October 20, 2022

How To Generate B2B Leads On LinkedIn: Free & Paid

LinkedIn can be a potent tool. It's a great place to make connections, find jobs, hire new talent, and share professional updates. LinkedIn can also be used to generate accurate and promising B2B leads, allowing you to cater your message to the exact people who are both interested in the goods or services you have to offer and decision makers at their companies.

To successfully leverage LinkedIn as a lead generation tool, you must first understand how the platform works, why people join, and how to best reach them. Read on for real-world advice and helpful tips about how to generate b2b leads on LinkedIn — both free and paid:

How to Generate B2B Leads On LinkedIn

Because LinkedIn makes it easy for people in similar jobs or industries to connect, it’s a valuable setting for cross-company marketing efforts. With LinkedIn providing the network, environment, and technology, the question then becomes how to best leverage the platform.

In sales, it matters just as much who you know as what you know. LinkedIn allows you to search for people through a variety of filters. When it comes to expanding your network for potential sales, it can be helpful to look at where you share or overlap with professionals you haven’t yet met. These can include a similar:

  • Background
  • Industry
  • Title or function
  • Geography
  • Seniority
  • Group membership

With the ability to make connections based on all of these similarities, you can determine which of these professionals might be a good fit for your goods or services. For example, if you run a marketing agency and are looking to connect with VPs of Marketing about becoming a vendor, you’re starting from a place of shared professional interests. Similarly, if you’re a financial advisor in Providence, RI, you can reach out to retail investors in your area who might be interested in working with someone locally. And if you and your prospect are both in the same LinkedIn IT group, starting a conversation around how you can support their data center becomes easier. 

While some members may join LinkedIn simply to establish a professional online profile, many are in search of connections, information, and resources relevant to their industry, job title, or location. This makes them uniquely receptive to any carefully crafted messages or ads to pique their interest.

LinkedIn logo above icons of people.

How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Leads

There are three primary ways to use LinkedIn to generate leads:

  1. Leverage the platform’s free features
  2. Use paid opportunities
  3. Work with a reputable b2b lead generation agency

1. How to Generate Leads on LinkedIn for Free

Generating leads for free on LinkedIn requires diligence and a bit of business savvy. It's all about getting your brand recognized, building trust with your customers, and gauging their interest on your offer:

  • Start by creating informative and engaging profiles for yourself, (your company, and employees - if applicable).
  • Search and connect with potential customers.
  • Publish posts about your industry, company, product, or service.
  • Engage with your connections through post comments and messaging to determine if they’re a good fit for your business.

2. LinkedIn's Paid Platform Options

You can use the paid lead generation avenues on LinkedIn without much cash outlay. These streamline the process and help direct your marketing dollars to the places where they’ll make the most impact.  

The paid lead generation options available through the LinkedIn platform include:

  • LinkedIn Ads (sponsored content, sponsored messaging, text and dynamic ads, lead generation forms)
  • InMail messages
  • Marketing and audience-finding tools like Sales Navigator.

3. Partnering With an Established B2B Lead Generation Agency

Partnering with a trusted and reliable lead generation agency can help streamline the process of finding, contacting, and vetting potential clients. However, not all lead generation agencies are created equal. Before agreeing to let any agency handle your marketing campaigns, you should consider the following:

  • Do they specialize in lead generation (specifically b2b) and use LinkedIn to get it done? If the agency you are considering is proficient in both of these areas, then you are much more likely to see success from your lead generation activities.
  • What specific services do they offer, and at what cost? Many lead generation agencies offer low prices and then tack on extra fees for necessary services. Find out what services a company you are considering offers and whether they offer all-inclusive packages where you can get all of the marketing help you need for a single price.
  • Do they offer DFY (done-for-you) service? Unless you want to be involved in each step of the process or be figuring out software on the fly, it may be best for you to find an agency that will take care of every aspect of your lead generation process and present you with the total package for approval.

LinkedIn Lead Generation Tools

Free Tools


Messaging within and outside your circle on LinkedIn has the potential to produce leads. However, there are parameters set by LinkedIn on how many free messages you are allowed to send and also who you are allowed to send to — unless you are using InMail, you may need to focus your lead generation efforts first on successfully connecting with your target prospect (i.e. Connection Requests). 

Paid Tools

Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator is LinkedIn’s paid sales management tool. It helps streamline prospecting, helps manage leads and communication. We’ve shared extensively about Sales Navigator. To see its merits as a paid tool, check out our pros vs. cons list here. To learn more about Sales Navigator, check out our best practices blog post


InMail allows you to message prospects outside of your circle. Learn more and see how to powerfully leverage InMail with your explainer video post here.

Sponsored Content and Ads

LinkedIn offers several tiers of ads, all with their pricing schedule. These ads also come with a host of features that allow you to target your audience, track the conversion rate of each ad and use analytics to determine the ROI of each ad. The type of ads offered by LinkedIn include:

  • Sponsored content - Reach your audience in their daily feed.
  • Sponsored messaging - Begin conversations within your targeted audience.
  • Dynamic ads - Engage potential customers with personalized ads.
  • Text ads - Use LinkedIn's self-service platform to find your audience and create ad campaigns sent directly to them.

LinkedIn Lead Generation Forms can also be added to your other ads. Lead generation forms present to your potential customers partially filled out, so all they have to do is click on a few boxes to be added to your list of leads.

LinkedIn Lead Generation Best Practices

Here are the steps to begin generating leads on LinkedIn:

  1. Establish a powerful and engaging LinkedIn page for your business - The first thing potential customers may see when looking for more information about your company is your business's LinkedIn page. Make their visit to your company page worth their visit. Fill it with important information about your brand and the goods or services you offer. Also, ensure that your company's page iscurrent. Pages filled with information that is no longer relevant won’t instill confidence or encourage further contact.
  2. Create valuable profile pages - Have all team members, from upper management to entry-level employees, create accessible, honest, and engaging profile pages. When potential customers look for in-depth information about your company from those who know it best, make it worthwhile and easy to find the answers they are looking for.
  3. Connect to your current customers - Encourage your existing customers to connect to your company's page. This can be done by asking them directly or offering rewards to those who do. These connections not only boost your numbers but also let your customers' connections know that you are seen as a trusted resource.
  4. Join LinkedIn Groups - Find the LinkedIn groups most relevant to the goods or services you have to offer or join the groups your current customers are in. This common meeting ground will give you access to many more possible leads.
  5. Make use of the LinkedIn lead generation tools - These tools were created with the sole purpose of helping LinkedIn members take advantage of the lead generation possibilities presented by the site. Learn how to use them
  6. Find a reputable and reliable partner - If learning the nuances of lead generation through LinkedIn requires more time and energy than you have to spare, find an agency to partner with that can make it work for you.

Now that you know how to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn, it is time to use these skills to help your company achieve its full potential and secure a financially solid future.