ProspectIn: the automation tool for LinkedIn – user feedback!
ProspectIn has been on the market since September 2019. After several months of use, users are giving you their full feedback. 😁
Using ProspectIn as an inbound marketing tool
Empowill use case
As an early-stage BtoB start-up, the use of Linkedin quickly appeared to be essential for our development: to network, find prospects, get feedback, contact experts, broadcast our content, increase awareness… The discovery of ProspectIn changed everything for us. If originally we were interested in the tool for prospecting purposes, we have discovered how to make Linkedin a lever for development, in particular thanks to the monumental time savings provided by this automation tool. Below is our testimony, for a start-up that deserves to be better known, which engages only us, but which will surely interest more than one! Or how we created a very powerful sales engine using the right tools while being an early-stage.
Why prospect on LinkedIn?
At Empowill, we work exclusively with SMEs between 50 and 500 employees. These can be service or industrial companies, franchise networks or growing start-ups. Above all, we are primarily addressing top management. Not easy to target for this type of business. We quickly realized that prospecting via LinkedIn was the most interesting thing for us because:
- This allows for a more precise targeting. In particular thanks to the use of Sales Navigator. Business owners are more likely to browse LinkedIn than read their solicitation emails.
- The emailing channel is more and more outdated. The response rates are low, we are drowned in the midst of many other solicitation emails and we sometimes risk being filtered or spam. Finally, you must find the email of your correspondent, which may require the use of additional lead generation tools, sometimes very expensive.
- On LinkedIn, a prospect can consult your profile, see your achievements and publications, learn more about yourself, which gives you more credibility and makes it easier to initiate the relationship.
- Finally, Linkedin allows you to generate more trust than via an email because you are in direct contact with your prospect.
In this way, LinkedIn allows you to promote your company or product and to promote yourself. The framework of the social network, even though professional, is more intimate than email, you immediately enter into an intuitu-personae relationship: when people answer you, it is because they want to talk to YOU. Unfortunately, LinkedIn prospecting is extremely time-consuming.
Prospecting via Linkedin works… however, it is long, extremely long. All the more so Linkedin is not designed for that at all. Even the Sales Navigator tool is nothing like a CRM, the tracking is very light, the messaging tool is… a poor messaging tool. In short, you can be frustrated when you realize that it is THE preferred channel of acquisition of your business, including on the outbound. We quickly find ourselves:
- Going to the profiles of your prospects,
- Waiting for them to view your profile (“I saw that he saw me, so I can contact him!”)
- Sending connection requests manually…
- Then regular messages and follow-ups, but often in a too unstructured manner.
When it came to exploring and testing whether the tool was relevant, that was enough… But when it came to scaling up and structuring our acquisition strategy, we had to change our ways of doing things. So, like all of us, we started to set up marketing/sales automation, to buy customer databases and to equip ourselves with a CRM in order to monitor our prospecting. LinkedIn was still used, but less systematically.
Until the day we discovered there were automation tools on LinkedIn. And then, everything changed for us. We could finally make LinkedIn our main prospecting channel. ProspectIn not only made this possible, but also exposed us to many other LinkedIn use cases that have really boosted our development (discussed below).
Why using a LinkedIn automation tool?
Using ProspectIn was not only a huge time saver, it made a huge difference. From the moment we prospect on Linkedin, we must have a scientific approach, test, iterate, learn, try again…
Some examples of concrete cases that should be tested in a “scientific” way to optimize the results:
- Is it better to visit a prospect’s profile and wait for him to visit yours before adding it? A connection request can put your prospect on the defensive. If he sees that you have viewed his profile without adding it, he will be curious to see who you are and potentially wonder why you did not complete the process. Sometimes even, he will add you. This behavior may vary depending on your target.
- Is it more efficient to send a connection request with a message or without a message? The note accompanying a connection request is limited to 300 characters. We must quickly get to the heart of the matter. However, directly announcing that you are here to sell can also be risky. This is why it is sometimes better to send a connection request without a note to be able to send a longer and contextualized message once the request has been accepted. In addition, this gives the possibility of attaching a document such as a presentation of your business or the possibility of following up a few days later.
- What type of message works best? Introducing the need of the target company, mentioning the position of your interlocutor and therefore his challenges, putting forward a common point with your prospect…You can read the ProspectIn case study on this subject.
For all these cases, it is necessary to have data in order to understand what is the best mechanic.
Without automation and tracking tools, good luck! Unless you spend whole days tracking everything on an Excel sheet.. and that is an impossible mission that you must not accept …. Thanks to the automated scenarios and the campaign system, you finally have data to test different methods and see what works best for your target and your product. Personally, I noticed that I had a better conversion rate with prospects who went through the same university as mine! This is a good way to “hack” your prospecting and to get some customers.
