A Beginners Guide On Prospecting with LinkedIn

Feeling defeated keeping up with LinkedIn? Before you begin pulling your hair, give this blog a read as we will show you the ins and outs of LinkedIn sales prospecting. Simply save your hair and your sales career!

LinkedIn is every salesperson’s food and water – one can not live without it. It’s no surprise as it is the world’s largest professional network and holds a database of  over +810 million members. This goes on to show the limitless potential this network has, and also the fact that it can leave you clueless if you don’t know where to start. Let’s be honest – while we know LinkedIn can help one prospect quickly, it can at the same time seem like a lot of work.

So read on to know every tip and trick to make you a LinkedIn Pro by the end of this blog. 

Ready? Let’s begin.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is LinkedIn sales prospecting?

Well, you’ve definitely heard this word been thrown around everywhere. But what does it really mean? It’s a process of identifying and connecting with your ideal customers on LinkedIn, building a relationship with them and eventually converting them into customers.  

Now this will include a few methods such as:

  1. Using the search filters to find your target audience.
  2. Conducting an in-depth research on their profile to learn more about them. 
  3. Securing their contact information so you can reach out to them.
  4. Sending a hyper-personalized connection request.
  5. Joining relevant LinkedIn groups and being an active member.
  6. Automating your LinkedIn outreach and more.

This is more or less the general process a sales rep would conduct on a daily basis to get incredible results (we will get into the nitty gritty’s soon).

Why LinkedIn is better for B2B prospecting

With LinkedIn being a very business-oriented social media platform, they offer a number of features, thus allowing you to do an in-depth search.

Here are a few ways LinkedIn stands out:

  • LinkedIn provides a stronger targeting – The LinkedIn search filters are pure genius – from targeting based on job titles, level of seniority in a company, company size, skills they possess, to targeting employees in terms of their current or a past company information, everything is possible with LinkedIn. 

  • Readily available contact information – LinkedIn offers readily available contact information which means you’ll be able to reach a larger audience with less effort, thus increasing your lead list.

Stats to prove LinkedIn works

Did you know?

– 81% of B2B considers LinkedIn to be the best place for lead generation.

– 40% of users connect on LinkedIn everyday.

And that’s not it.
Statistics show LinkedIn to be more promising than Email. While the average email open rate is about 21.6%, InMail can bring you around 57.5% open rates. Moreover, as for the response rate, it reaches 10-25% for InMail messages, while for emails, it is between 1 to 10%.

What is the reason for this gap? There is one key factor that causes such a wide difference: LinkedIn provides your prospects the opportunity to click on your profile to learn more about you, your company, and the product(s) you sell, thus making it more interactive and personal. 

Now that you’ve got an introduction to LinkedIn and its superpowers, let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Steps involved in LinkedIn prospecting

Can a soldier go into the battlefield without his gears? Similarly, before you begin with LinkedIn prospecting, get prepared with some best practices. 

1. Optimize your profile

Everyone who does business with you will want to know more about you, so they check your LinkedIn profile.Make your profile is a gold mine for them to extract impressive details about you. Let’s see how:

  • Add a convincing headline – Your headline will appear everywhere – from news feed to search results to “Recommended to connect with” to “Who has viewed your profile” feature. So make sure you have a good headline that conveys what it is that you can do for the reader in about 6-8 words. Below is an example of sales genius Morgan J Ingram’s LinkedIn headline.
Image source: LinkedIn

Give emphasis to keywords so people can search for specific keywords to find you. You can use this formula while crafting your headline:

  1. (Job title) | (Company) | USP (Unique selling proposition)
  2. Title + Company + Benefits of working with you 
Image source: LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn Banner – A valuable yet so understated part of your LinkedIn profile. This area is a great place to show off your business value proposition to your viewers. Use images from a speaking section that you’d conduct, conferences, or simply one with your company’s logo and what you do in a single line. This banner of Neil Patel, is a good example. 
Image source: LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn name pronunciation – Have you ever had to come across an instance when people mispronounce your name? Then the LinkedIn name pronunciation feature is for you. This is especially helpful when you’re going to have a call or a virtual meeting while prospecting with overseas clients and there is a confusion regarding your names.

