Mastering LinkedIn Prospecting: A Novice-to-Pro Guide

7
Min
Created On:
June 1, 2023
Updated On:
March 14, 2024
LinkedIn Prospecting

New B2B marketers might find it overwhelming on LinkedIn, and that’s totally understandable! 

As recent as 2023, there are more than 58 million businesses listed on the platform, with 2.7 million of them posting every day. 

Now, if you are looking for B2B prospects, LinkedIn is definitely the hotbed of it. However, random prospecting wouldn’t work. 

You must know how to do LinkedIn prospecting strategically to yield better results. This article is a detailed guide on what it is, how to do it, and the general dos and don'ts of prospecting on this platform. 

What is LinkedIn Prospecting 

LinkedIn prospecting is a process of identifying prospects on LinkedIn and nurturing them with relevant content. 

It’s a social selling method that helps marketers narrow down potential prospects that match their ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). This selling process includes:

  • Identifying 
  • Connecting
  • Engaging 
  • Nurturing
  • Selling

Step-by-Step LinkedIn Prospecting Guide

Prospecting on LinkedIn is a complex process—including so many steps from identifying prospects to nurturing them.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do LinkedIn prospecting.  

Create LinkedIn Personal Page/Profile

Personal pages on LinkedIn are nothing but your personal profiles. Marketers should use their profiles/pages as a digital representation of their professional brand. 

Your personal page must have

  • Good headshot clicked by a professional photographer. It must reflect your image as an industry expert. 
  • The background banner must display something related to your product/service or expertise.
  • The headline on your profile must mention your product/service.  
  • Write a detailed “About” section. It must provide a quick picture of your journey with the product (you want to sell). 
  • List of experiences (explain what your job responsibilities were).
  • Professional network friends/acquaintances as “connections”. 

Take a look at LinkedIn influencer’s Shay Rowbottom’s profile

linkedin video coaching shay rowbottom

Create a LinkedIn Company/Product Page

If your company has the same name as your product, like Smartlead, you can create a company page as we did. 

Take a look at the screenshot of our company page.   

Smartlead linkedin page

In case your product name is different from your company name, you need to make a LinkedIn product page additional to the company page. 

Every day, millions of businesspeople search for b2B products on LinkedIn. An active product page will make it easier for your prospects to find you. 

Other than B2B software, LinkedIn provides product pages for insurance, education, computer hardware, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare industries. 

Things you should keep in mind while creating a product page on LinkedIn for your product/service are:

  • Write a detailed product description.
  • Highlight the pain points the product can resolve
  • Add featured customers from various ranges of companies. The featured customers must include both big and small-scale companies. 
  • Upload media such as customer video testimonials, interviews of the founder, podcast/YouTube video clips
  • Add CTA, such as Download Now, Try Now, Start 7-Day Free Trial, Get Started, Request Demo, etc. 
  • Images must be within 8 MB.
  • Videos must be within 5 GB.
  • Try to keep video content within 3 minutes for better results.
  • List customer logos
  • Ask happy customers to write a review

Once you are ready with the personal and product pages, it’s time to start looking for prospects. 

Repurpose ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) & Buyer Persona

While social selling, most sales/marketing teams already have their ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) or buyer personas ready. However, it’s recommended to do fresh research on LinkedIn before launching any prospecting campaigns. 

Take a look around. Check out your competitors’ pages and see who’s buying from them. Dig deeper and repurpose your ICP and buyer persona before moving to the next step. 

The perfect buyer persona for LinkedIn prospecting has characteristics such as:

  • They are the decision maker of their organization/company.
  • They have the shortest sales cycle.
  • They resolve pain points with your product.
  • They see an increase in ROI with your product.
  • They recommend your product socially.

Repurpose your ICP based on the companies that 

👉Convert faster

👉Have the best customer retention rate

👉Highest Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), etc. 

Create a Lead List

After you are done researching and repurposing your ICP, it’s time to start the prospecting process on LinkedIn. To do that, make a list of the companies/people you want to be your customers. 

If this job is too tiring, you can obviously opt for an AI-based tool that can provide lead lists for you. But, to get the best results, it’s better to create prospect lists on your own. 

Wondering how to create a B2B lead list for LinkedIn?

Don’t worry. I have got your back. Check out the following ways to create your lead list.

Using LinkedIn Search Filters

Manually create the list by using LinkedIn’s advanced searches. If you are looking for CEOs, you can modify the “job title” filter to do so. 

Similarly, if you are looking for people based in New York, you can simply update the location before clicking on the search button.   

Starting a Newsletter

Starting a newsletter is a great way to make a lead list for your upcoming sales campaigns. Create content highly relevant to your product that can help your potential B2B buyers increase ROI directly and make significant changes in their businesses. 

People who subscribe to your newsletter are your potential customers. If your content is good enough, the prospects might even share it across various channels.  

Creating White Paper 

A white paper is a document/material that companies create to provide relevant content/information related to the services they provide or the product they sell. 

