LinkedIn is a gold mine for sales teams. Part social media platform and part directory for over 58 million registered companies, its 830 million members make it a core part of any outreach strategy.

Already prospecting on LinkedIn? Looking to up your team’s connection acceptances, message open and click rates, and – most importantly – those booked meetings? 

Here are 13 LinkedIn outreach strategies to elevate your lead generation and fill your pipeline with opportunities. 

1) Speak to your prospect’s pain:

The worst way to make an impression on a senior stakeholder? Spam them with a standard message you blatantly sent to 100 other people.

Before going any further with this list, check that your team knows how to address prospect pain and add value to their cold LinkedIn outreach. Brian Signorelli of Hubspot puts it well: Value is “the information, insights, and actions you bring to your buyer that they cannot find on their own.”

Sales reps told to personalise often think picking out a job role, company name, or semi-interesting tidbit will do. Actually, this outreach strategy combines the worst of both worlds. Individual research is time-consuming, and fluff personalisation doesn’t make leads care about your product or what it can do for them. Senior stakeholders are wise to these surface-level tricks, and most view such attempts at engagement with suspicion. 

Instead, show you’ve actually thought about the problems your lead is facing, funnel for pain,  and ask genuine questions about their current setup. 

2) Understand the psychology of your target persona: 

It’s vital to vary your LinkedIn outreach strategy and test new mediums to stand out. But it’s also true that no one outreach style fits all prospects.

You’ve likely already worked with marketing and product teams to build out your ICP and buyer personas. (If not, see the Salesflow ICP guide for a refresher on why these are crucial for successful cold LinkedIn outreach). To set your team up for lead generation success, ensure you understand the characteristics of these target personas – including how different personas tend to engage across various outreach channels.

Armed with this information, your sales teams will know which time-poor, innovative product marketer persona to switch things up on with a visual message, and which by-the-books CFO will probably require a more prolonged campaign to establish trust. Helping improve conversion rates and lean generation efficiency and setting your business up for sustained wins.

Of course, having an ICP and buyer persona is no good unless you can actually sift your data and find these targets. To really improve your LinkedIn prospecting, you need to … 

3) Improve your data sophistication:

The best pitch in the world won’t make a dent in the armour of the wrong target. Once you have an ICP and buyer persona, you need a way of:

1- Identifying companies and individuals who meet these criteria. Sales Navigator provides great search parameters for finding best-fit prospects for lead generation. Other options include integrating with data tools like ZoomInfo or uploading CSV target lists

2 – Exporting LinkedIn data into your CRM for a central source of truth. Improve your outreach strategy by incorporating data from the platform into future campaigns. Make sense of your statistics to understand if prospecting on LinkedIn has been a success, and which LinkedIn outreach strategies have worked. Using Salesflow, you can export data from the platform to a CSV or make use of native CRM integrations. API access and a two-way Zapier integration further ensure data architecture maturity, flexibility and sophistication. 

4) Use the path of least resistance:

Lead generation takes time and persistence. LinkedIn is a social platform where sales teams succeed through social selling. Prospects need to gain trust in you and your ability to understand and speak to their needs before they’re ready to engage in shop talk. 

If you’re not seeing success with direct InMails, it’s time to try a softer approach with your LinkedIn prospecting. Some reps have more success connecting with a prospect first, drip-feeding questions and adding value only once they have an open line of communication. (This LinkedIn outreach strategy also has the advantage of not requiring costly InMails).

Understand why your prospects are on this platform and use the insight to your advantage. Most professionals are building their networks and are always happy to up connection numbers. 

Check out the Salesflow guide to connection messages to discover best practices to generate the highest percentage of accepted connection requests and improve your lead conversion rate.

5) Maintain a constant presence:

Timing is everything, and prospects’ needs, budgets, and capacity change constantly. 

For successful cold LinkedIn outreach, make sure you include a follow-up message around 3 months after an initial cadence – especially if you didn’t get a response. 

Also, try prospecting on LinkedIn off the back of updates, changes, or posts made by leads in your existing network of connections. These leads have already shown some passive interest by connecting. Plus, you put in significant legwork to connect with them in the first place. Revisiting these leads as one of your LinkedIn outreach strategies increases your prospecting efficiency and success. Often, an initial lack of engagement is simply due to time constraints or pain not being felt strongly enough.

