LinkedIn for B2B lead generation: 9 ways beyond just connecting

Hey, you might need to go beyond checking news and communicating with recruiters on LinkedIn and find clients there. Or you might be unsatisfied with B2B LinkedIn lead generation results and looking for recommendations to optimize your strategy. 

A benefit of LinkedIn is that it attracts people who look for professionally oriented content. Your outreach will be suitable since users expect information to develop their companies and careers.

At the same time, LinkedIn isn’t a go-to channel for any B2B organization and requires a specific approach. 

So, let’s uncover the best ways to use LinkedIn for lead generation.

Using LinkedIn for lead generation: does it works for my company?

Sure, nothing is better than experimenting and testing if the channel is for you.

Though if your audience matches the mentioned below, you should definitely try LinkedIn.

  1. The majority of LinkedIn lead generation strategies work only for social prospects. For instance, recruiters, HR leaders, Founders, CEOs, SEO specialists, marketers of all kinds, freelancers, coaches, consultants, etc.

  2. Users from the United States, India, China, Brazil, and United Kingdoms are prevalent on the platform as of April 2022.

  1. According to 2017 LinkedIn data, the most connected job functions are Human resources, Business development, Product management, Marketing, and Consulting. 

Testing the channel, ensure you reach both groups of LinkedIn sales leads: those actively posting and commenting on the platform and those with «nothing to see for now» in their Activity section. By concentrating only on the first group, you significantly limit your potential. The second group might be active content consumers or just checking LinkedIn weekly for messages and connections. 

Important: LinkedIn might be kind of sound for your business though it might not be the highest ROI activity and isn’t worth the time spent. 

How to use LinkedIn to generate leads

  • Method 1. Company intelligence
  • Method 2. Warming up cold leads
  • Method 3. Thought leadership for lead gen on LinkedIn
  • Method 4. Brand awareness as an amplifier of your B2B LinkedIn lead generation efforts
  • Method 5. LinkedIn Ads to get leads on LinkedIn

Company intelligence

LinkedIn Basic and Sales Navigator might be a goldmine of company and decision-makers info. Here is a non-exhaustive list of what you can find about B2B leads on LinkedIn.

Organization:

  • Hiring spikes

  • With whom of the prospects you have common experience: universities, companies, NGOs

  • Company team geography

  • Which company is buying which

Person:

  • Job changes

  • Background

  • Interests: companies and influencers they follow, group memberships

Warming up cold leads

LinkedIn is often used to warm up cold leads before outreaching them via email or phone. This process includes gaining visibility in front of potential B2B leads on LinkedIn. 

You check what they do on the platform and try to engage in discussions with them or help them. 

Go to their «Activity» section. If they have zero recent posts, go through their likes and comments. Reply to their comments with something funny or interesting. 

Practical comment vs. useless comment.

Thought leadership for lead gen on LinkedIn

Thought leadership isn’t limited to LinkedIn. It is about being an expert in your niche, a go-to person whose opinion is sought, providing unique insights. 

Thought leadership on LinkedIn for B2B lead generation typically means:

a founder, CEO, salesperson, or other employees start creating industry-relevant content, growing the following of the target audience, and sometimes telling stories about their organization and products. 

The way of B2B LinkedIn lead generation is quite time-consuming. Why should you try it?

Based on Edelman data, 54% of decision-Makers and 48% of the C-levels say they spend >1 hour per week checking thought leadership. 

Thought leadership led 47% of buyers to find and finally purchase from a business that wasn't considered to be a leader in a particular field.

Basic tips for LinkedIn thought leadership

  • Set everything for creator mode on LinkedIn

  • produce unique, helpful content curated to prospects' interests 

  • grow following by connecting with your B2B leads on LinkedIn that match your buyer persona

  • post regularly 

  • motivate engagement

  • mention other influencers

Brand awareness as an amplifier of your B2B LinkedIn lead generation efforts

Growing brand awareness through LinkedIn implies actions done under the company brand name and logo. 

The LinkedIn B2B lead generation way includes: creating and developing a company profile, sharing valuable and/or funny content, engaging with relevant influencers and prospects’ posts, organizing live events, etc.

From my experience, the activities rarely directly generate organic website traffic and leads. 

At the same time, your company will be known as an expert in the relevant industry. People will trust you more when searching for the solution and finding your product, they will recommend you to friends or use themselves when facing a problem your product can solve. 

LinkedIn Ads to get leads on LinkedIn

Acquiring leads through paid methods is usually for those who have enough budget. The channel requires a lot of testing until you have a field-proven offer. It's a lot of money. This is especially true for LinkedIn — quite a costly platform for running ads. 

At the same time, LinkedIn is among the top trusted social platforms. There is a greater likelihood that audiences will engage with ads and are less likely to find them annoying. With lead gen in LinkedIn, you get access and can target more profitable and qualified prospects.

