intense the effort you put in. On the other hand, having a funnel-like LinkedIn profile will actually attract a lot of prospects and even show on many LinkedIn search results.
- Prepare engaging messages – Like almost any other type of marketing, true creativity comes in and is most needed when it comes to writing the copy. And believe us, this is a science. Meaning, you can measure, experiment, and improve. Being a capable word artist is most definitely an enormous asset. But what is also of extreme importance (as with almost every area in life) is sending the right message at the right time.
- Campaign execution – Having everything ready, it’s now time to get your hands dirty. After all, not everything can be done automatically. It’s not time to panic yet. You don’t have to do it all by hand. We will tell you where you need to sprinkle your charm and take things into your own hands. And if you are wondering how you can measure the impact you’ve made, we have just the thing for you. We will gift you our reporting system, so you can reach, measure and improve your KPIs.
- Final thoughts – Are you still wondering if you should try LinkedIn Lead Generation outreach? Or are you still not sure of the type of benefits you can expect? Then take a peek at our final thoughts.
- Define your ideal client – Who are you trying to approach? Who are you trying to attract? What kind of companies? What kind of people/positions within these companies? You must know who you are targeting before moving to the next step.
Define your ideal client
I know you’ve heard this a lot, but really, the first step in any outreach campaign is to understand your ideal client. And the key question – Do you know who your ideal client is? – may sound like a very naive question, but I have found that many CEOs and heads of sales/marketing struggle to answer it. Here are a few examples of bad Ideal Client Profiles (ICPs):
In most cases, yes, these are relevant statements. You could target a broad audience. But it does not help your prospecting mission. You are here to find the type of companies that are most probably going to buy your product/service. If you have an unlimited marketing/sales budget – sure you can have this bold statement, but even then you would still have to split the target into segments and address each segment separately. And as most of us don’t have that unlimited budget, we are looking for companies that are willing to buy.
Let me put it another way – having a very specific target will help you laser-focus your marketing efforts, making you more relevant in your target’s eyes. So even if you have a cross-industry solution (eg. SEO agency), you still need to choose the target for each marketing campaign.
One or several targets?
However, this does not mean that you have to choose only one – you can have several targets – but you need to be aware that for each target you will need different marketing/sales activities. And this is why even if you could target 10 different segments, you should choose 1 or 2, so you can achieve focus on your blogs, ads, SEO, and any other marketing activities.
We have spent enormous time and effort in helping clients identify their ideal clients. Moreover, we even wrote a whole e-book for the best way to identify your ideal client. So make sure you’ve done your homework and identified your ideal client.
Here are a few target audience examples (these are real examples from our clients):
Have in mind that this is a double-edged sword. On one end, if your criteria are too broad, it would mean that you will have a lot of irrelevant prospects in your group. On the other hand, if you have a laser-focused target, you will have too few people to get in touch with. You need to be balanced based on your product/services so you can have an optimal number of potential prospects.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator filter setup
From the ICP research, it should be fairly easy to select the LinkedIn filters (location, industry, size, or other attributes) that make them an ideal client for you. But more importantly, the research should also recommend the profile of the people that you need to approach, adding more attributes in terms of location, function, title, and many other attributes. If you have a Sales Navigator profile, it will give the following filter options:
Based on these filters you can get your target audience to a finite number, which you can see and measure. And knowing the number of potential prospects could define your approach. If you have 500 companies in total as a target, then you should play with the filters, to get a significantly bigger number. Aim for at least 10.000 potential prospects.
For the LinkedIn Sales Navigator rookie
If you are an experienced LinkedIn Sales Navigator user, feel free to skip this part. But, if you are still having doubts about what you will get if you pay the monthly fee, I’m sure that this will be of help.
You can easily get lost in the ocean of filtering options that Sales Navigator has, so let me be your guiding light. There are 3 filters that are a must in any account-based search if you want LinkedIn to provide you with targeted accounts of course. The holy LinkedIn Lead Generation trinity is industry, geography and company headcount.
Captain Obvious reporting for duty – geography represents the location of the companies that you are looking to target. Company headcount represents the number of employees in the companies that you are targeting. LinkedIn Sales Navigator has the following options:
- 1-10 employees
- 11-50 employees
- 51-200 employees
- 201-500 employees
- 501-1000 employees
- 1001-5000 employees
- 5001-10,000 employees
- 10,001+ employees
Pretty straightforward by now, right? But things get complicated when it comes to the industry filter. Here LinkedIn has 147 industry options. And you know what’s the saddest part? When you can’t find the one that you are targeting with all those options. If you want to know if they have the industry that you need or if you will need to make a combination out of two or perhaps guess in which industry the most companies that you want to target are hiding (I’m pointing at you SaaS), here comes the list. Fingers crossed that you are one of the lucky ones and are going to find the ideal industry in their list.
