LinkedIn prospecting is a massively used practice, more and more people are using LinkedIn to sell their product or service. However, most of them lack the knowledge to take advantage of the social network, and use approaches that don’t work.
Prospecting is an integral part of your marketing strategy, so you need to surround yourself with the right prospecting tools.
In this article, we’ll look at which prospecting approaches to use to get in touch with your prospects, and then how to generate an exponential number of leads via LinkedIn. 🔥
How to do LinkedIn prospecting?
For many, LinkedIn rhymes with recruitment. Do you think it doesn’t rhyme? Neither do we!
On a more serious note, LinkedIn is a professional social network with over 600 million members at the time of writing.
600 million people who fill in an impressive amount of information about themselves. Number of years’ experience, location, preferred industry, studies completed, sector of activity… And, the list goes on. Data 📈 just waiting to be exploited.
This data is indeed used by recruiters to do their shopping, but not only that.
We’re going to see how LinkedIn can be used for a much wider field than recruitment, but is also very useful for a salesperson, for example.
And, to all those who tell me that LinkedIn is only for recruiting and that using it to do business is a roundabout way of using it, let me put it this way (it’s not me saying it, but LinkedIn themselves).
Find new customers, build brand awareness, distribute content, “nurture” your customer base, or work on personal branding. All these objectives are concrete uses of LinkedIn.
It’s a relatively new use of LinkedIn, but one that’s currently gaining momentum in the world of sales, and we’ll see why.
Traditionally, when you want to prospect for new customers, or provide quality content to your user base, you use a well-known prospecting channel: e-mail.
The e-mail channel has the advantage of being extremely cheap and scalable. In other words, it takes no more time to reach 10,000 people than it does to reach 1,000.
Sales e-mail VS LinkedIn prospecting
- Firstly, you need emails. Yes, it may sound silly, but it’s a significant obstacle. If you want to distribute high added value content to your user base, this isn’t too much of a problem, as you usually already have their e-mail address. However, when it comes to prospecting new people, you don’t have their e-mail address.
- Secondly, the massive use of emailing by all players over the last 20 years has made them less effective. When you receive a newsletter or the 12ᵉ prospecting message featuring the best vacuum cleaner of the moment, you end up not really paying attention anymore.
The figures speak for themselves: according to Brevo, more than 3 quarters of e-mails are never read. Click-through rates are even worse, with just over 1% of links in e-mails being clicked.
It’s on these two points that LinkedIn is particularly interesting and makes a real difference, with an exceptional ROI (Return On Investment):
- Commercial prospecting on LinkedIn addresses the problem of e-mailing very well. Unlike private emailing, on LinkedIn we use users’ profiles to contact them. These profiles are public (they’re available for all to see via a simple inquiry on LinkedIn’s internal search engine, and often even via Google directly). When you go prospecting on LinkedIn, you’ll therefore get in touch with people via 2 main channels. 🎯
- Making contact on LinkedIn also results in much higher % read and click-through rates than with e-mails, for one simple reason: when you address a prospect on LinkedIn, you’re addressing him or her personally, whereas a prospecting e-mail always gives the impression of being generic and having been sent to several thousand people.
In general, % reads are close to 100%, while you can expect % clicks of around 10% (and occasionally much more)…. Now that’s a performance!🔥
Now that we’ve laid the foundations of the network, let’s move on to the essential groundwork before any steps are taken to implement a prospecting strategy on the network worthy of the name.
How do I find prospects on LinkedIn?
To find prospects on LinkedIn, here are a few tips. ⏬
#1 Who to prospect on LinkedIn? Find your personas
What’s a persona? The “persona” is a marketing term used to define your target. Your ideal user or customer. It’s the first step in preparing your marketing campaign, and one of the most important.
The rest of the process depends on it. If you get your persona wrong, the rest is history.
So it’s worth taking 5 minutes to define your marketing persona. You need to ask yourself a number of questions that will help you get a clearer picture of the individual you want to target.
- What gender?
- What age?
- What profession?
- What are their hobbies? Habits? Her favorite brand of cereal? (Okay, we don’t want to go too far here, but you get the idea).
It’s really important that your persona is very precise: you can’t be vague and target everyone, but conquer specific customers!
- Example of a bad persona: Pascal, male, over 18, employed.
- Example of a good persona: Pascal, male, between 18 and 30 years old, likes beer and follows professional soccer (Ligue 1). Doesn’t like cooking. Takes lessons every Sunday.
This is a basic rule of prospecting. You can’t target everyone. You should always start by targeting a niche and then expand that niche as you grow.
