Looking for New Sources of Business Leads? Use LinkedIn to Quickly Build Lead Lists

Dmitry Chervonyi
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Can you build your sales pipeline once and for all? As a sales professional, you have probably asked yourself this question multiple times. It’s much easier for SDRs just to have a list of leads to reach out and qualify them rather than switch from channel to channel, filling a pipeline. That’s why so many businesses decide to buy sales leads rather than build their own B2B lead lists from scratch. However, if you want to have more control over where your business leads come from and what quality they are, building your own sales pipeline is the right move.

Lead generation is a multifaceted process that generates new business leads from many sources, including:

  1. The company website’s visitors and lead forms.
  2. Landing pages and search marketing.
  3. Social media.
  4. Online and offline events.
  5. Networking and referrals. 

Each source of new business leads requires more than one paragraph to elaborate on. This article will cover social media as one of the lead generation channels.

Whether your social media accounts will become a constant source of piping hot leads or not largely depends not only on the product and the industry you’re in, but also on what steps you take to set up your professional accounts and what lead generation tools you use.

Touting LinkedIn as the world’s best professional social media platform, we want to offer you a step-by-step guide on how to find high-quality leads and efficiently build lead lists on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Lead List Building

LinkedIn can be a huge B2B lead list if you know what to look for and what tools to use. If you have developed an Ideal Customer Profile, you know what to look for. Now we’ll tell you what tools are the most helpful.

To assist salespeople with their professional endeavors, LinkedIn offers Sales Navigator as an advanced sales intelligence tool that gives access to lead data and non-connections. LinkedIn has gathered immense data on its users, but you need to know how to use Sales Navigator to lay your hands on those databases. Here’s a list of features each and every sales professional must know like the back of their hand.

Custom Lead Lists Feature in LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn has features that make B2B lead list building easier. Use the Custom Lead Lists feature and manage all your contacts and communications in one place.

Here’s what you can do with Custom Lead Lists in LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

Create a lead list

  • Select ‘Lead Lists’ or ‘Account Lists’ from the category ‘Lists’ on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • If you’re pursuing an account, select ‘Create Account List
  • In other cases, select ‘Create Lead
  • Fill out lead data in a box and click ‘Create’ to finish.

View a lead list

  • Select ‘My network,’ ‘Lead Lists,’ or ‘Account Lists’ from the category ‘Lists’ on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • Use filters to narrow your results.

Edit a custom list

  • Select ‘Lead Lists’ or ‘Account Lists’ from the category ‘Lists’ on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • Select the List to edit
  • Press the pencil icon next to the List
  • Edit the List.

Sort a custom list

  • Select ‘Lead Lists’ or ‘Account Lists’ from the category ‘Lists’ on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • Click a criterion you want to sort the list by (Name, Account, Location, etc.).

Share a list

  • Select ‘Lead Lists’ or ‘Account Lists’ from the category ‘Lists’ on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • Click Share on top of the List. The user you’re sharing the List with will get a notification.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn allows users to share their custom lead lists only in Team or Enterprise plans. Exporting lists to a CRM is possible with third-party scraping tools and email finders like Phantombuster, Overloop, and similar.

Delete a list

  • Select ‘Lead Lists’ or ‘Account Lists’ from the category ‘Lists’ on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • Select ‘Delete’ by clicking on the ‘…’ icon. Mind that you can delete a list and keep saved accounts or delete it all completely
  • Select ‘Delete List’ of your choice.

Other Useful Functions in LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Although LinkedIn doesn’t encourage lead generation at scale, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has impressive functionality. Let’s examine best practices you can use when generating business leads and pursuing more sales on this social platform.

Define your audience

As we already mentioned, identifying your target audience is a crucial step because it will help you tailor your outreach and your content specifically to people who are most likely going to develop an interest in your product.

So before you start list building, signal LinkedIn the lead criteria you apply to your target audiences.

  • Find the ‘Sales Preferences’ section on the Sales Navigator homepage
  • Select ‘Edits’ and ‘Edit Your Sales Preferences
  • Fill out the data about your target audience on the criteria like job title, location, industry, seniority, etc.

Use Advanced Search filters

Thanks to the Advanced Search feature, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a truly amazing tool. For example, without Advanced Search, any attempts to generate small business leads from Philadelphia startups the size of a 10-member team will harvest you thousand pages that you will spend hundreds of hours sieving through.

By applying over 20 filters, however, Sales Navigator’s Advanced Search enables sales professionals to specifically target leads fitting their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). When filtering and searching on LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can do the following:

  • Keyword search. The easiest filter to use; keyword search can help you generate leads that fit your criteria. For example, if you want to find IT startups in Philadelphia, punch in ‘IT solution,’ ‘CIO,’ and ‘Philly.’
  • Function & seniority level search. When you want to look for decision-makers within an organization, this filter will make it easier.
  • Company size & company type search. By specifying the exact number of employees (1-10, 51-200, etc.) and public or NGO, you will access only relevant leads.
  • Geographic location search. Targeting specific locations will refine your search even further.
  • Exclusions. Obviously, 20 filters cannot include everything each user might need, so the Exclusions filter will enable you to add whatever criteria you feel like. For example, you sell cars and want to know whether leads drive or not, so you exclude non-drivers from your search by using this filter option.


