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The Complete Guide to Generating Leads on LinkedIn

Finding a reliable and consistent source of hot leads can be a painstaking process. The time, resources, and sheer effort needed can detract from time that could be spent following up on leads and securing sales. 

Whether you’re working as part of a bustling sales team or as a startup looking to generate funds, finding leads can be a frustrating task. 

But finding your ideal customers doesn’t have to be quite so tedious. We look at some of the ways you can transform your lead generation process on LinkedIn, and some of the tools that can help you go about it.  

Generating Linkedin Leads

LinkedIn by the Numbers

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for individuals, established businesses, and startups. Although it may not have reached its current level of service until a few years ago, the professional networking site originally launched back in 2003. Since then, it’s grown to have over 675 million users worldwide, supporting 24 languages, making it a formidable player in the business world. 

LinkedIn members numbers
Source: LinkedIn 

Around 310 million of these accounts are active monthly users, and roughly 90 million are senior-level influencers. 63 million of these are in decision-making positions. It’s evident that the platform is hugely popular, and it can also be massively influential when it comes to all areas of business. 

With such a staggering number of users, it’s not hard to see why LinkedIn is such a goldmine for generating new leads. But in reality, there are many more reasons other than the sheer volume of users that make it so appealing. 

LinkedIn for Generating Leads

A 2018 post on LinkedIn showed around 80% of B2B leads came from the platform, compared to just 13% on Twitter and 7% on Facebook. And, according to LinkedIn Elevate, salespeople who regularly share content on the platform are 45% more likely to exceed their sales quota. 

Why LinkedIn lead generation is effective
Source: LinkedIn

There are also some really useful tools that the company offers customers. The LinkedIn Sales Navigator app claims that it can attract +18% more pipeline, yield a +7% higher win-rate, and produce +33% larger deal sizes. You can read more about LinkedIn Sales Navigator in another of our posts. 

By the company’s own estimations, LinkedIn Message Ads delivered a 40% conversion rate, and it’s cited as the number one platform for lead generation. Although it’s a bold claim, it’s not hard to see why it could very well be accurate. 

Sponsored ads is a great way of generating new leads.

Some of these figures are enough to turn the head of almost any sales team looking to generate new leads. LinkedIn is a platform like no other, where a staggering number of potential customers congregate, share content, and connect. It’s a resource that has almost boundless potential for finding new leads. 

We’ll be looking in detail at how to generate leads on LinkedIn, and how you can automate the process using Zopto. We’ll detail how you can go about tapping this wealth of potential for your business, driving your sales, and improving the ROI of your lead gen campaigns. If you need to know how to optimize your profile and target your ideal prospects, you’ll find that here too.  

Optimize Your Profile

The first step in securing some hot new leads for your sales team is to have a profile that’s going to do a lot of the hard work for you. There are many tips and tricks you can employ to make your profile stand out from the crowd, and most of them only take a few minutes to sort.  

An example of a LinkedIn business profile

Many people ask whether they should use a company or individual profile when searching for leads. If you’re in a sales position and representing your company, then you should use your company profile. As SEO and marketing expert Neil Patel explores, LinkedIn makes it easy for companies to get started on the platform. 

  • Basic info. There are a few useful elements that you can make use of when setting up your business profile. The first is the About Us section and associated fields. These can give visitors and potential leads context without having to search for it. Putting your location also makes it easy for local leads to find you. 
  • Photo. Your profile photo and background photo should immediately reflect your brand. You want it to give potential leads the essentials of what your company offers at a glance. Make sure your company logo, brand colors, and tagline are all visible. 
  • Selling points. You’ve got space for some keyword optimization here, as well as space for links to landing pages and blogs. Make sure to choose some of your USPs that can give any leads a clear summary of what you’re offering. 
A LinkedIn Business Profile lets you create a company presence.

These are just a few of the essential points you should look at when getting started. Each of them will help you when you’re generating leads on LinkedIn, as it gives your profile an easy way of conveying the essential information. 

Targeting Your Ideal Prospects on LinkedIn

Once you’ve got your LinkedIn profile into the best shape possible, it’s time to consider exactly who you’re going to target when searching for leads. Of course, it’s likely that your team already has your key demographic in mind, as well as a fairly detailed customer profile. However, LinkedIn has many filters that let you drill down to the granular level when you’re targeting your activity. Check out our guide on Identifying Your Target Audience for more details

LinkedIn allows you to specify your target audience.

