Editors note: many of us use LinkedIn as a tool to network, learn, and document our career progress. But for those who rely on finding new leads to keep business thriving, LinkedIn presents a huge opportunity for outreach. In this guest post from Vanhishikha Bhargava from Find That Lead, she explains in detail how smart salespeople get the most out of LinkedIn ??
Everyone is on LinkedIn now. Some of us are proactively networking in our industry, while others are using it simply as a platform to showcase our work so far. But then there are some of us who have been smartly using this social media platform to promote our businesses and generate B2B leads.
Considering the ongoing pandemic and how it has impacted physical networking, LinkedIn is now more relevant than ever. The tools and tricks that we never thought of using are suddenly seeming like such a streamlined way to reach your target customers.
But for most of us who haven’t ever used the platform beyond networking, how do you get started with LinkedIn lead generation?
What if we tell you that there is a way to elevate your lead generation by more than 277% using this one platform alone?
What if we say we found the growth hacks that are being used by industry-leading companies and we want to share them with you?
Well, we do. As always.
But before we get started, let’s talk about what B2B lead generation is.
What is B2B Lead Generation?
Firstly, let’s get the basics out of the way. B2B lead generation is simply a process through which a business can identify and attract prospective buyers of their products or services. This includes first identifying who your ideal customer is, what demographics they fall under, screening this list of buyers, and then seeing if they fit with what you have to offer.
Lead generation is the perfect way to start your customer acquisition process. It’s like hooking a potential buyer with something that interests them and then getting a chance to nurture them into subscribing to your product or service.
Remember, education first. Sale second.
There are two types of B2B lead generation:
1. Inbound Lead Generation
This lead generation involves content creation and optimisation so that the relevant search results can attract prospective clients to your website, leading them to discover your products and services. Typically, inbound lead generation includes tapping into search engine optimisation, content marketing, social media, and similar channels.
2. Outbound Lead Generation
This is where B2B leads are generated by proactively reaching out to prospective clients or buyers. This is done via outbound channels such as cold emails, phone calls, trade shows, and more.
Now, LinkedIn lead generation is an example of outbound lead generation.
Why is LinkedIn for B2B Sales the Best Option?
You’re running ads on Facebook. You’re probably running search ads too. In fact, you have an entire sales team that is going door to door to promote your products and services. So why should you really add another channel to your list? And why LinkedIn specifically?
For a quick TLDR; here’s a look at why we consider LinkedIn lead generation important:
- Active users
LinkedIn boasts of nearly 260 million active users every month. These users log into their accounts on a regular basis, almost daily. Many of them are prospective buyers as well, looking out for various leads that can help them grow their business.
- Lead generation
As per a HubSpot survey, LinkedIn generates 277% more leads than any other social media platform. Additionally, nearly 79% of B2B marketers have reported that LinkedIn is a great platform for lead generation. And that’s why we’re writing this post!
- Social media traffic
Did you know that nearly 46% of the social media traffic which is redirected towards B2B marketing sites, comes via LinkedIn? LinkedIn traffic generation is huge and thus, tapping new leads and prospective customers is easier.
- Content distribution
94% of the B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Content is a great way to direct potential buyers to your website.
- Targeting audience
Various target options such as company industry, size, name, job title, and more are available as filters for you to target your potential buyers.
- Daily updates
LinkedIn provides various features, replete with hashtag, tags, and reaction options, for you to post on a daily basis. It can be anything, ranging from an announcement or share to a fully-fledged post.
Simply put, there is a lot of potential to promote your product or services and generate leads via LinkedIn. But more importantly, it is the one channel where you can keep a tab of the changing needs of your potential customers and industry trends.
While LinkedIn offers endless opportunities to marketers and sales reps, it is important to understand that you need a strategy for it to work. While on-the-fly might seem like a great idea, it won’t get you any more than a handful of connections in the industry.
Marketing specialist Stapho Thienpont has quite a few valuable insights to add to the concept of lead generation. He believes in a simple concept:
“Empower people to bring their valuable ideas, services, and products to their tribe.”
