You’ve built a product that you know solves problems. You want to get it in front of the right people and make them realize it’s exactly what they need.
But you feel stuck.
You hate sales because of the pushy salespeople you’ve had the displeasure of dealing with. Those who seem unable to accept “no” for an answer. The ones who would go to hell and back to sell you useless stuff.
Or maybe you’ve tried your hand at sales, but your message fell flat and you gave up. It’s normal to loathe the feeling of rejection that comes when your sales fail. Making progress on your product feels better.
Except you’re bombarded by success stories of others crushing it on LinkedIn. And you—understandably—want to join in on the fun.
LinkedIn lead generation is a massive topic that will feel overwhelming at first. There is so much to do!
That’s why we broke down the process into simple-to-follow steps. Even the most introverted SaaS genius will succeed by following this guide.
The Step-by-Step Guide to LinkedIn Lead Generation
Generating leads on LinkedIn can be done in many ways. Here, we are going to focus on outbound lead generation. That is, proactively reaching out to prospects and getting them interested in our product.
If you absolutely hate sales, think about it this way: you are doing your prospects a disservice by not getting them to know about your solution.
So, the trick is to get your product in front of the people who actually need it. And then let them decide if they want it or not.
Still sounds complicated?
We broke down the process into easy-to-follow steps. All you have to do to start seeing success in LinkedIn lead generation is follow this guide. The first results will come quickly.
Build a Prospect List Based on Your Buyer Persona
Every sales guide under the sun will tell you to create a buyer persona. It’s so important we wrote an article about it ourselves.
You’d expect every business to be using them by now. But that’s hardly the case. And when they do, they don’t use them right. 83% of B2B marketers think they’re only being somewhat effective at using personas.
This is an alarming, but expected statistic. It’s hard to find good information about how to—actually—use personas. Knowing your ideal customers to a T won’t materialize them outside your door, begging for your product.
So, when you know who stands to benefit from your solution, it’s time to look for them in the real world.
Since you have already created a thorough ideal customer persona, creating a list of prospects should be easy. Start with a bird’s eye view of all companies in your target industry. Then, filter them based on your buyer’s persona.
Is your solution for small, medium, or big enterprises? Is it location-specific? Are you targeting businesses with a certain revenue? Take into account all of these aspects. Once you’ve created a list of companies you could work with, it’s time to find their decision makers.
Generally, these are C-level executives, VPs, and Directors. They are the ones calling the shots. Make a spreadsheet with their names, contact information (LinkedIn profile, phone, email), and roles.
Luckily, there are tools like ZoomInfo that will give you exactly what you’re looking for. You just need to input the company you’re interested in, and it’ll give you a list of executives, their contact info, and their interests. ZoomInfo will also tell you similar companies, simplifying your job of creating a prospects list.
While this article focuses on LinkedIn lead generation, email and phone are also excellent channels. They can further help filling your pipeline, so keep the information handy.
The beauty of LinkedIn is how it simplifies directly reaching these people as opposed to reaching gatekeepers.
That said, before you start sending our connection requests, give your profile some love.
Optimize your LinkedIn Profile
Your profile is not your CV. It’s where people learn more about you and what you do.
You want to sound competent and approachable. It’s okay to talk about what you do, but make sure you sound friendly, not salesy. Few people will connect with you if they feel you’re going to pitch them the second they connect.
Sprinkle personal details in your profile. Talk about your passions and what drives you. Avoid cookie-cutter phrases and empty promises. Sentences like “I improve B2B SaaS businesses revenue” are a huge red flag for decision makers. They’re already getting spammed enough as is. It’s true you’re there to help them increase their revenue, but how do you do it?
Your headline should follow the same principles. Make what you do clear, but don’t sound desperate. You want to foster genuine business relationships. And this starts with winning your prospects’ trust.
Also, make sure you have high-quality profile & background pics. Make your face visible and approachable. Keep it simple. A smiling pic in a neutral background is fine.
