When’s the last time you got excited to use LinkedIn for sales prospecting? Actually excited. Like, “looking forward to logging in” so you can see how much you’re killing it excited?
If it’s been a while (or never), we’re about to change that.
LinkedIn sales prospecting is a fundamental component of a healthy social media prospecting strategy for many businesses. Many strategies for building your LinkedIn sales prospecting and marketing recommend cultivating your content and providing value to your audience. This is an excellent strategy for SDR teams (and marketers).
It’s also a long-term strategy.
Sometimes you need a trick to get you off the runway a little sooner. You need an easy, step-by-step tactic that’ll actually work, and work quickly.
A tactic that yields a 50+% response rate.
This is that tactic.
Here’s how it works:
This tactic requires authenticity, relatability, and professionalism to pull off. Get those right, and it’s a goldmine. Just don’t ruin it with spammy, scammy nonsense.
With that, let’s jump in!
If you’re looking to improve your team’s prospecting results, feel free to reach out. We’re experts in all things sales, and we’d love to talk.
Step #1: Go To LinkedIn & Find a Relevant Influencer
This task will be ridiculously simple if you already have a decent amount of activity on/awareness of your target audience’s social media environments, in this case, LinkedIn influencer’s pages and LinkedIn groups. And if you don’t, now is the perfect time to develop that.
This influencer should meet specific criteria:
Clearly, the most important aspect of this is finding an influencer that speaks directly to your target audience. Do your due diligence, and check out what other pages their audience likes, and who else they follow. You want this audience to be the right one, or the next steps will be wasted.
I know it’s rare that an influencer has a following made up entirely of perfect potential customers, so you’ll look for a high proportion of people who fall within your target audience.
Whether you’ll be scraping people who liked or commented, you’re looking for active engagement. Seek out influencers who encourage real conversation and discussion in the comments sections of their posts. A healthy comments section is indicative of an engaged and interested audience.
The whole idea is to spark an authentic, relevant conversation, so the influencer you pick should reflect that. If an influencer is insanely popular, but there’s little to no substantive engagement on their posts (as in well-thought-out comments that go beyond “omg love this!”), your outreach won’t be as effective.
3. Message Alignment
I cannot understate the importance of authenticity to this strategy. This prospecting method involves developing a conversation based on a shared interest in an influencer, and so it is crucial that their general brand and messaging align with yours.
The size of the influencers following is up to you. You don’t need to pick someone with a million fans if someone with a few thousand has a better level of engagement and more in common with your target audience.
All in all, you want to find an influencer that has already cultivated your audience. Once you’ve found the right one, you’re ready for Step Two.
Step #2: Pick a Popular & Relevant Post
The type of post you’ll pick will depend on the goal of your outreach. If you’re looking to intro with a soft sell, you’re going to need to be very selective about the post you pick. Something to spark conversation will probably be more simple to find.
There are some criteria for ANY good “scrape-able” post:
Pick an interesting post.
That’s more difficult than it sounds, but still shouldn’t be that hard. If it is, you probably need to pick a different influencer.
A thought-provoking post will have something original and important to say - something that you could have a legitimate 5-10 minute conversation about without trouble.
Often, I’m not even looking for posts to prospect when I see something I think would be perfect to try this trick on. Turns out, a lot of the time, you just know a good post when you see it.
It is very important that the content you choose is relevant to your business, product, and sales strategy. The post you choose should have something to do with the problem that your product/service solves.
Don’t even bother using this tactic if you’re picking posts that don’t directly (in some way) relate to your sales messaging. It’ll render this tactic resultless.
This tactic works best with a relatively recent post. You want this post to still be top-of-mind for the new prospects you are about to try and connect with.
If you’re trying to spark a conversation based on a post someone read a month ago, good luck. They probably won’t recall it very well, and the fact that you’re reaching out about something so “old” for social media will feel inauthentic.
Picking the right post is pretty important because you can’t just go doing this for every potentially good post by this influencer. This is a sniper rifle, not a shotgun. Remember, no spammy lead generation tactics.
Step #3: Scrape Everyone Who Liked (or Commented) on this Post
This step is delightfully simple. Just us a prospecting tool to scrape the names from the LinkedIn post’s comments or likes, and run them through your data provider.