While some members chose to only record the pronunciation of their name, others take it a step ahead by talking about the company they work for and how they can offer their help. For example, Lori Richardson, founder and CEO of Score More Sales, has the following recording:

“Hey it’s Lori Richardson with Score More Sales. Reach out by email or LinkedIn and I’ll help you solve your sales issues”.  

Simple yet so effective, isn’t it?

  • Frame a memorable summary – The summary is an extension of your headline. Your viewers will see a snippet of 300 characters – that  can be expanded upon clicking. To grab their attention, the 1st few lines in the summary should spike their interest and invite them to read more. Talk about your mission statement, goals, objectives, the motivation behind your work, the results you got, the pain points you solved and highlight your accomplishments. Also, remember to add in specific keywords so you appear on the search results. 

Below is an ‘About’ section of Tom Stearns, Founder of Tom Stearns Consulting. He has broken it down into bite-sized sections that makes it interesting to read and easier to get to know him.

Image source: LinkedIn
  • Set your creator mode to ‘On’ – Scroll down to the ‘Resources’ section and you will see a tab that says ‘Creator mode’. Simply hit ‘On’ to turn on a world of possibilities on LinkedIn.

How does this Creator mode come handy?

  1. You can display the topics you post in your profile right below your ‘Headline’ section as hashtags to indicate what topics you frequently post on the platform. 
  2. It will move your ‘Featured’ and ‘Activity’ section to the top of your LinkedIn page, thus highlighting your profile. 
  3. You will be eligible to be featured as a suggested creator to follow, thus attracting more followers for your content.
  • Add a video to the activity section – When you activate your “creator mode”, it moves your activity section to the top of your profile, thus prominently displaying the content you post. Here you can add videos such as testimonials, expert tips, product demo, etc to get more viewership for your content. Below is the LinkedIn page of Viveka, Chief Visibility Officer at Vengreso.
Image source: LinkedIn
  • Add a LinkedIn cover story – As an extension of the Creator mode in LinkedIn,  sales people have one more advantage – you can now add an introductory video that people can view when they click on the green dot that will appear around your profile photo to view your self-shot introduction video. Here is one such cover story of Chaniqua Ivey, Chief Operating Officer at Inclusivv. 

2. Check your Social Selling Index (SSI)

The SSI is essentially an indicator of how well you’re using your LinkedIn profile. A good SSI score can help boost your influence on LinkedIn and also showcases you as an expert social seller. The SSI rates you on a scale of 100 and scores you on 4 components such as:

  • Establish your professional brand
  • Find the right people
  • Engage with insights
  • Build relationships

To get a good score on each of these, you must know what you need to do:

Establish your professional brand

Complete your profile by making sure you have a profile picture, have filled in the ‘featured section’ and you have an all-star profile rating. 

Find the right people

Here you must identify prospects using efficient search tools such as Sales Navigator, must conduct a large number of searches and have a high acceptance rate of invitations.

Engage with insights

This score will be high when you discover and share conversations to create and grow relationships, publish articles and newsletters, must have a high engagement rate and your activity in groups must be good. 

Build relationships

For this, you must strengthen your network by connecting with decision-makers, respond quickly to notifications and private messages, and also get tagged often by your connections.

To check yours, you can visit this link from LinkedIn and select the ‘Get your free score’ tab.

So what’s an ideal score? Well, a good SSI score should be 70+, while 40 to 70 is considered ok and anything below that is a poor score. Therefore it’s always recommended to spend some time crafting your profile, growing your network, and engaging with peers on a regular basis to get an improved score.

3. Build visibility

LinkedIn is a marketplace of businesses and smart people – so if you want them to see you, make sure you are worth their time. Now how do you do this, apart from an obviously professional profile? 

Well, we have you covered with a few tips:

  • Post regularly – This is not  reposting what  people usually do, but valuable posts that have the potential to spark interest in the minds of the readers. Be consistent with posting, and you will gradually set yourself up to be seen by more people. 

There is a rule of thumb in LinkedIn that you should know – 10% of your connections will see your posts in the first hour. Now if they engage with that post, it will then be shown to others. So your goal when writing your posts must be to get that 10% interested in your post to see more traction and views.

