LinkedIn has 23 million users just in France, with 1 new user registered every 7 seconds. Originally a social network, the platform has become an unavoidable and essential pillar of B2B prospecting.

LinkedIn is one of LaGrowthMachine’s privileged acquisition channels to help you develop your lead gen strategy. Today, almost 100% of our clients use LinkedIn to approach their clients with an average response rate that is often higher than email.

Why should you do business prospecting on LinkedIn? How can you conduct an effective strategy? What are the ideal tools for prospecting?

Discover all our tips and tricks to succeed in your sales prospecting on LinkedIn in 2022.

LinkedIn Prospecting: How to make the most of it

LinkedIn is the world leader in professional social networking. It’s the perfect place to approach your prospects informally, share your ideas, skills, and expertise, and attract the attention of decision-makers. Before trying to approach your prospects, though, it is essential to build a credible profile.

You wouldn’t trust a stranger who comes up to you in the street to sell you a product without having a minimum of information about him.

It’s the same thing on LinkedIn!

Before you start, here’s what you need to do to optimize your profile:

  • Choose a suitable profile picture. You are not on Facebook. No one is interested in your last night out with your friends, nor your little cat. Choose a professional portrait, without overdoing it.
  • Don’t neglect the importance of the cover photo. Your cover photo is an important ally in getting your message across. More than a visual, it can be used to express your ideas, highlight a commercial offer, or advertise an upcoming event.
  • Have a clear title. The more precisely you define your role in the company, the easier it will be for you to appear in the search results. This is also the time to define your added value for your prospects. (Ex: “I multiply your ROAS by 4 on social networks”, “I write to help you transform.”)
  • Fill out the “info” part. This is the time to describe — with precision — everything you can bring to your future customers. Let them know a little more about you, who you are, and what you do.
  • Update your skills. Ideally, you’ll allow users who visit your profile to see what you can do at a glance. There are many skills to choose from that are divided by field of activity.
  • Ask for recommendations. There is no shame in asking your former clients/employers to appreciate your work. This is your best showcase to demonstrate your effectiveness, teamwork, and results.

The easiest way to do this is to refer to the most popular profiles of the moment. They are often excellent sources of inspiration to improve your visibility, as is the case here:

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As you can see, optimizing your LinkedIn profile is the essential foundation for any prospecting action on the tool. Then, it’s up to you to publish engaging and inspiring content based on your personal or professional experience.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

What is prospecting on LinkedIn?

Prospecting on LinkedIn means using all available resources on the platform to develop business contacts, generate more leads, and boost sales.

Who should prospect on LinkedIn?

Salespeople and professionals from other growth functions, of course, but not only. The platform has also become the essential marketplace for all recruitment activities. It offers specific and advanced functionalities to support these activities as well.

Keep this in mind: When you connect with other users on LinkedIn, it’s like shaking hands with them during a trade show. The difference is that your LinkedIn profile acts as your business card (hence the importance of having it well-optimized beforehand!).

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Why prospect on LinkedIn?

To date, LinkedIn is the professional social network of note. It’s simple, it has no valid competitor. The stats are eye-opening:

As you can see, it is the ideal hunting ground to practice social selling.

If the number of subscribers on the platform can frighten neophytes, you will be reassured to know there are many tools to help you to refine your strategy and generate qualified leads.

What are the most effective LinkedIn prospecting tools?

Once you’ve defined your personas (who you’ll target), it’s time to figure out which tools are best for you.

Each tool or feature, internal or external to the platform, has its own specificities and will be perceived as (more or less) intrusive by your prospect.

That’s when you have to choose your side between outreach, inbound marketing, or skillfully combine the two. Here are the options available to you within the platform:

  • Search filters. This is the basic tool you need to find your targets and/or start your sales prospecting. You can search by name (of companies or individuals), industry, profession, common relationships, educational background, groups, or events that might interest you.
  • Publications. Each publication allows you to reach a small portion of LinkedIn users. By regularly posting content with high added value mixed with more general posts, you will gradually succeed in capturing the attention of your target audience (and improving your reach!). You can vary the formats between written publications, photos, videos, polls, internal newsletters, lives, or even by creating dedicated events (like online webinars).
  • Groups. These are excellent ways to create prospect listings. Gathered by interests, you will be able to interact directly with profiles positioned on the themes that interest you. You are free to become an integral part of the group by positioning yourself as an expert on the subject or by contacting group members via private messages.
  • Private messages. You can send them as soon as a LinkedIn member has accepted your connection request. This is the easiest way to contact a prospect directly or to keep a customer.
  • InMail. This is the most aggressive outreach commercial solution. It is reserved for subscribers who have opted for a paid Premium account. Without it, you can only send direct messages to people who are part of your connections. With InMail, you can send a limited number of messages per day to people outside your network.
  • Sales Navigator. Sales Nav’, if you’re ‘in the know’, is a paid platform developed by LinkedIn and connected to the social network. It’s a more powerful tool that allows you to refine your search criteria and is mainly intended for salespeople. By subscribing, you will have access to all the profiles that interest you and are easily identifiable using advanced searches. Whether it be on the hierarchical level, the company, or the person’s interests. After creating your lists, you can then contact the members directly.
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Interface Sales Navigator

How to prospect on LinkedIn

Now that we have reviewed the basics and the different tools that allow you to optimize your B2B prospecting, let’s get down to business.

