As a B2B sales professional, you’re missing out if you’re not leveraging the power of social selling to enhance and accelerate your LinkedIn prospecting activity. By using social media tools, such as LinkedIn Free, Premium or LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can make prospecting even easier and more personalized.
That’s why now is the time to explore how to take full advantage of the social selling power of LinkedIn. In this article, we’ll share proven LinkedIn prospecting tips and sales prospecting tools to use to grow your sales pipeline and to schedule more meetings.
Modern B2B buyers are now harder to reach through traditional channels than ever before. So, the best approach for modern sellers, like you, to get in front of potential new customers is by using the same social channels your prospects are already using and interacting on every day, in addition to legacy channels (email, phone, etc.).
Why Is LinkedIn Prospecting Important?
For the B2B seller, there’s no other platform that gives you access to hundreds of millions of key decision makers, all in one place. Plus, when you use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’re able to pinpoint the exact buyer personas you’re looking to sell to and immediately start to nurture relationships.
In today’s day and age, if you don’t have an online presence, then you don’t exist – or you’re not reputable. When you find prospects on LinkedIn, not only will you be able to learn more about them – their accomplishments, their interests, what commonalities you share – but, they’ll also get to learn about you as well when they view your LinkedIn profile.
In other words, LinkedIn is a highly effective platform to not just do prospecting research but to be able to start engaging with key decision makers who likely have a problem that your B2B solution can solve.
How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Prospecting Strategy
When it comes to applying social selling techniques, especially on LinkedIn, you can often get stuck trying to figure out the ‘right’ way to use LinkedIn for prospecting. There are a few important considerations to keep in mind so that you can maximize your efforts, engage with more qualified prospects, and properly leverage LinkedIn connection requests.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Prospecting
The first place people will land when you reach out to them is your LinkedIn profile. After all, think about the last time you received a cold LinkedIn outreach message from someone you did not know personally or professionally. You would likely click on their LinkedIn profile and do your own due diligence.
You would look at their most recent employment listed, perhaps read their LinkedIn Summary, and try to determine:
- if you will respond to them and
- why they may be reaching out to you.
This is why having a highly professional LinkedIn profile is so important. It is, in essence, the first impression you make on a potential prospect.
The best way to optimize your LinkedIn account is to think about your target audience. What problems are they trying to solve? What solution may they be looking for? What keywords or “buzzwords” might capture their immediate attention, if they were looking at your LinkedIn profile.
Start there and see how you can infuse in specific language about who you are, what you do, and what business problem you help B2B companies solve.
If you’re targeting accounts on LinkedIn (or plan to) make sure to spend time this week updating using our LinkedIn profile guide. That way you’ll be able to easily attract the right prospects and get them closer to booking a sales call. You can also learn more about how to turn your LinkedIn profile into a highly-effective prospecting tool by diving into our full LinkedIn Training Program!
LinkedIn Connection Request Etiquette to Get Better Prospecting Results
LinkedIn has begun to crack down on “spammy” sales messages. It’s important to keep in mind that when you’re prospecting, the person on the other end of the message does not know you and they may not be aware that they have a problem you can solve.
Before you ever send a connection request or any form of cold outreach on LinkedIn, do your research and look to see if you have a mutual or shared connection with them. If you do, you may leverage that person’s name in your initial outreach message. If you do not have a shared connection, spend some time on their LinkedIn profile to see what other points of commonality you may share and incorporate these similarities into a highly personalized message.
Sales research shows 72% of people will respond to a personalized message sent to them rather than an auto-generated, generic message. So, if you’re looking to increase the chances of getting your LinkedIn inbox messages or LinkedIn Inmail from just a “sent message” and converted into a potential lead – then take the time to add at least one piece of personalized content to your outreach.
Next, we’ll explore LinkedIn tips that can help you reach more people on your prospect list. Plus, you’ll learn how to use the best LinkedIn prospecting strategies to turn LinkedIn into a lucrative sales opportunity source!
Use the LinkedIn Search Feature to Find Prospects
Here are two ways you can find potential customers using LinkedIn for prospecting, specifically, the search feature on the free version of LinkedIn. Not leveraging these two filters is like eating ice cream without it being frozen!
