While LinkedIn’s network of over 930 million professionals is a smorgasbord of prospecting potential, chances are high that you could get more out of the platform. Our compilation of 15+ key LinkedIn outreach strategies is the reference guide you need to smash sales targets. Check out tips and tricks to try today, then bookmark it for future reference. Next time you’re staring at an empty inbox, you’ll know exactly how to turn things around.

Cold LinkedIn outreach strategies

If your cold LinkedIn outreach could do with a boost, there’s no need to despair. We’ve got you covered with tips and tricks for every part of the process. 

To capture a lead’s attention

  1. Offer a free download or a webinar. 

Focus on enticing prospects with a valuable resource rather than immediately suggesting a call. In a connection request message, that might look like the following: 

“Hi [Name], 

See you also work in [industry] and are looking to [pain point]. At [your company], we actually just finished up a benchmark report on this very topic. Would you be interested in seeing the file?” 

  1. Invite them to a LinkedIn Event. 

Defy expectations by sending a LinkedIn Event invite rather than a connection message. Switching things up can grab a lead’s attention and avoid your request languishing forever as ‘pending’. For the best results, personalize each lead’s message saying why you’re inviting them. See our guide to prospecting from LinkedIn Events to get started. 

Invite them to a LinkedIn Event
  1. Try a new tone.

Has your current approach gone a bit stale? Freshen up your strategy by trying one of the following tactics. A/B test these options alongside your existing messaging to see which gets more opens and replies. 

  • The ‘quick question’. 

Rather than giving your sales spiel upfront, create intrigue with minimal information. Think, “Hi [Name], do you have a minute?” or “Hi [Name], how’s it going?”. While this approach is risky, it performs well in certain target markets. In particular, it’s a good one to try for prospects in less formal settings, such as smaller startups. 

  • The ‘not like other salespeople’. 

Perhaps you sense your prospects are all but done with traditional sales tactics. They’re suspicious of your value adds or you’re just not seeing responses. One technique to switch things up involves naming the elephant in the room. A jokey, “Yes, I’m a sales rep, but don’t worry, I won’t send you endless messages about getting on a call” can put apprehensive potential prospects at ease. 

  • The ‘I’ve done my research’. 

If you have busy prospects in more senior positions, this one can help show you respect their time and needs. In your initial message, simply include the context they’ve mentioned in past posts or on their LinkedIn profiles. By immediately demonstrating how your solution addresses their pain, you can hook these hard-to-engage decision-makers. 

  • The ‘statistician’. 

Alternatively, some leads don’t want a carefully crafted, elaborate pitch. They want to know the exact results your product can help them achieve, then they’ll talk. For these leads, make sure your message starts with a key statistic or social proof about your product’s effectiveness. Then keep it short and sweet and leave it to them to think through the difference it’d make to their business.   

  • The ‘doom and gloom’. 

Ready to tread the risky line between getting your prospect’s attention and annoying them? Try this approach, which involves highlighting an element of their business that currently doesn’t cut it. If they have bad reviews? Mention examples, and how you’ll help turn them stellar. Slow website and you do SEO services? Flag the areas they’re underperforming. Positions open for a long time when you offer recruitment services? Let them know the level of damage it’s doing to their business. This one’s a careful balancing act, but get it right and you’ve got leads with enough motivation to get a deal moving. 

  • The ‘industry expert’. 

Spent a while building out your LinkedIn personal brand, or swotting up on industry trends? Make sure you’re benefiting from your hard work by offering tips from your personal experience. If you have irrefutable industry expertise, leads will be grateful for the pointers. Research shows that people who perceive someone to have helped them are particularly keen to return the favor. Which is excellent news for your pipeline. 

The industry expert

To improve research and lead targeting

LinkedIn found that top-performing sales professionals are 33% more likely to research their prospects “all the time”. So, what are the best research strategies you can adopt for LinkedIn outreach? Most of them make use of LinkedIn’s premium sales tool, LinkedIn Sales Navigator. 

