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How to effectively use LinkedIn for B2B lead generation

Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Reading time:9m

Generating leads on LinkedIn can feel a lot like fishing in a crowded lake. There’s no shortage of fish to catch, but you need a strong game plan and good bait to beat the competition and bag the big ones.

LinkedIn can be one of the most promising lead generation channels for any B2B company. In fact, 42% of B2B marketers consider it their top channel for securing high-intent leads. But what keeps these marketers at a disadvantage is their inability to stand out among the aggressive competition on the platform.

Wondering how to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn and turn the tables in your favor? Check out this actionable playbook, which aggregated our experience as a B2B LinkedIn marketing agency and can help you get started.  

Step into the limelight of your professional community

First order of business: Set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile to become a familiar face in your network. Add credibility to your name with a brand-aligned LinkedIn profile and lay the groundwork for your lead gen efforts. 

Let’s break down 5 essential tips to take center stage with your LinkedIn presence and ace social selling: 

Fine-tune your profile to sell your brand

Create a solid first impression with a stellar LinkedIn profile. Think of it as the deciding factor for people to connect with you and start a conversation. Here are a few proven ways to make your profile stand out and impress anyone:

  • Create a customized profile URL for your name without any extra numbers or letters to help with search optimization, like this one by Brenda Blume.

Brenda Blume Linked in Profile Optimization

  • Add an exciting and unique headline that captures users’ attention and clarifies what you do, like this one by a marketer at Plum. 

Linked in Headline Example by Plum's Marketer

  • Write a short, keyword-rich summary explaining the pain points you can resolve, your primary solution, and the results you’ve achieved, like this one by Leah Barlow.

Linked in Summary Example by Leah Barlow

  • Get testimonials and endorsements from colleagues to build trust and create a positive impact on profile visitors.
  • Put a high-resolution headshot in your profile photo and blur the background.
  • Add your contact information to help interested prospects reach out easily.

Spend extra time designing an engaging profile from the start to build a solid network of potential leads. 

Ensure the executives have perfect profiles

Your company’s top executives have a pivotal role in your B2B lead generation game plan. Their profiles are precious real estate for your company branding.

You can turn an executive’s profile into a lead magnet by following these simple tips, along with examples from Belkins’s CEO Vladislav Podolyako

  • Pick a professionally photographed headshot to make a striking impression and generate interest in their profile.
  • Design a customized cover photo of your company branding to immediately catch visitors’ eyes.

Vald Podolyako LinkedIn Optimization Headline Example

  • Optimize the above-the-fold section with a strong headline, relevant hashtags, a go-to link, and contact information.
  • Find the sweet spot between your executives’ professional and personal interests, highlighting their time at your company and conveying some personal traits.

Linked in Bio Example by Vlad Podolyako

  • Optimize their role description with relevant keywords and spotlight the company’s core value propositions and their key skills.

Linked in Role Description Optimization by Vlad Podolyako

  • Use the Featured section to add relevant links, like media coverage or top-performing posts, for ideal buyers.

Featured Section Optimization on Linked in Min

Perform meaningful cold outreach 

Data reveals 4 out of 5 LinkedIn users are decision-makers. This means you can connect with your target buyers and pitch them your offer without jumping through any hoops. It’s a great way to supplement your email outreach.

But directly jumping into a prospect’s LinkedIn inbox without building any prior rapport can definitely do more harm than good. So what’s the secret to succeeding on LinkedIn with your B2B lead generation outreach? Warming up your prospects

Always initiate the conversation using a brief, nonsalesy, customized note. Add some personality to this message and make it welcoming so it doesn’t come across pushy or random. Take the conversation forward organically once they respond.

Here’s an example of our best-performing connection-request template to initiate a conversation on LinkedIn:

Hey, {{FirstName}}! I enjoy connecting with forward-thinking specialists in {{IndustryName}} to exchange our expertise. Given your interest in the same events in the {{RelativeIndustryName}} industry, we can be of value to each other.

And here's a great example what to text to your new connections:

Messaging on Linked in Connection Example

In case they don’t reply to your first message, switch to plan B: Engage in their posts and become more visible. Once you’ve built a good rapport with them, initiate another inbox conversation to discuss your offer.

