LinkedIn Outreach: How to Increase Your Close Rate on LinkedIn
Just about every successful sales rep will agree: LinkedIn is the bee's knees. The cat's pajamas. The freaking monkey's eyebrows—if you know how to use it, of course.
To get the most out of this amazing tool, you have to master LinkedIn outreach.
Why? Because effective LinkedIn outreach is the most reliable way to connect with B2B leads and convert them into paying customers. Once you add this skill set to your selling repertoire, you'll have the tools you need to close deals at a consistent clip.
Here are a few stats to prove it: There are currently 930 million LinkedIn users in 200 countries around the world. The average reply rate on LinkedIn is somewhere between 10 and 25 percent, while the average cold email reply rate is just 8.5 percent. And also, 62 percent of B2B marketers say that the platform helps them generate leads.
In other words, your target audience is definitely on LinkedIn—and you can almost certainly use the platform to engage prospects in productive sales conversations.
Intrigued? Keep reading to learn what LinkedIn outreach actually is, why it can be so beneficial to B2B sellers like you, and eight hacks to crush your LinkedIn outreach efforts.
Unlock the power of Boolean search on LinkedIn and skyrocket your outbound pipeline. Read our article, "Boolean Search on LinkedIn: The Sales Superpower You Need to Boost Your Outbound Pipeline," for expert insights.
What Is Linkedin Outreach?
Effective LinkedIn outreach campaigns are built on three pillars: the number of LinkedIn users contacted, the quality of said users, and the level of personalization used.
In a minute, I'll share eight tips to improve your LinkedIn outreach process. For now, just know that you'll need to contact a lot of the right people in the right way to find success. Before we dive into that, though, let's talk about benefits.
What Are the Benefits of LinkedIn Outreach?
So, what's the big deal? There are about a gazillion tools you can use to bolster your lead generation strategy. Why should you invest precious resources into LinkedIn? Here's why:
LinkedIn was specifically designed for professionals.
So, the people you want to meet, i.e., the folks you think will buy your products and/or services, will be more open to connecting with you. That's why they're on the platform.
If LinkedIn users didn't want to grow their professional networks, they'd hang out on Instagram or TikTok. That doesn't mean every person you reach out to will want to hear your sales pitch. But a greater proportion of them will. That’s the point.
Do you have a LinkedIn account? Then you probably know that LinkedIn limits the number of people you can send direct messages, AKA InMail messages, to.
You can only send five messages a month on the "Premium Career" plan, 15 messages a month on the "Premium Business" plan, 30 messages a month on the "Recruiter Lite" plan, and 50 messages a month on the "Sales Navigator Core" plan.
Why bring this up? Because it shows you that the average InMail inbox is way less crowded than the average email inbox, which is inundated with dozens of emails every day. So, it can be easier to reach prospects on LinkedIn than through email.
Finally, LinkedIn marketing has a great success rate.
As mentioned earlier, 10 to 25 percent of LinkedIn messages get responses. And 62 percent of B2B marketers say that LinkedIn helps them generate quality leads.
If you want to supercharge your prospecting efforts, LinkedIn is a great channel. To squeeze the most juice out of it, implement the following eight tips.
How to Do LinkedIn Outreach: 8 Strategies to Generate Red-Hot Leads and Close More Deals
The eight strategies below will help you level up your LinkedIn outreach efforts. But first, you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile before you implement them.
To do this, use a slick profile picture, craft a relevant and catchy headline, take advantage of the summary section, optimize the skills section for search, secure endorsements, and write a few articles to showcase your expertise. Check out this article for more ideas.
Have these two things locked down? Great, let's dive into a few LinkedIn outreach strategies.
1. Sign up for LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a popular tool.
Reps can use it to search for potential customers using a variety of filters, create lead lists, research potential customers, send direct messages and smart links, and more.
Let's take a closer look at these built-in benefits:
- Search: You can conduct two kinds of searches with Sales Navigator. Lead searches will help you pinpoint specific individuals, while account searches will help you pinpoint specific companies. Lead searches can be filtered by company name, job title, event, content, related connections, and by using lists you've already made in the past. All in all, Sales Navigator's search functionality is extremely useful when prospecting.
