If you’re a working professional, regardless of what industry you’re in, you’ve likely heard of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where one can make professional business connections, post and apply for jobs, post blogs, participate in discussions, chat with connections and research people and companies. What more and more marketers are finding is that this powerful business networking platform can also yield sales qualified leads that can be coaxed through their company’s B2B sales funnel and get converted into paying customers through LinkedIn lead generation.
LinkedIn Lead Generation: How to Get Started
LinkedIn is a place where business professionals can get introduced to one another as well as network and build relationships with each other. This finding and networking with other business professionals can also translate into marketing qualified leads and meet sales qualifications that can be handed off to sales in companies that do B2B, or business to business marketing.
While there is no one formula to generate qualified leads on LinkedIn, there are some processes that yield more significant results. To take full advantage of all LinkedIn’s sales and advertising tools, a paid, premium LinkedIn account is required. Below are some things for you to try in building your sales funnel through LinkedIn leads:
- Start With the Right Mindset
There are many misconceptions about LinkedIn that have kept marketers and salespeople from fully taking advantage of all LinkedIn has to offer. LinkedIn has millions of users worldwide. These members represent a variety of job titles from nearly every industry one can think of. If you’re a B2B company, this translates into hundreds of thousands of potential leads.
A common mistake anxious marketers and sales professionals make is wanting to quickly send out as many invites to connect as possible and make sales pitches somewhere in each interaction with a potential lead. While people do like buying things, they don’t like to be sold. Messages to connect on LinkedIn solely for the purpose to get the recipient to buy a product or service is a sure way to get people to unfollow your brand and immediately disregard and trash your connection invite, email or direct message.
Pushing LinkedIn leads too quickly through the marketing funnel is a common mistake that comes from the misconception that one must convert a LinkedIn lead. LinkedIn is a connection tool, not a sales conversion tool. The purpose of LinkedIn is to network and make connections whereby marketers and sales people can get a contact’s email and phone number in order to follow up and solidify the relationship. Those who expect to close deals on LinkedIn will likely be disappointed with their results.
Sending out too many connection requests and LinkedIn InMail (email) will also get LinkedIn to flag your account on grounds of suspicious activity. Being general about your audience and failing to do some researching and filtering those you reach out to will also lead to poor results. People are more likely to engage and do business with a company that takes the time to address and interact with them on a personal level, knowing their specific problem and providing them with a concrete, specific solution to their current problem. General outreach takes away that personal touch and disregards the issue the individual is struggling with and looking to solve.
- Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is surprising how many marketers and salespeople don’t properly optimize their LinkedIn profile. Completing one’s profile is just the first step. As mentioned earlier, you need a specific niche and value proposition as well as narrowing down your targeted audience to those that would best benefit in your product or service or who would find it most interesting.
The tagline of your LinkedIn profile is the most important element. This little one-liner is what appears under your name on your profile and wherever else on LinkedIn you post or connect with others. Many LinkedIn users use this area to state their job position or job description and the place they work at. While there is nothing wrong with this, it doesn’t entice or capture any attention. To hook people in, state a brief, catchy tagline that says who you help, how you help them and the means by which they can be helped. This again goes back to your specific niche market. Have a specific solution to a specific problem, helping a specific audience.
Besides having a specific, attention-getting tagline, be sure to intersperse targeted SEO keywords in the tagline as well as throughout your profile and make sure that your profile isn’t overwhelmingly about yourself. Avoid writing the generic resume-like profile. People don’t care or are interested in your business accomplishments. They want to know how you can help solve their problems. Be sure to focus your profile on the needs of the customer while also showing them you have authority and can be trusted with their business.
- Do Wise Outreach
Once you know your unique, specific value proposition and have optimized your LinkedIn profile, now it’s time to research and conduct outreach.
LinkedIn has multiple built-in sales and marketing tools available to paid premium members. Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Pulse, InMail, sponsored and direct sponsored content and Campaign Manager can all be used in addition to various LinkedIn communications.
When using LinkedIn for leads outreach, aim to send out a maximum of 100 connection requests per day. After they are connections, gradually send them drip campaign messages. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool to help you find and narrow in specific LinkedIn members that would be qualified leads. The Sales Navigator also offers analytics for you to construct, monitor and edit campaigns. When you send out requests, the key is to not be salesy, but to facilitate conversation and get the lead to schedule a meeting or phone call with you or another sales representative.
Some tips for LinkedIn outreach include:
- Include your profile tagline as part of your email signature
- Say “thank you” when someone accepts your connection request
- Send your connections a useful article that positions the product or service and gives value to the lead
- Encourage your connections on other social networks to connect to your LinkedIn page
- Find opportunities through other people’s social networks
- Join and actively participate in industry groups
- Post diverse, fresh content that raise relevant and thoughtful questions
- Utilize LinkedIn Pulse to build authority, and spread knowledge of your brand and products
- Update your content regularly and publish new content at peak times
- Utilize regular and direct sponsored advertising content
- Connect with those outside of your LinkedIn network using InMail
- When crafting InMail messages, use hyperlinks sparingly, keep the message about the lead, keep it short and keep it personable
- Use LinkedIn Campaign Manager to monitor sales and marketing campaigns
- Use both LinkedIn’s pay-per-click (PPC) and cost per impression (CPM) text ads as well as their targeting options
- Ask questions
How You Can Benefit
Why go about doing all this hard work in networking at trying to get contact information from people who may or may not become customers or clients? The answer is qualified leads.
If your company does business to business sales, it can be difficult to pin-point, let alone contact and meet up with the appropriate decision maker of a company. You may have targeted companies that you know would be interested in and who could benefit from your product or services. You also know that companies are comprised of many employees. While doing much research and sending blind emails and making cold phone calls may have been the old way of to hopefully finding the right decision maker in a company, LinkedIn makes it a lot easier to do this task. With LinkedIn, one can easily identify people within a company by searching either for the company or for LinkedIn members with a certain job title (if your target audience isn’t company specific). Not only is the people search quick, but you can contact the right person without any guessing or relying on someone else in the company to get a hold of the person you hope to speak to.
The ability to quickly find and connect with the appropriate people increases the number of your qualified sales and marketing leads and increases the chance of moving them more quickly through your sales funnel. In addition to getting into contact with better quality leads, your company can come across as being more professional, authoritative and trustworthy when you also have a strong and active LinkedIn presence and you communicate with prospects through LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can also reveal companies and individuals in search results that you may not have previously considered.
LinkedIn is a powerful lead generation tool that can help B2B companies find, communicate with and nurture relationships with qualified leads. Having a specific market niche and customer base, an optimized LinkedIn profile and actively engaging with and encouraging people to visit your LinkedIn profile can help you harness the lead generation power of LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn for lead generation comes with multiple benefits including a more professional company image, a more efficient and affordable way to find leads and, most importantly, quality leads.
Regardless of whether your qualified leads have come from LinkedIn or not, they may still drop through the cracks and become a cold, or dead lead. Instead of abandoning these leads, why not try and let us at Aktify help you resurrect them? Our clients have enjoyed additional profits, that would have otherwise been lost, by following up and bringing back dead leads. Contact us today to learn how we can make your dead leads profitable.