  1. Set up account lists for your target market, plus lead lists for each account. 

Once you have your Sales Navigator lists, turn on alerts for saved companies. Linkedin will send you updates and relevant digests that can inform your message templates and outreach timing.

Set up account lists for your target market, plus lead lists for each account
  1. Search for leads based on how long they’ve been in their position

LinkedIn lets you search for members 30-90 days into their role. If you add these leads to a campaign for new stakeholders, you’ve got built-in personalization even at scale.

Why is this outreach strategy effective? Well, newcomers to an organization are often attempting to make their mark. They have new ideas about how things can be structured or run, and aren’t super set with existing provider relationships. They’re also less likely to be strong advocates for the existing way of doing things. Because of this, reaching out to leads at the beginning of their tenure is a great way to improve results.

  1. Target companies with recent funding

These companies make great prospects because they’re usually growing and restructuring. They often need more support than they can get from internal resources. The investors who’ve recently given them a cash injection will also be keen to see them purchase new tools to level up.   

To find companies with recent funding, you can either use an external tool like Crunchbase; look out for LinkedIn alerts about company updates; or sort LinkedIn Sales Navigator results by company revenue. 

Target companies with recent funding
  1. Find companies that are hiring

When a company is hiring, it normally means they’re both growing and have a budget to spend. That means they’re able to fund new initiatives that make use of the product you sell, increasing your chances of a positive response. 

Again, it’s easy to find accounts that are hiring on LinkedIn using Sales Navigator. Simply select the hiring filter from the list of advanced filter options. Once you’ve selected that filter, you can create a lead list that includes individual stakeholders for each account. Then, using a LinkedIn automation tool like Salesflow, it’s easy to run a hiring outreach campaign.  

  1. Join relevant groups to access new prospect lists

Adding new connections is one way to broaden your LinkedIn reach. Another way that’s often even more effective is to search out and join relevant LinkedIn groups. This gives you access to a new, untapped market of leads. 

Using a Salesflow Groups and Events campaign allows you to message Group lead lists with minimal effort. By adding leads to cadences tailored to each specific group, you can easily increase the relevance of your outreach. Prospects will never know you’re reaching out to hundreds of others.

Join relevant groups to access new prospect lists
  1. Access a list of all open profile prospects for Open InMails campaigns

By importing saved Sales Navigator searches into Salesflow and selecting an Open Profile campaign type, you can automatically pull out all the saved users with open profiles. This saves hours of manual sorting. Since LinkedIn lets users message Open profiles for free, this increases the amount of prospecting you can do each month. And the best part is, it doesn’t cost any valuable InMail credits. Learn more in our guide to using Open InMails.

Access a list of all open profile prospects for Open InMails campaigns
  1. Go broader to account for lower conversion rates

With some industries or types of stakeholders conversion rate is always going to be low. This is especially the case for larger enterprise companies or targets at the VP/director level or above. When even a good conversion rate comes out at 2-3%, that presents a challenge.

These stakeholders expect messages to be both tailored and personalized. However, any rep knows that reaching targets with a 2% conversion rate involves messaging hundreds of leads a week. 

How can reps reach the number of leads necessary to fill their pipelines without compromising on outreach quality? The trick is to cast a wider net and get savvy with segmented lead lists and personalization tokens. Learn more in our guides to LinkedIn InMail best practices and crafting successful LinkedIn connection messages. 

To increase response rates

Generally, you’ll need to send up to 8 touchpoints to get a lead’s attention. But strategies for keeping each creative and engaging can quickly run dry. Here are some tips to keep follow-up messages as interesting as possible and boost reply and conversion rates. 

  1. Alternate long messages with short check-ins

You need enough information to convince prospects you’re worth listening to, but equally, busy stakeholders won’t read essays. To maximize the chances of getting a positive response, send a check 1-2 line check-in after your longer messages. The aim is they’ll act as a prompt to revisit your initial message, increasing the chances of a discovery call. For the best chances of success, remember to also keep your detailed messages to a maximum of around 125 words.