For instance, if you are selling an AI-based email writing software, you can create a document on ChatGPT prompts.  

Sharing a white paper on LinkedIn will lead many prospects to your page/profile. 

Free guides also work marvelously if marketed well. This type of lead-collecting process might take a little time, but they are totally worth it.

Creating a Group on LinkedIn

Another effective method of gathering potential leads is creating LinkedIn groups. If you know a handful of people who might be interested in your product someday in the future, create a group by adding them. 

Keep these leads engaged with value-adding content. It doesn’t have to be unique content every day. You can also forward helpful articles, videos, or guides that you found elsewhere. But it’s important to keep the discussion going. 

You can also discuss laws, news updates, or other recent industry-related developments. 

Hosting Events

If a newsletter or group seems like time-taking process, then host events on LinkedIn. Host webinars on industry-related topics (mainly pain points) to draw interest from your potential customers. 

Add Personalized Notes in Connection Requests

Once you have a lead list, no matter how small it is, you should start DM-ing your prospects. Don’t forget to add a note while sending connection requests. 

The personalized note can be like email. Here’s an example:

Hey Mark, 

I am Vaibhav from Smartlead. 

Recently, I came across your post on “LinkedIn automation tools,” and I think you did an awesome job. The breakdown of the features will help many tech-illiterate people in their LinkedIn journey. 

As fellow industry professionals, I think we should connect and help each other grow on LinkedIn. Let me know how you feel about this. 

Thanks, 

Vaibhav

You can go for even shorter prospecting messages like:

Hey Mark,

I am Vaibhav from Smartlead. I loved your post on “LinkedIn Automation tools”. I thought it would be great if we could connect and help each other grow on LinkedIn. 

Regards, 

Vaibhav. 

However, if you find writing personalized notes too daunting, then you can use AI-based writing tools to do the job for you. But, remember, personalization is the key. Everyone is doing it. You should too. 

Never pitch while sending a connection request. 

A B2B sales cycle is time-taking for sure, but being impatient can scare away leads. So, be careful. 

Engage

Creating lead lists, sending connection requests, etc., are starters in LinkedIn prospecting. The main course is, of course, “engagement”. 

You can use AI-driven tools to initiate the conversation by sending the first messages, but that’s not going to bring you leads. 

To generate highly-qualified leads, you must actively engage with your prospects. Take proper time to engage with them on LinkedIn to build a long-term relationship. 

One of the ways to do this is by commenting and reposting their posts. This will also increase your chances of being seen by other prospects. 

However, the primary strategy remains value-adding posts. The content must be interesting enough for your prospects to stop scrolling and comment on them. Try to post regularly for steady growth and visibility. 

Tracking and Measuring Success

To measure prospecting success, you track the following KPIs (Key Performance Indicators):

Connection Rate

The connection rate is the number of people who accepted your connection requests out of the total number of connections you sent out.

This metric will help you understand your “note-writing” performance. 

Response Rate

The response or reply rate is the number of people who replied to your message trying to initiate a conversation out of the total number of messages you sent. 

Engagement Rate

This metric is the total number of clicks, interactions, and new followers acquired out of the total number of impressions received by your post. 

The engagement rate is crucial for prospecting on LinkedIn. 

Interest Rate

This metric shows how many people were interested in continuing the interaction further out of the total number of messages you sent out to invite people. 

Why is LinkedIn the Best Platform for Prospecting in 2023?

Did you know LinkedIn is an older platform than Facebook?

Yep. Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004, while LinkedIn was launched in 2003 by Reid Hoffman and others. 

Since then, it has changed the entire B2B industry. Before that, it was very hard to find potential B2B leads and prospects in the same place. 

In 2023, LinkedIn will have around 900 million users. If you are in the B2B industry, LinkedIn is your hub for prospecting. 

It will provide you with the tools to search for prospects, nurture them, and eventually convert them into customers. 

Last year, the annual revenue of LinkedIn was a whopping amount of $14.5 billion. If you want to be a part of this, start today. 

In case you want to try a different channel as well, learn about cold email prospecting. 

Types of Automation Tools for Cold Prospecting on LinkedIn

To generate a high ROI from LinkedIn, automate the entire process. You can use three types of tools to do that. 

  1. Lead Generation tool
  2. A CRM tool
  3. A tool to track analytics

Lead Generation Tool—LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Making a lead list or group of your prospects is a time taking process. It will take around 5 to 6 months minimum to build a good presence on LinkedIn. 

What do you do till then?

You can use AI-based lead generation tools to find B2B/B2C leads or prospects. For this, you don’t have to look for third-party software. LinkedIn has its own tool for this job. 

