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40 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Sales

40 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Sales
Jenny Keohane

Jenny Keohane

22 min read0 reads
Sales Prospecting, Sales Tips 

Contents

  1. Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting
  2. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  3. How to use InMail for Sales
  4. How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Sales
  5. Conclusion

In 2021, salespeople who are using LinkedIn for sales prospecting are acquiring tons of new opportunities. But there are plenty of sales reps out there who are still missing out.

With 690 million professionals and decision-makers on LinkedIn right now, it has become a gold mine for gaining prospective information, generating leads, and building relationships with potential buyers.

So, how are salespeople selling on LinkedIn? We compiled a list of 40 ways to use LinkedIn for sales, broken down into four sections: Prospecting, Sales Navigator, InMail, and LinkedIn Profile Optimization.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting
  2. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  3. How to use InMail for Sales
  4. How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Sales

Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting

1. Connections Breed Connections

Essentially, the more connections you have, the more connections you’ll make.

When you meet someone professionally or close a deal with a customer — it’s important to always connect with them shortly after your interaction.

Why?

This will significantly increase your chances of getting quality referrals. This will also allow your prospect to feel more comfortable getting on a call with you since you have mutual connections. And better yet, this will help spark conversation from the get-go, which is essential for building rapport.

2. Send Personalized Connection Requests

Building off the idea above, it’s important to add a personalized message with your connection request.

In this message, make sure you include a piece of personalization as well as why you’re looking to connect.

connection request

3. Stay Connected With Customers You Close Deals With 

When you add customers you close deals with to your network, you’re able to stay up-to-date with both their company and career growth.

Suppose you see a customer is moving companies. In that case, this could be an excellent opportunity to reconnect on the possibility of providing additional value with your product/solution at their new company. Job changes = potential opportunities.

starting a new position

And even if this isn’t the case, a quick congratulations will help you stay connected and strengthen your business relationship.

4. Take Advantage of LinkedIn Groups

Find relevant groups, and you’ll instantly be connected with professional communities where you can connect with others in your industry and expand your potential reach.

The thing about prospecting on LinkedIn groups is that you’re not joining these groups to sell right off the bat. You’re joining to connect and engage with others in the industry, build your authority, and position yourself as a credible source.

Then, your prospecting efforts will be easier and more natural — you can immediately warm up your cold outreach. 

So, you’re selling to salespeople? Look up sales groups, join them, then start engaging and building relationships.

using LinkedIn for sales - LinkedIn groups

5. Start Discussions With Industry Related Posts 

Posting on LinkedIn isn’t solely for influencers anymore. Industry posts have become increasingly more common, especially with how strong the outcomes have been.

Posting and starting discussions is a great way to get more eyes and engagement.

For example, by asking a thought-provoking question and tagging connections in the industry to respond with their take, you can spark conversation for new users to see and get involved in.

6. Check Out Prospect’s “People Also Viewed” Sidebar

When taking similar steps above to connect with others, you’ll see the “people also viewed” sidebar on the right side of their profile.

This list shows profiles that viewers have also looked at and similarities in job titles and industries.

"People Also Viewed" sidebar on LinkedIn

This is a way to get a deeper look into your prospect’s network — this sidebar could lead you to more potential prospects or decision-makers involved in the buying process.

7. Use the Power of LinkedIn to Map Out Organizations

When finding new leads that are your ideal customer and you believe would be a good fit for your product/service, it’s important to map out the organization to know who to contact and plan your next steps.

Some things to look for:

  • Department
  • Team layout
  • Decision-makers
  • Geography (multiple offices)

This will give you a clear picture of how the organization is laid out so you can move forward with confidence.

8. Then, Pick 2-3 Stakeholders

After you map out the organization, pick 2-3 stakeholders (which is necessary for B2B sales), add to your CRM, and start to reach out in a personalized way.

This means using information from their LinkedIn profile to warm up the cold outreach and use pieces of personalization from their profile to show you have done your homework. 

9. Incorporate LinkedIn in Your Email Campaign Cadence 

In 2021, it’s super beneficial to incorporate LinkedIn touches into your email campaigns.

For example, with Yesware Prospecting Campaigns, we encourage users to connect through LinkedIn as part of their sales cadence.