The crucial thing to bear in mind is that any potential leads are concerned with what you can offer them. Whether you’re reaching out to them with targeted correspondence and ads or creating valuable content that’s relevant to them, avoid jargon and being overly salesy. You need to provide curated content they’re going to engage with and appreciate.

LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager tool gives you the opportunity to create highly personalized and targeted messages. By understanding your own target demographics, you can make the most of this opportunity. With things like InMail, LinkedIn’s DM system, you can even post sponsored messages to relevant recipients. You can read more about sponsored InMail in a separate post.  

LinkedIn lead generation through Campaign Manager

If you already have a client base of prospects who know your business, you can also target them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Matched Audiences gives you the ability to securely upload lists of relevant email addresses from your database for targeting on the platform.

We can’t tell you exactly who you need to target with your activity on LinkedIn. However, by understanding the types of leads you’re looking for and your key demographics, you can start tailoring campaigns that reach them. In reality, you’ll likely want to build lists of different segments and start building content and activity that are targeted towards each.

It’s also worth keeping your KPIs in mind when you’re thinking of who to target. What is it that you’ll consider a success? And how will you adjust your activity if you’re not hitting your KPIs? 

LinkedIn Lead Generation Campaign Setup 

Genetaring Linkedin Leads

When it comes to how to generate leads on LinkedIn, you can use both paid and non-paid tactics. LinkedIn supports paid tactics through their Lead Gen Forms. Depending on what your aims are, you may want to try a combination of both. 

Regardless of the approach you take, there are a few details that are going to be fairly consistent. Many of these need figuring out before you start any activity, as without this preparation, it’s unlikely your lead gen campaign will be as successful as it could be. Below, we’ve outlined some of the main considerations to make when setting up your campaign: 

What are your lead gen goals? 

Of course, your main objective is to generate some new hot leads for your sales team. However, this in itself isn’t a quantifiable metric. Instead, you want to choose some KPIs that you can measure your campaign’s success against. So, for example, your main objective could be to: 

  • Increase brand awareness 
  • Increase website visits, engagement, or content views 
  • Generate new leads, increase website conversions, attract job applicants 

Obviously, we’re focusing on attracting potential customers to your brand, but these campaigns generally work well when paired with engagement and brand awareness efforts. The engagement data from the latter helps you target potential leads with more precision. 

The lead generation tool gives you forecasted results

You can also focus on measurable objectives such as a certain number of new leads, a particular conversion rate for your activity, or a specific ROI. Once you have your goals in mind, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms can help you get started. They are pre-filled with accurate data, meaning respondents can reply with their details easily. 

How will your prospects engage with you? 

A well-planned campaign that focuses on targeting the right prospects will only get you so far. All the prep in the world won’t help you unless you know how you want people to interact with you once you reach them. This factor should be just as high up your list of priorities when you’re planning. 

You want to follow up on your initial research and planning with some engaging content, dedicated salespeople, or whatever else will enhance the experience, turning a prospect into a lead, into a customer. 

An example of how to generate leads on LinkedIn via messages.

Do you want your prospects to arrange a call with you? If so, do you have prepared spokespeople to turn a lead into a sale? What is the key information you need to convey? You may want your customers to try a demo of your software or service. How long will this last? What access will they have? These are all questions that need answering before you get started. 

How does it fit your sales funnel? 

Although LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for making connections and generating new leads, you can’t actually sell a product or service on it. This means you have to consider how your efforts tie into a broader picture. In other words, where does your lead generation fit into your sales funnel? 

Your activities shouldn’t be used as an excuse to bombard prospects with sales pitches and spam. Instead, it’s a way to forge genuine connections and build relationships. You must first establish trust and rapport before you can progress through your usual sales funnel. 

LinkedIn does provide you with the opportunity to feed new leads and prospects into your sales funnel. However, you must first put in the work to provide content and create connections of real use. 

An example of how the sales funnel works.
Source: HubSpot

What timelines are you working to? 

When you’re assessing how to generate leads on LinkedIn, it’s important to realize that this is a long-term play. You’re not going to activate a campaign one day and have hundreds of hot new leads the next. 

As we’ve tried to reiterate throughout this guide, using LinkedIn to find potential new business is about making real connections. Spammy activity and low-quality content are only going to put people off.

LinkedIn allows you to set how long your campaign runs for.

Take your time to create something of real worth. Your business and its value should sell itself, and the types of people you’re connecting with must be able to see that. Your goal with finding leads on LinkedIn is to gradually build trusted relationships. 