Your background pic should state what you do and not be an eye-sore. That’s it.
Stand out from the mass of “I help X achieve Y by Z” by creating an interesting profile. Something that would make your prospects check it out and respond to you.
Cultivate Your Network
This is the meat of the process. It’s also the hardest part by far. Cultivating a strong network (i.e. a network of people who trust you) is a job in itself.
Let’s start with an axiom about human nature: the vast majority of people only care about themselves. They don’t care about you or your product, unless you are the person who can solve their problems.
You want your prospects to think of you as the perfect solution to their issues.
You do so by doing 3 things on LinkedIn: comments, posts, and private messages.
Messages deserve their own section. Let’s focus on the first 2 now.
When someone sees your content for the first time—and finds it helpful—you’ve planted a seed in their mind. From now on, every time they see you being helpful in public, you are watering the seed. Eventually, it’ll grow into a lush tree, and they’ll completely trust you.
Don’t underestimate having a place in your prospects’ brains. Even if they don’t buy your product, they might refer their peers to you. That’s when you know you’ve struck gold. This is how you achieve the fabled word-of-mouth marketing.
The same happens when you post insightful comments. Have you ever seen the hordes of bloodshot-eyed salespeople commenting with “So true!” or “Agree” under their target’s posts? You can smell the desperation from behind the screen. Don’t do that. If you have nothing to add, simply drop a like and move on.
This is also great for growing your network. People will see your content around, and will gladly accept your connection request. They know they can trust you.
For example, let’s say your SaaS streamlines accountants work by centralizing clients, invoices, and tax codes in one app. Post about their pain points, and how to solve them. Occasionally plug your solution as well.
But most of your content should be helpful to accountants. They’ll start associating you—and, by extension, your product—with someone who is helpful to accountants. Eventually, they’ll reach out to you and ask about your solution. Or, if you’ve been nurturing the relations via comments, you can message them yourself. Just remember to always lead with empathy, and don’t go for hard pitches.
The Power of LinkedIn Messages
Organic reach is amazing. But it takes time to build up a constant stream of leads from it. Most businesses need results now, and LinkedIn messages give you exactly that.
Good messaging is an integral part of any serious LinkedIn lead generation strategy. Unlike posts and comments, you don’t rely on an algorithm to reach someone. Instead, you pop-up straight into their inbox, with valuable messages.
You can craft personalized messages at scale for each person you’re contacting based on the criteria you built the lead list on. For example, if you’re targeting COOs in healthtech startups that have raised Series A funding you can say “Hey (firstname), looking to connect with healthtech COOs of VC backed startups”. This can be sent to your entire list and it is how you scale personalization.
As for the message’s content, it’s best to not be pushy. Avoid hard selling, that’s going to get you ignored real fast. Be genuinely helpful and try to spur a conversation.
Most importantly, don’t give up if someone doesn’t answer you immediately. In fact, it’s rare to get an answer within your first 3-4 messages. You are talking with extremely busy people, who will most likely forget to answer you. Many people give up within the first 2 unanswered messages.
Don’t be pushy. Let a couple of days pass between each message. When a connection tells you they’re not interested, accept it and leave. We’ve built a long list of prospects for this exact reason. There’s no need to cling onto the same few people. Move onto the next person on the list.
Supercharge Your Business with a LinkedIn Lead Gen Strategy that Works
Generating leads is only part of the sales process. But it’s easily the most important one. Creating a system that consistently brings in high-quality leads takes time, but it rewards you tenfold.
There’s nothing like having clients lined up to buy from you. If you’ve tailored your messaging for the right people, you’ll get—mostly—qualified leads. If you ignore buyer personas and post generic messages, you’ll get a lot of tire kickers.
So, if you want to start your journey into LinkedIn lead generation, and you are starved for qualified leads, contact us. We will research buyer personas and craft a great outbound LinkedIn strategy that gets you meetings with the right people.