So how do you go about implementing this concept? Fret not. We’re covering it all in the following sections on LinkedIn lead generation.
How to Make LinkedIn Lead Generation Work?
LinkedIn is packed with powerful features. You can get overwhelmed by the endless possibilities it offers. So just like any other lead generation tactic you may have been making use of, we recommend planning ahead.
Here’s how to make sure your LinkedIn lead generation efforts don’t go waste.
Step 1: Create Your Ideal Customer Persona
Buyer persona refers to an idealistic representation of what you would like your buyer to be. It helps you identify your target customers, and thus aligns work all across your organisation. It is extremely important to create buyer personas as it helps you focus your resources on a specific target instead of spreading it all across.
Here are a few ways to research before creating a buyer persona:
- Look through your contact database to find out the current buyer trend
- Use that information to create your own buyer persona form
- Do take into consideration the feedback of your sales team
- Keep interviewing customers for their feedback and noting changes in their needs
Now, after you have done your research, here is how you can create your ideal buyer persona:
- Download a ready template or create one
- Fill in the demographic details of your buyer persona
- Fill in what you have learned via the aforementioned research
- Enable your sales team to have conversations with this persona
- Teach people how they can converse with your persona
- Assign a name to your persona to enable pre-planning conversations
You can use the HubSpot persona generator too to move faster on this step. The persona generator comes with a ready-to-use, editable persona format, asking you questions about your ideal customer, walking you to conclude it as the description of an individual person. Check it out here.
Step 2: Plan out a Campaign
Finding a lead is only the first step. Converting this lead into a customer requires much more time and effort. That’s why you need to plan out an entire journey for the lead even before it is lead!
Transform your company page
Firstly, use a compelling cover image, one that identifies with your business and is striking enough to pull a prospective customer’s attention. Secondly, focus on the company description. The buyer should stay to read it and get convinced to know more about what you’re offering. Make the first two lines the best. Thirdly, make sure the page is active via posts, updates, and reactions.
Find Your Niche Group
While it is great to find individual people, you can even find leads via groups. Join the LinkedIn groups that define your niche best and interact there, with the intention to generate leads. However, make sure that the groups you follow are marked with features such as Highly Relevant and Active. You can even create your own group and find people to add to it to discuss industry trends and brainstorm or educate one another, at the same time using it for lead generation.
Create quality content and post it on LinkedIn. Thus, you will be using an outbound strategy to create an inbound strategy, by attracting potential customers to your website or relevant posts via links and captions. You can post via your company page as well as your individual accounts.
Step 3: Make it Easier for Prospects to Turn into Leads
Complicated forms intimidate customers and even discourage them from completing the process. Think about the last time you saw a lengthy questionnaire and decided to do something else instead. To make it easier for your prospects to reach you on spotting one of your campaigns, use LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.
It makes the process of them sharing information with you or contacting you easy, with pre-filled information using their LinkedIn profiles. Here’s a glimpse of how these forms work:
If you’re wondering how to put LinkedIn Lead Gen forms to use, watch the video here.
Step 4: Make a post-LinkedIn lead generation plan
Getting leads is good. But do you have a plan in mind as to what you would do after you have generated B2B leads?
Do you know exactly what you need to say next to convince a lead to try your product or service?
Don’t leave things fluid as they are more prone to error. Ending up randomly blabbering could do more harm than good when you’re trying to nurture a B2B lead.
Create a few possible conversation scenarios beforehand and prepare your answers accordingly. Should a prospect ask you for an example of success, you need to have a case study ready. Should a prospect ask to see a video of how your product/ service functions, you need to have a quick how-to ready to link them to.
Ideally, create a buyer’s journey beforehand. This will help you prevent good leads from slipping out of your funnel.
Step 5: Measure your performance and optimise your campaign
Just like every other platform you use for marketing or sales purposes, it is important to constantly measure your performance. Look into how your campaigns have been performing so far, where you tend to lose out on conversations with potential buyers and identify opportunities to make your campaign more contextual and better.