You can do this manually, or by using an automation tool like PhantomBuster, which rips the data from a prospect’s profile for you.
PhantomBuster has a couple “phantoms” (i.e programs) which are particularly useful for this task. These automatically pull data from LinkedIn accounts.
First, add the chrome extension (it’ll make things crazy easy).
The LinkedIn Post Commenters Phantom extracts LinkedIn users who have commented on a post, along with their comments (so you can develop even more personalized outreach).
The LinkedIn Post Likers Phantom does just that, extract the information from the Linkedin profiles of users who have liked a particular LinkedIn post. Exactly what you want it to do.
Launch your program, and PhantomBuster will automate this data export for you, and spit out the resulting profile information in a convenient .csv file.
(Note: I’m not getting any kind of kickback from PhantomBuster for this mini-review, it’s just a cool product I like and use.)
Step #4: Have someone go through and manually filter this list.
It’s time to clean up that list you just generated.
Unless you have a huge target market (i.e a freemium tool you’re trying to promote), you should always do some filtering before jumping into outreach. You and your salespeople save a lot of time and effort in the long run by doing this before outreach.
Of course, I’d also recommend passing off this work to an SDR, or paying someone a quick buck on UpWork to do it for you.
What you filter by will ultimately depend on your business and outreach goals. I almost always target a specific job title, usually CEOs, founders, or other C-Suite executives. This is the moment to turn to your Ideal Customer Profile. Match these essential characteristics to the factors you can filter by (ie. job title) to make sure your list is as well-tuned as possible.
You can also use this tactic to get a little more creative.
If you’re trying to break into a large (ex: Fortune 500) company, you can try and filter the list by people all from the same company you are pursuing, and get in your decision maker’s sphere of influence.
Once you’ve gotten a pared-down list, it’s just a matter of getting your prospecting messaging ready.
Step #5: Write a tag based on the post.
We’ve come to the most “make-it-or-break-it” part of this process.
The message your sales reps use has a huge impact on the efficacy of this tactic. It has to be specially crafted to come off correctly - not spammy, not creepy, and definitely not annoying.
Here’s how I like to craft these LinkedIn influencers prospecting messages.
This might look something like this:
“Hey, I saw that you commented on [Vermont’s Top Icecream Influencer]’s recent post. I thought your comment about how “all ice cream I’ve ever had melted too quickly” was super insightful. It’s too true.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your ice cream didn’t melt? Ever? That’s actually the exact product that my company has just developed. Melt-less icecream.
Would you want to try some out and let me know your thoughts?”
Obviously, your sales team is not selling melt-less icecream (or at least, I hope you aren’t), but the formula stays true. That being said, you don’t need to stick to this formula, you just need your LinkedIn message to be relevant, authentic, and relatable. If it’s a cold email, be able to show some warmth. This is about building new connections, after all.
Once you have this nailed down, you’re ready to begin the fun!
Step #6: Use Your Favorite Sequencing Tool for Outreach
Last step. Let’s do this.
Create a campaign including the name of the influencer and the post topic. You’ll want to keep these clearly labeled for easy reference between influencers/campaigns.
Next, create your message and personalize it as needed. Upload your new list of high-quality potential leads, and get your campaign sent! You can use your normal email tool, a sequencing tool, something for personalization, or even reach out directly via LinkedIn’s InMail tool.
When I tested this trick out for myself, I got a 52% response rate.
Not bad, right? Now you can get on social media, start monitoring your audience’s influencers, and the minute you see a good, thought-provoking post - BAM - you have the perfect LinkedIn sales prospecting strategy right in your playbook.
Here are the steps one more time:
- Go To LinkedIn & Find a Relevant Influencer
- Pick a Popular & Relevant Post
- Scrape Everyone Who Engaged With That Post
- Have Someone Filter Your List
- Write a Tag Based On the Post
- Use Your Favorite Email Tool For Outreach
Like I always say, results may vary. But considering I got a 52% response rate on my very slap-dash first attempt, I’m willing to bet this’ll have a special place in your sales playbook pretty soon.
Want to dive right in? Vouris can help. We partner with early-stage startups to build, scale, and optimize their sales teams to drive rapid and sustainable growth. In a quick call we can evaluate your sales operations and provide key insights for improving your team.