Many outbound teams are turning to LinkedIn to connect with potential customers because the platform makes it easy for a prospect to learn about you and your company, putting you a step ahead when it comes time to actually connecting over the phone. Plus, it’s always nice to put a face (and some background) to a name, which the LinkedIn profile provides for. If you’re an outbound sales rep, these 6 tips will improve your LinkedIn prospecting game and help you connect with other industry experts.

linkedAsk to Connect. When you use LinkedIn to prospect, your response rate will be better if you just ask to connect rather than pitch your services. Lead with a personal message instead of diving right into your cold email script. Sharing your profile (and maybe some information on where you met or why you should be talking to each other) instead of pitching promotional content will come across more genuine. Plus, doing so will increase your credibility and improve your brand image. Win-win. A great place to start is by referencing an industry article or group to which you both belong.

Optimize Your Search. Search for companies in the “People” field to get a list of those who currently work at a prospective company. You can narrow results by filtering down to a particular location, job description, sector, or company size. LinkedIn has an extensive collection of data if you know how to find and use it to connect with the right people.

Search for Work History. Looking at where people worked before previously helps to identify prospective companies you didn’t know existed. These contact’s previous employers are likely in related sectors you may want to consider targeting.

Follow Your Competitors. Use LinkedIn to see who your competitors are networking with. By analyzing competitor profiles, you can see who your company should be connecting with and what other potential leads are out there. You can also gain insight into how your competitors promote themselves to improve on your own promotional initiatives.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse. If you’re struggling to stay up to date with news in your industry, check out LinkedIn Pulse. This app provides personalized news based on your professional interests.

Get Help From Experts. Instead of spending time scraping LinkedIn for potential leads, use pipeline automation software to confirm the identity, title and location of every inbound lead, freeing up time for your Sales Development Reps.

These are just some of the social selling tips that are helping outbound sales teams and SDRs use Linkedin as a vehicle for prospecting. To read more about social selling, check out stuff by Jack Kosakowski, Gabe Villamizar, Jill Rowley and Koka Sexton.

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