Build a LinkedIn profile that sells
I’ve seen many clients polishing their LinkedIn profile before considering the ideal client. That is wrong. How can you tailor your profile if you don’t know who you are talking to? You will end up with a generic profile that does not resonate with your target. So, instead, first, understand your target. Once you have a clear picture of who you are targeting, you can polish your profile to talk to that specific audience.
Before even considering reaching out to people, you must ensure that you have a profile that sells. The foundation of all LinkedIn effort is focused on a person. And that person’s profile should have a clear message – a synergy between the photo, the experience, and the about section. Most people set up their profile as a CV – which is boring. What you really need, is to look at your profile as one of your marketing/sales funnels.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a shop
It represents the personal brand of you, as well as representing the company’s brand. A properly set up LinkedIn profile can give you an SEO boost. It can position your profile first in the search results, as well as attract your ideal client. This means you will attract more customers to your shop. Our team has spent significant time testing and figuring out the best way to set up a LinkedIn profile that actually brings customers in. Polishing your LinkedIn profile is a must – but after you are clear who you are targeting.
For example, you could target SaaS companies. Then your profile should (within 5-10 seconds) show a SaaS person that you are relevant and worthy to connect with. So, the profile’s emphasis should be on how you can help SaaS companies improve their subscription rate or reduce churn rates – terms that are crucial for a SaaS.
Having a strong LinkedIn profile affects the acceptance rate, response rate, and even the conversion rate. It’s obvious that the most effective LinkedIn profiles are the complete ones. A profile that’s missing important information makes the reader wonder if you’re hiding something or you simply don’t take your brand too seriously. Take the time to fill in the content in all sections. This proves that you are thorough and have good follow-through.
7 crucial LinkedIn profile aspects
Here are the most common (and obvious) aspects people overlook.
- Profile and Cover Photo. It goes without saying that your photo needs to be professional and approachable. The stats say that LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views. Wow, those are some big numbers.
Maybe you should consider doing a professional photoshoot just for LinkedIn (assuming that you haven’t done one already). When choosing a photo you should also make sure that you have a warm and engaging smile and that you look genuinely happy.
Additionally, your photo must be a good quality one, and it is advisable not to use a group photo. Face forward so you are “looking into the eyes” of those who are evaluating you. In fact, studies have shown that your LinkedIn profile is 40% more likely to be clicked on if it contains a photo.
Remember, this picture is often the first time a prospect will see your face. Make sure it leaves the right first impression. If you haven’t chosen a custom background image, then you will have the same blue image that most other profiles have. Replace it with a picture that helps you boost your brand’s attributes.
- Profile summary. This is where you really sell yourself to potential connections. Your summary should expand on what appears in your headline, highlighting your specialties, career experience, noteworthy accolades, and thought leadership. It should briefly summarize what your company does and how it helps your clients. It should also show the passion behind your work.
You should also expand on your role and functions within the company or your core product and service. Furthermore, you can share testimonials or achievements that showcase the positive results you have achieved.
Your opening sentence can be a question. It should be positive and keep the reader interested in learning more.
How does the product/service provide value for the customers? How does the client help people, or a business achieve their goals? You can check the website for testimonials to see the main differences the company is making for its customers and also use the specific skills and the experience of the person as a starting point. Focus on efficiency, making money, achieving more, reducing costs, etc.
- Relevant content. Visual content’s importance is constantly growing, so if you have relevant videos, presentations, infographics you would like to include on your profile, make sure you do.
- Recommendations and Endorsements. Endorsements give people viewing your profile a quick, visual sense of what you’re valued for. Recommendations take things a step further. They are personal testimonials written to provide insight into your professional brands. So, if you ask people you’ve worked with, or within your community, you can easily enrich this LinkedIn section.
- Experience, Education and Volunteering. When it comes to the education and experience section, always choose your employer or educational institution from the LinkedIn list. This will automatically add the appropriate logo to your profile. In addition to the visual appearance, your profile gets an extra dose of credibility, thanks to the brand association. Your Employment and Volunteer Experience Section needs to be filled out with your experience professionally or as a volunteer. Mentioning relevant achievements and areas of expertise.