  • Engage with posts of potential prospects – Did you see your potential prospects posting on LinkedIn today? Hurry up and leave a valuable comment on that post. This is a great opportunity to have them look through your profile before replying to you – thus giving you a much better result than any other cold outreach.
  • Reply to every comment on your posts – Most often I see people posting brilliant content on LinkedIn, but fail to reply to the comments they receive. However, doing so can discourage people from leaving their thoughts in the future and no one wants that, do they? So make sure you don’t skip on this.
  • Join groups – This is an easy way to reach out to new prospects within your industry and chime in with your valuable feedback. Another advantage is that when you regularly participate in these groups, you are building credibility so members will feel confident telling others about you. 
  • LinkedIn LiveAccording to LinkedIn, a live video gets on avg 7x more reactions and 24x more comments than posting regular videos on LinkedIn. Now how do you activate it? Go to your ‘Creator Mode’ and click on it to enable the option. 

 Oh, and while you’re at it, here are a set of criteria’s for starting a LinkedIn live:

  • Audience base: You need more than 150 followers and / or connections.
  • Share original content: You should have posted original content on LinkedIn such as texts, images, videos, articles and the likes so LinkedIn can evaluate if you will be able to make the most of this Live section. 

Once that’s done, here is something you need to know – you need to use a third party streaming tool such as Restream, Socialive, StreamYard, Switcherstudio etc to broadcast your LinkedIn live. So make sure you choose an appropriate tool before you begin. 

The best part of LinkedIn live is, as soon as you create one using the third party tool, it automatically creates an event on your page so viewers are notified of it. Additionally, when the event goes live, it will run in that post as well as on your profile background thus helping to increase the visibility of your content. 

By going live on LinkedIn, you can engage your audience in real-time, take questions, and interact with them in a meaningful way.

Below is a video of Marissa Kraines, Senior Director of Social & Content Marketing at Salesforce talking about the stellar numbers they garnered through Linkedin Live.

4. Use Videos 

LinkedIn is a place of value, no doubt. Therefore it is the responsibility of every sales person to provide that value to each of their prospects. This is why I encourage you to include videos in your prospecting. 

Now how can you use videos?

  • Cold prospecting – Cold prospecting on LinkedIn is all about making an impression, right? It’s not about selling right away, but it means to build relationships. What better way to do it rather than creating a personalized video? Use your video message to give them something they aren’t expecting – a personalized connection. Just a simple video that goes like this:

Can you imagine the impact this simple video message would create? BOMB. 

  • Response to connection – Did a prospect accept your request to connect? Or did you request a connection? Send them a video message along with your InMail so it can hit the right spot.

You can do all of the above with the help of a simple video recording and hosting tool. Ensure it comes with video editing functionality in order for you to create micro videos. It has to be Hippo Video, an easy to use tool that will help you instantly connect with your prospects, thus creating a warm relationship. 

If you use Hippo Video, then you can start recording after installing our Chrome extension. Simply hit the ‘Add to Chrome’ tab and voila, you’re all set to start sending videos on LinkedIn.

Here are some video tips that will help you ace it every single time:

  • Look directly at the camera when you speak.
  • Avoid too many umms – it can show them you’re underprepared.
  • Do not read from a script. It will sound robotic and not personal.
  • Treat everyone individually i.e craft a personalized message for each one of them.
  • Most importantly, do your homework on them before you speak.

3. Start prospecting

Prospecting can be done in two ways – using the basic search features common to every LinkedIn user or go head on by using the Sales Navigator tool. I will discuss both here. 

LinkedIn provides you a set of basic filters you can use to search your prospects with. A few of them are:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Company
  • School
  • Industry
  • Jobs
  • Posts
  • Events
  • And a lot more…

To get started, first go to your ‘Search’ tab on the top left and then simply hit the ‘Enter’ button on your computer. It will automatically take you to a page that looks like this. 

Basic filter for people

First, let’s look into how to look for ‘People’. 

Click the ‘All filters’ tab to start searching for leads. Now you will see a pop up like this:

Now you can get to work – starting from ‘Connections’, you must select 2nd and 3rd+ connections so you can connect with people you’re not yet connected with. Next go for locations, current company, past company, and so on and so forth. 

Now when it comes to the field ‘Job titles’ we have a little trick you can follow – this is known as Boolean search. Now what is Boolean search? Well, it is a programmatic language to make precise searches. Now there are different methods to use Boolean search as a logical connector..