Remember, too, that professionals get a kick when their posts perform well and garner attention. (Just engage authentically – no one likes the human equivalent of a Reddit bot).

6) Expand your field of view:

You can broaden your reach when tackling cold LinkedIn outreach by using Sales Navigator to follow your target companies. Create lead lists for companies and individuals and toggle on alerts to stay up-to-date with company news without constant manual research.

Even if you don’t have Sales Navigator, following company pages or individuals can give you valuable insights and help you quickly personalise a cadence, dramatically increasing the sophistication of your LinkedIn outreach strategy. 

7) Recoup your InMail credits:

It’s a frustrating fact that LinkedIn heavily limits InMail allowances. But do you know why?

The platform isn’t anti-outreach – it’s concerned with keeping the site reputable and usable for its vast network of professionals. Despite low InMail allowances, every InMail message that receives a direct response within 90 days of being sent (including accepts/declines) gets credited back

If you’re sending quality messages to relevant stakeholders at the right time as part of your lead generation strategy (by following tips 1, 3 and 5, say), you can recoup these credits. Meaning you can target more prospects while also upping your response stats. Success!

P.S. – Using Salesflow, you can send up to 800 Open InMails per month

8) Pay attention to the profile doing the LinkedIn prospecting:

82% of buyers look up the profiles prospecting on LinkedIn before replying, according to Saleshive

Understandably, senior profiles get the best responses. People want to connect with leading industry voices and see more value in a CEO than an intern – something to bear in mind as you develop your LinkedIn outreach strategy.

Lacking any impressive roles? You can increase your legitimacy and improve your LinkedIn prospecting by ensuring your profile is filled out as well as possible. Use your Profile Headline, share relevant content at least semi-regularly and offer your connections value. You’ll have a better response rate in no time. 

9) Improve lead generation by searching for events and groups:

When prospecting on LinkedIn, an area of you might not have thought to look is Events and Groups. Several of these frown on cold outreach, but they’re a great way to narrow down a lead list or find qualitative qualities that indicate a lead is ready to engage. Plus, Groups offer an untapped way to directly message users who aren’t first-degree connections – a real value-add for your outreach strategy.

Search for groups and events relevant to your product or industry, or if you’re proactive, create your own. For a comprehensive guide to using groups and events for lead generation, see the Salesflow Groups and Events Guide

10) Search hashtags: 

Similar to point 9, hashtags are another way to improve your lead generation and build out high-converting lead lists.

Hashtags work in two ways. Use them on your own posts to ensure your offering is seen by the right audience. Search hashtags relevant to your industry, ICP or personas to find warm leads and a point of connection that will take your LinkedIn prospecting to the next level.

11) A/B test:

Assessing and iterating your LinkedIn prospecting is one of the best things you can do to improve your lead generation and hit your targets. 

To empirically understand which of your outreach strategies work and which don’t, you need to begin A/B testing

A/B testing only works if you control for all the variables, such as consistency of outreach strategy, target persona, and company profile. It’s vital you can also make sense of its results. 

Salesflow’s Reporting and Analytics dashboard includes insights on connection volume and response rates split out by campaign. Using such insights, you can assess your LinkedIn outreach strategies by comparing the responses to different messages, improving your conversion rate and bottom line. 

12) Track team output and share insights on outreach strategy across your business:

Your sales reps are making important discoveries about effective lead generation every single day. But often, this knowledge is getting trapped with one star performer. Or, mistakes are repeated ineffectively across reps as they each discover for themselves what doesn’t work when.

To elevate your LinkedIn prospecting and consistently produce results, you need a way to track team results, analyse cadences, extrapolate findings and share insights across the business.

Salesflow’s team management feature allows you to track all team activities in one global dashboard, improving efficiency, effectiveness, and alignment. Learn how Axented saves 50 hours a week using Salesflow.

13) Adopt intelligent automation:

Taking the time to truly understand your prospects leaves less time for precious lead generation (which is always partly a numbers game). Once your team is effectively prospecting on LinkedIn, you can recoup time elsewhere by utilising automation. Salesflow’s LinkedIn automation tool saves an average of 6 minutes per prospect and up to 4-8 hours a week per sales rep. 

To learn how Salesflow’s automation can increase productivity, transform your LinkedIn outreach strategy and save 40 hours a week