You can determine how long your activity runs for, whether it’s based on your total budget, daily budget, or total run time. 

However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that marketing through LinkedIn Lead Gen only gives you access to lead data on the platform for 90 days. You can download, export or import it to your CRM platform but should make sure you do so regularly. 

LinkedIn Outreach Process

Now that we know the essential elements of prepping your campaign, it’s time to get into the details of how the process actually works. There are several approaches you can take, but we’ll outline some of the most common elements: 

Connection requests

One of the best and most consistent ways to drive new leads is to use outreach messages to targeted demographics. There are several ways you can do so, whether it’s through manual campaigns or automated processes. 

Your first and most important message is your connection request. This is the first thing that prospects are going to see, and it will determine whether or not they connect with you. 

LinkedIn message ads allow you to immediately connect
Source: LinkedIn

You want to keep your connection requests brief and straightforward. Avoid spammy and insincere copy, and instead, focus on creating something informative and to the point. Acknowledge why you’re reaching out to them, why it’s beneficial for them to connect with you, and what you can help them accomplish. 

Thanks for connecting 

Once your first message secures you a new connection, you can send them a follow-up. This should express your thanks for connecting, and reiterate why you think your business can help them.

Make sure to include a question in your second message, asking about something related to the product/service you’re offering. Keep it personable and light, and avoid any sales jargon. You can usually send this message around an hour after they accept your connection request. We cover this topic in more detail in our guide to LinkedIn thank you message after connecting.

Starting a conversation 

Once you’re connected and you’ve sent a follow-up message, your next goal is to start a dialogue with the lead. Hopefully, you’ve already identified the niche that they need filling, and you should be able to provide a solution. Wait a couple of days after your last message before sending this. 

One great way of getting the conversation flowing is to offer to send them a piece of valuable content that’s going to be of interest to them. This could be a demo of your service, an e-book about a specific topic, an article about your particular niche, or any other resource they might engage with. 

An example of a sponsored InMail that starts a conversation.

Mention this piece of content and explain how it may be of benefit to them or their business. You can then offer to send it to them. This takes away any spam element of sending unsolicited links and encourages them to engage with you. If they accept, you can send a tracking link to them. 

Add further value 

Once they’ve engaged with you to this extent and you’ve sent them the valuable link, you can then think about how to turn the lead into a potential sale. 

You should aim to get them to arrange a call, meeting, or demo of your service a few weeks after sending your second and third messages. 

Following up with Linkedin leads

Dos and Don’ts 

You’re trying to strike a fine balance with your LinkedIn lead outreach. Your main goal is to secure some sales, but pushy tactics and spam content aren’t the way to go about it. Here are some tips to bear in mind: 

  • Don’t use jargon or overly technical language
  • Keep your tone friendly, honest, and pressure-free 
  • Avoid yes-or-no questions when asking to arrange a meeting or call 
  • Leave enough time between messages so you don’t seem like you’re spamming
  • Don’t send unsolicited links or content. Respect the boundaries of the lead if they say they’re not interested.  

How to Automate Your Lead Generation 

As you can see, the process of how to generate leads on LinkedIn is not an easy one. In fact, it can be quite time-consuming, depending on how broad your scope is. Thankfully, there are ways you can automate the entire process. Zopto is one such tool, offering sales teams and startups powerful automation tools that can generate hundreds of hot leads. 

What is Zopto? 

Zopto offers businesses of all sizes the chance to automate their lead generation process on LinkedIn. The cloud-based software is used by startups and sales teams in all kinds of sectors. Its easy-to-use interface can integrate seamlessly into your existing lead generation systems. 

Zopto lets you automate LinkedIn lead gen.

Using Zopto gives you the opportunity to search for and filter your ideal customers. With a LinkedIn Premium account and the Sales Navigator tool, you can select the level of engagement for each lead. 

One of the most appealing aspects of using Zopto is that once your campaigns are up and started, you can expect dozens or even hundreds of hot leads each month. All of this happens automatically, saving your sales a valuable amount of time. 

How to get started with Zopto 

It’s simple to get started with Zopto. To do so, you’ll first need an active LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator account. From there, it only takes a matter of minutes to start automating your LinkedIn outreach. 

