How to Do LinkedIn Outreach: A Step-by-Step Guide

Created On
July 8, 2023
How to Do LinkedIn Outreach: A Step-by-Step Guide

I think we all can agree: LinkedIn is a must for outbound sales. At least, that’s what the statistics says: 

LinkedIn has 930 million members and 4 out of 5 of them drive business decisions. (🔊B2B marketers, are you listening?)

LinkedIn is the perfect platform for prospecting—identifying and researching potential leads or prospects on LinkedIn who may be interested in your product/service.

Once you are done prospecting, the next step is LinkedIn outreach—initiating an active engagement/communication with the prospects for lead nurturing and conversion. 

This article is a detailed guide on how to do LinkedIn outreach and how to automate it using an automation tool. 

Things to Do Before Starting LinkedIn Outreach

Outreach efforts involve reaching out to professionals/prospects on LinkedIn to connect, build relationships, and eventually sell. 

It includes sending personalized messages or connection requests and engaging in value-adding conversations. But, that’s not all. 

Before starting outbound campaigns on LinkedIn, there are a few things that you need to figure out:

  1. Create ICP
  2. Understand your goals
  3. Optimize LinkedIn profile

Create ICP (Ideal Customer’s Profile)

It’s super important to have a clear goal about your target audience for successful outreach campaigns on LinkedIn. This is where ICP comes in. 

ICP or Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a list with main characteristics of your ideal customers. It includes:

  • Job title and role
  • Seniority level
  • Industry or sector
  • Company size or revenue
  • Budget/expenses
  • Geographic location
  • Pain points or challenges

Research your existing customers to make an effective ICP. 

Review their LinkedIn profile to gain insights into their job title, location, and industry. This will help you understand their needs and communicate effectively. For better understanding, explore the groups they are part of to gauge their interests and find common ground for connection.

Dig deeper to create the most accurate ICP. You can do this by analyzing their activity, including article shares, group participation, and discussions. 

Understand Your Goals

The secret to any successful outbound campaign is having a clear idea of your goals. What do you want to achieve through LinkedIn outreach?

Do you want to connect with potential customers or partners? Are you looking for potential collaborators?

Some marketers do outreach to grow their professional network and increase your visibility before starting with any outreach campaign. 

A clear understanding of what you want to achieve through outreach can help you hit the bull’s eye. A deeper sense of your goals will help you

  • Launch campaigns accordingly
  • Pick suitable tools (for instance, lead generation needs AI-based automation tools like Smartlead)
  • Personalize cold messages
  • Start appropriate conversations, etc. 

Optimize LinkedIn Profile

Even though many marketers try outreach campaigns for expanding their network or hiring new employees, sales is the most common reason behind the majority of LinkedIn outreach campaigns. 

And, what works best for LinkedIn outbound? Personal profile or company page?

The answer might be surprising but it is what it is—people like connecting with people not logos.  

Yes, LinkedIn profile it is. This is why it’s utterly important to optimize your LinkedIn profile before starting an outreach campaign. 

Here’s the key points that you need to follow to optimize your profile. 

  • Professional headshot reflecting industry expertise
  • Relevant background banner showcasing product/service or expertise
  • Product/service mentioned in headline
  • Add relevant links in the headline
  • Detailed "About" section highlighting journey with the product
  • List of job experiences with clear job responsibilities
  • Strong professional network with connections

Take a look at Charu Mitra Dubey’s LinkedIn profile. 

Don’t forget to add relevant people as connections to increase credibility of your profile. 

How to Do LinkedIn Outreach for 10x Lead Generation

From making a lead list to automating the cold messages, outreach campaigns are quite a complex process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Search leads using LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  2. Make a Lead/Contact List in CSV. Format
  3. Connect Your LinkedIn Account with a LinkedIn Outreach Tool
  4. Create a Campaign
  5. Set Send Settings

Step 1: Search Leads Using Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is popular amongst marketers for its extensive range of advanced search filters. These filters are designed to simplify lead searching for B2B marketers and sales representatives. 

If you have a similar goal, try LinkedIn Sales Navigator. 

You can simply use “direct search” on LinkedIn Sales Navigator using the common filters such as company size, headcount, headquarters, job title filter, years of experience, etc.

But, if you want more specific results, you can try the advanced search filters on this LinkedIn tool:

➡️ “View Similar” filter  

The "View Similar" option on LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows marketers to find profiles that are similar to a specific profile they are viewing. 

It helps users discover individuals with similar job titles, roles, industries, or other relevant criteria. This filter is the best option to find leads that match your ICP. 

➡️ Boolean Search Filters

A LinkedIn Boolean Search is an effective way to search for leads by using keywords combined with operators (words) like OR, NOT, or AND. 

By utilizing this method, you can narrow down your results and find relevant leads. For instance, excluding certain terms or combining multiple criteria allows you to get targeted profiles.

➡️ Spotlight Filters

This filter is very effective to shortlist high-quality leads. 

It offers various features such as filtering by posts made on LinkedIn within the last 30 days, tracking individuals who changed jobs in the past 90 days, identifying those mentioned in recent news articles within the last 30 days, and utilizing TeamLink introductions, among others.