Add the experience that complements what you are currently doing. Make sure you highlight the accomplishments and results that you achieved within your work. If you think that it’s appropriate, use the job title as a place to add some of the keywords. That cannot be possible for every previous job experience, as they might not be related to the same field, but you can try to include them.
- Skills. Add skills related to the keywords used in the previous sections of the profile. You can add a maximum of 50 skills and make sure to add skills that you know you will be endorsed for.
- Powerful LinkedIn Headline. Your LinkedIn Headline should grab your reader’s attention and compel them to read more. It should clearly state what you do, who you are, and what benefit you bring to others.
Considering your headline, you have two directions – stack it with relevant keywords or craft it as a statement. We recommend the second one.
Here are a few examples of headlines stacked with keywords:
Executive Leader ● Marketing Strategist ● Expert Consultant ● CRM & Loyalty ● Customer Experience
Project Manager | Made in NY Campus at Bush Terminal | Quality-obsessed Construction Professional
Sales Professional ► Security Systems Integrator ★ Commercial Solutions | Healthcare | Higher Ed | Hospitality | Retail
On the other hand, here are a few examples of what a statement headline should look like:
Here, we put emphasis on the benefit the person provides or how he/she helps people/companies to achieve _____ (insert value);
Helping Companies Translate Their Business Goals and Ideas into Operational Reality and Positive ROI;
Helping Businesses Develop Strong Sales Forces through Intensive Sales Training Programs;
Prepare engaging messages
There is a science behind knowing what to write and at what point. Over the years, we have conducted outreach for hundreds of clients, (including LinkedIn Lead Generation), closely measuring what kind of messages work and which don’t.
Based on this effort, we’ve made a separate e-book on how to craft the perfect B2B outreach copy. I have seen a new copy tripling our results. So you should really consider making a good outreach copy plan. Our outreach sequence is usually 3-5 messages long, with each email bringing the cold prospect closer to you.
But you must differentiate between e-mail and LinkedIn messages. When it comes to e-mail, you have a formal introduction, body and a greeting followed by a signature. On LinkedIn, you have an open chat conversation where you don’t need an introduction or a signature. And this is a huge difference.
If you start sending messages on LinkedIn as you would on e-mail, people will know that you are approaching formally. LinkedIn is a network, where business people can simply chat. So before sending a message, consider if you would send that kind of message to a friend or an existing client?
The plan is simple – once you know what the marketing campaign end goal is (free trial, subscription, meeting, etc.), then you need to decide on the touchpoints in order to move cold prospects up to the point where they are ready to engage.
LinkedIn Campaign Execution
Did you know that you can have up to 30.000 LinkedIn connections? How many do you have currently? Imagine the potential a LinkedIn with 30.000 relevant connections could have. A single post will reach 30.000 potential prospects – with ZERO advertising costs.
Now, here is the thing – 30.000 irrelevant connections don’t have a value. So you need to be really picky in defining your ideal prospect and focus your LinkedIn Lead Generation efforts accordingly. Luckily, LinkedIn has a very sophisticated search based on many parameters (especially if you have a Sales Navigator profile).
Sending connection requests
I’ve experienced many bad examples, where even at the invitation message I get a full pitch. And I don’t connect with those people – as they are intruding on my space, without even politely asking to. When creating the messages, each of the messages should have one specific goal.
The main goal of the invitation message is JUST to get connected. Nothing more. So the more general and short you are at that stage, the better.
Once you get accepted, you have a short window to follow-up. Here you need to pique curiosity through a short, concise, and intriguing message. So the one single goal of the follow-up message is to provoke a response. Nothing more.
It is at a later stage of the relationship where you can afford to ask for a meeting. Our e-book “The B2B Outbound Copywriting Playbook” covers exactly this aspect of the LinkedIn Lead Generation outreach.
Remember, the main goal of the invitation message is to simply get connected. Not to introduce yourself, not to try to sell a product – but to just simply get connected. You will have plenty of opportunities to pitch down the road, but you will have none if you don’t get connected. Here are a few examples of how simple the invitation message should be:
From the hundreds of invitations that we receive on a daily basis, barely 10% put in an effort to write anything, and when writing, barely 1% of them are not trying to sell me something.
And this has to be done daily, every day. Imagine if you start sending 100 invitations to your ideal target, daily. That means 500 invitations per week, 2.000 invitations per month, or as much as 24.000 invitations per year. And if you reach a 40% acceptance rate, it means that you will have 9.600 new connects. If you have a 50% acceptance rate, it means that you will have 12.000 new highly targeted connects per year.