The clearer and more precise your persona, the more accurately you can target your prospects. The more precisely you can define your sales target, the more you can personalize your approaches. The more you personalize your approach, the more your conversions increase.
#2 Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Just as you need to be clear about whom you want to target, you also need to be clear about who you are and what you can bring to the table.
To take the example of e-mails again, when you decide to run cold prospecting campaigns via e-mail, you generally insert a link to your website in the e-mail.
The aim of the e-mail is to get your prospect to click on the link. Once your prospect is on your website, it’s the website’s turn to convert.
So you’re going to optimize it so that your prospect finds all the information he needs. You’re going to take great care to ensure that your visitor finds this information as quickly as possible, and to highlight aspects that they hadn’t necessarily even thought of!
You’ll try to play on emotions to get your prospect to take action.
Well, on LinkedIn, what acts as a landing page or website is your personal profile.
Your target’s first reflex when reading your note or message will be to visit your profile to find out more about you and your value proposition. So there are a number of rules to follow.
Have an explicit title
Having a clear title means indicating in less than 3 words what you do for your target audience. It means attracting potential customers without making an effort to prospect. Don’t forget to mention the company you work for.
Forget long, pompous titles that mean nothing.
Have a professional profile photo
It’s distressing to see the number of people who have a mediocre-quality photo that doesn’t enhance their profile. You don’t have to be a supermodel to look good in a photo, retouching works wonders these days?
Humans think in heuristics and are subject to numerous cognitive biases. Among them, the “Halo” effect: we often attach unrelated traits such as intelligence and competence to people who present themselves well.
So buy yourself and your team a photo shoot. It’ll be the best 500 euros you’ve spent in the last 6 months.
Bonus: you can use a small colored circle (in your company or product colors, for example) around your photo to make it stand out even more.
Use the cover photo to showcase what you do
LinkedIn lets you add a cover photo to the background of your profile. It’s essential to use it to add a more visual aspect to your otherwise drab profile.
It’s worth spending a little time working on your image, or having it done if you don’t have the skills.
Bonus: you can use an effect that allows your cover image to “blend” with the white of the rest of your profile to give a “3D” look (in the example above, a planet, but there are plenty of other ways to use this effect, so let your imagination run wild).
Use your LinkedIn summary to prospect
You’ve been concise with your title, the “summary” space lets you say more about what you do, your background, your “story”, what led you to be who you are today.
You can use storytelling to capture attention. If you capture attention, you’ll be able to attract customers to you, and that’s what Inbound Marketing is all about.
Inbound marketing is all about getting prospects who don’t know you to become your customers, through the creation of content.
Use the “content” section wisely
LinkedIn allows you to highlight a number of elements on your profile. This could be your website, but also past publications or even articles.
Use this section to give your visitors the opportunity to feed their curiosity when they visit your profile.
Don’t forget to translate your profile – English is a must if you’re aiming for an international audience.
If you have a French profile and an English one, LinkedIn will automatically redirect users who don’t speak French to your English profile, facilitating your first contact with it.
#3 How to filter your prospects on LinkedIn
It’s time to start finding customers. 😎
Now that you’ve defined your persona and got your LinkedIn profile just right, it’s time to move on to the next step: targeting your prospects.
I’d rather tell you now, we’re only going to deal here with the targeting enabled by Sales Navigator.
The standard search function is far too limited (yes, LinkedIn needs to do business too).
If you’re just starting out and can’t yet, afford a Sales Navigator subscription, rest assured, we’ve thought of everything with an article on how to use Sales Navigator for free?
Not using relevant keywords
One of the first pitfalls to avoid is using keywords. This may seem counter-intuitive, since it’s what we’re used to when we search for something on Google. But on LinkedIn, it’s different.
In fact, when you do a keyword search on LinkedIn, the tool will go and find that keyword in the person’s entire profile. This can lead to results far removed from what you were initially looking for.
For example, if you search for “marketing”, you may well come across profiles who studied marketing when they were at university, but who now work in an entirely different sector.
Don’t exceed 2500 search results
We can’t stress this enough, but there’s no point in conducting LinkedIn searches that return more than 2,500 results, for two reasons:
- LinkedIn only returns the first 100 results, and each page contains 25 profiles. So there’s only a maximum of 2,500 profiles displayed, no matter what.
- The larger your result, the less you can personalize, the less you personalize, the more your conversion rates suffer.
If you had to choose just one filter to find the right contact, this would be it. Generally speaking, it’s the LinkedIn filter on which you’ll base your search for prospects (but not necessarily).
