As far as social networks go, LinkedIn is in a class of its own – Facebook and Twitter have nothing on LinkedIn. In fact, according to Hubspot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter.
Now you may already know that LinkedIn is the “go to” platform for B2B lead generation and social selling, but perhaps it just hasn’t been working as effectively as it could for you, as you’re likely missing the right overall strategy.
This is why the LinkedIn Domination method that I’ve developed works so well. In fact, it’s working so well that my company is booked out 6-8 weeks in advance and my clients enjoy a consistent sales pipeline that allows them to meet and exceed their revenue goals.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the structure and strategy we use so you can see what you need to have the same kind of success using LinkedIn for lead generation.
Remember, the ideal system is one that can produce repeatable and predictable results.
This is LinkedIn Domination Framework that we use and I want to share with you exactly how and why it works.
LinkedIn Domination: An effective digital sales strategy for LinkedIn lead generation
In the framework above, there are three key stages of the journey.
Awareness. In this stage, your goal is to stand out, get found, position yourself as an authority, and establish top-of-mind awareness.
Lead generation. Your goal is to engage with the right prospects, generate referrals, and book conversations at this stage.
Conversion. In this last stage, you’ll see the results of your efforts and the ROI of your activities. Here you can also fine tune and modify your approach to improve your results.
Three stages of an effective LinkedIn lead generation system:
Stage one: Awareness
You must have clearly identified goals and know your target audience.
Your goals are your map to success — without them, you wouldn’t know where to go or what steps to take. This will also help you determine your KPIs, how much time you should spend on LinkedIn each day and how many prospects you want to reach out to each week.
Identify three marketing or business goals that you can accomplish using LinkedIn. For example:
- Establish your authority on your topic
- Strengthen your relationship with exisiting clients
- Increase the number of warm calls/appointments with prospects each month
To effectively use LinkedIn for lead generation, your LinkedIn profile must achieve three important goals:
- Stand Out
- Attract Your Ideal Clients
- Get Found
It would be extremely shortsighted to develop a LinkedIn lead generation strategy without including what you need to do to actually show up at the top of the search results when someone is looking for what you offer. Having a professional presence that’s well optimized allows you to be found but it also helps to increase the success of your connection requests being accepted by decision makers.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile isn’t negotiable. If you want to use Linkedin for lead generation, this is the very first thing you must do. It’s also important to write your profile with your ideal prospects and clients in mind. A client-focused profile is much more likely to resonate with new prospects, rather than a profile that’s all about you.
Review your headline to ensure that it includes a couple keywords you want to be found for as well as a compelling statement that will make your prospects interested to click on your profile and learn more about you.
The key to establishing yourself as an authority in your field is to have quality content. Become a source of useful and reliable information for your community to position yourself as a thought leader. This will boost your credibility and give potential prospects more reasons to trust you. Of course, this takes time and consistency to achieve results.
Content marketing along with appropriate engagement is the fastest way to position yourself as an authority and is absolutely essential to your LinkedIn lead generation success.
Create one new piece of content each week that shares your unique knowledge and experience that would be of value to your prospects. Consider including a variety of formats including quotes, images, infographics, video tips and articles (which you can share as LinkedIn Publisher posts). Ensure your content is professional looking and high value.
Having a large network isn’t enough if they forget about you after you have connected with them. Consistently sharing content, both the content you create as well as that which you curate, will allow you to show up often and remain top of mind.
This actually goes hand in hand with your authority-building initiatives, as you’ll only become the top-of-mind option for your prospects when they see and feel your presence regularly.
Every day, aim to post at least one status update of content that you have created or curated that includes your point of view/perspective, a question and/or call-to-action.
Stage two: Lead Generation
This is best implemented by creating a series of templated messages designed to build rapport and relationships, then ultimately move the conversation offline where you convert a prospect to a client.
It’s also important to have some quality content that you can use to deliver value, elicit interest and allow you to naturally move from contact to connection.
The big mistake that many make here is they try to rush to a sale. By following this process and not trying to rush the sale, you are effectively able to turn cold prospects into warm calls in a relatively short period of time.