LinkedIn touch in email campaign

Why?

It’s important to have a multi-channel approach when it comes to sales prospecting. Every prospect has a different preference for communication, and it ultimately increases your visibility and likeliness of connection.

mail
Multi-channel campaignsCreate personalized automated campaigns with email, calls, and social touches

10. Take Advantage of LinkedIn Search Filters

When using LinkedIn for sales, take advantage of the search filters.

If you know the criteria you’re looking for, utilize the extensive search filters LinkedIn has to offer.

using LinkedIn for sales - search filters

This will help you identify potential prospects and lead you in the right direction for making future connections.

11. Follow Your Prospects’ Company Pages

Rather than continuing to check their site for company news, follow your prospects’ company pages. Then, you can be notified of changes. 

This way, you’ll always be in the know of what’s happening in the company and can be sure you reach out and congratulate the prospect for any big company announcements.

This will help you create personalized outreach and build rapport immediately. 

12. Export a Spreadsheet of Your Connections

This hidden feature is a gem. LinkedIn allows you to export all of your connections’ information right from the site.

Here’s how:

  1. Under “Me” on your homepage, click “Settings and Privacy.”
  2. Click “Data Privacy,” click the tab “How LinkedIn uses your data.”
  3. Under “Get a copy of your data,” you’ll be able to select “Want something in particular? Select the data files you’re most interested in.”
  4. Then, click “Connections” and “Request Archive.”

You will then receive an email in about 10 minutes with a spreadsheet/CSV file with your connections’ information.

This spreadsheet includes their name, email address, company, position, and when you connected with them.

13. Check Out Prospect’s Skill Endorsements

This LinkedIn prospecting tactic is similar to the “People also viewed” strategy discussed above.

Connections who endorse others are frequently those who are colleagues or business partners. The endorsements will typically be users who are in a similar niche with shared interests, allowing you to expand your reach to more potential prospects.

Endorsements are found at the bottom of user profiles:

Skills and endorsements

14. Track Competitive Activity 

Although this may sound creepy…tracking your competitors’ activity can actually lead to tons of opportunities to see who they’re working with and engaging with.

Similar to tracking prospective activity, you can gauge opportunities before others do and look for triggers that could lead to a need or desire.

15. Ask For Referrals and Introductions

Generating referrals is tough, but LinkedIn can make it easier.

If you’re following the LinkedIn prospecting tactic above and connecting with customers, this will make the process much easier. If you see a happy customer as a mutual connection, it doesn’t hurt to ask for an introduction.

This strategy needs to be executed carefully, though. It’s important to outline the value you can offer to ensure they have a good reason to make the referral.

Also, make it easy for them by providing a message they can reuse. Here’s an example:

Hi Sara,

Hope this message finds you well!

I’d like to introduce you to David of Better Process Consulting. His company made all the difference in a recent initiative to make our department more efficient. I believe your company could benefit from his services as well.

I’ll let you two take it from here.

All the best,

Brendan

16. Stay Top-of-Mind By Sharing Relevant Content

If you’re not a fan of the idea of posting content yourself, but you still want to stay top-of-mind, you can simply share content.

Sharing relevant and helpful industry-related pieces of content is one of the easiest and fastest ways to stay top-of-mind.

using LinkedIn for sales - posting

And it takes as little as 5 seconds to do.

Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator

17. Find Leads Based on Finely Tuned Search Criteria

When using LinkedIn for sales, if you’re looking for more tools and capabilities to help with lead generation, LinkedIn Sales Navigator may do the trick. This is a paid-for tier of LinkedIn.

With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you get the “Advanced Search” feature to search for leads based on finely tuned search criteria and save them to lists to follow up on later.

Here’s an example of how detailed the search functionalities are with “Advanced Search:”

LinkedIn advanced search filters

18. Use Lead Recommendations

Sales Navigator will also recommend leads for you based on your prospecting activity. 

It’s an easy way to quickly spin up a long list of potential prospects.

With Lead Recommendations, you can receive pre-vetted leads, recommended decision-makers at target companies, recommended companies, and more.

