Should B2B businesses like SaaS, IT services and outsourcing companies use LinkedIn for lead generation?
LinkedIn is the best source for finding quality leads for any B2B business because the target audience is active on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn must be an integral part of every B2B company’s lead generation strategy. In fact, many salespeople swear that LinkedIn is their best source of high quality leads. There are thousands of consultants offering LinkedIn lead generation services training. There are dozens of LinkedIn lead generation tools you can use to increase your productivity.
So how do you generate leads on LinkedIn?
Follow these steps to generate leads on LinkedIn:
Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn presence – your profile and company page – is the most important part of selling on LinkedIn.
It plays a big role in generating inbound leads. Since these leads are cheapest to get and easiest to convert, LinkedIn profile optimization should be your first pit stop on LinkedIn.
To optimize your LinkedIn profile:
- Add a professional profile picture
- Add a headline that clearly tells what you do
- Use the first couple of sentences in your profile to establish trust, value, and your differentiator
- Describe your product or service in detail
- Feature 2-3 case studies in your profile
- Include important keywords about your product or service in your Title and Profile
Some examples of great LinkedIn titles and profiles:
I help companies to win SEO. SEO Consultant
We make B2B video testimonials effortless
Here is the formula for writing your LinkedIn heading:
I <do this> for <target market> <benefit of your product or service>| 3-4 keywords about your service/product> |
For example, my headline says:
Lead generation and sales coach for B2B software and services companies with less than $20M in sales | Get more US customers | Sales Coaching | Inside Sales | LinkedIn Sales | Inbound Sales | US Sales |
Here is my detailed post on LinkedIn profile optimization.
“I generate leads for B2B software companies and coach sales teams on how to get more meetings | B2B Lead generation | Sales Coach | Growth Enabler | LinkedIn Sales Coach |.”
It clearly tells what I do and for whom. My LinkedIn headline also helps me rank higher in searches.
Grow your LinkedIn network
LinkedIn is your professional network. If you have more relevant connections, more people will find you through search. Just like other social media platforms, more connections mean more people will see your content.
So being connected to many relevant people is critical to generating b2b leads from LinkedIn. Influencers give you both reach and exposure, while connecting to prospects allows you to nurture them into customers.
Expect about 20-30% connection acceptance rate. If you send 5 requests every day, 1-2 of those will accept it. That may not sound like a lot. But getting in front of 20-25 targeted prospects every month isn’t too shabby either.
Joining relevant LinkedIn groups is another good option to grow your network and reach on LinkedIn.
Once someone accepts connection request, you can find his/her email address and move the person to your email campaigns.
Here is my detailed post on how to grow your LinkedIn network.
How to build a targeted list of prospects from LinkedIn posts
You’ll be surprised how easily you can build a list of target audience from popular posts of influencers in your industry.
The following is a post by Jason Lemkin, the founder of Saastr which is the biggest SaaS community in the world:
People engaging with this post are clearly interested in building a successful SaaS business. Most of them are founders and decision makers at growing SaaS companies. If you sell HR consulting services, you can build a highly targeted list from the people who engaged with this post.
You can easily add 15-20 high-quality leads to your sales funnel every month using this tactic. Larger companies have marketing teams dedicated to this activity, but you can also do it by spending 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn.
Of course, not everyone engaging with the post is a prospect. So, you need to filter out the irrelevant folks to create your lead list.
How to generate leads from LinkedIn job posts
LinkedIn job posts are a goldmine for lead generation. Look at this job post:
If you provide software development services, this company is a great prospect for you. They have a need; you have a solution. They may be a great prospect if you sell recruiting software or staffing solution.
You can dozens of high quality leads every week from LinkedIn job posts.
How to generate leads from event related posts on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an excellent place for booking calls and meetings with prospects at events.
Look at the following post:
It’s about SaaS growth tactics from the Saastr 2021 conference. More than 200 people engaged with this post.
If you are a growth hacker or a marketing agency, these 200+ people could be great prospects for you.
You can also use LinkedIn for booking meetings in the lead up to an event.
