If you’re looking for a new channel to get in touch with new leads, LinkedIn is one of the best channels to do it.

You can use the platform to create a list of qualified prospects, reach out to them, and start conversations with decision-makers at leading companies.

Once you create a consistent sales process using LinkedIn, you can scale it up and reach thousands of prospects per week on the platform.

In this guide, we’ll show you:

  1. Is LinkedIn Good for Sales?

  2. 3 Best Practices when Using LinkedIn for Sales

  3. How to Use LinkedIn for Inbound Sales

  4. How to Use LinkedIn for Outbound Sales

Let’s dive in.

Is LinkedIn Good for Sales?

LinkedIn is one of the best sales channels available for B2B. 

79% of marketers say it’s a “very good” source of leads, and research has found that it’s 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter.

LinkedIn lead generation is effective for sales because it’s the leading social media network for B2B decision-makers.

People use the platform to build business relationships, and part of that means they expect vendors to be reaching out to them. As a result, you’ll discover that buyers are more receptive to your LinkedIn prospecting efforts than they would be on other channels.

3 Best Practices when Using LinkedIn for Sales

1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is the first impression that a sales prospect will get. Therefore, it’s essential to take time to ensure it matches what your buyers expect. 

 This means:

  • Using a professional headshot as your profile picture

  • Adding a cover photo that has social proof, such as you speaking at a conference

  • Include a benefits-driven headline that talks to your ideal prospect

  • Ensuring the pain points you can solve for customers are mentioned on your profile

Spending time on this step ensures that when your prospects visit your profile, they trust you more, and will be more willing to engage with you.

If you had a blank or incomplete profile, the person you’re reaching out to would assume you weren’t a real person or wouldn’t be able to trust you enough to reply.

2. Build Your Network Early

The network effects of LinkedIn can’t be underestimated. If you connect with a prospect and they see you have several mutual connections, they’ll know that you operate in the same circles, and having a conversation with you will be relevant for their business.

Before you even start considering using LinkedIn for sales, you need to be building your network. Start by connecting with your coworkers, clients, and friends.

LinkedIn will also suggest people relevant to you based on their proximity to you in terms of location, industry, or skills.

These are people LinkedIn thinks will be likely to accept your connection requests, so it’s worth connecting with the people shown here. Always verify you’re connecting with people that are relevant to your industry, rather than aiming to connect with as many people as possible.

3. Sign Up for a LinkedIn Sales Navigator Account

A LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscription starts at $79.99 per month and is an essential part of using LinkedIn for sales.

Sales Navigator opens up the door to new features, such as:

  • More advanced search filters

  • Save prospects to lists and export them directly to your CRM

  • More advanced lead recommendations

  • Add notes and tags to profiles you’re monitoring

As well as the extra features to help you speed up your sales workflow, Sales Navigator will also protect your account from being restricted.

Why does this matter?

Well, when you’re using LinkedIn for sales you’re going to be connecting and sending messages to a large number of people. Compared to most regular LinkedIn users, your activity will be high, and there’s a risk that the algorithm notices this and treats it as suspicious.

If the platform thinks you’re using external software or scripts to automate the process, there’s a chance that your account will be restricted. A Sales Navigator account doesn’t eliminate that risk, but it does reduce it.  

How to Use LinkedIn for Inbound Sales

1. Share Industry-Relevant Content on a Schedule

LinkedIn drives 46% of social media traffic to B2B websites. You can use LinkedIn as a place to share new content in the form of text or video updates, as well as share content your company is creating for your blog or YouTube channel.

If you stick to a regular posting schedule, your reach will quickly increase and more people on the platform will be seeing your content, even if they’re not in your network.

Over time, sharing content on LinkedIn is a powerful way to build your personal brand and generate inbound sales leads via social selling.

2. Optimize Your Profile for LinkedIn Search

When building your profile, you need to consider what phrases and keywords your buyers use when searching for vendors. It’s a similar concept to SEO, but on a LinkedIn profile.

Suppose you help businesses in a particular industry, like software development, and work with companies to help them generate leads using cold outreach.

In your profile, you can use your Headline field to add a relevant description of what you do.

For example, the ClickUp founder adds hashtags for all of the types of content he wants to be known for.

If you run an agency, you can include keywords related to your specific industry.

For example:

  • Founder at [Agency]: Lead generation for software development agencies

  • We help [customer type] solve [specific pain point] #Agencies #LeadGeneration #[location]

You can then use your industry-relevant keywords in your work history and experience sections. 

This ensures that when someone is searching LinkedIn looking for potential vendors, your profile will be one of the first to appear.

This tactic won’t generate leads for you instantly, but it’s a best practice to follow if you want to improve the chances of generating inbound sales from LinkedIn.

How to Use LinkedIn for Outbound Sales

The most impactful way to use LinkedIn for sales is by running outbound campaigns. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

1. Run LinkedIn Outreach Campaigns

The first way to generate engagement on LinkedIn is by running outreach campaigns.

This can be done manually or automated with a platform like QuickMail.

You’ll be connecting with new prospects, and sending them a personalized message to generate a response.

How does this strategy work in practice?

1. Build a Qualified Prospect List

The first step to any successful outreach campaign, whether it’s on LinkedIn, cold email, or cold calling, is by qualifying your prospects. 

You can use the advanced Search Filters in Sales Navigator to build your list, or, use sales prospecting tools like Lead411 or UpLead.

When you have a list of prospects and their LinkedIn profile URLs, you can start planning your outreach, knowing that everyone in your lead list is a perfect fit for your sales pitch.

2. Writing Your LinkedIn Outreach Message

When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you can send a personalized message at the same time.