I know, it may sound scary at first, but Boolean operators are actually very simple to use.
We particularly recommend using quotation marks to find exactly the term you’re looking for.
For example, in the title, you can search for “marketing consultant” to bring up only those profiles that contain exactly those terms.
This will allow you, for example, to exclude “financial consultants” that would have come up if you hadn’t filtered using quotation marks.
You can also use the Boolean “OR” when you want to highlight two independent pieces of data, such as “business developer” OR “sales” in the title.
LinkedIn contains an incredible number of groups, and this is an opportunity for all marketers wishing to get in touch with their target audience.
Groups bring people together around common interests. No matter what you offer, chances are your ideal customer or prospect is in some groups. It’s up to you to identify these groups and contact them!
Use Sales Navigator’s advanced search features
Once you’ve validated your parameters, Sales Navigator allows you to perform yet another layer of filtering based on your search. This can be fascinating, depending on what you’re offering.
#4 Take care of your prospecting approaches
Once you’ve got your list of prospects to contact, that’s good enough. But, let’s face it, you’re missing the essential: your communication and its content!
That’s where copywriting comes in, the art of convincing and selling through writing.
What not to do when prospecting on LinkedIn
Send a message longer than 1000 characters
It’s sometimes tempting to want to say as much as possible in our prospecting message on the LinkedIn network, anticipating all objections by giving an exhaustive list of all the benefits associated with your product. However, this is counter-productive, and you’re unlikely to win over your targets.
Your prospect has very little time to give you, so you’ll need to pique his curiosity with as few words as possible and get him to take action to learn more.
Our research on the subject shows that a message over 1000 characters converts 50% less than one under 300 characters. Keep it short!
Capitalize your LinkedIn message
It wouldn’t occur to you to write all your communication in capital letters, would it? Well, I’m reassured then because I guarantee that it doesn’t work.
You might be tempted to think that using bold would allow you to emphasize certain points in your LinkedIn message. But it doesn’t!
The conclusion that emerges when you try to use this technique is essentially the appearance of a sloppy exchange.
Making spelling mistakes in your text
It sounds like common sense, but then again, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who send LinkedIn prospecting messages stuffed with mistakes.
The credibility of your communication takes a huge hit!
Too vague an approach, without a CTA
You just can’t afford to not be clear in your message. Arrive with a clear CTA. Explain what you want your recipient to do.
The right structure for an excellent LinkedIn prospecting message
When it comes to being convincing, you need to adhere to a certain structure to find the right approach.
The hook, as its name suggests, comes first in your communication. It’s a short sentence that should arouse your interlocutor‘s curiosity. This sentence should make your interlocutor want to continue reading your message. The “question” format generally works quite well.
Pay particular attention to this sentence. You’d be surprised how quickly we analyze an exchange and how eager we are to learn more. A few seconds are enough to determine whether we continue reading.
The better you segment your prospects, the easier it will be to find an effective catchphrase.
In fact, the catchphrase relies heavily on personalization. An ultra-personalized message to warm prospects will achieve far greater success.
Your value proposition:
Next comes the value proposition. In one or two sentences, you need to be able to explain how you or your product solves the problem or issue raised in your teaser.
The call to action:
Finally, this call-to-action gives your prospect the opportunity to go further. At this point, you’ve convinced your prospect of the merits of your approach. He knows just enough to be interested, but needs further information.
Let’s take a look at the different levers of this prospecting structure with an example:
The sentence, in the form of a question, leads the reader to ask himself how many responses he manages on LinkedIn, and at the same time leads him to question the various frustrations associated with this messaging.
The value proposition
This value proposition has the advantage of being clear-cut: either you manage more than 10 messages a day, or not.
If you manage more than 10 messages a day, you KNOW how bad LinkedIn messaging is, so you’re open to learning more.
The call to action
The call to action guides the reader to the next steps if they want to know more. There are no strings attached: the proposal is free and clear
Bonus: you play on the fact that the individual feels exclusive, since you’re calling on their expertise to “test” your tool.
#5 Optimize your performance with A/B testing
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing consists in testing two hypotheses by dividing the volumes tested into two parts.
An “A” part and a “B” part.
The results of the two parts are then analyzed and compared, and the most successful hypothesis is retained.
It is possible to iterate on this model a very large number of times to optimize performance.
In our case, we’re testing hypotheses about text content. In other words, you’re going to develop two different approaches and test which one works best.
In this way, you can fine-tune your speech and keep only the most successful communication model.