  1. Make sure you use Boolean searches by adding AND, NOT, OR, and quotation marks to keywords and phrases. This trick will allow you to narrow your search even more and get more accurate search results.
  2. Make sure you save the search results for each segment of your target audience.

Save contacts and accounts

This feature will help you maintain your LinkedIn lead lists. Once you find a contact that fits your ICP, save it. Sales Navigator will not only add it to one of the lists of your choice but will also show it in your news feed.

Customize triggers

LinkedIn has the Sales Navigator Alerts feature, which helps users be informed of all important events in the leads’ professional life. From insights like “A saved lead views your profile” to “A saved lead was appointed a board member,” use the alert system to initiate important conversations timely.

Facilitate prospecting with Sales Spotlight

LinkedIn helps sales professionals generate leads that are most likely to engage with their product by grouping Sales Navigator search results in the Sales Spotlight section.

  • Find Sales Spotlight at the top of your search results
  • Click the Sales Spotlight summary within each section. Keep in mind that you save time if you click on these Sales Spotlight summaries and narrow down your search
  • Create notes and add tags to the leads, if needed

By using Sales Spotlight, you can further segment your filtering to check out only those who had Job Change, who you have Shared Experience with, who regularly have LinkedIn Activity, who were recently Mentioned in the News, or who Follow Your Company.

Why does this feature make your life easier? If you use several alerts (as we discussed earlier), you will see all the results at once. However, Sales Spotlight segments each alert into a separate segment. So now you can click on the spotlight box and see only the leads who posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, or whichever category you choose.

View similar leads

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has a useful feature, ‘View Similar.’ Modeled from your existing customers and past deals, this feature will include qualified prospects with similar criteria in your search results to the ones you used earlier.

Identify warm leads with TeamLink

As it is easier to establish a relationship with those who have at least some degree of connection, LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s TeamLink informs salespeople which leads are getting warm. Use the ‘Show TeamLink Members Only’ filter and you will see the leads you have a second-degree connection with. At the same time, don’t reach out directly. Use this connection to ask for an introduction.

Reconnect with past clients with Bluebird Search

Use the Bluebird Search feature to re-engage with the users/accounts that used to be your clients but had a job change or other circumstances. Apply the ‘past not current’ filter to get in touch with these leads.

  • Enter the name of the company the lead is currently in, in the ‘Company’ section
  • Click ‘Past not current’ in the dropdown list

Find new leads with InMail

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has 20 InMail credits per month. It’s notot many, but InMail open rates are normally better than DMs, going as high as 85%. To make your InMail messages more effective, personalize your outreach by reviewing the lead’s profile and checking out their latest updates.

Build lead lists with automation and smart tools

If you’re not a newbie in sales, you may have tried chasing new business leads on LinkedIn to varying degrees of success. Then you know that a manual search on LinkedIn will bring you limited results. No matter how many useful features LinkedIn Sales Navigator has, automation and prospecting at scale on the platform are only possible with third-party tools.

There are many functions that can be supplemented by smart tools. Some tools increase the number of search criteria, making lead list building as precise as it can be. Others give insights on how much companies spend on Adwords and what software they use. These are essential data for SaaS and B2B businesses.

From simple single-purpose tools to sophisticated sales enablement software, there are smart instruments that make LinkedIn lead generation feel like a breeze. Let’s take a look at smart automation tools you can use when building lead lists on LinkedIn.


As an easy-to-use Chrome extension, Dux-Soup seamlessly integrates with LinkedIn and… visits the leads on your behalf! Why would you need that? LinkedIn is an organic network, so when a user sees you visiting their account, they often feel like visiting yours in return to see if something nice can come out of your connection. Doing it on a professional level will take all your time. That’s why tools like Dux-Soup can do it for you. Also, Dux-Soup scrapes lead data in CSV files and sends personalized messages and connection requests on your behalf, without violating LinkedIn day limits. Dux-Soup is a very helpful tool for a marketing agency as much as freelance lead generators.


As a “search engine for leads,” LeadFuze has a number of functions. First, LeadFuze expands your lists of search criteria, adding searching by the technology used, monthly Adwords budget, employee size, integration partnerships, social media usage, etc. Second, the lead data LeadFuze provides will enable you to personalize your messages and make your conversations engaging and easy to identify with. Next, lead scoring and lead nurturing are possible thanks to LeadFuze’s insights: after leads are qualified, the next steps with your warm leads are suggested. Also, LeadFuze allows you to save lead lists and drip leads into your CRM and other tools. Finally, LeadFuze has highly useful integrations.

For example, the Dux-Soup Turbo and LeadFuze integration will fill up your sales pipeline with high-quality leads on LinkedIn. Here’s how:

  • Use LeadFuze to find leads fitting your ICP
  • Set up LeadFuze to send a daily portion of leads from LeadFuze to Dux-Soup Turbo
  • Set up Dux-Soup Turbo to automatically reach out to the leads on LinkedIn
  • Some leads will respond to your messages, and you will see who will convert.