- Leads lists: Once you find a few leads that you want to contact, you can add them to a personal leads list inside your Sales Navigator account. These lists can then be transferred to a CRM like Close, so that your sales team can contact them later.
- Prospect research: Sales Navigator simplifies the prospect research process, too. Use the app to study target accounts and learn when they publish new content. Tag specific leads and leave notes so that you never forget crucial information. And ask the platform to point you towards similar leads/accounts that you can reach out to as well.
- Direct messages: Sales Navigator can also be used to send InMail messages. Said messages can be personalized based on your prospect research (see above), which should improve your response rate. Your connection acceptance rate should rise, too.
- Smart links: How often do you publish links on LinkedIn? Sales Navigator will give you access to smart links, which can be tracked. Learn who clicks on your links and when. Then, use this information to prioritize your outreach efforts. (Note: Smart links are only available on the team version of Sales Navigator—individuals can't use them.)
Put simply, LinkedIn Sales Navigator will help you find the right leads, conduct deep research into their processes and pain points, and engage them in meaningful conversations.
However, Sales Navigator isn't the cheapest sales tool in the world. Prices range from $79.99 a month, per user, to $149.99+ a month, per user. Fortunately, LinkedIn does offer a 30-day free trial, which you can use to test out all of the platform's features.
2. Use Linkedin's Search Features
Can't afford LinkedIn Sales Navigator? No problem. You can use your free account to source leads, then send each one a personalized connection request. And once your requests are approved? Send direct messages to build rapport with your new prospects.
It's a killer plan, but it all hinges on one thing: your ability to find quality leads without the help of Sales Navigator. This is where LinkedIn's search function steps in.
Type a keyword that relates to your business into the LinkedIn search bar. On the results page, click the "All filters" button near the top right corner of your screen. Then scroll through the list of potential filters and select a few that will help you target quality leads.
Let's pretend your ideal customer is a marketing manager at a U.S. based SaaS company, so you type "SaaS companies" into the LinkedIn search bar. Then you open the filters tab and select "3rd+" under the Degree Connection filter, "United States" under the Locations filter, and "Marketing" under the Service Categories filter. Then you click "Show Results".
BOOM! All you have to do now is scroll through the list of professionals that meet your criteria. Want a more advanced search? Use more filters or type in more specific keywords.
3. Study Your Prospects
Now that you've found a gaggle of quality leads, you're probably chomping at the bit to contact them. Resist the urge. You have some homework to do first.
Peruse each prospect's profile. You want to learn as much as possible about this person before you send them a message. Why? The information you glean can be used to personalize your communications, which is key to effective LinkedIn lead generation.
Prospect research has another benefit, too: LinkedIn will send your prospect a notification, letting them know that you viewed their profile. This is good. You won't be a total stranger when you reach out to this person. You'll have a bit of name recognition.
So, what kind of details should you home in on during the research process? First, look for common connections and/or interests. This will help you earn trust and form immediate bonds with your prospects—both of which are essential to your success in sales.
Common connections are especially important in the B2B world. B2B buyers tend to value their peers' opinions more than others. By pointing out a common connection in your initial message, you'll give your prospects a viable reason to write you back.
Next, look for recent events. Did your prospect join a new company in the last few months? Maybe they got a promotion. Or published a new piece of content. These are noteworthy happenings. You can build rapport with prospects by mentioning them in your messages.
If I were to contact Steli Efti, the CEO of Close, for example, I'd go to his LinkedIn profile and snoop around for a bit. Doing so would tell me that he lives in New York City, we have four mutual connections, and he's a member of the Salesty LinkedIn group.
Now, when I reach out to Steli, I can personalize my message. I might say something like:
"Hi Steli, I'm a big fan of Close. When I saw your post in the Salesty group, I knew I had to reach out. Awesome insights! Would love to connect with you if you're down."
One more thing: You can research prospects outside of LinkedIn, too. Check out their other social media profiles, read their latest blog post, etc. Just don't be a creepy stalker. Not cool.
4. Use InMail to Reach Unreachable Prospects
You sent your prospect a LinkedIn connection request, but they didn't respond—what a jerk!
