Wanna be the top sales team in your industry, generating so many leads you make everyone else jealous, closing deals like it’s no big deal?
I’m guessing that you are competitive like most salespeople. We’re here to help you on your lead-generation journey.
And for sure, there are nearly countless ways, of varying success, to generate leads:
- Direct mail
- Email list rental (use legitimate databases or risk your email/domain being blacklisted)
- Content marketing using SEO
- Networking events
- Website contact and blog comment scraping
- Cold email outreach
- Paid social media campaigns (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
- Lead magnet email sign-up
- Co-branding/joint venture with a complementary company
- Customer referrals
LinkedIn, however, is a gold mine for generating B2B leads, but there are other questions to consider.
- Is getting gobs and gobs of leads on any platform a good thing? Wouldn’t I rather have quality leads over pure quantity?
- How much are we spending to acquire these leads, and how do we determine if that scenario is profitable? Aren’t there free ways to generate leads?
- Which of these metrics matters most for your lead gen efforts?
Don’t fall for the myth that there is a free way to generate leads. Even if it doesn’t cost you cold, hard cash, it costs your time. And that is worth a lot, too!
And the simple answer on which metrics matter most is … wait for it … all of them.
But the context of each will allow you to refine the best answer for your situation. In this example below, it might seem that the Google Adwords (now known as Google Ads) campaign is performing better than LinkedIn, if we only focused on the CPC and total clicks/leads.But if we look deeper, we notice that, while there is a higher CPC on LinkedIn and lower clicks/leads, overall, the campaign leads to a higher conversion rate and a lower cost per lead conversion, which is a better scenario.
Lead Gen Prep Work in 7 Steps … But Wait, There’s More!
Ok, if you’re like me, you’re ready to start implementing some stuff, right?
Well, hold your horses there, pardner…
I strongly advise that you do some preparation steps so you won’t go off half cocked. We call this “slow down now, in order to speed up later.” And I promise you that the benefits of taking the extra time to plan now will far outweigh any quick wins gained from faster execution without a well-thought-out strategy.
Take it from someone who’s been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
Please, do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
“Okay, okay, Miles. You’ve convinced me to slow down. What do I need to do first?”
Profile setup and optimization: This one may seem obvious, but take time to think about your prospects viewing your profile (personal and company) and make sure you include WIIFT. Then ensure you are using the right keywords to make sure you are found when people are searching LinkedIn.
Define your target personas: This will determine what demographic and psychographic markers you target and what you exclude.
Define your USP: If you don’t know what really sets your company’s products/services apart from others, your message will sound like everyone else’s.
Set campaign goals: What metrics are you going to track and what are your current baseline starting points? Over what timeframe do you expect to improve each of those, and by how much?
Start with strategy first, then tactics.
Lead scoring: Do you know the difference between an MQL and a SQL? At what level of engagement (higher lead score) will you choose to manually contact people (after your marketing automation has nurtured and warmed them up)?
Run the campaign, optimize, rinse and repeat: Don’t forget to review and adjust things as you go; set-it-and-forget-it is dangerous campaign planning.
Now that we’re prepped and ready to go, we can dive into the many ways to generate leads using LinkedIn’s powerful platform.
17 Ways to Generate LinkedIn Leads: The Sales Team’s Ace in the Hole
Sales is a numbers game, right?
You need to talk to X number of prospects. Based on your closing ratio (X%), you get X sales conversions. It’s just basic math.
If only it were that simple. But maybe it is.…
As long as you are talking to quality prospects and have a decent closing ratio, you will likely succeed in hitting your sales goals.
So we just need a few more ideas to fill the top of the sales funnel. Some of these may seem like common sense and some are more advanced tactics, but, regardless, they each have their place in a lead-gen tool belt. It’s really more a matter of identifying the ones that fit your audience and campaign and using those. Don’t try to use them all at once.…
Let’s get to it! But first, a word of caution.
You won’t be very effective without two things: perseverance and a combination of tactics wrapped up in an integrated campaign. So stick with it and don’t get too enamored with any one tactic. Think about how to layer them on top of each other and how that plays out over months and years, instead of days and weeks.
1. Give More Than You Receive
This is the epitome of common sense … well, it should be. But it is worth repeating. Lead with value and serving others first. None of the rest of these tactics will matter if you don’t start with this foundation.
People want to be helped, not sold.
2. Post Links to Articles (Yours and Other Influencers’)
For your daily posts on the platform, make sure to mix in links to yours and other influencers’ articles related to your industry niche. Tag others so they notice you’re sharing their stuff. Plus, don’t lead with selling your products/services; give away your expertise and allow people to be drawn in.
Selling comes later.…
3. Write Recommendations & Endorse Skills
For those that you know their work well enough, consider leaving recommendations for them on their LinkedIn profile; they will take note and are likely to return the favor in some way down the road.
Another way to spread some goodwill is to endorse skills on people’s profiles.
4. Be Authentic & Look for the Win-Win
Engage others in your space, and look for ways to help others achieve their goals. The norm of reciprocity always comes back around, you just don’t know how long that will take. So be patient and selfless. It stands out because not that many people take that approach.
5. Work Your 1st Connections for Intros to 2nd & 3rd Connections
Now, don’t reach out to every first connection you have and blast them with a desperate-sounding “help me” message. Take the time to comb through your list by industry, for-profit/nonprofit, title, and any other meaningful criteria that you think would help you reach your target audience.