Some best practices & examples of campaigns that we have implemented
First use case: classic prospecting campaign
Our automation campaigns aim at getting telephone meetings with our prospects. Here is a simple example of a scenario implemented:
- Profile visit: If the prospect visits my profile, I add it on Linkedin with a personalized message: “Hello #first_name, I have consulted your profile with interest and I would like to ask you a few questions given your prerogatives as CEO of # company_name ”
- If the prospect does not visit my profile within 3 days, I go to the next step: I make a connection request on Linkedin without a presentation message. Here I hope he will visit my profile which I have carefully worked on in order to arouse his interest.
- If the prospect does not add me after 14 days, I withdraw the connection request and I try to pass the prospect on my Sales Automation tool with email outreach.
If the prospect accepts my connection request, I launch the following sequence:
- First, fairly succinct contact message which presents my service in one sentence,
- Second message after 5 days where I add more details on our service and in which I attach a presentation brochure,
- Third message 5 days after also where I play on the emotional with standard formulas “I allow myself to be persevering”, “Is it my approach that you did not like?”, “If it does not correspond to a need for you, could you take a minute to give me feedback? ”.
Before, to do all this, I used my CRM, Pipedrive. Needless to say that I spent entire days doing it…
Second use case: Nurturing
Often BtoB prospecting is a matter of timing. Even beyond the fact that your product/service generates value for a prospect, you have to arrive at the right time. The question is: how do you make sure your prospect thinks about you when the right time comes? For that, you have to nurture your prospect by publishing content and sending it to him, in short, make him think about you. Another good way to do this is by checking his profile for him to get notified and think back about you. It’s about creating “top of mind”.
Many prospects never answered me on Linkedin. So I created an automatic profile visit campaign for these profiles to give them the opportunity to eventually think about me. And it works! Some came back to me several months later because they needed my service.
Third use case: generating inbound
We weren’t doing this before ProspectIn, due to a lack of time, but it turns out that it has become an excellent acquisition lever for us: using Linkedin to generate inbound and notoriety for Empowill. How? Well, it’s simple, by sharing the content that we publish directly with our targets & specifiers.
We recently wrote an ebook on on-the-job training. Not “catchy” enough to create virality on Linkedin! And yet, this subject is of great interest to the HRDs of SMBs. So, thanks to Sales Navigator, we have created lists of thousands of potentially interested profiles. Both through filtered searches on Linkedin but also by targeting people subscribed to certain HR groups or linked to training on Linkedin.
We automated a sequence that added them on Linkedin with an introductory message telling them that we wanted to share content with them. Once the request was accepted, we sent them the content, stating that we are available to answer their questions. The results were astounding:
- Hundreds of additional visits per day to our site.
- + 400% download of our ebook.
- Several customer meetings picked up in this way. And much more qualified than those won by cold prospecting.
We transformed this LinkedIn automation tool – supposed to be a prospecting tool – into an inbound marketing tool that generates meetings and awareness… and all this with disconcerting simplicity. And because we had a scientific approach to the use of this professional network.
The Linkedin Automation tool developed by ProspectIn has really been a booster for us. Just because you’re early stage doesn’t mean you can’t have a certain strike force. On the contrary, it is because we are a young company that we have sought the best tools to help us develop. ProspectIn is an integral part of it.
Using ProspectIn for a marketing agency
Le cas de ALIX CM
In the world of digital marketing, being aware of the latest tools is a daily obsession. We are always looking for the perfect tool and the right method. In terms of prospecting, it seems that I have found the right tool: ProspectIn.
I am Jérémy Valleyre, Community & Content Manager for ALIX CM. I work with, BtoB companies, with the aim of developing their notoriety, visibility, and turnover. For this, I set up an Inbound Marketing strategy coupled with a social selling strategy. In this context, I am very often in contact with the sales teams, the company’s first ambassadors and therefore players in this social selling.
There are mainly two obstacles to the implementation of an effective social selling strategy with these commercial profiles:
- Ignorance of the subject and its contribution
- And lack of time.
Based on this observation, our agency has developed a “social selling” training offer as well as personalized coaching sessions that I provide to our clients. But we will come back to this later.
To answer one of these two obstacles, which is the lack of time, I looked for a tool capable of automating actions on LinkedIn, but all my research was a failure. I only found Chrome prospecting help extensions, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I remember a discussion with my boss saying “there must be a tool that does what Hubspot does, but only on LinkedIn”. And I remember my answer: “no I don’t think so, but it would be great”.