Here are the essential steps to contact your potential customers on LinkedIn.

Preparation phase

The art of your prospecting strategy lies in the relevance of the message you want to convey to potential customers.

To refine your approach, it is necessary to lay the groundwork before taking action. You need to be able to attract your prospects before you convert them into customers.

But to attract your prospects, you need to know them. The preparation phase will allow you to define your personas, by determining:

  • The business sector you want to prospect
  • The size of the company
  • The hierarchical level you wish to approach
  • Your entry points in the company (common relationships, executive assistants, common experiences)

Now that you know who to address, you need to define how to approach them.

Define objectives

You need to know why you are on this network, and what you want to get out of it.

Define:

  • Your business goal. What is the reason you created a profile? It could be for gaining notoriety, establishing your reputation as an expert on a specific topic, finding new prospects, building customer loyalty, or converting leads into prospects. Whichever it is, know your end goal.
  • Your quantified objectives. Without this, it is impossible to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Set a number of invitations to be sent per day, leads triggered, posts to be published, messages to be sent to members of specific groups. It’s often easiest to determine this by working backward from your revenue goal.
  • Your pace. How often will you approach your customers? What will be your level of aggressiveness? What will be the most suitable publication rhythm for your needs? Don’t burn yourself or your readers out.

Structure your process

Each prospect has its own scenario! You will not approach large companies in the same way as startups.

For example, it is much easier to get in touch with a startup CEO than to access the mailbox of a Fortune 500 CFO. In this case, it is better to contact the marketing department, the executive assistant, or the press department perhaps.

To be effective, it is important to target the needs of your potential customers.

This will allow you to build each scenario based on the solution you can provide to your leads’ pain points. You will only be able to do so if you have a clear structure.

Here are the steps for a process we recommend at LaGrowthMachine:

  • Create and segment your contact lists using refined search criteria.
  • Visit the profiles (aka “enrich the profiles”) of a reduced segment of your contact list.
  • Send an automatic or manual connection request to the profiles visited the day before (be careful to respect the caps imposed by LinkedIn, i.e. about 15 contacts per day).
  • Personalize your message and send it, manually or automatically, to the contacts who accepted your connection request. Make sure you target their needs and offer them resources that will arouse their interest from the first contact.
  • Follow up with contacts who have not responded by submitting even more personalized content, tools to download, or even suggesting a telephone or video meeting (via Calendly, for example).
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Example of a Multichannel Strategy by LGM

In the meantime, repeat the operation as many times as necessary to maximize your reach and contact all the people on your list. The response rate will depend largely on the type of content you send.

To boost your results, check out our guide dedicated to creating the best LinkedIn message possible.

Alternate between manual action and automated prospecting

Like any social network, LinkedIn has specific terms of use and strict regulations. By violating them, you can expose yourself to an outright ban. This is the most direct way to compromise your entire prospecting strategy.

To avoid this painful occurrence, it is better to call on growth marketing professionals like LaGrowthMachine. Our solution will allow you to organize your contact lists by hand before contacting them on autopilot. Rest assured, all its behaviors mimic perfectly those of human users.

You can save up to 40% of the time you spend on your daily prospecting routine while boosting your response rate. The time saved can be spent on setting up a more thorough qualification process of your prospects or on writing more relevant approach messages.

This is not the only advantage of using task automation. By creating scenarios, you can easily see their effectiveness and analyze the results. Then you can iterate on the recipes that work.

Go further in your prospecting with multi-channel

The more you multiply the points of entry with your contacts, the more likely you are to retain them and then convert them.

Be careful, though, we are not suggesting you drown your prospect in an ocean of information. Rather to provide them with enough relevant content and support to become indispensable to them.

Once the contact is engaged on LinkedIn, you are free to continue enriching the data via:

  • an emailing strategy (a newsletter, for example)
  • a phone call (to qualify them or offer your solution)
  • other social networks (by redirecting them to your Instagram or Twitter account)
  • blog content
  • white papers to download
  • advertising campaigns (SEA or SMA)

There you have it, you now have all the keys in hand to start marketing to your prospects on LinkedIn. By coupling this approach with other lead generation techniques, you should be able to quickly boost your sales.