Using LinkedIn to Feed Your Sales Pipeline
By Lisa Benson
March 12, 2020
If you are not using LinkedIn for social selling, you might be missing out on some big opportunities. LinkedIn provides B2B companies with an opportunity to not only share content and network, but also, if used strategically, to achieve top-of-funnel sales goals. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s report B2B Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, 95% of B2B marketers reported using LinkedIn to share their company’s content organically, and 76% have paid posts on LinkedIn.
However, sharing content, while part of a good social selling strategy, is not enough to bring in high-quality leads. Successful social selling combines both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. According to LinkedIn, there are 90 million senior-level influencers and 63 million decision-makers on LinkedIn. When wrapped around a holistic process, it becomes a valuable tool to identify potential buyers as well as educate and convert them.
Below are five tips to help you better utilize LinkedIn to secure qualified leads successfully.
Create Your Company Page for Maximum Exposure
Your company page should showcase your offerings specific to the markets you are targeting. Let prospects know that you understand their pains, and tell them how you can solve their problems better, cheaper, faster, or however your company differentiates itself from your competition.
Craft your message for search engines. Optimizing your company profile will ensure it turns up not only in LinkedIn searches but also on Google and other engine searches. Use keywords and phrases that prospects might use when searching for your solutions.
Post regularly from your company page to stay top of mind with your followers. Use a calendar or social media management tool to schedule regular posts.
Content should be mostly educational or informative. Case studies are great because they demonstrate your relevance to the market. Use your content as a way to create dialogue that naturally promotes your value proposition without it coming off as a sales pitch. You want your company to be seen as a leader in the industry. People just want to know what is in it for them.
Keep in mind the visual impact of your posts. Use engaging images or videos to help your posts stand out in followers’ feeds.
You can expand your reach by using hashtags and mentions. Ask employees to share your posts. Ask executives and subject-matter experts in your company who share your content to create their own content that your company can share in return.
Optimize Your Personal Profile
One of the first things LinkedIn users do when viewing content is click through to the poster’s profile to learn about them. Additionally, people who may have come across you somewhere else may land on your profile from a Google search. If a prospect visits your page, is it representing you effectively?
Keep your profile current, and ensure that you specifically mention accomplishments associated with the markets or industries you are targeting. Share relevant content.
Once your profile is current, start increasing your contacts. Connect with customers, past customers, networking contacts, business associates, colleagues, and so on. When you meet with a prospect or any contact that is meaningful to your target market, get into the habit of connecting with them on LinkedIn. For best results, include a personal message with the request. Many people won’t respond to LinkedIn’s default connection request.
Join Industry Groups
Join industry groups that are of interest to your buyers, where you can have meaningful dialogue. Posting to industry groups allows you to reach thousands of people instantly. Avoid posting anything that sounds like a sales pitch. This could get you kicked out. The key is to influence the conversation to demonstrate your expertise, share insight, and build valuable connections.
Use your connections to meet new people. It is a quick way to get a warm introduction. Look at whom your connections are connected to, and if there are any people you think are good prospects, ask your connection how they know this person and whether they can provide an introduction.
If you don’t get a response from your connection and you still want to connect with their contact, you can upgrade to InMail, which allows you to directly contact another LinkedIn user that you are not connected to. If you do reach out without an introduction, make sure you have permission from your contact before dropping their name; if they didn’t have a good relationship, it could do more harm than good.
According to LinkedIn, InMail has a 300% higher response rate than regular email, so you are more likely to get a response. To increase your chances of connecting with a contact, you can use Active Status to know when your connections are active. A green dot next to their profile photo means they are currently on LinkedIn, while a hollowed-out green circle means they are not on currently but have push notifications enabled to notify them when they receive a message.
Consider LinkedIn Sales Navigator to Turbocharge Your Process
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a more powerful paid subscription geared toward sales professionals. LinkedIn says it “features a powerful set of search capabilities, improved visibility into extended networks, and personalized algorithms to help you reach the right decision-maker.” This makes finding, tracking, and building relationships through the LinkedIn platform even easier.
Although it offers many useful features, one important feature is called Lead Builder, which allows you to build a list of potential contacts filtered by keyword, company, location, title, industry, and more.
You can also save individual contacts and organizations, creating a customized news feed of your leads and providing up-to-date posts, job changes, etc. in the Sales Navigator news feed. By using tags, you can group them together in a way that makes sense for your company (e.g.,
The Sales Spotlight feature highlights prospects that are most likely to engage with you. Sales Spotlight segments prospects in your search that fit into selected categories (changed jobs in the last 90 days, share experiences with you, follow your company or commented on your company posts, posted or shared content in the last 30 days, mentioned in the news in the last 30 days). You can use this function to find low-hanging fruit.
Use the TeamLink Connections filter, available with Team and Enterprise plans, to find prospects that meet your criteria and share a common first- or second-degree connection. Reaching out to your connection for a warm introduction can help you to connect without using your InMail message quota.
Consistency Is Key
Whether you choose to use all, some, or none of these tips, the true key to creating a steady flow of leads into your sales funnel is consistency. Create a process that you execute daily, weekly, monthly—whatever brings in the flow you need. Make social selling part of your sales strategy. Many companies have a social media calendar for scheduling posts, but you should also consider scheduling time for prospecting as well. With a solid sales process executed consistently, your sales pipeline growth will soar.
Todd M. Zielinski is managing director and CEO at Athena SWC LLC. He can be reached at 716-250-5547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Benson is senior marketing content consultant at Athena SWC LLC. She can be reached at email@example.com.