LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to directly sell your product or service through social media. This is especially true in B2B sectors that use an outbound sales approach.
In fact, B2B sales done over LinkedIn are 100% more likely to convert than on other social media channels.
However, LinkedIn outbound prospecting often gets a bad rap. That’s because many people don’t use it correctly.
How many times have you received subpar connection requests where…
- You aren’t interested in what the person has to say?
- You have no connections to their industry?
- The message itself feels generic and forced?
This article explains how to avoid these mistakes and optimize your LinkedIn outbound prospecting by using personalization, lead generation, and image-building techniques.
First, we’ll step back from LinkedIn to define outbound sales more generally and explain why it’s so popular.
What Are Outbound Sales?
Outbound sales are when a sales professional actively reaches out to potential customers—think door-to-door salespeople, telemarketers, and sales agents who pursue leads.
This sales strategy is often considered traditional. That’s because before the digital communication revolution happened, it was the only way to approach sales.
However, the advance of digital marketing and customer data becoming readily available gave rise to inbound sales. This is when you use online marketing to get customers to come to you.
At first glance, inbound sales seem a better option than outbound:
- You don’t need to pay sales professionals.
- The money you save can be used to serve your customers better.
- It’s less intrusive than outbound sales.
- It allows you to target customers who want your product and who you want to work with.
- Today’s customers receive promotional offers on a daily basis and are therefore more sensitive to feeling as if they’re being sold to.
But, as you’re about to see, things aren’t so black-and-white.
Inbound vs. Outbound Sales: Which Is Better?
Good sales involve a sales rep attracting customers by addressing their unique pain points and building lasting relationships that lead to the generation of revenue.
In other words, it entails personalizing your approach and providing value.
With inbound sales, customers won’t engage with you if you don’t offer them personalization and value. That’s why inbound sales are well regarded. Companies provide high-quality content that the prospect finds genuinely useful. They gradually gain their trust and subtly move them toward a purchase.
Outbound sales, on the other hand, skip the “attracting” part. Salespeople who use an outbound approach don’t wait for customers to come to them, but reach out to prospects instead. This makes it quicker for the company to get customers’ attention and achieve results.
The problem is some sellers take a volume-based approach where they try to contact as many leads as possible—whether they think the customer is interested in their offer or not. This has given outbound sales a bad reputation.
Inbound sales might seem like a more intelligent approach that suits the digital age, but outbound sales are still highly effective—if done right.
You need to use techniques that make inbound sales successful and apply them to outbound sales.
Using LinkedIn for Outbound Sales Prospecting
LinkedIn—the largest professional network on the Internet—is perfect for:
- Making connections.
- Collecting quality B2B leads.
- Reaching out to prospects.
- Building relationships.
It’s used by B2B marketers from all over the world to increase brand awareness and achieve organic traffic.
96% of B2B marketers claim they use LinkedIn for social media marketing, especially organic marketing. More importantly, many B2B decision-makers use it to conduct research—over 30 percent use it for this purpose.
Here are some ways to leverage this and make the most out of your LinkedIn outbound sales.
1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Reviewing your LinkedIn profile before you start outbound prospecting on LinkedIn is crucial. Don’t start sending connection requests and outreach messages until you’re satisfied your LinkedIn profile is complete and looks professional.
Here are some quick tips on what to do.
- Profile and cover pictures: Your LinkedIn profile picture is the first thing your prospects will see, so make sure you look friendly, professional, and trustworthy. Your cover photo should help highlight the value you bring to customers.
Here’s my own profile picture. I’m smiling and wearing my Hyperise hoodie. The cover image shows someone creating a personalized image with our value proposition visible in the corner.
- Headline: Too many people make the mistake of getting all fancy with their headlines and descriptions. Try to be as honest and to the point as possible. Briefly and directly explain what exactly it is that you do. Mine is “Helping B2B Sales and Marketing teams double outreach engagement, using Hyper-Personalization.”
- Description: Here, it’s a good idea to tell a little success story of how you got where you are, what your area of expertise is, and the kind of projects you had the most success with.
Here’s a good example from one of LinkedIn’s most well-known members, Simon Sinek:
- Recommendations: Nothing gives you credibility like satisfied clients. After you’ve completed a project, ask your client to give you a LinkedIn recommendation. You can even write it yourself and ask their approval. These recommendations are prominently placed on your LinkedIn profile and serve as great social proof of success.
Here’s a good example from disability rights advocate, Tiffany Yu’s profile:
Gijo Matthew’s profile is a good example that takes all the tips provided above into account:
2. Build up your personal brand
Once you have an optimized LinkedIn profile, it’s time to start getting traffic to your profile and building up your image in the industry.
Think about it: you’ll have a much better chance of winning someone’s business if they already know your name from discussions, posts, and LinkedIn groups.
So, focus on becoming a relevant voice that your target audience trusts. Two effective ways to do this are: to post relevant content and join LinkedIn groups.
Posting relevant content
There are no strict rules for posting relevant content. You need to do research to see what your audience wants to read/watch.
Depending on your field, people will likely be interested in case studies, success stories, research results, or other new insights presented in interesting ways.
Joining LinkedIn groups
To find relevant groups, start typing whatever your industry is into the LinkedIn search bar, and select “Groups” as the criteria.
You’ll be presented with a list of groups to choose from. For example, check out what comes up when you search for “social selling”:
That’s close to 400 LinkedIn groups, all focused on professionals from within that industry. Joining groups relevant to you enables you to engage in conversations, which is a great way to get yourself noticed and even gain some organic connections.