A few things to take note of in your LinkedIn lead generation efforts include:
- Reach of your campaigns
- Engagement on your content
- Interaction from your content and outreach
- Conversion rate (to lead) from your LinkedIn campaign
- Time to nudge lead to start a conversation
- Time to turn a conversing lead into a free trial/ customer
- Amount spent on your LinkedIn lead generation efforts (paid and organic)
- Sales generated from your LinkedIn lead generation campaigns
- Length of the sales cycle
- ROI from your LinkedIn lead generation campaigns
Yes, that might look like a lot. But you don’t want to end up spending thousands of dollars on things that are not helping you reach your potential customers.
To give you a head start on LinkedIn lead generation so that the numbers you see are not disappointing, here are a few strategies we put to use.
Strategies to jumpstart your LinkedIn lead generation efforts
1. Optimise your profile and activity
Nothing works better than making your profile look good. Use a good and clear headshot and a professional cover image that reflects a mix of your personality and your company’s vision. Thereafter, make sure that your bio is interesting enough for the prospective lead to go through it. Make it crisp, short, and relevant.
Additionally, keep adding relevant updates and posts that are either shared on your company page or are insights from your industry. Another way to optimise your profile is by asking people to add recommendations for you and endorse you for your skills. These come on your profile in big and bold formats and immediately catch the attention of a prospect that may be lurking around.
2. Increase profile visibility with hashtags
You must have noticed that every action on LinkedIn adds on to the visibility factor. Every like, comment, or any other interaction results in a push on the timeline of those who are either connected to you or following the said post.
Use hashtags when posting something, and keep interacting with other posts. Be an active participant. Act and react wherever you can, whenever you can – but remember to not be spammy. The idea is to be of value and create an authoritative impression on your potential customers.
Pro tip: Please don’t use LinkedIn like Instagram. Use only relevant hashtags in your posts. At a time, 3-4 are more than enough.
3. Leverage employee amplification
Teamwork is not limited to how you work together. It’s also about how you enable each other to do more and accomplish more. That’s why using employee amplification is an important strategy for LinkedIn lead generation.
Simply put, employee amplification refers to the process of using your team’s social media accounts – in this case, LinkedIn, to distribute the content marketing materials. The aim here is to increase the visibility of your content and your campaigns.
If you have team members who are concerned about re-sharing posts from the company page or your profile, remember to share the overall benefit of this strategy. But here are some best practices to follow as well to increase participation:
4. Use Scrabin (growth hack!)
Running low on time? Got high targets to catch up with? Well, we found and we built a growth hack for you. Meet Scrabin.
Scrabin is a smart growth hacking tool built by our team to make your LinkedIn lead generation campaign a success in no time! Here’s how it works:
The tool helps you find and extract relevant data from LinkedIn profiles that can help elevate your B2B lead generation process. This can save up a whole lot of time where you actively pursue your target customers. Thus, a combination of FindThatLead Search, Social Search, and Scrabin can help you immensely in finding your audience, so that you can apply your strategy, thereafter, to convert them into customers.
Do you need LinkedIn lead generation?
LinkedIn is a platform that is experiencing a boom when it comes to lead generation. B2B marketers believe it is the only place to have a relevant, contextual conversation with prospects without fearing distractions that are present on other social media platforms. The professionalism that comes with the nature of the platform, further adds to the reason why you should consider LinkedIn lead generation for your business.
TLDR; Yes, you do need LinkedIn lead generation to grow your business.
But here’s a heads up. LinkedIn lead generation campaigns can vary from business to business, campaign to campaign, and even from product/ service to product/service. The reason being that your potential buyers are different every time and you need to continually learn more about your target audience to keep your efforts, and campaigns aligned with what holds value in their eyes.
Want to get a head start on LinkedIn lead generation? Try Scrabin today to growth hack your sales pipeline!
About the Author
Vanhishikha Bhargava is a Content Marketer at FindThatLead, a growth hacking solution that enables businesses to growth hack lead generation and their sales with smart automations and more.