The final step in both these scenarios is moving the discussion to email, setting up a discovery call, and so on. Here’s an example:

{FirstName}, I’ve just jumped off a call with {{ClintName}}, our customer. They’ve deployed our platform recently and now process up to 60 pricing and nonpricing factors in real time to make accurate pricing decisions.

Can {Company}’s pricing team guarantee a 90% accuracy of next week’s predictions on revenue and sales dynamics after making pricing decisions?

That’s exactly what we followed to increase BetterComp’s email deliverability and start meaningful relationships with Fortune 1000 companies. In the end, our efforts bore fruit, and we secured 27 appointments for the company with our collective LinkedIn and email outreach method.

Post content and engage regularly

Many people put off LinkedIn content creation, thinking, “Who has the time to create, post, and engage on LinkedIn?”

Here’s the kicker: Companies who post weekly on LinkedIn achieve a 2-times-higher engagement rate than those who don’t. 

Posting actively on LinkedIn can be a game changer for many reasons. It allows you to become more visible and stay front of mind for many prospects. It also brings more eyes to your company, creating interest among potential buyers. 

What’s more, sharing your knowledge and expertise positions you as a trusted name in your niche. You can build a community of people actively seeking out your posts to learn and engage. This community will eventually turn into a thriving lead pipeline for your business. 

Our LinkedIn content strategy for CitrusAd’s CEO, Brad Moran, proves it works. We targeted 3 content pillars:

  • Impact of COVID-19 on business
  • Personal success story
  • CitrusAd services

His posts gained fantastic traction, and we monitored interactions on every post. This helped us create a solid list of leads, and we found the best opportunities to start conversations with these folks working in enterprise companies.  

While Brad became a thought leader and consulting expert in his niche, we increased CitrusAd’s social selling index to 85 — equaling the top 1% in its industry. To top it off, we secured 53 high-quality appointments through our dedicated lead generation and nurturing efforts. 

Join your prospects in relevant groups 

Meet prospects where they are and turn your LinkedIn profile into a lead-generating machine by actively participating in industry-specific groups. These groups will give you a deeper understanding of your customers’ pain points and expectations. Use this information to improve your pitch and resonate with your leads effortlessly. 

Besides, LinkedIn groups are an excellent platform for generating inbound leads by sharing valuable knowledge. Show your ideal buyers how well you know their problems and give them a glimpse of all the solutions you offer.  

Use the search function to find B2B leads

Your LinkedIn profile and content will set you up for long-term success in funneling inbound leads and honing your email outreach. But what about prospecting high-quality leads on LinkedIn for B2B lead generation? It’s a breeze when you get going with the right tactics.

Here are 3 essential tips for prospecting and outreach on LinkedIn: 

Use advanced filters in manual search

The platform’s built-in search engine is the easiest solution for B2B lead generation on LinkedIn. The search engine has advanced filters to make your search as targeted as possible.

Let’s cover a few filters you can try to narrow down your lead search:

  • Start your search with a keyword. This keyword can be a designation, company name, or phrase your leads are talking about.

Linked in Search by Role

  • Choose from any of the multiple categories, such as people, companies, posts, groups, or products. 

Linked in Search With Filters

  • Filter results by the location of your choice. You can even select multiple locations in a single search. Plus, you can narrow the search to cities, like California and New York in this example. 

Linked in Search and Filtering by State

  • Customize your results with more filters, like current company, past company, school, industry, language, or even a specific keyword. The filters allow you to make your search as granular as you want.

Linked in Advanced Filtering by Past Companies

Once you get the results of your search, you can send a connection request with a personalized note and kick-start your outreach. 

Try proven hacks to identify prospects

Prospecting on LinkedIn isn’t limited to just manual search. You can find the right prospects using some creative hacks. We’ve compiled a list of a few of our tried-and-tested techniques to level up your prospecting efforts:

  • People also viewed: When you visit any prospect’s profile, you’ll find a section called “People also viewed” on the right side of your screen. This section lists people who share similar features as your prospect so that you can find more people fitting your ideal customer profile.

People Also Viewed

  • Check out competitors’ networks: Another way to expand your lead database is to spy on your competitors and connect with more people in your target buyer group. Go through their connection list and seek people aligned with your buyer profile.