Well, the miracle has happened (ok I’m going a bit too far).😂
One day, when I opened my LinkedIn mailbox, I discovered a message in which I was offered to read an article on an effective method to obtain a nice acceptance and response rate, prospecting on LinkedIn.
Well done! The objective of the article was successful since I had only one obsession: to discover this tool mentioned in the article. I rush to ProspectIn.fr, I browse the entire site to get an idea of the reliability of what seems to me to be the tool I was looking for. I send a message on our team messaging to Alexis, my boss. Something like, “I found the automation tool we need for LinkedIn, I’m testing it and giving you feedback ASAP.”
So I started my seven-day trial period and quickly realized that I was going to love it. I must admit that in the excitement, I did not do things really in order and did not take my time too much. I did a quick search on LinkedIn as recommended: “Commercial Director”, in Paris to start and take my first steps on the ProspectIn tool. I click on the extension and I start to export a list of 200 contacts in a campaign that I simply called “commercial director Paris”
This is where the most enjoyable part begins. I searched and watched everything we can do, my face lights up. What? We can follow people, send them connection requests, send them a message and even all this at the same time in customized scenarios all while replicating a perfect human behavior?
When I speak of human behavior, you should know that ProspectIn performs its actions with intervals of 2-3 minutes and within a daily limit, within the range of what a real person could do. Of course, the advantage is that while you are doing your regular day, ProspectIn performs these actions for you.
I wanted to test quickly, just to make sure everything was working and there were no blind spots.
So I test a first scenario quickly tinkered. I see the next day that everything is working and that it is in line with what I expected. I’m talking to Alice, partner at ALIX CM and web marketing manager, who finds the idea to be great. So I decide to subscribe and start to work on an effective and serious method to exploit the full potential of the tool.
The test of this automation tool for LinkedIn
To understand and analyze how ProspectIn could change the lives of my clients, I used it for 4 months to prospect for ALIX CM.
To prospect, you have to know your target. Having already carried out this target identification work in our agency, I started by segmenting my targets. For example, I am going to import into the tool, business leaders, from Paris, in the mechanical industry. This then allows me to initiate very personalized actions, which are relevant to this target, or this persona!
Remember that you can go further in the filters, with the premium version of LinkedIn, but you don’t need a premium Linkedin account to use ProspectIn.
Let’s see a concrete case. For this specific target which is now imported into ProspectIn’s CRM, I decide to keep only the people to whom I have never sent messages or connection requests before (thanks to the very simple filters of the tool), then I choose to set up the following scenario:
- Sending a connection request without writing a note associated with my invite. Once this request is accepted, the prospect will receive this message 24 hours later: “Hello -first name-, thank you for accepting my request. I was wondering if, in your industry, which is mainly B to B, digital was an important subject for developing your business?”
We can discuss the relevance of my message, but it was part of my various tests to understand which messages were the most effective.
- Then, if the prospect does not respond after 3 days, he receives the following message: “-First name-, you are probably very busy, which I understand perfectly. Do not hesitate to come back to me because I am very curious and interested in your activity, and it could be constructive for both of us to discuss it.”
With this very simple scenario, I quickly received dozens of messages on LinkedIn, which I only had to deal with. You just need to put a process in place to know what to do with uninterested prospects, those who direct me to another person in the company or ask me to contact them later, and those who are of real interest.
For example, I can send contacts who seem interested to my dedicated sales team or to the person in charge of converting leads into customers. But I can also practice lead scoring, by rating my prospects from 1 to 10 for example according to their maturity, and add them in workflows or personalized email sequences to do what is called lead nurturing (feeding the prospect), thanks to marketing automation software like Hubspot, Koban, Salesforces, etc.
In addition to my scenarios, I like to launch simple automatic actions on ProspectIn such as visiting the profile of prospects to whom I have already sent a connection request but who have not accepted it. This gives them a little reminder (if they receive the notification) and increases my chances that they will respond favorably to the initial request.
During those four months, I did a lot of tests. Some scenarios were badly targeted, or badly written, and I realized this by looking at my statistics on the dashboard of the tool, but also by receiving messages from people who were not the target and did not understand my requests. This allowed me to gradually understand how to be efficient and implement good practices so that I could integrate it in the long term into the social selling training that I have been delivering to our clients for a year.
ProspectIn stands out today as the tool that was lacking in the training and coaching that we offer. The goal is first to make them aware of the importance of social selling in their professions. Whether they are managers, salespeople, or even HR, the speech is adapted to quickly make them understand the interest they will find in using these new methods. And the lack of time argument is eliminated by the use of ProspectIn.
This is particularly felt when I tell my clients in training that once the tool is configured, they will just have to focus on processing incoming messages: their eyes will start to shine!