19. Use Keywords and Sales Spotlights

Use keywords in your filtered searches, such as relevant words that you’re looking for in your ideal customer’s profile. Then, in the “Sales Spotlight” at the top of your search results, narrow down your leads even more.

Here, you can choose from options such as the user changed jobs in the past 90 days, posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, etc. 

Take a look below:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Then, create lead lists to stay organized.

20. Save Your Searches

Once you’ve created a targeted search to find your ideal prospects, rather than enter the search terms every time, Sales Navigator allows you to save them.

You can also receive email alerts when members match these criteria. 

LinkedIn prospecting

To set this up, learn more about Save Searches here.

21. Get LinkedIn Sales Navigator in Your Gmail or O365 Inbox

Did you know that you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator without having to leave your inbox?

Introducing, Yesware.

Yesware puts Sales Navigator in an easily-accessible sidebar in your inbox.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator in Yesware
As you compose emails, in the sidebar you’ll see your prospect’s profile, related leads, recent activity, highlights, and shared connections. So you can always send super personalized emails without having to leave your inbox.

Also, in this sidebar, you can easily send connection requests and InMail without switching tabs.

22. Zero In On Key Decision-Makers

As discussed above, LinkedIn is a great resource for finding your best decision-makers, especially if you’re taking a more outbound approach.

With Sales Navigator, you can search for any company, then quickly pinpoint critical decision-makers in any vertical:

using LinkedIn for sales - key decision-makers

As you look for decision-makers, avoid the mistake of focusing exclusively on people who can say yes to your product. 

With an average of 6.8 people involved in every buying decision, it pays to build relationships with relevant company stakeholders. These people can advocate for buying decisions internally, even though they may not make the final decision.

23. Find Prospects in LinkedIn Groups

As discussed above, LinkedIn Groups are super valuable for connecting with possible prospects and getting involved in conversations.

Another tool that Sales Navigator provides is the ability to find prospects in LinkedIn Groups.

Filter your leads

So, if you’re reaching out to someone and want an extra piece of personalization, check to see if you’re in any similar groups together and reference that in your outreach.

24. Set Alerts and Never Miss a Beat

Things get busy and you don’t have time to be monitoring LinkedIn throughout your workdays.

That’s why LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to set alerts by type.

For example, you can set the alert by job type, and LinkedIn will alert you when your prospects have a new job.

How to use InMail for Sales

25. Use InMail, But Use it Carefully

InMail is LinkedIn’s internal messaging system, available for Premium. This allows you to send messages to any LinkedIn user, connected or not.

Using this feature can help you get personalized messages directly in front of prospects. 

This is what InMail looks like:

LinkedIn InMail

It’s important to use this feature carefully. Let’s look at some best practices below.

26. Never Jump Into The Sales Pitch

It’s vital to never jump into a sales pitch on LinkedIn InMail. Use these messages sparingly to provide value and build connections.

That last thing you want to do after all your prospecting work on LinkedIn is to lose credibility.

Get them curious and wanting to know more.

27. Personalize Your InMail and Provide Value

Similar to cold emailing, you need to provide value right off the bat with InMail messages.

So, consider sending pieces of valuable information such as:

  • Provide industry research/studies
  • Introduce a business connection
  • Send relevant articles/industry trends
  • Invite them to an event
  • Provide a research brief

Remember, you need to give in order to get. 

28. Congratulate Professionals

InMail can also be a place where you focus on building connections rather than selling.

For example, rather than commenting on their post, go the extra mile and congratulate the user on a recent accomplishment through InMail. This can help spark a further conversation.

29. Save Your Successful Messages as Templates

Similar to saving email templates, it’s important to keep track of what’s working and what’s not working in your InMail outreach.

So, try saving your messages as templates and keeping track of what’s resonating with your prospects.

Here are two great InMail examples you can tweak yourself and save as templates.

InMail email template

InMail template

30. Make the First Line About Them

A good rule of thumb is to always make the first line about the recipient. The likelihood that they will keep reading will be much higher.

Tip: Try to find an uncommon commonality.

Why? Because we tend to trust those who are similar to us.

This psychological principle works even better when you emphasize something unusual you have in common with another person.

And luckily, you have a ton of information at hand — their LinkedIn profile.