    Make sure you prevent your competitors from pulling off this trick on you. Go to the Visibility section on your account settings and find the option for “Connections.” Toggle the switch off, and you’re all set!

  • Find people commenting on posts: If you want to focus your efforts only on more-active prospects, go to industry-related posts with high engagement. Make a list of all the relevant people who have commented on the post and send them invites to connect. 

While these are all the free hacks to expand your lead search on LinkedIn, we’ve also compiled our tips for more advanced methods using Sales Navigator. 

Automate your search with LinkedIn Sales Navigator 

Sales Navigator is the magic formula to scale your B2B lead gen efforts via LinkedIn. Use any of these strategic features to build a thriving lead pipeline:

  • Sales preferences: Set your criteria for getting the most relevant lead recommendations. When searching for leads, you can define your ideal region, function, industry, and seniority level. 
  • Optimized InMail: You can use InMail to send a pitch to people who still need to accept your connection request. Customize these messages for every prospect to make a tangible impact in a single go.
  • Saved searches: Like manual search, Sales Navigator lets you create more-filtered searches with 20 unique filters and save each search with a custom name. This saves you the hassle of setting all the filters each time you run a lead search.
  • Boolean search: You can make the most of your advanced search with the Boolean style. With this approach, you can classify your results using “and,” “or,” and “not” words. For example, you can search for “data analyst NOT data scientist” to find results for only the data analyst profiles.
  • New lead alerts: Set a new-lead alert for all your searches, and you’ll be notified every time a new profile is added to your search. Your role just became a whole lot easier. 

Elevate your search with LinkedIn Ads

So far, we’ve covered how to use LinkedIn for B2B lead generation by strategically winning inbound leads and prospecting ideal leads. The final piece in our B2B LinkedIn lead generation puzzle is ads.

You’d be surprised that brands have reported a 33% increase in purchase intent because of ad exposure on the platform. This means more leads and increased conversions. So let’s discuss the 2 best ways to crack the code for LinkedIn Ads.  

Know the types of ads to run

You should be aware of all the ads available on LinkedIn to execute a failproof ad strategy for B2B lead generation. 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content ads show up directly in users’ main feeds. These ads show up as standard posts but with “Promoted” under the profile name. You can run these ads from a personal profile or a business page.

You can experiment with multiple options for Sponsored Content, like:

  • Single image
  • Document
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Event

Here’s an example of a blog ad by Regula.

Lead Gen Forms

You can run Lead Gen Form ads to collect relevant information from interested people and create a database. These ads include a caption, an image, and a CTA leading to your form. The form will open inside the LinkedIn app instead of a new page.

Here’s an example of a Lead Gen Form by WeWork asking users to sign up and book a day pass. 

Lead Gen Form by We Work on Linked in Min

Sponsored Messaging 

LinkedIn lets you run ads within your prospects’ inboxes too. You can create Conversation Ads or Message Ads depending on your goals. A Conversation Ad includes a message with a few options for the recipient to decide what they want to do next. Alternatively, a Message Ad consists of a message with a single CTA of your choice, like this one by Skill-Lync. 

Sponsored Messaging on Linked in Skill Lync Example

Use Sales Navigator for hypertargeting

Make your LinkedIn ads more targeted with Sales Navigator’s advanced search function. Run a filtered search to find the most relevant leads, then use a third-party tool to extract this list from Sales Nav.

When you choose the advertising option on the platform, you’ll get an option to upload a list for defining your audience. Upload your extracted list of prospects in this step to ensure your ads only reach those who can benefit from them. Afterward, you can further set audience attributes, including job experience, interests, education, and demographics.

Then you’re all set to design your ad — just insert a caption, image, CTA, and link to launch your ad. 

Make LinkedIn a lead generation machine for your business

LinkedIn is more than just a social networking or job search platform. It’s an open battlefield for B2B businesses to win leads and close deals. With a strong strategy to build your personal brand and become a trusted name in your niche, you can create an overflowing lead pipeline.

Need experts to design a LinkedIn B2B lead generation strategy? Our specialists at Belkins have built verified frameworks to bring incredible results to our clients. We know what works and how to reach your desired ROI. Book a call with us to learn more.

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Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.