There are some tips if you decide to try LinkedIn Ads

  • Boost content that was successful organically

  • Get feedback on the lead quality from the sales team

  • Track the results correctly. The number of purchases and ROI doesn’t apply to every campaign. You might track the number of booked demos, eBook downloads, or signups. 

9 ways to generate leads on LinkedIn

  • 1 way. Communicate via messenger
  • 2 way. Engage with influencers' posts
  • 3 way. Use your posts for LinkedIn sales lead generation
  • 4 way. Attend LinkedIn events
  • 5 way. Participate in LinkedIn groups
  • 6 way. Find alumni of the same college or company
  • 7 way. Use InMails as a last resort
  • 8 way. Engage with prospects’ content (if applicable)
  • 9 way. Find referral leads on LinkedIn faster

Communicate via messenger

One of the most evident strategies to generate leads on LinkedIn is to connect and outreach prospects via messenger. On social media, your tone of voice should be more informal. Experimenting with voice messages, videos, GIFs, and memes is definitely a good idea.

Here is an example of video outreach from Sims Tillirson, VP, Business development at PERKS:

Engage with influencers' posts

To use this LinkedIn sales lead generation way, pick up the influencers who write content closely related to your product. Let’s say, GetProspect is for finding emails → we write a lot about preparing good sales emails → I watch for folks who provide quality content on writing emails. 

To find relevant posts, search keywords and filter by posts. Filter by «Date posted», so your following outreach will be on time. If they commented a few days ago, the odds they are still interested in discussing the issue are very high.

To find influencers, check niche hashtags, check mentions in posts of already found accounts, dig into comments such as in this post. It has around 2k influencers from various niches. You can choose the ones that best fit your audience and subject matter. Even a couple of accounts may result in hundreds of potential prospects.

Set notifications about the influencers’ new posts. 

Comment influencers’ posts yourself to get visibility, contact those who like and comment, and generate leads from LinkedIn. Prospects’ engagement shows that they are at least interested in the issue. Though don’t jump to pitching them right away. After a while, you may ask questions about how they solve this or that problem and suggest solutions. 

Use your posts for LinkedIn sales lead generation

Once you decide to go with thought leadership on the social network, you can connect and contact all users who like or comment on your posts. In one of our previous articles, we provided a 10-step strategy to generate warm leads with your content. 

Attend LinkedIn events

You can use online events for LinkedIn B2B lead generation in at least 2 ways. You can scrape the attendees and personalize outreach with their interest in the event. In addition, you can attend the events and participate in discussions with them. People tend to connect with people with whom they share common interests. 

Tip: check the instructions on how to scrape the attendees faster for LinkedIn sales lead generation.

Participate in LinkedIn groups

Groups are also suitable for showing your niche expertise and finding prospects actively looking for solutions to their day-to-day problems. On the other hand, many groups are just swarming with ads or dead. So you should carefully pick up those with active members and quality content.

For this LinkedIn sales lead generation way consistency matters:

  • visit the chosen groups every 1-2 weeks 

  • share valuable tips, answer questions

  • send connection requests to people who match your ICP and show interest in the problem your product deal with

With groups, you can do the same as with events. Collect their contacts and use membership as an icebreaker. Here is how to do it with the GetProspect email extractor.

 

Find alumni of the same college or company

LinkedIn for b2b lead generation allows you to filter prospects that are alumni of the same colleges, companies, NGOs, etc. You have something in common, so they will be more likely to talk to you.

Reaching a particular account, go to their company profile, «people» section, and check whether their employees have a common ground with you. Some of the folks might be from the decision-maker team ;) 

To generate leads from LinkedIn, you can also search the link https://www.linkedin.com/edu/alumni in your browser and find people who attended the same educational institution. Then search by title, keywords, or a particular company.

Verified emails of found alumni
Use the Chrome Extension to scrape the emails from LinkedIn search or profiles

Use InMails as a last resort

InMails bypass the connection request and go directly to your prospect's inbox.

Based on the LinkedIn report, mass outreach InMails don’t lead to favorable B2B LinkedIn lead generation results. We recommend using it with highly personalized messages targeting a narrow audience or as a last resort if you didn’t reach the prospect via classic Linkedin message and email.

As with emails, pay special attention to the subject line and the beginning of the message.

Engage with prospects’ content (if applicable)

Far from everyone among B2B leads on LinkedIn will be an active contributor on LinkedIn. Though if they do, you can set notifications about their posts (as we showed above) and be the first to react and comment with valuable advice or opinion. 

If they don’t accept your connection request, you can just follow them and build trust through engagement first.

Find referral leads on LinkedIn faster

You can use LinkedIn for sales leads to whom you can come with a reference and thus have credibility from the start.

In short, you can check the LinkedIn connections of your previous or current clients for those matching your ICP and buyer persona. Then go to those customers and ask for a reference. It is frictionless for them, so more likely they will agree. Go here for more detailed instructions.

