Prospecting on LinkedIn has become a common part of the outbound sales process, but salespeople are still falling into the same traps of the connect and pitch, sleazy messaging, and pushy follow-ups.
In today’s blog post, digital marketing expert Shiv Gupta shares his top two strategies for outbound sales success on LinkedIn. As the Founder of Incrementors Web Solutions, Shiv has over 10 years of experience helping businesses generate more traffic, leads, and sales through social media and search engine optimization (SEO).
Getting started with sales development on LinkedIn
Before beginning any outbound sales development on LinkedIn, ensure your profile is optimized from top to bottom. This includes everything from your cover image and profile photo, down to your description and portfolio.
The cover image is an underutilized space and the perfect spot to include key information on the problem your company solves. Likewise, your profile headline should be clear about who you serve and how you help them. In the description area, list out your company’s services in point form.
Both your headline and profile description are searchable on LinkedIn, which means they should include some SEO keywords you want to be found for. Try to incorporate these words naturally and don’t overdo it (this is called “keyword stuffing” and it can hurt your rankings).
Lastly, make sure your profile is complete and you haven’t left any blank spaces under your education or work experience. The more information, the better–this will help put visitors at ease, so when they click on your profile they can see you’re a real person.
Outbound sales tips for LinkedIn
Once your profile is optimized, it’s time to start making connections. This is where sales development reps often jump right into their sales pitch. Shiv cautions against this “connect and pitch” method.
Instead, he recommends adding a personalized note to each connection request. Mention something that person has posted about recently, or share a personal connection you may share such as past employers or educational experience.
Then, once they’ve accepted your request, keep the conversation focused on them. Ask how things are going with them, how their business is doing, etc. “People love to buy but they hate to be sold,” Shiv says. Yet ironically, showing genuine interest in the prospect is how you stay top of mind when they’re ready to buy.
Top 2 LinkedIn strategies for outbound sales success
Shiv and his team have tested dozens of sales development methods on LinkedIn, but the strategies below have helped his company generate 25-30% more revenue. Both of these strategies are focused on providing value to the customer without a heavy emphasis on the sale.
Strategy #1: Share a valuable resource
Try creating a resource that directly serves your target market, then offer it to them for free.
For instance, if your business targets dentists, first you’ll want to optimize your profile to make that clear, then send out connection requests to ideal customers. After a dentist agrees to connect, ask for their email and offer to send your free PDF guide to the Top 5 Mistakes That Lead Dentists to Shut Down Their Businesses.
In the guide, you can go over those five mistakes and offer potential solutions (which will direct them to your business).
The goal with this method isn’t a hard sell, but to provide value. “Sales is a conversation,” Shiv says, and it should be enjoyable for both parties.
Strategy #2: Invite them to a webinar
Another method for sales development on LinkedIn is to invite prospects to be a panelist on your webinar or to interview them for your podcast. Most people will be happy to speak at events like this because it provides free marketing for their own business.
After you’ve completed the interview, you can upload it to your website or Youtube and invite your guest to share it with their network. This leads to even more traffic and leads.
If you’re looking for even more actionable tips for outbound sales on LinkedIn, make sure you check out our free guide, The Art of LinkedIn Prospecting.
Outbound sales success on LinkedIn: playing the long game
Like any other outbound sales process, Shiv recommends regularly following up with leads. But instead of talking about the sale or pressuring them to make a decision, just check-in to see how things are going in their business. You can also send relevant industry news or information you think they’d find useful. To make it even more strategic, consider using supporting tools like Linked Helper to make your conversations more automatic yet super personalized.
Another strategy for sales development on LinkedIn is to post content regularly. This will ensure your name appears on your prospect’s feed, and that you stay top of mind when they’re looking for a solution. The key to successful posting on LinkedIn is to focus on thought leadership–don’t be afraid to share your opinions and ask for your followers’ opinions in return.
The LinkedIn algorithm ranks posts based on engagement, meaning that if people spend 2-4 minutes on your post, it will rank higher than a post people spend 30 seconds on. Write longer, thought-provoking posts, and you’ll see an increase in engagement.
Final thoughts on using LinkedIn for sales development
LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool for sales development, but only if you use it correctly. Focus on providing value and making genuine connections, and you’ll see a steady increase in revenue.
Throughout 2021, we had the fortune of interviewing 50+ sales development experts on the Predictable Revenue Podcast.
These pages are packed full of insightful advice, actionable tips, and thought-provoking interviews with some of the world’s foremost sales experts.