31. Don’t Forget the CTA

Your message should always include a call to action.

Whether that be an invitation to talk more, a question about their business, or general next steps, it’s important to prompt some response or further conversation.

How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Sales

32. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Visibility

Now that we’ve covered ways of using LinkedIn for sales prospecting, let’s make sure that when the prospect lands on your profile, you make a good first impression.

There are various pieces to perfecting your LinkedIn profile. In this next part, we will cover all of the elements below:

  • Profile Photograph
  • Background Image
  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Experience
  • Recommendations

33. Choose a Professional Photo

Your profile photo helps to put a face to a name. And it also helps to humanize interactions going forward.

To help build credibility and trust, make sure you have a professional headshot.

Also, smile! You want to portray yourself as an approachable person. 

34. Make Sure Your Profile Photo Is Public

The last thing you want prospects to see is this on your profile:

LinkedIn profile photo annonymous

Before moving on, make sure your profile photo is public.

How to do this:

  1. Under “Me” on your homepage, click “Settings and Privacy.”
  2. Click “Visibility”
  3. Click change next to “Edit your public profile”
  4. Go to the right sidebar that says “Edit Visibility” 
  5. Under “Profile Photo,” select “Public”

profile's public visibility for LinkedIn prospecting

Also, make sure your background photo, headline, etc., are switched to “Show” as well. This will ensure prospects who are not connected with you can get full visibility into your profile.

35. Utilize Your Background Image

Your background image should represent the company you work for and the product/service you’re selling.

By using an engaging photo that quickly captures your audience’s attention and gives them a quick understanding of what your product/service does, you make your profile appear more relevant and significant to your target audience.

Here’s a great example from Grammarly:

Background image

This image is eye-catching, valuable, customer-focused, and tells you what their product/service helps customers do.

36. Provide Value in Your Headline

By default, LinkedIn puts your current job title as your headline, and the majority of people keep this as is.

But you can do much more with this headline. Try to incorporate your value proposition to be unique and stand out.

Try to answer this question: Who do you help and how?

Let’s look at an example provided by Skylead

prospecting on LinkedIn - change your header

This headline is targeted, tells prospects how he’d help you, and touches on the benefits of his product/service.

Also, your headline follows your name on LinkedIn — such as when your posts or comments are shown in others’ feed or in search results. So, it’s important to use this space wisely and make your sentence meaningful.

37. Make Your Summary Prospect-Focused

In sales, it’s important to make your summary about your customers and how you’re trying to help them.

With a minimal amount of time to connect with prospects and the need to make a strong first impression, it’s important to make your summary outward-facing – that is, it talks to your prospects rather than talks about you. 

Let’s look at an example of a prospect-focused summary:

using LinkedIn for sales - prospect-focused summary

This summary is a great example because Lydia calls out her target customer immediately (small-to-mid market companies that need a marketing person). She also touches on her prospect’s pain points.

By doing so, she immediately communicates to her prospects that she understands their wants and needs. 

38. Add Value Proposition Projects and Media to Your Profile

Building off the idea above, think of your LinkedIn profile as your own personal sales pitch. You want to be different, engaging, and appealing, right?

One of the best ways to do this is to include unique content on your profile that adds value to your product/service.

As a sales rep, this is the perfect opportunity to attach customer testimonials, case studies, white papers, presentations, and more. 

39. Make Your Job Experience a Sales Pitch

As a sales professional, your experience description should be different from other positions.

Rather than make your job description a list of what you do in your role, this is an opportunity to give a sales pitch about your company and what is so special about your product/service. Also, drop some names of your top customers to provide social proof.

Here’s an example of what the sales team at Yesware has for their job experience description:

experience description on LinkedIn profile

40. Ask for Recommendations 

If you can get happy customers to give you a recommendation, you’re one step ahead of the game for prospecting on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Recommendations

Recommendations help to gain trust before the conversation occurs.

Conclusion

As shown above, there are various ways to use LinkedIn for sales.

With the rise of social media, it’s hard to ignore the power of social selling. And LinkedIn is hands down the best social channel for sales professionals.

Continue to try new things for engaging with prospects and building business relationships. The techniques will only keep changing and improving as more reps leverage the power of LinkedIn.

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