LinkedIn lead generation strategies

Prepare your profile

Once you turn to lead gen on LinkedIn, your profile should represent a company business card rather than a resume. You should now balance between promoting your organization and staying human. 

Some tips for a better LinkedIn look

  • Tip 1. Add keywords to your headline and «About» section, so potential clients can find you via LinkedIn search.
  • Tip 2. Add a branded background photo with short info about your solution.
  • Tip 3. Use a quality, professional photo.
  • Tip 4. Fill the «Experience» section with details on your success cases and what you do in this current role.
  • Tip 5. Attach the company materials to generate leads from LinkedIn. Go to «Edit experience» →  scroll down to «Media» → press «Add media». It looks like this:   

  • Tip 6. If possible, ask for recommendations to look more credible.

  • Tip 7. Leverage the «Featured» section. Here you can pin your blogs, posts about features, etc. It is a good idea if the publications will lead to your website.

Serment and save profiles you find

To use LinkedIn for sales leads, you can copy every fitting profile to your CRM, or you can use the extension to save and segment found prospects right from a LinkedIn tab. 

The process works as follows with a single profile: click on the «Show email» button → choose the appropriate list in the appeared panel → save the prospect with their email.

And here is how it works with multiple profiles: choose the number of pages you want to save → choose the appropriate list in the appeared panel → save the prospects with emails.

Tip: to save more than 1000 and 2500 profiles on LinkedIn Basic and Sales Navigator accordingly, change the search criteria, so you get fewer LinkedIn sales leads per search. I mean search separately for company sizes and big cities in the country of interest.

Connect like a pro

You will need connections to write messages to the prospects and build a relevant audience. 

Yes, even the LinkedIn connection process requires a specific approach. Either way, you will have a low acceptance rate or even be blocked by LinkedIn. 

How to connect with B2B leads on LinkedIn

  • Don’t go beyond 100 connections a day. It is an approximate LinkedIn limit. You may be blocked for unexpected spikes in connection activities.

  • Carefully pick up those for connecting. They should at least match your ICP. 

  • Have a reason for connecting. You both graduated from the same university, attended the same event, you want to exchange industry insights, etc.

  • Mention the reason in a note. Though don’t tell B2B leads on LinkedIn about your offers right away. Below are a few examples for connection notes.

Compliment them.

 

As a content person who regularly watches vague cold emails, I very much appreciate what you are doing with your Copywriting workshops.

 

Mention a commonality.

Hey to {educational institution} grad!

Saw you from {your small homeland city}, me too!

 

Show the common benefit with LinkedIn sales leads.

Follow you for several months, and your approach is highly creative! I connect with sales experts to exchange insights and collaborate 🤓

 

It looks like we have a common interest in {industry/domain}. I’d love to connect if you’re open to it. 

 

Since we are both in {industry/group} and keep up with what's happening in the space, I thought it would be mutually beneficial to connect. I'd love to follow your posts and learn more about what you do at {company}!

Linkedin marketing, lead generation & B2B sales for LinkedIn: summary

  • LinkedIn is a top B2B channel with a high-quality audience and many decision-makers.

  • It works better with socially active prospects such as HR leaders, marketers, CEOs, freelancers, etc.

  • LinkedIn is useful for research, thought leadership, warming up, and brand awareness.

  • Polish and fill out your LinkedIn profile completely

  • Collect quality leads under your posts, influencers' posts, in LinkedIn groups, and on LinkedIn events

Emails of prospects you find with the LinkedIn tips
Use the Chrome Extension to scrape the emails from LinkedIn search or profiles

LinkedIn B2B lead generation frequently asked questions

How to use LinkedIn to generate B2B sales leads?

  1. Research your potential clients

  2. Warm up cold leads via engagement with their content

  3. Collect inbound leads via thought leadership

  4. Search LinkedIn people and build lists of prospects

  5. Launch paid campaigns to reach broader audiences

  6. Build brand awareness

Can I use LinkedIn for lead generation?

You can use LinkedIn to generate leads if your target audience is active on the platform. The channel might be very profitable if you put effort into developing a beneficial strategy for your business. 

How does LinkedIn generate leads from marketing?

  1. Grow company profile

  2. Motivate employees to share the branded content

  3. Grow executives' LinkedIn accounts

  4. Develop employees' LinkedIn accounts

  5. Test LinkedIn Ads

  6. Conduct live events

  7. Create branded groups

  8. Collaborate with niche influencers

Is LinkedIn good for b2b lead generation?

LinkedIn is good for lead gen since it draws people eager for professional and business-related content. The social network is also among the top trusted platforms. Educating and telling its users about your solutions will be very suitable.

What percentage of B2B leads come from LinkedIn?

80% of social media B2B prospects come from LinkedIn vs. 20% from Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks. While 82% of B2B marketers report that they experience good results with the platform. 

 

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