How do I set up A/B testing?
Setting up A/B testing on your LinkedIn approaches is very simple. With a tool like Waalaxy, all you need to do is create two different teasers and split your campaign in two.
First thing’s first: you send your first message to one half of your campaign, and your second message to the other half.
Once your prospecting campaign is over, you analyze the results directly using our integrated dashboard, and keep the best-performing message for the rest of the campaign.
Example of a LinkedIn Prospecting message
Now that we’ve seen how to prepare your LinkedIn prospecting campaigns, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: the approaches that work.
Automated LinkedIn prospecting scenario
Everything we’ve seen so far involves a number of repetitive tasks that couldn’t be automated. Let’s move on to the most interesting part: automation.
We’ve seen that the two ways to get in touch with an individual on LinkedIn were either to send a connection request, or to send a message.
What if I told you that you could automate the sequence of these two actions?
That’s what the campaigns feature offers.
In fact, this feature allows you to chain a series of activities together, in particular the add request and message actions.
The principle is simple:
- You choose the number of reminders you want to send,
- You write the content of your approaches – you can use personalized variables,
- You send your sales campaigns.
Your activities are then carried out automatically, without you having to lift a finger.
And why am I telling you all this? Simply because, by making one or even two follow-ups after your request to add a contact, you multiply your conversions.
Top 15 LinkedIn prospecting approaches to get in touch with your prospects
- Member of the same group:
- Posts with a hashtag:
- Posted a comment on posts:
- Industry leaders:
- Connection in common:
- Visited your profile:
- Expand your network in a specific region:
- Similar ecosystem with a touch of humor:
- Find a mentor:
- LinkedIn’s suggestion:
- Change of posts:
- People following your business:
- Advice request, former alumni:
- Problem request:
- Request an opinion for article:
How to write your LinkedIn prospecting notes?
These messages are only examples of what’s possible and should help stimulate your creativity.
When it comes to maximizing your acceptance rates, there’s no miracle note that’s right for every situation.
Just keep in mind and apply some basic principles:
- Avoid talking about yourself,
- Personalize your approach,
- Give your interviewer a good reason to accept your invitation,
- Seek to create a relationship.
This may seem like common sense, but I’ve lost count of the number of requests I receive that are devoid of personalization, or where they try to sell me a product or service as soon as I ask to be added.
These marketing techniques don’t work, they’re clearly automated, and the individual isn’t trying to create a relationship either.
When writing your invitation notes, put yourself in your interlocutor’s shoes: would you respond favorably to such a request? If the answer is no, rephrase your note?
Take your LinkedIn prospecting further with automation
You’ve followed us this far, and you’d like to take personalization and automation even further to achieve the best conversion rates?
I’ll show you how efficient prospecting software can be!
Let’s get started. 🚀
Targeting people who comment on posts
A technique well known to seasoned marketers, the “Lead Magnet” has the dual function of increasing the reach of your LinkedIn publication while bringing you a certain number of qualified leads.
The principle is simple: you publish a LinkedIn post in which you promise access to quality content (usually a high value-added article, or a White Paper) if the person likes and/or comments on your post.
Your post will get more visibility thanks to the engagement generated by people liking and commenting on your post, and every person with access to your content will become a qualified lead.
“Well, that’s all well and good, but if 250 people like my posts, I’m going to have hours to contact them by hand!”
Well, no! 😅
Targeting people who comment on someone else’s post
See what I mean? Yes, the technique described above can also be used to go after highly qualified LinkedIn leads that weren’t originally intended for you.
The principle remains the same: you identify a certain number of “Lead Magnet” type texts on a subject close to yours and for which the audience will be identical to yours.
You can automatically export and then contact the people who have reacted to the post via a “connection request follow-up message ” scenario.
Bonus: you can customize your approach depending on the post.
- Connection request:
- First communication 1 day after the prospect has accepted your request:
- Follow-up message 7 days after sending the previous communication, if the person hasn’t replied:
The beauty of this kind of automation is that it all happens without any intervention on your part.
As long as your prospect hasn’t replied, the sequence continues. All you have to do is process the responses to convert your leads into customers.
Target competitors’ users
Another formidable strategy for achieving extraordinary conversion percentages is scrambling Facebook searching for competitors’ users.
This doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, but if you’re lucky enough (like us) to have competitors on Facebook, then it’s a no-brainer.
LinkedIn, as we’ve seen, has many groups. Very useful for targeting people who share a common interest.
Facebook’s groups are even more advantageous, as they are often used as a channel for managing a user community.
