It happens pretty often. Until you become an entrepreneur and start growing your business, you view your LinkedIn profile as a platform for recruiters and search for information based on your professional interests. A very relaxed position, I must say.
But as soon as the question of finding potential customers on whom your well-being depends rises with an edge, your relaxation vanishes, and you’re ready to rush, like an athlete before the race, for leads on LinkedIn!
And you are right, of course. With 810+ million users from 200 countries, this highly reputable professional network offers powerful search capabilities for finding your target audience.
LinkedIn is a great lead gen space that is 277% more effective for finding prospects than Facebook and Twitter.
Take this opportunity to sell more and grow your business! But first, hold on for a moment. Take a deep breath and read our material to prepare yourself for hidden pitfalls. This read will take you only a few minutes but can give you valuable tips on making your LinkedIn sales outreach more effective and may save your LinkedIn account from getting restricted.
Now let’s walk through the main steps you need to take on the way to successful LinkedIn sales prospecting and outreach.
Dive into LinkedIn outreach with the right profile
In the beginning, look at your LinkedIn profile. Look again but from your future customers’ point. Your profile is now an advanced business card, and this is the first thing people you’ll send invitations to contact will see.
✓ Stop treating your profile like a resume listing your previous jobs, skills, and accomplishments. This information is mainly irrelevant to your potential buyers. What matters to them is whether you can provide expert advice and how your product or service can solve their problems.
Try to be precise and straightforward, and don’t forget to share proof of your expertise, just like in the example below:
✓ Identify the audience you’ll target and what you can offer them. Don’t try to cover all of LinkedIn at once. It’s better to select two or three segments of the audience that your product can be helpful to. Identify them by occupation and industry type and then answer a simple question: What can I do for them?
✓ At the same time, don’t forget to list all the benefits that the client will receive from cooperation with you. Also, add some reviews of the happy customers who’ve already bought from you.
Start contacting prospects for free
Now that your profile looks cool and customer-focused, it’s time to start social selling on LinkedIn, and you can do it right on the platform, which has a tremendous internal search engine.
Start by entering the profession of the person you want to find in the search box. Suppose you want to attract at least 500 customers for your new development — a rental property management mobile app. In a professional environment, you will be looking for “real estate agents” — your target audience.
See the person who fits your buyer’s profile? Hit that “Connect” button.
What should I write in the connection request?
Making LinkedIn connection requests for sales outreach should be as simple as if you were making a private request to connect. In a short personalized message (never forget to put the person’s name!), write who you are, what you do, and why you’re reaching out. This will be enough to get you started.
Personalization is key here, so make sure you don’t use generic, impersonal notes like this one below, even if it saves much of your time:
Instead, it would be great to share how you know of your lead, mention something significant they did, or include a reference to a common connection.
Of course, the best scenario is knowing the person you want to connect with, but let’s be realistic: how many prospects did you meet in person or even at online gatherings? Not so many.
This is how your invitation note may look in the ideal world:
Oh, and don’t forget about a call to action at the end of your message! Here’re just a few examples:
- Let’s keep in touch,
- Would be nice talking to you,
- I’d like to tell you more about how our connection can be mutually beneficial.
The first step is made. Connection requests are sent. Now, wait for your invitations to be accepted. Not all, but a large number of people will accept your invitation, and you can move on to building business relationships, carefully leading to your product or service. It’s that simple, and it’s completely free.
However, quite a long way to your LinkedIn outreach, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that no more than 100 invitations to connect per week are safe to send for free without putting your account at stake. Not to mention other restrictions, such as when LinkedIn asks for the email of the person you’re connecting with to make sure you know each other’s contacts.
This path is definitely not for effective sales. Here’s an alternative.
Try contacting your prospects via a LinkedIn premium account
The platform won’t wait to unobtrusively offer you a paid premium account that provides more data, advanced search capabilities, and easy access to the people you’re looking for.
There are separate accounts for salespeople, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and job seekers.
Premium account rates range from $30 to $150 per month, and that’s the price you pay for impressive search engine features, without which your sales prospecting and outreach will be sluggish and ineffective.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator (coming at $79.99 per month) is probably the best option for salespeople because it includes all the premium features and many new ones, as you can see below:
- Advanced search: use 20+ advanced search filters based on your sales preferences (e.g., industry, geolocation, company size, etc.).
- Job change notifications: get notified of people who’ve recently changed jobs.
- Lead recommendations: find customers based on your search history and interactions.
- LinkedIn groups: start interacting with your leads inside suitable target audience groups.
- Tagging prospects: add tags and notes for each prospect in your feed.
- Boolean search: find leads by combining keywords with operators such as AND, NOT, and OR.
But the most attractive of all those features is the access to LinkedIn InMail. With it, you can reach your potential customers who are not on your contact list yet. Catch them like a spider under glass, one by one, but keep in mind that there are some limitations.
Try InMail for high-touch outreach
As a LinkedIn Sales Nav component, InMail can be a helpful tool for sales when you start gradually growing your customer base. It allows you to directly message anyone on the platform even if you’re not connected.
Salespeople often pay for Sales Nav precisely for the reason of sending InMails to those outside of their direct network because of their high open rates. Some people have seen InMail open rates above 85% and clickthrough rates (CTR) over 5%!
It means that even if your recipient doesn’t answer, the chance is high they’ll at least open your InMail, and this is a huge benefit, but… your InMail outreach campaign may cost you a lot.