Who knows, after a while you might make enough connections to start your own group. Then you’ll have created a small community of people who holds you in high regard.
3. Start getting leads
Generating high-quality leads is one of the most important parts of the sales process. It should be your top priority when using LinkedIn for outbound prospecting.
Let’s go over some smart ways to collect relevant leads.
Search for clients’ connections
LinkedIn’s advanced search is a great place to start hunting for leads. It has useful search filters like job title, current employer, previous employer, etc.
It also enables you to search each person’s connections on LinkedIn. Here’s how:
1. Choose an industry you want to target with LinkedIn sales. For this example, let’s say we want to get more clients in the digital marketing industry.
2. Take a look at your existing clients or connections on LinkedIn who work in digital marketing. Try to find one with a lot of followers.
3. Go to “My network” and click on “Connections”.
4. Choose “Search with filters”.
5. Click “All filters” below the search bar and choose “Connections of”.
6. Click on that and enter your client’s name.
7. You’ll be presented with a list of their connections. These are all good leads since they’re from the same industry and are likely to be interested in your services.
Groups aren’t only good for image-building. They are also a great source of potential leads. You can use an automation tool that can scrape the contacts of all members in just a few clicks.
This method can be used for Facebook groups as well—simply scrape the contacts and get in touch on LinkedIn.
Phantombuster is a great tool for scraping, because it can scrape contacts from both LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as perform various other actions you’ll find useful.
Use lead magnets
Another way to collect leads is by creating valuable content for free—but only if the person gives you their email address. We call this type of content a lead magnet.
Lead magnets usually include eBooks, guides, industry reports—anything your target audience is willing to get in exchange for their email address.
Whatever the format is, make sure your users understand exactly what it is you’re offering—you could damage your reputation if they feel they’ve been misled.
Here is a good example that features a prominent CTA, clear intention, and compelling copy:
4. Qualify those leads
Lead qualification is a critical step, but it’s one many sales professionals skip. Getting this right makes a big difference in your outreach results.
Your business should already have identified customer personas. These are descriptions of what your ideal customers look like—they’re the people and companies that need your service the most, are profitable, won’t churn, and are easy to serve.
If you don’t have a customer persona yet, then you need to do that before anything else. It should include:
- How old are they?
- What industry do they work in?
- What’s their job title?
- How big is their business?
- What are the challenges they face?
These questions help you understand how valuable a lead is. The closer they match this ideal persona, the more valuable they are.
It’s important to disregard leads that don’t match your customer persona. If they are not profitable or they don’t need your service, then why waste time on them? Focus your efforts on winning business with best-fit clients instead.
5. Start with personalized outreach
Now that you’ve compiled a qualified list of leads, you can craft messages and connection requests—the bedrock of outbound LinkedIn sales.
The reason many outreach messages feel spammy, is they aren’t personalized to the person being targeted. This will be quite obvious to any person when your message is a generic sales pitch not aimed at them in particular.
Tailoring each message to your prospect will make sure that your connection requests don’t get ignored like spammy messages often are.
You could personalize your messages by manually writing each of your connection requests from scratch. This becomes much easier if you have an automation tool to help you.
That’s what you can do with Hyperise: hyper-personalize your messages to not only get better results, but also impress your prospects.
What separates Hyperise from similar personalization tools is image personalization. Our intuitive software enables you to create highly personalized messages that contain an image specifically tailored to each of your prospects.
Best of all, you don’t need any coding knowledge. Here is what we mean:
Notice how even the prospect who wasn’t that interested in our offer, still had a strong reaction to our message. That’s what you get when you take a completely unique approach to outreach.
If you want to go even more advanced, you can use a personalized CTA page, like in this example:
Here, when the user clicks on the link in the LinkedIn message, it leads them to a personalized page where they can book a demo or perform all sorts of actions.
If you use WordPress, all you need for this to work is a plugin.
Outbound LinkedIn sales still struggle to shake their reputation for nuisance messaging. But it’s only a nuisance if your approach is impersonal and doesn’t offer prospects any value.
That’s precisely why people have started using smarter techniques in recent years.
So, make sure you do your research, collect quality leads, and send personalized messages to wow your contacts and get the best results.
If you’re ready to take your outbound LinkedIn sales to the next level with personalized images, feel free to try Hyperise.
Start your free trial and hyper-personalize your outreach messages!
Final Thoughts (2023 Update)
As we conclude this in-depth look at LinkedIn outbound sales prospecting, it’s crucial to understand the importance of adapting to the modern landscape of sales and marketing.
Gone are the days of mass cold-calling and impersonal outreach efforts. In today’s digital world, personalization and relationship-building are paramount to success.
By optimizing your LinkedIn profile, building a personal brand, generating high-quality leads, and qualifying them, you’ll have a strong foundation for a successful outbound sales strategy.
However, the game-changer lies in the level of personalization you bring to your outreach efforts.
Incorporating tools like Hyperise to create personalized images and CTAs in your messages can be the key to standing out from the competition and fostering genuine connections with your prospects.
Remember that the ultimate goal of outbound sales on LinkedIn is to build lasting relationships with professionals in your target industry.
This means taking the time to research your leads, understand their pain points, and present your product or service in a way that adds value to their lives.
By combining the best aspects of inbound and outbound sales techniques, you can create a powerful approach to prospecting on LinkedIn that drives results and strengthens your professional network.
As you embark on your journey to master LinkedIn outbound prospecting, remember that a personal touch and attention to detail will set you apart. Embrace the power of hyper-personalization and watch as your sales efforts reach new heights.
So go ahead, start your free trial with Hyperise and revolutionize the way you approach LinkedIn outbound sales.