  • Use ‘AND’ Using AND in between each job title will tell LinkedIn that you want several keywords to appear in the job titles of your prospects. 
  • Use ‘OR’ Use this if you want at least one of the keywords to appear on the title of your prospect. Now this is really useful if you have a list of job titles you are going to target, so all you have to do is copy paste them and add ‘OR’ in between each of the titles. 
  • Use ‘NOT’ By using ‘NOT’ you are going to exclude profiles that contain the specified keyword. 

Now, let me simply type in ‘Head of Sales’ into search, I will get about 208,000 results. However, if you look into their job titles, there is a mix of Head of Sales, Head of Marketing and Sales, even Head of Sales and Operations. 

Now how do I eliminate these and get only ‘Head of Sales’ in my search? This is where you use ‘NOT’.  

By using ‘NOT’, you can see we’ve eliminated close to 27,000 people. 

  • Use a combination of AND, OR, NOT To be really specific about your search, you can use a mix of these three boolean expressions. For example, ‘Head OR Chief OR VP AND Sales OR Marketing NOT Intern OR Assistant OR Consultant’. When you use these kinds of search elements you are delving deeper and thus extracting a lot more precise job titles – Head of sales, Head of Marketing, Chief of Sales, Chief of Marketing, VP of Sales, VP of Marketing. 

A word of caution – when you use the basic search feature, be careful to look through your prospects’ previous experiences mentioned in LinkedIn. Why so? Well, with the basic search filter, LinkedIn can pull up job titles the prospect have previously held and have mentioned on their profile.

Here’s an example: 

Imagine sending this person an InMail or an email saying “Hey there, I noticed you are the Head of Sales” – this will make your message completely irrelevant as it was a past job title he held.

One final tip – When doing a basic search simply use only the keyword filter to look for keywords in the job description of your prospects and also to conduct the Boolean search to get better results. Also, if you are looking for niche keywords that only appear on the job description and not the job title you can use the keyword filter. However, if the job title is enough for you, you can use the job title filter. 

Basic filter for companies

What about companies? How do we search for it?

Let’s take a look at it.

Go to the LinkedIn search bar and click on ‘Companies’. 

Once you select that, click in ‘All filters’ and you will see a list of filters to select.

Let’s say you want to search for a list of SAAS companies. How do you do it? 

Go to the filter page and fill in the details such as the ‘Location, company size’ etc. As for the industry, type in ‘saas’ in the ‘+Add an industry’ field and then select ‘Show results’. After that, go to the keyword search tab and type in ‘saas’ as there is much less information on the company page as compared to prospects’ LinkedIn profile. Voila! Your results will appear now.

Now this is how your results will look.

While conducting companies search, you will get information about:

  • Company name, description, and specialities.

Basic filter for groups

Do you want to search for leads on LinkedIn groups? Click on the ‘Groups’ icon to get started. 

Let’s say you want to target ‘freelancers’ as you have a product or service you want to sell. Just type it in and you will see a number of leads popping up. Click on it and select ‘Request to join’. Once the admin has let you in, you can simply click ‘SEE ALL’ on the top right corner to search for the members in that group. The good thing about joining groups is that you can directly message them without being connected to them. 

Basic filter for events

Want to meet like minded people? There is no better way to reach out to them than finding an event of your common interest via LinkedIn search. Here’s how you do it:

Click on ‘Events’ and in the search bar type in your keyword. For example, I’m typing in ‘sales’. 

Now I’m interested in the event ‘Live with Sales Leaders: The Era of the Warm Call’. I’m going to click on that and register for the event. Once I do that, I can see a list of attendees whom I can directly message. How cool is that? Use this technique if you want to break the ice as you both are in a common ground. 

Use Sales Navigator to go a step further

If you want to take your lead generation a notch higher, you need Sales Navigator to get better results as you get much more filters. Let’s dive deeper into it, shall we?

What is a Sales Navigator?

Basically a Sales Navigator is a much more advanced version of the free LinkedIn search engine as it offers more than 40+ filters and in depth information about your prospects.  