Some other effective lead searching methods are:

  • Use “Search Recently Posted Content” filter
  • And do group scraping

*****LinkedIn group scraping is a streamlined lead searching approach using an AI-powered LinkedIn scraper, such as Phantombuster, Dripify, Dux-Soup. It simplifies the process of identifying high-quality leads with minimal manual effort, making it an efficient method for obtaining valuable prospects

Step 2: Make a Lead/Contact List in CSV. Format

Once you've found leads using relevant keywords and filters, it's time to create a list. The simplest way is by using the "Save to list" feature on LinkedIn. Just check the boxes next to the desired profiles, click "Save to list," and then hit the + sign to give the list a name. 

Next, you need to export the lead list into a CSV file because AI-based automation and lead generation tools import contact/lead list into CSV format.

Tip: Use chrome extension of 3rd party tools like Evaboot to export saved profiles into a contact list in CSV format. It also helps in finding emails of the prospects. 

Step 3: Connect Your LinkedIn Account with a LinkedIn Outreach Tool

A linkedIn outreach tool, such as Smartlead, will provide:

  • Automation in sending
    - LinkedIn cold messages
    - Connection requests
    - Liking lead’s recent posts
    - Follow-ups
  • Personalize cold messages
  • Sub-sequences creating option
  • Analytics and Reporting to track outreach results
  • Easy integrations with CRMs and other tools
  • Follow-up Reminders
  • Manage all your accounts in one single platform
  • High reply rate
  • Use multiple LinkedIn accounts to send cold messages
  • Reply to all your connects from one master inbox
  • Warm up leads

The above features will streamline your outreach efforts and bring 10x results than before. This is why it’s recommended to always use a LinkedIn outreach tool for outbound campaigns on this platform.

Keep the above features in mind and choose your outreach tool wisely. Trust me, it will make all the difference.

Once you have subscribed to an outreach tool, connect your LinkedIn account with it. Let me show you how to do this step using Smartlead.

👉Sign in to the app. 

👉Go to “Integrations” tab where you will find “Manage Accounts” options

👉Click on it

👉After clicking the manage accounts option, you will go to page like this. Click on “Add Account”.

There you will options to 

  • Add full name for identification
  • LinkedIn session cookie

To get the LinkedIn Session Cookie

  • Open your LinkedIn account
  • Left click and go to “inspect”
  • Next, click on “Application” and go to the “cookies” tab as shown in the image
  • Under the “cookies” section, click on
  • Search for “li_at” and click on the AQADATX7 weird text on the same line

👉 Copy it and paste it on “LinkedIn Session Cookie” and you are done adding your LinkedIn account with your outreach tool.

Step 4: Import Lead List in LinkedIn Outreach Tool—Smartlead

You need to import the lead list in CSV format to whichever outreach tool you are using. 

Go to main menu and lick on “add campaign”. 

It will lead to a page like below.

Drag and drop the CSV file that you have created earlier or upload from your system. 

Next, fill the all Map Fields. Once you are done, click on “Save & Next”

Step 4: Create a Campaign

It’s recommended to warm-up your leads—let them know you exist—before sending cold messages to sell your product/service.

Warm-Up Leads

You can warm up a lead by

  • Sending connection request
  • Liking recent posts
  • Profile visit

Smartlead provides both “automatic” and “manual” options. You can pick either one. 

You can also create sub-sequences of LinkedIn messages that will get triggered on the scenarios (sub-sequences) you set. 

For example, if the lead accepts your request, you can automate a message for that scenario too. 

Click on the box under the “Push Leads to Subsequence”, name the sub-sequence and click on “edit sub sequence” option to create that message

Once you are done, click on save & next, and you are done. 

If the lead is already connected, you can create a sub-sequence for them too. The process is similar. 

Directly Send Cold Messages

If you don’t want to warm up your leads and want to send cold messages right away, then follow this process. 

Select “message” in the box under “step”.

Next, write the cold message. 

You can create sub-sequences for these campaigns as well. 

Tip: Use spintax to personalize. 

Click on “save & next”. 

Step 5: Set Send Settings

In this step, there are two major options:

  1. Select LinkedIn account from which messages will be sent
  2. Schedule campaign

If you have added multiple accounts, you can choose an account in this step.

For scheduling a campaign, you have options like

  • Time zone
  • Time period between emails
  • Set campaign start date
  • Maximum number of leads reached per day per campaign

Make sure you set the time zone according to your prospects’ routine. 

The next step is the final review where you can check if everything's the way you wanted. 

And, you are done. 

Final Thoughts

In this blog post, I have tried to give a detailed process on how to do LinkedIn outreach using an automation tool. The process may seem a little complex in the beginning, but once you get used to it, it’s super easy. 

Always do the necessary preparation before launching outbound campaigns—such as creating ICP and optimizing your LinkedIn profile. It’s recommended to warm up the leads before sending cold messages. Try to follow this tip for better results. 

Also, research the leads before using LinkedIn private mode to send a more targeted message.

Happy Outreaching! 

Smartlead, get your email delivered and bring sales 

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Author’s Details

Rajnish Das

Rajnish Das is an in-house writer at SmartWriter and SmartLead. She writes product-oriented, data-driven content for B2B SaaS audiences and educates them on marketing and sales topics. Her expertise includes outbound marketing techniques like cold emailing and LinkedIn outreach.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


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