This is the case for Dux-Soup, which has a group with several thousand members, made up exclusively of users of Dux-Soup, one of our direct competitors.
By combining two offerings: a scrapping tool like PhantomBuster and the Waalaxy tool, it’s possible to extract the members of this group and then contact them on LinkedIn via an automated “message connection request” type scenario.
- Connection request :
- Message sent 3 days after prospect accepted invitation request:
For more details on how to implement this hack, we’ve written a full case study on the subject.
Targeting subscribers to a LinkedIn page
Targeting people who like a LinkedIn page can be just as formidable. This time, there’s no need to go through a third-party tool to scrape the info – it can all be done directly with Waalaxy, in just a few minutes.
Here, you’re not guaranteed that all the people subscribed to your competitor’s company page are necessarily users of the competition.
So, unlike the LinkedIn group, it’s impossible to validate the username to join the group.
On the other hand, this technique is no less interesting.
In fact, even if people are not users of the competition, they have nevertheless expressed an interest in the competition, and as such, they could well be interested in what you have to offer.
Let’s take another example with Lemlist, another direct competitor, and a LinkedIn campaign with two follow-ups.
- Connection request:
- Follow-up message 3 days after acceptance of connection request:
- Follow-up message 7 days after the last communication was sent:
To implement this strategy, follow our dedicated guide.
Use multichannel to follow up your prospects on all channels
To maximize your conversion percentages, a powerful strategy is to contact your prospects via different channels.
The more channels you use, the greater the chances of your prospect responding.
In this example, the idea is to combine the LinkedIn channel with the e-mail channel.
As in a classic LinkedIn prospecting campaign, we’ll start with a classic LinkedIn “message connection request” scenario. The difference lies after that.
Where your scenario would have simply stopped after sending the message, here we’ll continue by sending an e-mail to your prospect in the event of a non-response to your LinkedIn communication.
The principle is quite simple: your prospect’s e-mail is retrieved using an enrichment tool, then you send the e-mail automatically from the box you’ve set up.
Waalaxy automates the whole process, enabling you to contact your prospects via all existing channels.
Summary: step-by-step to LinkedIn prospecting
Are you still with me? Good. Let’s try and sum up what we’ve seen in this article in a few lines.
First, we’ve seen that LinkedIn is THE number 1 social network for B2B lead generation.
But, to take full advantage of the platform, you first need to do some preliminary work to:
- Optimize your profile,
- Master LinkedIn filters,
- Set up A/B testing.
We then looked at how automated prospecting scenarios can boost your conversion rates.
To help those of you who may have run out of inspiration, we’ve given you over 15 examples of invitation notes that will help you maximize your acceptance rate.
Finally, we’ve highlighted the best LinkedIn automation strategies that combine personalization and performance through the use of Waalaxy.
FAQ : LinkedIn prospecting
Why prospect on LinkedIn?
When it comes to prospecting, using LinkedIn is an excellent choice. LinkedIn is an incredible BtoB database. It updates automatically, so you can stay in touch with your prospects.
Prospecting on LinkedIn therefore allows you to develop your visibility through your posts, articles, or other content, and position yourself as an expert 👓 in a field with your audience.
Prospecting on LinkedIn also allows your customers to reach you directly, there are no barriers.
Do you have to be a professional copywriter to convert on LinkedIn?
You don’t need to be a professional copywriter to convert your prospects into customers and meet your objectives, but you do need to respect a number of basic principles.
Is LinkedIn content the best way to sell?
Indeed, a LinkedIn publishing strategy can help you increase your percentage of acceptances, increase your number of private discussions, and therefore your conversions.
What’s the best prospecting technique?
There’s no single best technique for prospecting. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you, especially in terms of approach phrases, for example.
However, the more you expand your network, the more likely you are to make quality connections. Of course, you won’t be able to add just anyone.
That’s why it’s important to create the best “buyer personas” for your product. Obviously, we segment them.
Does the use of automation tools require technical IT skills?
The use of automation tools such as Waalaxy does not require any prior skills. The tool has been designed so that it can be used by anyone. And it’s designed to facilitate your prospecting activities.
How can I use LinkedIn automation to prospect on LinkedIn?
Prospecting can be a long and tedious process. However, if you surround yourself with a good prospecting tool, your task will be greatly facilitated.
Discover the B2b multichannel tool on the market, released in 2022!
So, thanks to this tutorial, you now know how to do LinkedIn prospecting, thanks to these 20 examples of prospecting messages to reuse in your business!