Now let’s break down each component that you see here:

  1. Keywords – 

The keyword filter will look into the entire profile of your prospect. Therefore use this field when searching for niche keywords that will not appear on the job title but rather on job descriptions or company descriptions. 

  1. Title Filter

Want to look for job titles of your prospects? This is the field you must use. However, if you are looking at a range of job titles then I suggest you use the Boolean search method mentioned earlier so you will get a lot of opportunities within the range you defined. 

  1. Geography 

This filter will select the location of the people and not the location of their company. Make sure to keep that in mind while you use this. When you are targeting a region, make sure to select the important cities of that region as well to really find the people that live there. You don’t need to add in the country there as there is a separate field for it. 

5. Spotlights

To see this, go to the ‘Search for leads and accounts’ tab and you will see there are a few options such as:

  • Have they changed jobs in the past 90 days?
  • Do they follow your company page?
  • Do they share experiences with you?
  • Have they posted recently on LinkedIn?

Best practices and tips:

  • Use ‘Changed Job’ as an icebreaker.
  • The ‘Posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days’ can help you focus your outreach on people that are active on the platform.
  • Also, the ‘Share Experiences’ acts as an excellent icebreaker as well to begin the conversation.

6. Industry

Here, LinkedIn will look for the industry chosen by people in their LinkedIn profile, and not the industry of their company. Now this can be tricky as you might get some irrelevant search results so best to avoid this field. But if you still want to, then you can use a tool called Evaboot as it helps extract the company industry on the prospect’s company page and check if it matches with the industry you selected on your lead search. 

7. Company headcount

Use this to target a company based on their headcount. 

8. Seniority Level

Though it is a good field, this can cause a bit of trouble while searching. The problem is LinkedIn creates a seniority level for every current experience on your profile. So if you have say 2 or 3 experiences, you will have 4 different seniority levels attached to your profile. 

Here in the above image you can see that a CEO is also considered as an intern. This is why we advise you not to include this in your search. Instead, take the time to search for all possible job titles of your ideal customer profile. 

9. Company

LinkedIn will find employees that have linked one of their current job titles to the company you’re searching for. But the problem here is most people don’t update their profile, and therefore you end up messaging people that no longer work in that company. So make sure you double check their job experience.

10. Relationship

  • 1st Degree: People in your network
  • 2nd Degree: People with 1 mutual connection to your network
  • 3rd Degree: People with no connection in your network

If you are doing outreach with Sales Navigator, you must select the 2nd and 3rd degree connections to avoid contacting people you already know. 

11. Past Lead and Account Activity

  • Remove Saved Leads from Search: remove all the leads presents in your Lead Lists.
  • Remove view Leads from Search: remove all the leads profile page you already visited.
  • Remove contacted Leads from Search: remove all the leads you already sent an Inmail to.
  • Search with Saved Account: look for the leads that have a current experience in the companies in all your Account Lists.

12. Posted on Linkedin

You can use this filter to find people you’ve recently posted on LinkedIn. Let’s say my target prospect is ‘Head of Sales’. You can use the ‘posted content keywords’ field to look for the Head of Sales. Here you will find the following:

  • Wrote a Linkedin article mentioning the keyword
  • Made a post mentioning a keyword
  • commented a post mentioning the keyword

13. View Similar

So you’ve found a perfect lead? Why don’t you try your luck and click on ‘View similar’? LinkedIn will show you profiles that match the one you selected in terms of education and professional experiences.

14. Connection of

What is the best icebreaker one can ask for? A common connection, isn’t it? With this filter, you can search your friend’s networks for potential customers (You can only choose 1 person). Here you could say something like this “Hi, I spoke to {connection} last week and he told me about {company}. It rings a bell for me because I {reason for outreach}…”

So these are the ways you could prospect using Sales Navigator. 

Focus on the content you post

The key to great content on LinkedIn is creating an aura for the prospect that you already know him/her quite well. That’s why personal brand and awareness is necessary to increase your rate of acceptance on LinkedIn. 

Here is our little trick:

See, each time you make a post, LinkedIn will show it to the following:

  • First, your personal network
  • Your 2nd circle if you have some success
  • 3rd circle if it goes viral

Now if you have posted a video on LinkedIn, you will find this analytics – the number of views of your post. This is where your future prospects are hiding. We suggest you to make use of this perfect opportunity for your future outbound campaigns and so when you send them a request, they can go like “Oh, I know this face, let me accept it”. 