Boolean Search Strings in LinkedIn Prospecting Search
Boolean search strings utilize the modifiers OR, AND, NOT, quotation marks and parentheses to obtain specific search criteria to match what sellers are looking for.
Read more about LinkedIn Boolean Search from the top LinkedIn Expert, Viveka von Rosen, where she will walk you through step-by-step how to use it!
Advanced Filters in LinkedIn Search
To access this feature, just click on the search box and hit enter. Then click ‘All Filters’ on the top right corner.
There you can look for your ideal prospect, filtering your search results by:
- Connection Level 1st, 2nd or 3rd
- Connections Of
- Current Company
- Past Companies
- Profile Languages
- Service Categories
- Keywords including First Name, Last Name, Title, Company and School
Once you establish a target account and their attributes, you can use these two options to improve the results of your sales prospecting on the top social media platform for B2B sales. Plus, this becomes a great prospecting strategy that can create an incredible lead generation engine for you and your sales team.
What is LinkedIn Prospecting Without Valuable Content to Attract Prospects
If you, as the sales rep, is getting lots of profile views, that’s great! But, the real magic of LinkedIn sales prospecting happens when the conversation begins in the inbox.
That’s why transforming your LinkedIn profile into an inbound channel for people to engage with is a lot easier when you have relevant content to share. If you’re not sharing anything or only posting once a month, you’re not giving your network the opportunity to learn from you or to interact with your content. The goal here is to stay top of mind as much as possible for those prospects that you may be connecting with.
Don’t forget! As a sales professional, you must share relevant content with your own meaningful insights and always use LinkedIn hashtags! Adding a question to the end of posts is an effective tactic to inspire more responses.
We recommend posting up to four times a day on LinkedIn and using a 50/50 formula for content. That is, 50% company/corporate content and 50% 3rd party content. Keep focused on all content you share that your target audience must find useful. You should never post just for the sake of posting.
Sharing content allows people the chance to learn about your expertise. Including photos or videos can also help to communicate value in your content. If keeping up with posting content becomes too time intensive, using a LinkedIn automation tool could help to streamline things.
Watch the video below to learn from Viveka von Rosen the multiple benefits of sharing content on LinkedIn ® , such as the opportunity to turn a mutual connection into a conversation.
Ask for Referrals and Introductions When Prospecting on LinkedIn
Sales referrals are a great way for you to find buyers willing to meet with you. Your current connections on LinkedIn (aka mutual or shared connections), can introduce you to prospective buyers who may be second or third-degree connections.
In the following video, Viveka explains a two-step digital referral process that includes looking at the mutual connections between you and the target potential client and then asking at least three mutual connections to make the introduction.
The social selling tips above are easy to implement and you only need a LinkedIn basic account. If you or your sales team has a Sales Navigator license, however, there are more great features you can use in your prospecting strategy. Check out our guide on prospecting with LinkedIn Premium for more tips.
Best LinkedIn Prospecting Messages
So many sellers ask us for the LinkedIn prospecting messages they can use to engage with buyers. The key to sales prospecting messages on LinkedIn is to try to not go in cold. Always find a way to warm up your contact without cold messaging them.
There are, of course, some best practices when messaging whether it’s a first degree connection or a cold inmail.
How to Reach Out to Them
The following template is the best we’ve seen so far, in terms of results and engagement.
If you want to know how to get a response on LinkedIn, try this format. It follows the model outlined in our PVC sales methodology, which stands for Personalization, Value, and Call to action.
Hi PROSPECTFIRSTNAME! The majority of INSERT YOUR BUYER’S FUNCTION (i.e. Sales) leaders we speak to have X common problems they are trying to solve:
- INSERT PROBLEM 1
- INSERT PROBLEM 2
Attached are two items which have helped your peers address these problems.
The first is a BLOG/WHITEPAPER/INFOGRAPHIC/EBOOK article that answers the question: INSERTQUESTION
The second is a X min VIDEO/WEBINAR which addresses INSERT BUSINESS BUYER’S CHALLENGE.
May I suggest a 30-minute meeting where I can then share additional insights on how other companies are solving these problems?
I am available on –
- MM/DD @ H am
- MM/DD @ H pm
- MM/DD @ H pm
Alternatively, to avoid email scheduling volleyball, feel free to click here INSERTCALENDARLINK and find a time that matches your calendar.
