How to get a 51% acceptance rate and a 14.5% response rate on LinkedIn
I must warn you right now: we don’t have magic powers. The method shown here is so easy that you won’t have any excuse to not set it up right away. Come on, go on your LinkedIn account 😉.
In this article, I’m going to explain to you how we obtained:
- A bit over a 50% connection acceptance rate.
- A 15.5% message response rate.
- 14.7% more unique qualified visits on our website.
- 60% more time spent on our site compared to our previous average score.
- 7 calls with potential ambassadors of our solution.
All that from a Campaign with only 483 prospects – which adds up to just one week of LinkedIn message automation 😁)
During that period of time we were regularly getting responses like:
- “I’ll see if I can take the time to check it out! I really like your initial contact approach.”
- Hello Toinon, very very good strategy for getting your message across! I personally work the direct approach and I think this one is really awesome”.
- “I would just like to say that your LinkedIn approach is great”.
- “Great message bro! It convinced me to try out your tool, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. It’s kind of a pretty version of LinkedHelper! “
Before we begin, I’d like to say straight off the bat that I’m not able to say exactly how many active and paid users we generated with this campaign. I’m sure some purists will be after neck, but unfortunatrly my tracking system wasn’t working during the Campaign. I’m aware this is not ideal… I promise I’ll do better next time 💪
1. Test and iterate
« Everything that can be measured can be improved »
Know that this successful campaign was a result of many tests we ran on multiple accounts for several months. Beyond promoting ProspectIn, we can no longer launch blind prospecting campaigns. We have to set up tools to measure performance.
Some ways to measure your prospecting performance: using a tracked link with bitly; setting up a dashboard that allows you to follow your cohorts; or using an automation tool which gives you your message or/and Campaign performance stats. Whatever method you use, the essential is that you measure your strategies!
Launching a Campaign without tracking and measuring your results, is akin to training for a marathon without ever timing yourself. How do you know if you’ve improved?
At ProspectIn, we track everything. Like really, everything. We’ve internally developed a follow-up tool that allows us to measure our cohorts. Every A/B test and every persona is tracked to confirm or invalidate our hypotheses.
What is a cohort? For us, it means measuring quite a few indicators, in a given period. Who comes back after one week? Two weeks? One month? Who pays? Who uninstalls our extension?
Here is an overview of our dashboard and the Key Performance Indicator that we follow for our campaigns. I can’t recommend a particular tool for this, as we use an internal tool. But I’m sure if you have a look around you’ll be able to find a very good SaaS that fits your needs.
So this Campaign is the result of many iterations and a lot of tracking. When we say a lot, we really mean it – here’s a screenshot of our Google Analytics if you’re curious:
We really track everything!
Our initial-contact approach is based on the following hypothesis: prospecting on LinkedIn is more and more common. Decision-makers’ profiles are often over-saturated. Even though finding qualified leads on LinkedIn still works relatively well (even with a standard approach), finding a way to stand-out will give you an edge.
I myself receive dozen of invites per day. Pretty much every single one has a business angle.
Before explaining the very simple approach we adopted, I quickly want to remind you that this will not work for every line of business, nor for every prospect.
The best way to find the best note for your business and for your prospects is:
- Write a dozen original initial-contact messages. If you are a team, do it separately.
- Brainstorm and iterate to make it even better.
- Select the best 5.
- Test and measure.
- Iterate on the most successful and start again.
After searching for specific personas using LinkedIn’s search feature, and receiving mostly low granular level results (even with the Sales Navigator option), I eventually made the decision to go fishing in another pond: LinkedIn groups.
People who join these LinkedIn groups are qualified targets:
- They are searching for information, content or to discuss the group’s subject
- It’s safe to assume that they’re at least a little bit active on LinkedIn
My subject being BtoB leads generation on LinkedIn, I chose people belonging to the French group “Prospection commerciale BtoB : les bonnes pratiques” (“BtoB commercial prospecting: Best practices”) via Sales Navigator. Seems like a good idea as we’re in the smart automated tools business.
NB: If your client acquisition strategy relies largely on LinkedIn, we highly recommend getting a Sales Navigator plan. Coupled with an automated LinkedIn prospecting tool, Sales Navigator is very powerful. Of course it is an investment, but it allows you to apply a greater level of specificity when searching for prospects, which is very beneficial.
4. The open-question approach
Prospects who are already clued on to the world of prospecting, will be able to identify this strategy almost immediately. But, this is often what gets Sales Specialists to click on your link: offering them a different method/strategy/tool, than the one that they’re currently using. That will grab their curiosity real quick.
We put this into practice by asking prospects for a tip or advice based on their experience launching a BtoB SaaS. Of course, the SaaS we asked for their advice on was our own tool. The aim of this approach is to get your prospects to go directly to your website.
Here’s an example:
We can observe:
1) A customized message where the prospect is addressed by name
2) Further customization by mentioning their membership to a group. This reminds them that they’re interested in the subject and they are an expert in the subject matter
3) A customized landing page where there’s a conversation specially centre ’round BtoB sales
4) A traceable link to measure the Campaign’s performance
5) A wonderful image (which isn’t even directly from the tool ), but gets the prospect dreaming of higher conversion rates and a better performance
6) A persuasive slogan: here we went for “Smart automation”. For a part of the Campaign I also used the slogan “Improve your conversion rates on LinkedIn”, but I don’t have data to tell you if that had any impact.
5. A mild and non-intrusive follow-up
Continuing on from the first message, I send a follow-up message to strengthen my intention to find tips to boost my client acquisition. The follow-up is sent between 3 to 5 days after the connection.
This example is a bit long for a follow-up, but the aim here was to create a “reminder”. This type of message is aimed at prospects who accepted me and thought “I’ll respond later”, but simply forgot to. With this follow-up message I obtained a 10% response rate, which is a pretty good.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to automate your follow-ups!
Thanks for accepting me into your network! Did you see the link I sent you?
Any thoughts on it?
If you have some personal tips or advice on how to improve client acquisition in B2B, I’m all ears!
Looking forward to hearing back from you”.
6. Strike up a conversation and be responsive
Once your prospect responds, strike up a conversation before attempting to sell anything. In this Campaign, some people wrote me detailed answers about our tool or our landing page – without us ever trying to sell them our tool. Our website is clear enough: if they didn’t find value in our product, never-mind. Some people will argue that I should insist more. Personally I’d rather adopt a qualitative approach!
Of course, we also had some people who never responded to our messages, but went on to directly download ProspectIn. Obviously, if you have a website that doesn’t convert well or you sell a more complex service, this won’t work and you’ll need to find your OWN original way of approaching prospects.. If you are looking for some ideas on messages and follow-ups that will spark curiosity, here’s an articule to get those creative juices flowing.
If you have other tasks in the day (God knows I do), I advise you to do 2 to 3 sessions of 30 minutes per day where you manage your messages. You can schedule your messages, and it really doesn’t take up much time. The rest of the time, hide your LinkedIn tab and mute all your notifications.
Take this case study as a humble example. A test which worked for us. A result of various iterations. My advice is for you to use the guidelines provided to create your own success.
One last tip: automate your LinkedIn! Believe me when I say that it will save you a lot of time and get you way better results.
This article is our first specific case study. I would be more than happy to receive your feedback on it – from the content, to the layout. 😁 If you liked it, please share it! If you want other examples, you can privately contact me on LinkedIn. I would be more than happy to discuss it with you!