So what type of content should you post?

You should be posting a variety of content. Post types include links to cool articles or helpful resources, interesting quotes, infographics, text-only updates, and images. “Switch it up and keep it interesting,” Sandler advises. “Don’t get too buttoned up—let your personality show.” Put some time and effort into choosing what you share, and make sure to vary the types of posts so your feed is more than a string of text updates. The content you post on LinkedIn will help to shape the perceptions of the people you’re trying to impress. To get the best results, be consistent and be thoughtful. A carefully considered post can go a long way toward helping you achieve your sales goals.

As for the topics you could post on, try these:

  1. A specific topic in your industry relevant to your customers. For example, if you are in marketing, try something like, customer privacy, lead generation, SEO etc.
  2. A professional topic outside of your industry – This shows you have a lot of interests even outside your field. Try something like ‘what business implications will AI bring, How behavioral economics and productivity hacks can help in the office etc. 
  3. The people in your business – Have you met a sales leader you look up to? Click a picture with him and post it along with the reasons why you’re inspired by him. When you attend a conference, trade show and the likes, be sure to click pictures with the participants and post them. 

However, remember to not only talk about yourself in your LinkedIn profile, rather appear to be versatile and show them your varied interests.

Use LinkedIn Automation tool

LinkedIn is a time consuming process, no doubt about it. So is there a way to make it effective by spending less time on it? The answer is yes. Think about it – the most time-consuming LinkedIn tasks are those that either don’t involve any or in some instances just light interactions with your target prospects. 

From building your lists to viewing profiles and attempting your first outreach, these tasks can all be done without investing your valuable time and without compromising the personalisation aspect we all strive for. 

Did you know? Automating these tasks can save you 80% of your time and helps you skip straight to calling to the right leads.

Firstly, what are the areas you can automate:

  1. Saved searches: to automatically detect new qualified leads
  2. Get Quality leads: Use a tool called Phantoms

What sales people usually do is when they find a list of perfect leads, they extract the results into a spreadsheet and send their first campaign. But the problem is – that list doesn’t stay the same as people change jobs, countries etc. To tackle this problem, you must use the ‘Saved Searches’ tab as it will notify you when new people match your search results. 

This is a great way to identify new opportunities and get in touch with people as soon as they get into their new position. Also, it saves you from manually having to search through each profile.

Now how do you save a search?

Click on the ‘Save search’ on the top right corner, define a name for that saved category and set the alert frequency at which you want new leads to appear on your Saved search dashboard. 

Use Phantom buster to send automatic messages

If you want to save time with all the prospecting, check out the Phantom Buster which is a cloud-based data extraction software designed to help in automating your sales and marketing processes by scraping useful data from LinkedIn. 

This tool will help you in:

  • Initiate contact with sales leads
  • Sends cold outreach messages to 1st degree connections on your behalf
  • Qualifies the leads
  • Automatically follows and unfollows high profile users
  • Eliminates incomplete lead information and provides additional information as such their contact details.

Now, how is this possible? Well, according to Phantom buster, they’ve created 100 automations, also known as Phantoms to automate many different tasks. Moreover, they access your Linkedin account through your browser’s session cookies, which you authenticate. 

Common mistakes while prospecting

We all receive a poorly written prospecting message from time to time. So if you want to avoid this, here are some tips:

  1. Asking for a meeting straightway – Have you ever walked up to someone and asked for a meeting without introducing yourself? No right? So don’t do that while prospecting, because it isn’t ethical and it’s also a great way to repel them. First, build a relationship with them by highlighting your common interest. Time is valuable and so you must have a clear reason as to why you want to reach out to them. 
  2. Long messages – Again, time is valuable. Nobody has time for anybody, so make use of what you have. Keep your message short and to the point – it will get their attention. You will have the time to say everything when you meet them personally.
  3. Unclear value proposition – What are you bringing to the table? Will it interest them or cause them to delete your message? Think this through before typing in that message.


LinkedIn is a vast topic, however, if you include it in your sales outreach, you can definitely get quality leads that will change the face of your company. So take advantage of its limitless capabilities and your sales game will never be the same.