If you plan to attend an industry event, either in-person or virtual, you can use LinkedIn to connect with your prospects. Here is how to do it effectively:
- Monitor event related hashtags to find which prospects are going to the event
- Send them a connection request
- Message them to schedule a time to catch up over coffee, a meal or in between tracks
- Create a list of speakers who could be a good prospect for you. Attend their session and connect with them afterwards on LinkedIn, using the session as the bridge.
Every industry has at least one major event happening every month. Use these events to build a list of highly qualified lead list from LinkedIn and to connect with them.
How to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to build and monitor lead lists
LinkedIn Sales Navigator (LSN) is the most powerful LinkedIn lead generation tool.
You can quickly build a list of highly targeted prospects using its advanced filters like:
- company size by revenue
- Company employee count
- Employee growth rate
- Technologies used
- Recent leadership changes or funding events
- Recent job change
- Shared experiences
- Job title/experience
- Membership of LinkedIn groups
- Posted about a topic
- Connections of your first-degree connection
You can build a targeted list of prospects in just 15 minutes with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. After you save the list, LSN will monitor the leads in the list and notify you about their activities:
Notice how you get a snapshot of important events related to both leads and accounts. Use these alerts as triggers for your prospecting messages.
Do not send people cold messages on LinkedIn though, as people do not appreciate these. First, connect with them and build a relationship.
While LSN is a great tool, its not cheap, so it may not fit in the marketing budget of small companies.
How engage with and nurture prospects for LinkedIn lead generation
There is no point in having a network if you don’t nurture the contacts. You can engage your prospects on LinkedIn by:
- Sharing relevant content
- Engaging with your prospects
Look at this post by Jeb Blount, best-selling author and CEO of Salesgravy
Its great advice for all sales professionals. You can see that in the post engagement. This is the kind of content you should share on LinkedIn.
In addition to sharing on your timeline, also send a direct message to your prospects when you have a good content to share.
Here are some things you should share on LinkedIn:
- interesting blog post
- short videos
- white papers
An easier way to nurture your LinkedIn prospects is to engage directly with them. Like/share their posts and comment on it.
When you do that, the person will get a notification that you engaged with the post. Repeat engagement builds familiarity and creates an incentive for the person to engage with you.
Bonus Tips for LinkedIn lead generation
Use time block for LinkedIn prospecting
Set aside 45 minutes to an hour in your calendar for LinkedIn lead prospecting. Split this time between sending connection requests, engaging with prospects and list building from high engagement posts.
Give your posts a booster within 45-60 minutes
The engagement your post gets within the first 45-60 minutes determines how many people see it. So, for important posts, hustle to get 8-10 Likes and comments within this golden hour. The best option is to ask your friends, colleagues and connections to like or comment. LinkedIn gives more weight to comments, so prioritize comments over Likes.
Since can’t ask others to engage with every post, do it only for the posts that have quality content.
Engage with people visiting your profile
If you use LinkedIn premium or LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can see the profile views report. It shows you who has visited your profile and how they found you. Think of it as a missed call!
If the person is already connected to you on LinkedIn, message him/her to start a conversation. For level 2 or level 3 connections, start by sending them a connection request. If they accept it, you can engage with them and nurture them into future customers.
Respond to every comment on your posts
Responding to comments shows you value what the person has to say. It also lets you control the discussion and nudge it back to the original topic if it goes off-topic.
It doubles the count of comments on the post. LinkedIn pushes posts with more comments so your post will reach more people.
Post external links in comments
Like other social networks, LinkedIn does not like it if you include an external link in the post because it will send people away from LinkedIn. So, posts with external links are not promoted by LinkedIn algorithm.
If you want to link to an external site like your blog post, add the link in a comment. Then paste the link to the comment in your post.
Tag others in your posts
One of the best ways to get someone’s attention is to tag the person in the post. Most people will engage with your post if you tag them. This builds relationship with the person and gets your post more views on LinkedIn. You should always tag the author when you share a blog post or article on LinkedIn.
Do not use automation tools for sending connection requests
Automation tools can streamline and reduce manual effort when doing b2b lead generation. But LinkedIn hates these tools and has mechanisms to detect them. You can use these tools for labor-intensive activities like scraping list of people who engage with a post. But using automation to send connection requests is a big no because you cannot personalize them.
Read my blog posts on LinkedIn automation tools and marketing automation tools to learn when and how to use them.