How to Use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation
We all know LinkedIn as the world’s huge lead generator for sales professionals and marketers. Anyone can set up a personal account on LinkedIn and reach out to their industry’s experts and opinion leaders across the board. Not necessarily those experts will respond though. But you can try and catch their attention. However, the major difficulty of doing B2B online lead generation on LinkedIn is finding a way to work at scale.
These days, people are digital natives, which means most of us are knowledgeable about social media. Marketers and salespeople in particular know perfectly well how to set up corporate accounts and individual pages for sales reps on LinkedIn. However, when it comes to generating top-quality business leads at scale, it will help to know the industry’s best practices.
Drawing on our extensive experience of B2B lead generation at Belkins, here are our newest recommendations for businesses on how to generate new qualified leads on LinkedIn.
Generating business leads at LinkedIn doesn’t come cheap
The first thing marketers and salespeople learn when using LinkedIn for B2B lead generation, is that scaling comes at a price. If you use a free account with no automation tools, you can only message your first-degree connections, which are people who accepted your invitation and connected with you.
However, if you want to send messages to anyone on LinkedIn without spending time and energy on sending out connection requests, consider paid options available through LinkedIn and outside vendors.
Here’s a list of all options you can use for outreach on LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn InMail
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Message Ads
- Targeted ads
- Email finders
Now, let’s look at each of LinkedIn’s options in greater detail.
Finding business leads with LinkedIn InMail
LinkedIn InMail is available after an upgrade to LinkedIn Premium and other pricing plans. Depending on the paid plan you choose, you have access to a certain number of InMail credits (1 credit = 1 message). LinkedIn Premium Career has 5 credits; Premium Business – 15 credits; Sales Navigator Team & Recruiter Lite plans have 30 credits each; while LinkedIn Recruiter is topped up to 150 credits.
Pricing ranges from $29.99 per month for Premium up to $8,000+ per year for Recruiter.
Even though premium accounts have an option to disable messages from non-connections, InMail open rates are pretty good and can go as high as 85% in some cases.
As you can see, however, buying Premium Business or Sales Navigator plans will cost you $55.99 or $79.99 per month and get you just 15 or 20 credits respectively. It’s nothing for B2B lead generation at scale. Can you bump it up? Sure. $10 per each additional credit in LinkedIn Premium and $4 per each add-on in Premium Business and Sales Navigator. Keep in mind, credits are sold in packs of 10 so there’s a minimum purchase.
At that, LinkedIn offers no tools to scale your outreach.
What can you do to make the most of LinkedIn InMail?
- Build up all your InMail credits for a few months and then use them all at once
- Get an additional InMail credit for each response within 90 days
- Buy additional InMail credits
Summing up, using InMail is quite pricey and difficult to scale.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a tool designed specifically for sales professionals. Often used together with LinkedIn Sales Insight, Sales Navigator gives access to lead data and allows sales reps to reach out to non-connections. Integrated with your CRM, Sales Navigator has advanced filtering options by job titles, company size, keywords, and locations. Keep in mind, however, that Sales Navigator gives from 20 InMail credits (Professional Plan) to 50 credits in total (Enterprise Plan).
Using paid ads
LinkedIn has two options for paid ads: Message Ads and targeted ads.
- Message Ads. If you compare InMail and Message Ads, the latter is definitely a better use of resources because instead of $10 per credit, you pay $0.20 per send or $5 per click. In many ways, Message Ads are much better than anything else because it is simpler to do: set up a targeted audience and send out your ad on the scale of thousands. A catch is that a lead can’t start a conversation with you in response to your ad. You need to craft a call to action to drive traffic to your website or landing pages. An open rate for Message Ads ranges from 50% to 70%.
- Targeted ads. Using targeted ads is a less obvious option but it is more efficient and cost-effective than InMail and Message Ads. How can you leverage it? Create a targeted audience, send out an ad, and direct it to a lead magnet. It will bring you filled-in forms with contacts for outreach and follow-up emails. Paid ads have less engagement than InMail but come less expensive on average.
Scraping LinkedIn for email addresses
Many sales professionals remain unsatisfied with LinkedIn options for scaling their social selling. If you’re one of them, try using LinkedIn as a huge database of lead email addresses. Many marketers and salespeople use email finder software to find leads and then automation tools to reach out via email.
In this case, you can scale up your outreach as much as you want. Use Sales Navigator to find new leads, then use an email finder to extract lead contacts, and then use an email automation tool to reach out. This way, you’ll pay only for verified email addresses.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to generate business leads on LinkedIn
Here’s just an example of how you can approach LinkedIn for B2B lead generation. Use an ICP and filter your lead search by company size, location, and other criteria.
Step 1. Use your Sales Navigation account to create an account list or a lead list. It will include all saved individuals or all saved companies (visit said pages and save every business lead you need to reach out to).
Step 2. Use an email finder tool (Reply, Scrapp.io, Lempod, etc.). Most LinkedIn email finders go as a Chrome extension. Activate it from the Chrome toolbar and see it work.
Step 3. Move the leads the tool has found to a new list and save it. Now you have basic lead data, such as first and last name, job title, email address, company name and industry, company size, location, and LinkedIn profile URL.
Step 4. If your email finder has email automation features, create and launch an email sequence for those leads. If not, use a different email automation tool.
Depending on your email marketing strategy, you may need additional tools, like an email spam checker, to ensure high email deliverability.
Tailor your LinkedIn approach to your sales goals
Ultimately, your needs and your budget will help you arrive at what’s right for you. The only way to find out is through trial and error. Find more about lead generation and appointment setting at Belkins’ website, blog, and podcast. We are here to consult and assist you.