  1. Run check-in campaigns after ~3 months

Circumstances change, and many companies aren’t in the market to buy at a given time. Once you’ve run a LinkedIn campaign unsuccessfully, don’t just discard those leads forever. Instead, add them to a nurture campaign and check back in around 3 months or so. Reference it’s a new quarter and ask about updates that might have changed their buying circumstances. If nothing else comes of it, it’ll at least keep you top-of-mind should future opportunities occur.

  1. Run follow-up campaigns in response to funding announcements

As mentioned above, when you save leads or accounts to Sales Navigator, you can turn on company updates to get notified of public announcements or mentions in the news. This works great for this next LinkedIn outreach strategy, which involves reaching out to leads at opportune moments when they might be more likely to buy.

To make this strategy work, simply create 3-5 leads for each target account. Then, upload the lead list for users at these target accounts into a LinkedIn outreach cadence. To save time, you can even create templates and campaign cadences mentioning funding rounds, acquisitions, or developments in Salesflow. Then, off the back of an announcement, simply upload your lead lists and tweak the message for each company. 

Warm LinkedIn outreach strategies 

Naturally, as you build your network and prospect to more and more leads, you’ll grow your number of engaged connections. These warm connections have the greatest chance of converting into future prospects and deals, so don’t neglect them. Here are several LinkedIn outreach strategies for members already in your network, who you have a degree of connection with.

  1. Connection request campaigns to 2nd-degree connections 

Second-degree connections are often your best bet for high-converting prospects. As they’re already connected to someone within your network, they come with an easy method of personalization. Referencing your shared connection in your outreach message is often the only in you’ll need to get a positive response. To make finding and messaging 2nd-degree connections easier, it’s possible to filter a Salesflow campaign to include only leads at one level of removal from your network. That way, when you upload a lead list, you can be confident the correct prospects will receive your campaign.

Connection request campaigns to 2nd-degree connections
  1. Target existing connections that have moved to new companies

Most sales reps underutilize their existing LinkedIn networks. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator alerts, it’s easy to set up notifications for when a Linkedin connection changes jobs. Setting up these alerts for members you’ve worked with previously lets you keep track of any new roles. This is great for discovering opportunities for past champions to advocate for your company. Using a Salesflow existing connections campaign, you can create an outreach cadence for any users who’ve changed jobs in the last 30-90 days. Then, simply add in new prospects whenever you receive a notification from LinkedIn. 

  1. Campaigns to shared group members 

A warmer approach to messaging shared group members involves interacting with them first. You could post in the group, offer advice in the comments, and support contributions with likes and shares. Then, you can use the Salesflow Groups and Events campaign type to automate your message to discuss things further. Since these will be warmer prospects, you can adopt a more friendly tone. You should also reference if they’ve asked about certain pain points you can solve. 

This strategy takes a little extra time than the cold outreach version. However, you’ll be rewarded with more precise messaging and higher conversion rates. As with all outreach, you should weigh up the time, cost, and opportunity benefit for each group you engage with. If it’s a smaller group of mainly C-suite execs, taking the time to sell socially will be invaluable. If it’s a more indiscriminate group of users, a direct message assessing interest will save valuable working hours. 

Campaigns to shared group members
  1. Add event attendees to nurture campaigns 

This strategy works whether you run your own LinkedIn Event or join one hosted by another user. LinkedIn lets event attendees message each other, even if they’re not connected. It’s a similar process to messaging users from a shared group. If you can find or run an event that speaks to your target audience’s core pain points, the attendee list is likely to benefit from your offering. To get their attention, just use a Salesflow Groups and Events campaign to follow up. Remember to reference the content of the event you attended, and include how it relates to your solution. 

Advanced outreach strategies 

Ready to take your LinkedIn outreach to the next level? Check out our long-form guides with step-by-step instructions for the following techniques: 

More outreach resources

If you’re eager for more LinkedIn outreach tips and tricks, try the following articles:  

Put your LinkedIn outreach strategies into practice

Now you have the inside information on the best ways to engage prospects on LinkedIn. To test them for yourself, try Salesflow free today for 7 days. Get access to our leading automation tool and the Groups, Events, and Existing connection campaigns to check out every strategy.

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