How to use LinkedIn for B2B prospecting

Anyone working with prospecting, regardless if you primarily work with marketing or as a sales rep knows how hard it is to gain someone’s interest.

We are therefore constantly evaluating new ways to get as many relevant leads as possible in the most time and cost-efficient way.

Before we go into how you could work in an efficient way with LinkedIn, I want to share some facts about why LinkedIn is the new gold mine for B2B sales.

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Why LinkedIn is the best place to find prospects and some ideas on B2B prospecting tools

LinkedIn actually outperforms both email marketing and cold calling when it comes to lead generation. 

This does not mean you should not send any marketing/sales emails or not do any calls, it just means that LinkedIn is by far the best channel to focus on and use as your main prospecting channel. 

This is regardless of whether your approach is mass marketing or account-based marketing.

Stats 

Here are some stats that tell why LinkedIn is by far the most important channel if you work with B2B marketing and sales.

> LinkedIn members: 700+ million users and growing

> Active on LinkedIn every day: 100+ million users

> Decision makers or senior influencers on LinkedIn: 100+ million

> Decision makers that are Millennials: 11 million

> LinkedIn’s share of Social media traffic to B2B company websites: 46%

> LinkedIn’s share of B2B leads from social media platforms: 80% (Facebook + Twitter = 20%)

LinkedIn vs email marketing vs phone calls

Here are common conversion rates experienced when trying to book events/meetings through different channels. 

> Linkedin: 30%+ successful rate

> Cold calling: 20% successful rate

> Email template campaigns: 5 % success rate

My personal reflection of these stats is that most decision-makers are very busy. This means:

  1. They are often in meetings and hard to reach by phone
  2. When they are not in a meeting, they are in between meetings, and usually occupied planning the next meeting. 
  3. They prefer to focus on what is really important for them

The results are:

  1. They are not ready to receive a pitch over the phone about something outside their current priorities
  2. They are usually under pressure
  3. They tend to browse through their email inbox and only read what is within their priority. This means most marketing emails are either deleted or simply marked as read

Using the phone and email as primary channels to gain new customers greatly increases the volume of work needed. However…

When they are on LinkedIn, they…

> Are less stressed

> Want to read and are more receptive to insights and recognising value than when reading emails

This is why it is by far more efficient to engage your prospects on LinkedIn rather than sending hundreds of marketing emails or buying lists to pound through with your phone. 

How to prepare for prospecting on Linkedin

Proactive prospecting on LinkedIn becomes easier if your company is regularly sharing relevant domain knowledge on the platform. 

Publishing relevant domain knowledge will

> give you brand awareness

> give you more content to share personally

> potentially make you and your company a domain influencer

> and last but not least, simplify your prospecting

For B2B companies the best channel to share the domain knowledge is LinkedIn, due to the large number of active decision-makers that can be reached. 

Other facts to consider… 

> only 3 million of all 500+ million users actually share an article every week, so 

> it is actually easier to break through the noise than you think

> a published article on LinkedIn stays there forever and builds momentum over time

There are unsurprisingly a bunch of theories regarding how long the perfect article should be. 

The stats are clear, to get the most views an article should consist of around 1700 – 2100 words.

The stats also show that how-to posts get almost 2x as many views as question posts. If you are reading this article you most likely got here from a how-to post on LinkedIn.

How to prospect efficiently on LinkedIn

So, how can you create a scalable and efficient prospecting process on LinkedIn? Well, it’s not that difficult and does not require much time.

What you need is

> A LinkedIn account, ideally Linkedin Sales Navigator

> Somewhere to keep track of all dialogues, preferably a CRM with inbuilt sales prospecting tools but if you don’t have one yet, use a spreadsheet (LinkedIn is a great place to find and chat with prospects but far weaker as a tool to keep track of all active processes, for that you need a CRM)

The purpose of this process is to reach as many prospects as possible and at the same time create as many digital touch-points as you can before actually calling your prospect. 

The less known your brand is the more important this becomes!

So, this is what you should do…

  1. Search and find the people you are looking for based on your target customer profile criteria.
  2. Connect with that person (when connecting you should add a short message, no more than 2-3 lines plus also a link to a video. The video could be a commercial company video or a personal video where you explain in 30 seconds why you want to connect) The video is important because we tend to prefer consuming videos rather than text.
  3. Import the contact, company to your CRM or Spreadsheet to register the prospect
  4. Try to identify the email and phone of the person by searching the internet. If you can’t find email/phone then, 
      1. You need to wait until you receive acceptance of your connection request
      2. Ask for an email and phone number on LinkedIn, explaining what the benefit is for them

If you have the email address, send an email, otherwise do most of these steps through the LinkedIn messenger

  1. Wait a day or two and then send a personal email, where you remind them that you connected/tried to connect on LinkedIn. This is also a great opportunity to share relevant knowledge, i.e. an article from your blog. It is also a great time to mention you will reach out later by phone (if you’ve got the phone number)
  2. Let one or two more days pass and repeat step 5 but through SMS, now you can share a different article from your blog
  3. Add the person to an email campaign, share emails with more relevant and valuable insights
  4. After the prospect has received the first campaign email it is a good time to try to reach the person through a phone call. When you place that call the prospect has been exposed to 5 digital touch-points, which makes that call much easier since they now know your brand and are likely to know what you want to talk about. 

For each step you pass through you will also remove those prospects who actively decline more information. Which in itself makes your list of people to call shorter but much more relevant.

If you prefer not to call or email you can still do most of these steps on LinkedIn.

To really make this even more efficient I also recommend you schedule time every week for these different steps. 

This method is more or less free and will only cost you a few hours every week, but it will keep your sales pipeline constantly full of new prospects to talk too.

 

Andreas LAlangas Blog image

 

Andreas Lalangas

CEO & Founder @ Salesbox

 

External sources

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/real-world-results-phone-vs-linkedin-e-mail-tony-j-hughes/http://www.businessinsider.com/linkedin-reaches-a- half-billion-users-2017-4
https://www.wired.com/2014/11/next-big-thing-missed- linkedins-quest-get-job-everyone-earth/
https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/ blog/linkedin-b2b-marketing/2016/get-proof–the- case-for-b2b-marketing-on-linkedin–infographic-
https://blog.kissmetrics.com/linkedin-strategies-b2b- marketing/
http://go.demandwave.com/rs/306-MLQ-910/ images/2016-State-of-B2B-Digital-Marketing.pdf
https://foundationinc.co/lab/b2b-marketing-linkedin- stats/