Your connection message needs to be:

  • Personalized

  • Brief

  • Clear about why you’re reaching out

If you reach out to someone with a message that pitches your business, but doesn’t offer any benefits to them, they won’t reply.

You need to spend your time crafting each one. If the message resonates with your prospects, you’ll have more conversations, and win more new business from it.

Your message needs to show that you’ve actively researched the person and aren’t just including them as another unknown prospect in your outreach campaign.

To personalize your message, consider mentioning content around:

  • Recent company news they’ve shared

  • Content they’ve created or been featured on, like a podcast

  • A mutual interest or connection 

 Showing that you’ve done your research is one of the most simple ways to truly stand out in someone’s LinkedIn inbox.

3. Sending Your Outreach at Scale

When your LinkedIn sales outreach messages are ready, it’s time to send them.

You can send messages manually, but that’s going to be time-consuming and isn’t scalable.

Instead, you need a LinkedIn outreach automation tool.

QuickMail allows you to add custom LinkedIn connection requests and messages to your campaign sequences.

With QuickMail, you can schedule your outreach messages to be sent at specific times. If someone doesn’t reply to you, QuickMail will automatically follow up after a delay of your choosing.

It’s worth mentioning that using any third-party tool for LinkedIn outreach can lead to account restrictions. It's important to choose a tool like QuickMail that's dedicated to keeping outreach within the platform's set limits to prevent issues for your account.

In your follow-ups, make sure to reiterate why you’re reaching out, and the main benefits to your recipient.

Always include a call-to-action that encourages them to reply, for example:

  • Do you have 15 minutes available next week?

  • Is solving this problem on your priority list?

  • Are you open to learning more about {{prospect.custom.topic}}?

If your message template resonates with your sales lead and your call-to-action makes it easy to reply to you, you’ll see a high response rate and excellent results from your LinkedIn campaigns.

When your LinkedIn sales message is ready, it will look something like this:

If you don’t get a reply to your first outreach message, your automation tools can send a follow-up. Our data shows that 55% of replies to cold outreach come from a follow-up message, so it’s an essential step.

2. Use Sponsored InMails for High-Value Prospects

Your sales prospects are busy. No matter how good your outreach message is, not everyone will see it or have the time to respond.

One of the best ways to cut through the noise of someone’s busy inbox is to use a Sponsored LinkedIn InMail. LinkedIn says that 1 in 2 prospects open these, which is a good open rate.

These are one-off, paid messages you can send. LinkedIn will bump the message to the top of your sales prospect’s inbox, and they’ll also receive an email notifying them.

You can choose to send these in bulk to a list of prospects, but the smaller your audience, the better.

Another option would be to only send Sponsored InMails to prospects that don’t reply after 1-2 follow-ups in your main LinkedIn sales campaign, as the Sponsored InMail will help add social proof and remind them of your name.

The main downside to using sponsored messages is that they don’t come across as authentic as a regular message, so we wouldn’t rely on them as the main pillar of your campaigns. 

3. Use LinkedIn Outreach in a Multichannel Campaign

LinkedIn can be used in conjunction with cold email campaigns to form the foundation of a powerful multichannel outreach system.

This strategy works so well because you multiply the chances of your prospect seeing your message, and you show them that you’re going out of your way to get in touch.

Data shows that companies using multichannel strategies cite them as being 3x more effective than single-channel campaigns.

So, how do you get started?

First, you’ll need your sales prospect’s email address. When you build your prospect list using tools like UpLead that we mentioned earlier, as well as getting a verified LinkedIn profile URL, you will have got their verified email address.

You can then format your prospect list as a CSV, and upload it into a sales engagement platform with cold email capabilities like QuickMail

During this process, you can make sure the attributes you want are all imported:

Now, you’ll have all of your prospects inside QuickMail.

The next step is to create the campaign.

You can then choose between different steps:

  • Email

  • View LinkedIn Profile

  • LinkedIn Connection Request

  • LinkedIn Message

  • Call

  • Task

  • And more

For this example, we will start the campaign with a personalized cold email.

In your first step, write out your cold email. You can use attributes to include personalized snippets of text, such as:

  • Your prospect’s first name

  • Their company name

  • A personalized opening line to start your email

In your template, you can include these attributes. When your email is sent, the email template will be automatically populated with the information from your prospect sheet.

You can then add a delay after your email, and include an automatic follow-up in case you don’t receive a reply.

As well as sending your cold emails, you can add LinkedIn messages to your campaign.

In this step, you’ll send your LinkedIn message to your prospect. If they recognize your name from the cold emails you sent, they’ll be more likely to reply. 

If they prefer to reply over email, they can.

It’s vital to remember that just because you send your outreach on multiple channels, you still can’t compromise on the quality of your prospect list.

Multichannel outreach combining LinkedIn with cold email will boost your likelihood of getting a reply, and help you have conversations with more qualified potential leads.

If you have the bandwidth, it will be worth your effort to implement.

Wrapping Up

LinkedIn is an excellent channel for sales.

Decision-makers around the world use it to build their network, making it the perfect channel for you to reach out and have conversations with them. 

There are a few steps involved in the process.

First, you need to set up your profile correctly to make a stellar first impression and consider buying a Sales Navigator subscription.

You can use it for inbound sales, in the form of content marketing on the platform, or, run outreach campaigns using personalized direct messages to connect with qualified prospects at scale.

Once you find a formula that works, you can scale it, and even bring your team in to run campaigns too. 

When you’re ready to start sending multichannel outreach combining cold email and LinkedIn, you can start your free trial of QuickMail.