BuiltWith is a tool to help identify what web technologies a site uses. SaaS and tech companies use such information to target prospects based on technology, traffic, location, keywords, and vertical they have. When you have insights into their market data, you can offer more value to your potential customers. This will allow you to build your sales lead lists more precisely. Also, BuiltWith gives business insights into your competitors, highlighting their strategies and budgets.


As an automated lead generation tool, AeroLeads scrapes LinkedIn lead data, verifies email addresses, and creates unique lead lists ready to be used for your B2B lead generation strategy. Boasting multiple integrations, AeroLeads exports demographic data to applications like Salesforce, Zoho CRM, FreshSales, MailChimp, Zapier, etc.


In times when the power of personalization is taking over the B2B sales world, Crystal is a personalization tool to be used on LinkedIn among other uses. AI-powered, Crystal uses the principles of DISC personality (Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Conscientious) and offers insights on LinkedIn profiles. Using Crystal, you will spend less time thinking about what communication choice to make and send more DMs and InMails with precise and tailored points, mentioning your shared interest, recent news, etc. Grab your audience's attention with Crystal with ease.


Expandi is a LinkedIn automation platform that enables sales professionals to overcome LinkedIn limitations. For one, LinkedIn established safety limits for all actions. But Expandi knows how to help you send out as many connection requests, or InMails, or follow-ups as you would like without getting banned. Also, LinkedIn doesn’t account for time zones, and you can’t schedule your message for a different time. Here’s where Expandi can be extremely helpful:

  • Mimicking human behavior when sending out requests and messages
  • Automatic withdrawing of your pending invites within a certain period of time
  • Using new proxy IP addresses to normalize your profile’s activity and ensure safety
  • Scheduled messaging and follow-up
  • Using Expandi to reach out to the leads from your saved LinkedIn lists
  • Smart targeting that helps find people engaged with some popular LinkedIn posts, extract their profile details via Expandi, and target them via messages in your next marketing campaign.


A code-free data extraction software, Phantombuster automates data extraction, list building, task scheduling, and more. Also working with Instagram, Google, and Twitter, Phantombuster has the following automated features for LinkedIn: data scraping from LinkedIn profiles, sending connection requests, sending personalized messages to LinkedIn connections, and commenting and liking on posts. As with many other tools of this kind, use Phantombuster’s Chrome extension and connect to LinkedIn. Then feed LinkedIn profiles’ links to the tool and see your lead lists enriched with email addresses and other data.

For more effect, use Phantombuster with another personalization tool like Hyperise integration and see your conversions double.


Using Overloop, a multichannel sales automation platform, is helpful for finding lead data, generating lead lists, and automating cold emails on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, find a lead and save it to a list (already created or a new one). Then the tool will automatically find the lead’s email address, and you will save it. Regarding LinkedIn automation, it is possible to set up a list of triggering actions that set off a message sequence, such as deal created, deal lost, list created, etc. Overloop uses a Chrome extension and integrates with Salesforce, Slack, Hubspot, Pipedrive, Close.io, and Zapier.


As a tool intended specifically for LinkedIn, Zopto offers many automation features to increase engagement, improve targeting through advanced filters, and manage leads on the platform. Searching for your ICP goes beyond searches by industry, location, number of followers, technology, seniority level, and team size. Recommended to use together with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Premium plan, Zopto allows users to regulate levels of engagement through such setting options: free InMail messages, Connection Invites, Sequential Messaging, Profile View Generator, Twitter Engagement, advanced reporting, and others. Improve your LinkedIn automation experience with the Hyperise integration.


Created specifically to circumvent drawbacks and weaknesses of LinkedIn algorithms, Salesloop.io automates lead search and outreach for sales teams. Leveraging LinkedIn’s databases, filters, and search engine, Salesloop identifies your ICPs, creates lead lists, personalizes outreach for each lead, and automates outreach sequences across LinkedIn. What’s great about Salesloop, if a lead responds to your message, you can unenroll them from the outreach sequence and start messaging with them on your own.

 We’re here to help you

If you want to make the most out of your LinkedIn reach, do more than just lead list building.

  • Be active and engage with your audience on LinkedIn
  • Post regularly and spruce up your LinkedIn account with updates and news
  • But most importantly, learn how to use LinkedIn tools and software to up your list-building game.

While still hoping that this article provided its fair share of great tips to help you find targeted leads quicker and easier, at the same time, we know that discovering new customers isn’t a piece of cake. If you can’t imagine putting in so much effort to get leads, you can always go the easy way and hire a B2B lead generation agency.

Partnering with a professional lead generator is much more efficient than buying business leads. Those who buy business leads very often spend hours sieving through the database with little positive results, whereas a reputable agency will do the groundwork for you and will hand you qualified appointments ready to be converted.

Dmitry Chervonyi

Chief Marketing Officer at Belkins
Since starting his career in sales & marketing 9 years ago, Dmitry never stopped searching for new opportunities that can turn the tables on sales development and the ways that shape B2B relationships. He is always eager to share his findings with the audience.
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