With simple calculations (Sales Navigator being $79.99 and offering 50 InMail credits per month), you’ll pay $1.6 for every InMail message if you buy a Sales Nav account. Well, quite costly, even with the newly introduced LinkedIn rules allowing you to get credits back for the messages answered within 90 days of the send date.
InMails appear to be much more expensive than cold emails you can send in bulk using email automation tools. And you’re limited in how many you can send each month. AND it’s soooo time-consuming!
This type of LinkedIn outreach might not be effective when implementing large-scale marketing campaigns. But it’s pretty good for high-touch outreach where you can hook business owners and decision-makers who are not likely to respond to your cold emails.
8 August 2022
How can I make LinkedIn outreach less time-consuming?
With LinkedIn outreach automation tools, you’ll be able to strike a massive mailing blow and quickly get as many leads as you need.
These tools are designed to automatically do a lot of repetitive work you would otherwise have to do manually on the platform: send out connection requests and follow-ups, personalize your messages, generate reports, and much more.
What a miracle! Can I have one right now?
Use LinkedIn outreach automation with caution
When you use LinkedIn automation software, you are teasing the dragon. LinkedIn hates these tools and goes to great lengths to fight them. And it’s clear why — because their use deprives the platform of considerable earnings.
But the humanitarian mission is also essential, meaning the professional network is trying to protect its users from spam, which is certainly commendable but doesn’t please salespeople at all.
If it’s discovered that you’re using automation, then you put your account at significant risk. You may receive a warning — a notice saying ‘We’ve restricted your account temporarily,’ and your account will be flagged for the reason that you’ve visited a large number of pages on the platform within a short period (a clear sign you’re probably using the forbidden LinkedIn automation tools).
For marketing and sales professionals, it’s like getting a blow below the belt.
Where will I find qualified leads now?
No worries! This isn’t a complete disaster yet, just a warning. Your account will be restored in a while. However, if you continue with the suspicious activity, LinkedIn won’t keep you waiting long and will ban your account forever.
That’s why there’s no need to rush. Try to create a human-like atmosphere first so that the ‘LinkedIn dragon’ doesn’t suspect anything.
‘I’m only human after all, don’t put your blame on me’ — repeat the lyrics from this famous song every morning like a mantra when trying to warm up your account before launching your LinkedIn campaign.
Your warming-up procedure will look something like this:
- Week 1 – 10 connection requests per day
- Week 2 – 15 connection requests per day
- Week 3-8 – 20 connection requests per day
- Once you have 1,000+ connections – 30 connection requests per day.
You can do it manually or set specific connection and profile visit limits in your LinkedIn automation tool settings:
If you do everything right, you’ll be well-armed to use LinkedIn automation tools safely. Or you may choose another option.
Use LinkedIn as a data source
Let’s come back to the business owner who wants to find 500 leads to start selling his mobile app for renting properties. He’s desperately pressed for time! He needs investment for his future promotional activities, and he knows that no investor will give him money without having at least a small customer base and decent traction.
Our entrepreneur can’t wait as long as LinkedIn requires. He needs to act as quickly as possible and send broadly targeted messages at scale. But he can’t afford to put his account at risk. He can’t play by LinkedIn’s rules!
But do winners always play by the rules? 😉
There’s a way out of this labyrinth. If LinkedIn is an unrivaled lead gen platform, why not use it as a data source rather than a contact method?
All you need to do is automate LinkedIn prospecting to scrape emails from LinkedIn users’ profiles that you’d like to message and then contact them using advanced email automation tools without involving the platform’s prepaid features (or using some of them like LinkedIn Sales Nav).
For example, Snov.io’s LI Prospect Finder is precisely this kind of data scraping tool. It can quickly put your lead generation and outreach campaigns on autopilot!
With the possibilities it offers, you won’t waste a single moment of your precious time.
Bypass LinkedIn to connect with your prospects
Once installed, the LI Prospect Finder extension allows you to get emails from relevant LinkedIn users. It works with the platform’s free and premium accounts on the following pages:
- Search page: search for a position, company, or content, find emails and add them to your list.
- Person’s profile page: find the person’s email and save it to your prospects list.
- Company’s profile page: type in the company’s name in the search field, go to its page and collect the available email addresses of its employees.
There are also powerful integration capabilities with other LinkedIn automation services.
NOTE: While searching for emails, be sure to set up a ‘search timeout’ feature to have your account on the safe side. We recommend setting timeout from 10 up to 25 seconds for a contact list longer than 10 pages.
When you finally get your prospects’ email addresses, you can reach out to them with personalized emails using Snov.io’s Email Drip Campaigns. This way, you’ll avoid the routine of connecting to your prospects directly on LinkedIn, which will save you time and money.
With LI Prospect Finder, the entrepreneur mentioned above would find and reach out to 500 leads within two weeks max, and this outreach campaign would cost him some $40 (check the price here).
Would you like to try it for free?
Let’s face it: effective sales are usually performed fast. Once you lose momentum on the outreach stage, your chances of a successful campaign drop considerably.
LinkedIn is a bottomless well of opportunities to find qualified leads, and no salesperson should ignore its riches even when its harsh limitations slow down the outreach efforts.
Take your passion into LinkedIn, navigate the platform’s challenges, and then bypass its restrictions using Snov.io’s tools for fast and effective cold outreach. And get tons of leads at the drop of a hat!