Once your account is up and running, you can start generating hot leads, as well as customers from outside of your network. There are several benefits you can start enjoying once this process is complete. For example: 

  • Targeting. Filter out your ideal customers by a range of metrics, such as industry, location, company size, number of followers, and more. This gives you the freedom to tailor your approach to different potential clients.   
  • Engagement levels. Once you’ve filtered your results, you can choose the level of engagement for each. This then gives you the option for relevant features such as sequential messaging, connection invites, or profile view generator.  
  • Live dashboard. Once your campaign is up and running, you’ll be able to view your Zopto live dashboard. This tool gives you a live layout of how your activity is performing, with detailed information and statistics. 
The Complete Guide to Generating Leads on LinkedIn 1

We’re so certain that you’re going to love Zopto for your lead generation automation, we’re giving your sales team the chance to try out a free demo of the software. You can contact our dedicated team to find out further details. 

Other LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies

Of course, there are many kinds of strategies you can employ when generating leads on LinkedIn. The platform has several tools that allow sales teams to connect with strong potentials without it being intrusive for users. This includes: 

Ads 

LinkedIn’s sponsored content gives you the chance to promote your company’s updates on the platform. There are several ways that you can do so: 

  • Via the newsfeed. These ads seamlessly blend into the standard newsfeed, giving your brand visibility across desktop, mobile, and tablet. 
  • In messages. Sponsored InMail gives you the chance to deliver personalized ads into relevant inboxes. These messages often have higher conversion rates than email. 
  • On desktop. LinkedIn has pay-per-click text ads that appear throughout the site. You can add headlines, text, and small images to market towards relevant leads. 

Engage with groups 

Looking for individual leads can be time-consuming, even if you automate the process. One rich source of multiple people is to use LinkedIn’s Groups function. These are specialist groups that focus on particular niches. 

LinkedIn groups can help you find new leads.

There are well over 2 million groups on LinkedIn, so the chances are that you’ll be able to find one matching your market. 

Of course, you don’t want to go spamming sales content into these groups. Instead, you’ll want to join the discussion. By being active and contributing positively, you can start to foster leads in that way. 

If you don’t find a group matching your niche, you can always create one yourself. What better way to get leads to come to you? We have a separate guide where you can read more about how to find groups on LinkedIn.

Create content 

As the old adage goes, ‘content is king.’ Truly engaging articles, videos, infographics, and other forms of content can be incredibly valuable for establishing your brand’s presence. It’s so valuable that 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a content distribution channel. 

Creating content to generate leads

If you can regularly create content that’s relevant to your industry, you’ll find that people start engaging with your brand. It shows you have authority and knowledge in your sector, making you a trusted choice.  

Live videos 

One particular form of content that’s gained popularity is LinkedIn Live video streaming. This tool allows you to broadcast live. Whether it’s to showcase an innovation, promote an event, interview a guest or other reason, these videos can be highly effective. 

LinkedIn is accepting applications for live broadcasts.
Source: LinkedIn 

LinkedIn estimates that live broadcasts get 7x more reactions and 24x more comments than native videos. They’re an excellent way of reaching out to and connecting with new leads. Find out more about how to go live on LinkedIn in our dedicated guide. 

LinkedIn Lead Generation FAQs 

So, we’ve covered all the essentials of how to generate leads on LinkedIn. Although the process is fairly detailed, there are many tools to make life easier. And, with Zopto, you can automate the whole process. 

Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about lead generation on LinkedIn, as well as about Zopto specifically: 

Q: Can we only target people we personally know? 

A: This is a common misconception about LinkedIn. Many people assume you can only target 1st- or 2nd- degree connections. By targeting your marketing efforts towards a specific niche, you can reach a broad audience, even if they’re not directly connected to you. Read our guide on how to connect with someone out of your network on linkedin for more info. 

Q: What lead generation metrics should we target? 

A: There are many different metrics you can measure. As well as things like the quality of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and the cost per lead, you can also measure the Conversion from SQL to Opportunity and cost per inquiry. This article from Marketo explores more. 

Q: How much does lead generation cost? 

A: There’s no definitive answer to this one. Companies often aim to reduce their costs in this area, but in reality, it differs between businesses and sectors – the Integrated Marketing Association gives an average comparison. 

Q: What plans are available on Zopto? 

A: There are three plans currently available, giving businesses of all sizes the chance to automate their LinkedIn lead generation. Zopto offers Personal, Grow, and Agency accounts, each tailored to different types of organizations. Find out more and request a demo


Ready to automate the process and start getting daily leads from LinkedIn?


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