LinkedIn Prospecting Tools: Choose the Right One to Increase Your Sales Pipeline
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, is a rich source of qualified leads for B2B entrepreneurs and marketers. Perhaps no other social media platform is better suited for sales prospecting and lead generation than LinkedIn.
Of the over 830 million LinkedIn members, 61 million are senior-level influencers and 40 million are decision-makers. About 50% of B2B buyers reference LinkedIn when making buying decisions. These are the people at the helm of the multilayered B2B buying process who make or influence purchasing decisions. Reaching such influential LinkedIn members gives you a better chance of converting some of them into buying from you and becoming repeat clients.
However, getting LinkedIn leads isn’t as straightforward as sending a cold outbound message to your LinkedIn prospect list and waiting for calls to buzz in. You must first choose the right LinkedIn prospecting tools and design a reliable strategy to help you identify, connect, and build productive relationships with LinkedIn members.
Let’s dig in and find out how LinkedIn prospecting works, and how to choose and use the right LinkedIn prospecting tools for your company.
Does Prospecting on LinkedIn Work?
Yes, LinkedIn prospecting works if you follow the right process:
- Define your ideal customer profile and buyer persona.
- Identify LinkedIn members who fit your customer profile.
- Develop your LinkedIn outreach campaign and set goals.
- Reach out to your targeted prospects using customized message templates.
Doing these things can garner you many qualified leads, increasing your possibilities of landing loyal and long-term clients. On the other hand, sending cold InMails to random prospects will likely generate you few – or, perhaps – zero leads.
Ultimately, the volume of sales you generate qualifies the success of your prospecting campaigns on LinkedIn. This shows why 79% of B2B marketers regard LinkedIn as a dependable source of earning B2B leads.
How Do I Use LinkedIn as a Prospecting Tool?
Prospecting tools expedite the lead generation process by collecting and analyzing your target audience demographics and leveraging that information to engage your audience more closely. That way, you get to close more deals faster. By this definition, a free and basic LinkedIn membership may not qualify as a powerful prospecting tool, but LinkedIn Sales Navigator can.
While you can do lead generation using regular LinkedIn, you might only scratch the surface if you have ambitious sales targets. With Sales Navigator, you enjoy advanced features that bridge your prospecting game to the next level. These features include the following:
- Advanced lead and company search
- Lead recommendations
- CRM integration
- Real-time sales update
- Notes and tags
- Who’s viewed your profile
- Smart links presentations
- InMail messages
LinkedIn Sales Navigator features help you target, understand, and engage your leads. When you expedite these three crucial processes of sales prospecting, then you’ll be more successful with your outreach efforts. If you’re consistent, you can achieve remarkable results with LinkedIn Sales Navigator in the short and long term.
How Do I Find a LinkedIn Prospect?
This is the crux of prospecting. It doesn’t come easily, especially when targeting upper deck B2B influencers and decision-makers. At the basic level, finding your next prospect is as easy as doing a filtered search on LinkedIn. However, if you only source irrelevant leads, you can waste your and others’ time.
To get highly qualified prospects on LinkedIn, you need more than a basic filtered search. You have to be strategic from the get-go. Here’s the step-by-step process to implementing a winning lead generation strategy.
Step 1: Fine-Tune Your LinkedIn Profile
As first impressions go, LinkedIn profiles shout the loudest. Your profile is the first thing prospects will survey as soon as they interact with your outreach message. Your LinkedIn profile should have:
- A relevant and enticing tagline, summary, and work experience section
- A professional and high-quality profile photo
- A customized background image
Step 2: Engage the Relevant Audience
Before you send InMails, connection requests, or share niche content, take time to identify your buyer persona. This way, you’ll direct all your prospecting efforts to your target audience and get optimum results. However, refrain from pitching your product at the first interaction or immediately after, as most LinkedIn users detest hard sells.
Step 3: Join Industry-Related LinkedIn Groups and Be Productive
Most B2B decision-makers don’t post regularly on LinkedIn. Instead, they’re more likely to comment, post, and react on selected LinkedIn groups where their peers are. Gaining membership in such private groups will give you an audience with the shot-callers in your industry.
Once accepted to a LinkedIn group, you’ll want to stay active and engage with the group community. By contributing regularly, you’ll position yourself among the thought-leaders in your industry. You’ll be familiar to the members of your target LinkedIn group. Thus, when you send them InMails or connection requests you’re likely to have a higher reply and acceptance rate.
What are the Different Types of LinkedIn Prospecting Tools?
There are possibly tens of hundreds of LinkedIn prospecting tools today. While each tool may have its differentiation point, they can all be classified under two main types:
- LinkedIn browser extensions
- LinkedIn cloud-based tools
For browser extension tools, you have to download them from your web browser’s store and integrate them with LinkedIn. Dux-Soup is an example. Typically, such automation tools gain control over your LinkedIn account once you run them and may put your account at risk of being shut down.
Conversely, cloud-based tools are hosted in the cloud, and you don’t need to download them from your web browser. They offer you more customization features and are relatively safer than browser-based tools.
How Do You Automate Leads on LinkedIn?
Automation comes in handy when running lengthy or widespread prospecting campaigns. Automating activities such as sending connection requests, prospect filtering, and drafting follow-up messages can save you tons of time.
Outreach automation helps you promptly reach specific segments of prospects with tailored messaging addressing their pain points.
Like LinkedIn prospecting tools, there are also multiple LinkedIn automation tools today. But exercise caution — some of these tools may put your account at risk or their actions be prohibited by LinkedIn. When in doubt, seek the expertise of top LinkedIn lead generation agencies (e.g. Cleverly) as they’ll be able to offer sound recommendations and best practices on LinkedIn prospecting, its tools, and how to generate recurring leads.