Sending the follow-up sequence
If a highly targeted person accepts your connection request, you are one step closer. It means that now you have access to their posts, problems, and if you so wish, you can directly message them without any additional costs.
Having 30.000 people in your network, or even having 3 different profiles with 30.000 people each, means nothing if you are their silent friend. You need to keep the ball rolling while the connection is still fresh. At this step, you start to interact with your target audience, so they can be aware of your existence.
This can be done by sending tailored messages. Not just one. You can set up a sequence of 3-5 messages with a 2-3 days delay between each one. The goal of each message is to provoke a different emotion in order to push the prospect to respond.
When the main goal is receiving a response, usually the messages are tailored towards curiosity or scarcity, since it is the only way to provoke a response. But if the prospect responds at any stage it should be moved to the next stage.
Manually handling LinkedIn responses
Once someone is your first connection, you can communicate with them. In addition to the first follow up message, you can start sending a sequence of LinkedIn messages (including attachments) where you can pitch your product/service, ask them to visit a link, or even send them an attachment with a proposal/offer.
So when the prospect responds, and the response is positive, we can assume that they are curious. Now it is up to you to start the nurturing process. Once the rapport is established, you should aim to move them toward the end of the marketing campaign – whatever the goal is.
Chit-chatting on various topics, sharing relevant articles (even if they are not yours), could expand their openness to hear you out. This is the time-consuming part – when you start to show that you care for your target audience. It requires patience, nurturing, and providing value for them and being there when they actually need your help.
LinkedIn Lead Generation Reporting
Executing a LinkedIn Lead Generation campaign without any metrics is a shot in the dark. If you want to have a deeper understanding of the campaign you should follow these metrics:
- Invitations sent – This can be easily monitored since it represents the number of invitations sent by your profile. It can be daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Acceptance rate – What percentage of targeted positions accepts your invitations. This is the first, but critical step. Since the more prospects accept your invitation, the more they are exposed to your campaign. If the acceptance rate is low, you should look at your invitation message and your LinkedIn profile – as those are the 2 main variables for increasing the acceptance rate.
- Follow-up rate – When the prospects start accepting your connection requests, the next step is to follow up with a direct message. And you should follow up on all the prospects that accepted your invitation.
- Response rate – With the follow-up messages sent, some will respond positively (and you should keep talking to them), some will respond negatively (and you should politely say goodbye to them), but there will be many that will simply ignore you. Most of the time, the ones that ignore your messages are the majority. You should send a 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th message to those that are non-responsive.
We have built a campaign report that you can get here. This is the report sheet we use for our own LinkedIn Lead Generation campaigns and those of our clients and are constantly working on its improvement. We decided to share this with you not to only help you define and measure your LinkedIn outbound KPIs, but so you can have a clear view of the direction you are heading.
This way you can keep on experimenting with your LinkedIn outreach, measure the outcomes, and work vigilantly on their improvement.
Creating and executing a LinkedIn Lead Generation campaign that will bring you clients that you can close, takes time. Results will become more visible with time. You should be able to see amazing results if you keep the campaigns going for 3 months since within that time you will have sent enough invitations, connects, as well as done follow-ups and created leads. The LinkedIn benefits can be divided into:
- Direct impact: The actual number of closed clients. The main campaign goal is to bring more closed clients.
- Warm leads: Even if you don’t manage to close them, they will have gained a deep understanding of your solution. Probably some of them might get back to you in the future.
- Prospects: People that expressed interest in your solution. You will have more prospects than warm leads. Although some will be disqualified, they will still be aware of your solution.
- Connections: This will be the most numerous group. They will be aware of your existence and with proper nurturing, they can be turned into clients in the upcoming 3-6 months.
- People that did not accept your connect request: There is a rule that after 3 months you can re-invite them. The logic behind this, is that after 3 months they might be at a more suitable business place and could be more perceptive to your solution.
As a side benefit, you can publish on LinkedIn and get exposure to your target without any additional advertising costs. But more importantly, you will be able to follow their problems, their comments, their reviews – in short everything that is happening in their business.
This gives you a non-intrusive opportunity to ask additional questions, and to offer thoughts and suggestions. At the end of the day – that is how trust and loyalty are built.
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I WISH YOU A SUCCESSFUL LINKEDIN LEAD GENERATION OUTREACH!
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 3-year-old and a burger enthusiast. He is inspired by growth and goes above and beyond to make it possible – whether it comes to his 300+ clients or his people. Eager to learn more? Follow Danco on LinkedIn and Facebook.