It is not difficult for them to see the return on investment. The price of the tool is very affordable for business and saves time and efficiency that traditional prospecting cannot bring in such a short time. ProspectIn is constantly evolving and regularly offers new features that are sure to change the working methods of many teams.
In any case it changed ours, and those of our customers.😁
Using ProspectIn when your portfolio is too large
ProspectIn use case from It consulting to IT software publisher
« I use ProspectIn because my portfolio is too large. »
My subscription to ProspectIn was the result of numerous tests on other solutions at the rate of changes in my different jobs.
Working in consulting or with a publisher as is the case today, my goal has always been to quickly develop my network on LinkedIn, to make myself visible, to generate leads from completely different targets.
I consider my commercial perimeter as a small business; in it, the opportunities, needs, expectations and demands are specific each and every time. My approach had to be both bulk and customizable.
Let’s take the example of my last experience as a Business Engineer in a consulting company focused on digital transformation.
From an IT consulting company…
Before my arrival, the supply of leads worked on the following levers: Associate network, Network of mission consultants, Client purchasing platform, Cabinet advertising and trade fairs. My work would therefore be centered on prospecting in order to obtain a certain independence from the group that was sustaining us.
ProspectIn caught my attention via its Analytics platform, the CRM aspect but especially the customizable scenarios.
Setting up IT campaigns
So I started using the tool through scenarios based on precise use cases with my clients. Take an example: “Adoption of PowerApps and Flow solutions from the Microsoft 365 suite.”:
- Once the business and IT targets have been identified, my first connection campaign begins with an acceptance rate of around 20-25%.
- After different choices and strategies on follow-ups/rebounds, I can define a targeted audience that can meet my needs
- If I don’t get back to this level: I use another tool or my CRM to find my client’s email database, then I contact them twice by email (Contact + Reminder)
- If again I do not have feedback following this process, I try a call + follow up or I withdraw my prospect from my list.
The Scenario appears tedious, but it guarantees at least 8 touchpoints with,my prospects while being multi-channel. The multi-channel aspect is important because my clients no longer pick up, some don’t even have a phone! So you have to be sure you can connect with the prospect through all channels.
I’m sure you’ve guessed it, the rest of the process involves ProspectIn, with the exception of when the Scenario is finished.
ProspectIn remains a great tool that allows me to program and maintain a passive prospecting activity while I focus on a more complicated RFP or client file.
A more than satisfying result
I’ve opened several accounts and interacted with many clients using this approach. Today, getting a “no, we don’t have the budget right now” is already a very good signal that can allow you to explore new leads without wasting your time.
The Scenario part is for me THE big plus of this tool which allows you to connect, relaunch and follow the acceptance/rebound rate as you go along.
The fact that you can compare the results of different Scenarios also allows you to adjust your pitch quicker.
I have exceeded my sales goal with my different lead sources. Focusing exclusively on one or the other source would not have allowed me to achieve this result. The price of the solution has paid for itself! We exceeded the target of 65 consultants.
I have opened several accounts and obtained numerous exchanges with customers thanks to this mode of operation. Today, getting a “no, we don’t have a budget right now” is already a very good signal that can allow you to explore new leads without wasting your time.
For me, the Scenario feature is THE big plus of this tool. It allows you to connect, follow up and monitor the acceptance/bounce rate as you go.
Being able to compare the results of different Scenarios also allows you to adjust your speech quicker.
I have exceeded my business objective thanks to my different sources of leads. Focusing exclusively on one or a few sources would not have allowed me to achieve this result. The price of the solution has therefore paid for itself! We have surpassed the target of 65 consultants.
…To a renown IT software publisher
Recently I started my work with a large cloud-oriented IT publisher, and my first action was to renew my subscription to ProspectIn and create a new “prospecting journey”.
The resources allocated to the business part are much greater here with a resource dedicated to me for prospecting in Dublin.
Why am I using the tool again in this case?
I’m glad I participated in the Beta phase of ProspectIn. Even if the tool experienced some hiccups at times, the pace of updates and the addition of new features from the team have greatly improved my experience. The support of the customer support team allows an almost individualized exchange with good responsiveness. This sort of reactivity is quite rare in the world of start-ups.
It is too early to draw conclusions on my new prospecting, but I intend to speak to my team about it to standardize the method.
I expect the tool will evolve to allow an A to Z management of prospects, with connections to other tools or even the integration of existing ones (automated enrichment of emails?). I would also like to be able to rate or prioritize my prospects.
This tool allows me to make myself visible with little effort, gain leads and develop my network. The promise is therefore fulfilled…. For the time being!
Now that you’ve read detailed feedback from real customers, why not give ProspectIn a go yourself? If you already have, why not get in touch to give us some feedback as well. 👌🏻