It’s called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It can 

  • Help you find potential leads/prospects
  • Provide customized suggestions on your prospects’ account
  • Provide information on your prospects’ recent updates
  • Help you text people beyond your connections with the InMail messages feature
  • Create value-adding content with its Smart Link Presentations feature

The subscription for LinkedIn Sales Navigator begins at $99/month. To learn more, go there

CRM—Hubspot

When you are neck deep at sales prospecting on LinkedIn using automation tools, you will have hundreds of potential buyers at various stages of your B2B sales cycle. At this stage, it’s impossible to keep track of each and every prospect. This is where CRM comes in handy.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software) helps you record data, such as name, contact details, email address, company name, company size, etc. 

As they advance in the B2B sales funnel, you can keep updating the information about them. This way, it makes it easier for the sales/marketing team to track the target prospects and find information about them. 

Other popular CRMs for LinkedIn prospecting are Salesforce, MailChimp, etc. 

Analytics—Hootsuite

When it comes to successful prospecting on Social Media platforms, tracking KPIs and analytics play a very important role. It helps you to evaluate your sales effort and improve accordingly. 

Third-party software like Hootsuite is great at doing this job for you. These tools can track both your paid and organic traffic on a single dashboard. On top of that, Hootsuite also shows your sales performance on other social media channels as well. 

Other popular software to do this job is Sprout Social and Buffer.

Most Common Mistakes in LinkedIn Prospecting That’ll Ruin Your ROI

This section contains some of the most common mistakes that marketers make. Go through them to launch a successful campaign on LinkedIn.

Pitching in Connection Request

NEVER pitch in the additional note you send while requesting for connection. Don’t do that. 

There’s nothing sales suicide-y as this cheap stunt. This will repel your prospects immediately. 

If you are into B2B business, then you must know how important “time” is. You don’t want the prospect to buy your subscription for one month only. You want them to stay for a longer period. 

This is where lead nurturing swoops. Nurturing the prospects/leads with good content will keep them for the long run. 

Not Sending Personalized Note

If you are sending a connection request to a potential customer, don’t hesitate to put in some effort. Try to write a personalized note depending on their seniority level. 

A generic note saying, “Hey, can we connect?” might not work for business owners, CEOs, COO, or founders. And if they are popular on LinkedIn with thousands of followers, it will surely not work. Why?

Because there are hundreds of other businesses like you, who are also trying to get in touch with the prospect. 

In such cases, it’s recommended to write a personalized note. For personalization, you can 

👉 Appreciate their work/contribution to the industry

👉 Refer to one of their recent posts

👉 Refer to articles written by/on them

👉 Refer to a podcast they were in 

👉 Refer to a YouTube video they were in, etc. 

If you are too busy to personalize each connection request note, use AI-based software. 

Not Commenting on Prospect’s Posts

When it comes to LinkedIn, many marketers think that creating value-adding content is everything. But, that’s not the case. 

Many famous marketers have often said that commenting on other people's posts has helped them increase visibility and create a community on LinkedIn. 

Remember, your goal is also to create something similar to a community—you want an audience of your own. To achieve this, you must actively comment and engage in your prospects’ posts. This will help you develop a healthy business relationship with your potential clients. 

Product-centric Sales Techniques

It’s 2023—time to forget product-centric sales. 

Heard about spin selling?

It’s a book on B2B sales strategy written by the legendary salesperson Neil Rackham. It was written back in 1988, and even at that time, Mr. Rackham was talking about “playing the adviser” to the prospects. 

Now, almost two and half decades later, the customer-centric sales technique is the best one in the market. The same goes for prospecting on LinkedIn. 

If you want to profit from LinkedIn, stop the product-centric conversation. Try to listen to what the prospect is saying. 

Never advertise your product in the prospect’s comment section.

Try a customer-centric engagement. Talk to the potential prospects about their pain point. Help them educate themselves about their pain points. Provide material for that. If they consider you as the adviser, they will surely buy from you in the long run. 

Not Creating a Product/Company Page on LinkedIn

If you wanna do LinkedIn prospecting, the first step is to create a (virtual) location for your product. There must be something on the platform where people can go to learn more about your product. 

Many newbies often overlook the importance of product/company products. Instead, they focus on creating a personal brand. 

A personal page with a good following is always beneficial for B2B businesses. It helps both in hiring and selling. However, it can’t replace the need for a product/company page. 

If you want to increase revenue by selling your product, first, create a LinkedIn product page.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn prospecting is the present and future for B2B sales. If you want to 

  • Build online presence
  • Create social proof
  • Generate leads
  • Nurture your leads

LinkedIn is the best platform for you. All you need to do is create a well-researched ICP and buyer’s persona, use automation tools, and create value-adding content. The goal is to start customer-centric conversations.

If you are ready to invest your time and money in the above, you can reap profit from LinkedIn prospecting in no time. Don’t forget to track reply rates, engagement rates, etc. 

Smartlead, get your email delivered and bring sales 

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Here's how to do it

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P.s. You can also use our pre-built templates available in the app.

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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.

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Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey

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Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

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Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

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The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

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Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
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2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
 
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

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No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

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Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

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