Please let me know which option works best for you. I look forward to speaking to you.
Use LinkedIn Voice Messages When Prospecting
Many times sellers stick to only a few channels to reach out to prospects. However, research shows that when you diversify your communication touchpoints with prospects from just email and phone, to include other avenues, like social media – then you can achieve exponentially higher engagement rates. And, what better way to do this than to use one of LinkedIn’s most underutilized secret weapons: LinkedIn Voice Mail! It really is one of the best LinkedIn tools out there that gets amazing results.
LinkedIn voice messages are short, 60-second voicemails you can send through the messaging section of LinkedIn. Although you can only send them to people you are directly connected with (aka first-degree connections), they’re a great way to immediately stand out.
Plus, your prospect may be more likely to listen to a voice message than read a long email or direct message. Not to mention having the ability to send a voice message enables you to let your personality shine and can build that instant (and personal) connection with your prospect that just words on a screen can’t always achieve.
When it comes to LinkedIn voice messages, keep in mind that you only have 60 seconds and you don’t want to sound rushed. As tempting as it can be, don’t feel compelled to jam as much as you can in the 60 seconds. Be strategic about what you’re saying and sharing, so the message does not come across as an unorganized ramble.
What to Say in Your LinkedIn Voice Message
Not sure what to say in a LinkedIn voice message? We get you started with a voice message script that you can use.
“Hey [NAME OF PROSPECT], I read that [PROSPECT’S PERSONALIZED NEED]. We’ve seen other organizations struggle at [PAIN POINTS CUSTOMER MAY BE EXPERIENCING].
“We have a [TYPE OF RESOURCE YOU’RE SENDING TO PROVIDE VALUE].
“I’m sending you the link to the [TYPE OF RESOURCE YOU’RE SENDING] in this message thread. I’m looking forward to [CTA]. Have a great day!”.
Improve Your LinkedIn Outreach and Prospecting Strategy from the Pros
From multiple decision-makers, limited access to the buying committee as well as increased competition, there are plenty of sales prospecting challenges sales reps and sales leaders face.
In this webinar, Ray Makela, CEO of the Sales Readiness Group, and Mario Martinez Jr., CEO of Vengreso, discuss three proven prospecting strategies for you to use to increase the rate of contact to engagement, resulting in more sales pipeline within key accounts.
Click on the video below to listen to the free recording of the webinar and get more LinkedIn prospecting tips! And, be sure to read our article with the best LinkedIn message templates for sellers.
Top Tools for LinkedIn Prospecting
There are well over 700 tools in the sales tech stack in the market today and many specialize in the function of engaging prospects. But very few focus on sales prospecting while on the LinkedIn platform. Here are three of the top tools for LinkedIn prospecting that we recommend you use.
LinkedIn Sales Messaging and Speed Writing Tool
FlyMSG is the first text expander tool that was built for the modern seller that not only will save you 1-hour a day but increase your sales engagement. The tool was developed by us, here at Vengreso, and it allows you – the sales pro – to quickly pull up your favorite sales messages, emails, and scripts using a few simple keystrokes.
With these FlyCuts (aka shortcuts) you won’t have to look through old emails, Google Docs, Evernote, Notepad or your sticky notes to find your favorite content or sales message.
The tool is a SaaS-based application leveraging a Chrome Extension and it will instantly increase your sales productivity and uniformity across your sales messaging. You can include links, sales videos, or images and embed them into your messages.
LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are two separate tools. The latter features a more powerful set of search capabilities and personalized algorithms to help your sellers reach the right decision-maker. Learn more about the difference between the free version of LinkedIn and LinkedIn Premium, including Sales Navigator.
Use AI for to Build Rapport with Your Prospect
Crystal Knows – This is an AI sales tool that allows your sellers to get an inside scoop on any prospect before they reach out. This somewhat eerie tool reads all the information on the prospect that is available on the web and summarizes anything – from the latest news to the kind of tone used that a prospect prefers to be reached out with. For example, should the seller greet “Hey Mario” or “Dear Mario;” should they use a “best friend voice” or sound more casual. Crystal Knows allows sellers to decipher how to reach out before they actually do, making it even easier to connect with a potential prospect while reducing the prospecting effort in the process. Think of it like having your own crystal ball before you contact a prospect.