(Just kidding. Don't take it personally if your prospects ignore your connection requests—people are busy. They don't always have time to respond to strangers.)
Your connection request might have crashed and burned, but there are other ways to get in touch with potential customers. You could, for example, send them an InMail message.
According to the social media behemoth itself, "InMail messages is a premium feature, and it allows you to directly message another LinkedIn member that you're not connected to."
Translation: We're going to charge you money to access this feature, but it will let you direct message anybody on the LinkedIn platform, so you'll definitely pay us for it. Muhaha!
Paying to contact prospects may be frustrating, but if you're serious about LinkedIn outreach, it's probably a good idea. So, sign up for a LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator account, and start messaging potential customers. Just ensure that said messages are short and interesting.
5. Make Your Messages Short and Valuable
When you’re ready to message your prospects, don't ramble on and on about stuff they don’t care about. Instead, make the whole conversation about them.
What does that look like? Focus on a specific problem you know they struggle with. Save your spiel about product features and company awards for a different time. Your prospects don't want to hear about those things until they're convinced you can actually help them.
You can say something like, "We helped [Company ABC] increase their [KPI XYZ]."
As long as the organization you mention is of a relatable company size and industry, you should be able to communicate the value you offer without boring your prospect to sleep.
Speaking of sleep, long messages will definitely induce a comatose state. That's why you should always limit your messages to 400 characters or less. Doing so has been proven to boost response rates by as much as 22 percent. Work less to produce better results? Yes, please!
6. Ask a Question They’ll Care About
Your message is short, but is it interesting?
The right question can turn a hum-drum message into a must-respond masterpiece.
(In case you were wondering, questions like "Can we chat?" and "Can I ask you a question?” do not qualify as "the right questions." You need to dig deeper than that.)
You already did prospect research. It's time to use the insights you gleaned, as well as the common ground you discovered, to craft a question they’ll actually be excited to answer.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask prospects about themselves. Be honest, you love talking about yourself. Your prospects are the same, which means you can use this to your advantage, sparking meaningful conversations that lead to sales.
Remember Steli? Let's update the message we sent him in the "Study Your Prospects" section of this article to include a question he'll actually want to respond to.
"Hi Steli, I'm a big fan of Close. So, when I saw your post in the Salesty group, I knew I had to reach out. Awesome insights! But I have to ask, which specific outreach tool do you suggest?"
This personalized message might elicit a response because it's complementary and asks an interesting question. Feel free to use it as a template for your own outreach efforts.
7. Automate Your LinkedIn Outreach
At this point, your sales outreach campaigns should be humming.
Now that you've incorporated LinkedIn into your workflows, you're able to contact leads via phone, email, and the world's biggest social media network for professionals. Nice!
What's next? Try to automate your LinkedIn outreach messages. That way, you can spend less time contacting strangers and more time closing high-value deals.
These kinds of outreach automation tools will help you send personalized connection requests, tag potential leads, pass important information to your CRM, and more.
When it comes to personalized sales outreach, AI can be a game-changer, offering seven powerful ways to supercharge your strategies.
8. Don’t Forget to Follow up
One more thing: Don't forget to send follow up messages!
According to Brevet, 80 percent of sales require five follow ups or more. So, if you bail after one denied connection request or InMail message, you're leaving money on the table.
Remember, your prospects are busy. And their world doesn't revolve around your sales quota. Just because you don't hear back doesn't mean they're a bad lead. Try to reach them with your cold messages until they respond or threaten to report you for being spammy.
Can I add one more pro tip? You don't have to follow up on LinkedIn exclusively. Send an initial message on the platform. Then conduct email outreach a week later. If you still don't get a response, try calling them instead. Do whatever you can to engage your prospect.
Build an Effective LinkedIn Outreach Campaign
I'm a fan of LinkedIn outreach. It can help any salesperson connect with better leads, drive more sales, and otherwise elevate their social selling strategy.
Fortunately, using LinkedIn to generate leads isn't that hard. You just have to implement the eight strategies we talked about above; then brace yourself for greater success.
Speaking of success, have you tried Close yet? Our CRM software has all the tools you need to accelerate outreach and close more deals, including a seamless integration with LinkedIn. Start your 14-day free trial today.