Create a welcome message (template) that you can send to new connections after they have accepted your connection request. This message should thank them for becoming a connection and provide them with something of value (such as a helpful resource). Ensure that you always personalize appropriately and that it does NOT include anything that could be mistaken as a sales pitch.
In this phase, it is crucial to pay attention to trigger events that allow for natural engagement with your ideal prospects. Effective engagement nurtures your network.
Pay attention to the comments people make on your posts and engage with them. Watch for the posts your prospects and clients make, and like, comment and share them when relevant.
Great trigger events examples include; seeing one of your prospects in the news, they’ve added a new video or article, or moved to a new company or position. All of these are great reasons for you to reach out and start a dialogue.
If you don’t engage with others, they won’t engage with you.
Go through your homepage newsfeed and look for at least one great piece of content shared by your connections that you can comment on or share with your network.
Getting referrals is easy enough. Getting the right kind of referrals, though, takes a bit more time and effort.
Mining the network of your clients and those that know, like and trust you can be one of the best sources of warm introductions. These are the clients who love you and your service, and are willing to introduce or recommend you to someone they know that could benefit from what you offer.
This is another example where creating a templated message is highly efficient. When asking for a referral or warm introduction, you want to make it as easy as possible for the person you are asking.
Once a week, search for a prospect you would like to connect with using LinkedIn search. Review who they are connected to and then send your connection a message asking them if they’d be comfortable making a warm introduction, which clearly states your reason for wanting to be introduced and ensures they actually know the person. You also want to make it easy for them to say no, if they are in anyway uncomfortable making the introduction.
The money is in the implementation.
This is the part where you build and execute your social selling playbook. What’s a social selling playbook? Simply put, it’s a guide for you (or your salespeople) on how you should communicate with your target audience on LinkedIn. Your playbook lists the specific tactics, activities and messages you will use to hit your sales targets.
The benefit of having a social selling playbook is that it ensures consistency and generates repeatable and predictable results.
Create a list of daily and weekly activities you will do as part of your social selling/lead generation playbook. These will include items such as reaching out to a certain number of prospects, sharing content via status updates, asking for warm introductions, etc.
Stage three: Conversion
Here’s where you assess the results of your current efforts, and where you identify exactly how to improve those results. In this part of the process you can come up with ways to refine your activities and messaging, based on the responses you’ve received so far.
Record how long each activity takes you for a week or more and the results you get. Then after one month do this again. Do this for the first three months to ensure you have perfected the process. Use this information to determine which activities are achieving results, which might need tweaking and any that should be removed from your social selling playbook.
The last part of your journey to having a successful LinkedIn lead generation system is measuring your results or key performance indicators. This may include reviewing the engagement you’re getting from the content you’re sharing, your network growth, the number of referrals/warm introductions you’ve obtained, the number of enquiries via messages, the calls you’ve booked, number of conversions, and so on. In other words, measuring what matters.
You must have specific key performance indicators to pay attention to – which should be tied to your original goals.
Identify the KPIs you want to track that match your business goals. For example:
- Establish your authority on your topic – measure the number of comments and shares of each post or status update as well and the number of people who become a connection after engaging with your content.
- Strengthen the relationship with existing prospects and clients – measure the number/quality of replies to messages you send, the number of comments and shares on your content, additional sales generated from prospects and clients.
- Increase the number of calls/appointments with prospects each month – measure how many new calls or appointments you generate each month from your LinkedIn network.
I have found that those that have the most success using LinkedIn for lead generation have followed the process that I have laid out in this article. But what’s even more important is their dedication to consistently implement it – those that do so, see a massive ROI on their efforts.
While working to achieve the results you want, it’s important not to get impatient with the process. Rushing the sale absolutely doesn’t work. Think about it this way, when you connect with someone on LinkedIn (or other social platform) and they immediately hit you with their sales pitch, what is your first reaction? Don’t be that spammer. You need to slow down the sale, to speed it up.
A version of this post was originally published on the Top Dog Social Media.