Think about the type of person that is most likely connected with your target market, then filter by the ones who know your work and character the best. Then contact those for intros. Many times, this method gets you in front of some warm leads; best to start there first before working some cold leads.
6. Leverage LinkedIn ProFinder
This one is typically used by the solo consultant or freelancer than by a company’s sales team, but don’t discount it if you have a larger sales team. Plus, if you have a top consultant on your team that is part of your company, it may still make sense to use her profile to funnel leads to your entire team.
7. Review Who Is Looking at Your Profile
This might seem like a “duh” moment, but don’t dismiss it outright. If you have a paid version of LinkedIn, this is more valuable, since you are limited to how far back in time you can look. But if you see someone who looks like a prospect, take the lead and reach out. See how you can help, and remember, don’t sell right out of the gate. Lead with content.
What better way to showcase your company’s industry experience and knowledge than within LinkedIn’s own platform? For some articles you are planning to publish, rather than add them to your website, add them on LinkedIn instead. When people visit your profile, they can look at your thought leadership articles right there without ever having to leave LinkedIn to visit your website. Then you can offer them a CTA to take the next step and visit your site (email sign-up, contact form, etc.)
Just make sure you don’t put the same article in both places. That is duplicate content, a no-no for Google SEO.
9. Join & Interact with Relevant LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups, just like Facebook groups, are an opportunity to get in touch with a smaller, niche audience that is a better target for your products or services. But, before you go in and start pitching right away, take time to contribute valuable information and content first.
Better yet, start a group that doesn’t already exist.
10. Launch Targeted LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
Targeting options on LinkedIn ads allow you to get in front of decision-makers in your industry with certain titles and in certain locations (among other targeting options). Consider these ad types and which kinds best fit your audience and skill level.
Check out our table below to determine which type of ad you should start with first based on where they are in the sales funnel, complexity to get a campaign started and budget.
For example on the funnel stage of your prospects, you can target the bottom of the funnel by zeroing in your audience (titles, positions, decision-makers) and companies, then targeting specific text ads to speak to their needs.
11. Upgrade to LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Search & Export Better
While there are some limited advanced search functions in the free version of LinkedIn, the premium ones that come with either Sales Navigator or Recruiter are quite robust. So, if you are looking to more finely slice your target to get an ultra-targeted niche list, then this is the ticket.
In addition to having more detailed searching capabilities, you have more options to export contact data at scale than you do with a free account. Then you can perform manual or automated email outreach to those prospects.
12. Use LinkedIn or Other Lead Gen Forms
Capture lead contact info from people who interact with your LinkedIn ads—they don’t even have to leave the ad to enter their contact info on your website. They can give you permission to their email, name, number, etc., all within the LinkedIn platform, and you can follow up directly with them.
13. LinkedIn Live Video Option
While you can upload a video and share it on LinkedIn, unlike Facebook, only a select few profiles are approved to broadcast live video. Check it out and apply if you think you are a good fit. If not, you can still upload recorded videos to LinkedIn and share them via a post.
14. Import Your Lead Gen into Your CRM & Nurture
Most Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms allow you to integrate your lead generation tool so that, either manually or automatically, your leads are placed into your CRM.
Don’t forget to set up email-nurturing workflows that will send each segmented list a series of drip emails specifically targeted to their interests. Be careful not to create just one or two buckets/workflows, as your prospects and customers usually have a quite variety of different needs.
15. Set Up Robust Segmentation & Marketing Automation Workflows
Marketing Automation features are not exclusive to expansive (and expensive) platforms like Salesforce or Marketo. You’ll find that most major ESP platforms (MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Omnisend, etc.) have email automation options with a variety of triggers and options for you to customize workflows for your business, regardless of size or budget.
The key to setting this up is to think about the different topic groupings that people’s interest around your product will fall into. Generally, you want to start with 3–5 of these, not just one or two. Then, for each of those groupings, you will want to create an email series of 3–10 emails where you warm them up with mostly content before you pitch them your product or service at the end of that series. Plus, the enticement to join one of these groupings/lists would be a free e-book or whitepaper of significant value to them.
16. Use Other Chrome Extensions to Append Your Data
Say you need to supplement the info you have on a group of leads. Maybe you have their name/title but need an email or you have their name and email but no title. There are a number of software tools (some free and some paid) you can use to accomplish that, and what better way to do that than doing so inside of your Chrome browser.
Check out these browser extensions that help you append data to whatever you have from various other methods. It’s a great way to gain more insight and build out a more complete prospect profile as you go.
17. Don’t Forget to Close Deals
With all of this lead generation activity, it’s easy to get lost in the fog. Take time to qualify your leads, converting MQLs into SQLs. Then work on closing those SQLs that are ready to purchase. Overcome those fake objections, uncover the real ones, and become that sales rockstar you were always meant to be!
Are You Pumped About Turbocharging Your LinkedIn Lead Generation?
Now, this is where the rubber meets the road. You are armed with all the information you need to generate some new quality leads on LinkedIn.
Don’t get trapped with information overload, either. Start with small steps and do one campaign (with several tactics), then another, and another. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way.
Don’t forget to get the preparation steps out of the way first, then think about how your company’s sales needs fit with what target audience. Then select the tactics on this list that are the best fit to create your integrated campaign.
Remember that it takes 7+ marketing touches to get a prospect to turn into a customer. It won’t be one thing, or one time using that one thing - there is no silver bullet.
It’s persistence doing a number of things (tied together) that will do the trick.
We wish you good luck!And if you want some additional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to chat with you about how we might be able to augment your team’s Linkedin lead generation efforts.