Maximising LinkedIn for social selling: A comprehensive guide for SDRs

Businesswoman sending a LinkedIn voice message

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has become the de facto prospecting tool for inside sales reps. But just because you use the platform every day, doesn’t mean you’re using it effectively.

LinkedIn can be a huge time suck for many SDRs. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Stop wasting hours scrolling through profiles and start prospecting effectively. Here are the strategies our top-performing SDRs and sales managers recommend to take your LinkedIn prospecting to the next level.

Use filters to find and sort relevant contacts

In Leadfeeder’s Anna Crowe‘s opinion, the platform’s search filters make LinkedIn “one of the most powerful tools for salespeople.” Use them correctly, and you can go from blind to targeted prospecting in no time. 

You’re probably already using filters to find a list of potential prospects on LinkedIn. But are you using them to their full effect? Probably not. 

If you want to find the most relevant prospects on Linkedin, you need to be using Sales Navigator’s Advanced Search Filters. These let you filter prospects by dozens of criteria, including industry, company size and seniority level. 

Don’t worry about getting overly specific. If your ideal prospects don’t share the same job title or department, use Boolean queries to cover your bases. Searching job titles for “sales OR marketing” will bring up professionals who work in either team, for instance. 

Once you’ve used Sales Navigator’s filter options to shortlist prospects, save your search for use in the future. It’s a pain to enter all that information again, especially if you’re creating highly targeted searches. 

Now you have a list of prospects, use LinkedIn’s Sales Spotlight feature to prioritise your prospecting list. These are the people LinkedIn reckons are most likely to engage with you — so, naturally, they should be the people you reach out to first.  

Finally, use the TeamLink Connections filter to see if you know anyone in common. The filter identifies prospects with whom you share first or second-degree connections allowing you to get an introduction where appropriate. 

“One of the most powerful tools for salespeople”

Set up alerts so you are ready to take action

Success in sales largely comes down to timing. Someone who isn’t ready for your product today could be crying out for it in six months. You need to be one of the first to call when their needs change. 

You can use LinkedIn’s alert system to get a head start in this regard. Alerts can be set up on specific prospects, so you’re notified if anything changes. This could be a promotion, a new job or a new LinkedIn connection to someone you know. 

Alerts can also be created for saved searches, so you’ll be notified the instant someone meets the criteria you have established. If your saved searches are good enough, this tactic can completely automate the research part of your prospecting process.

In any of these cases, you’ll be able to reach out immediately with a relevant message that could result in a booked appointment.

Add Lusha for instant contact details

If there’s one LinkedIn add-on we recommend for all inside sales reps, it’s Lusha. The Chrome extension enriches LinkedIn profiles with highly valuable contact data. Typically, this includes an email address. Sometimes you’ll even get the holy grail of a mobile number. 

This contact data alone makes the app worthwhile. What makes it even better is that it integrates with Salesforce. As a result, our reps don’t need to waste time creating or updating entries in our CRM. It happens automatically at the click of a button. 

It can be tempting to close the page and make the call now you have contact data. But what about all the information on their profile that can be used to personalise your outreach? 

Maybe you went to the same university as your prospect, share common interests or like an article they’ve recently written. You shouldn’t just be using LinkedIn to find people to contact; you should be mining profiles for every it of useful information you can find. Just five minutes reading time could be all you need to stand apart from every other cold call your prospect gets that day. 

“The buyer never ends the discussion or hangs up on you when they’re doing the talking. You get them talking by sharing information that you think they might find interesting”

Send LinkedIn messages outside of work hours

Your prospects probably aren’t looking at LinkedIn during the day — unless they’re other sales reps. While they’ll eventually see the message you send them at 3 pm, wouldn’t it be better to slide into their DMs while prospects are actually using the app?

The decision-makers you are looking to get in touch with work long, busy, gruelling days, says Jesse Davis West the director of lifecycle marketing at ringDNA. They are going to be much more receptive to your message if you reach them before their day starts or after it ends. 

If they happen to be on the website or app the same time you message, even better. There’s every chance of getting into a high-quality conversation that builds rapport, gets your message heard and leads to a further conversation.

Make your message stand out

The above scenario will only happen if you’re able to make your message stand out in a crowded inbox. Be under no illusions: your prospects' inbox will be bursting with sales messages just like yours. 

Think how many LinkedIn messages you receive from recruiters. Now double it and then double it again. You’re still probably nowhere near the number of cold messages that decision-makers get in their inbox every day. 

If you want your message to get noticed, it has to be different from the rest. On a recent EngageTech webinar Minoro Data VP of Sales Greg Freeman said that his most successful outreach message contains an emoji, a swear word and a joke. 

“It’s still a pitch,” he says. “But it’s a very jokey, very human pitch.” Most importantly, it’s a pitch that works. Greg says he gets a lot of responses from people who never normally reply to LinkedIn messages, but made an exception for him because of his uniqueness. 

Another way to stand out is to mark a few high-quality prospects as leads on LinkedIn and engage with everything they post. Of course, this only works if they are active on LinkedIn. But if they are, it’s a great way for them to get familiar with your name. It will also make them much more likely to respond to your InMail message or give you 30 seconds on the phone. 

Another tip offered by social selling expert Melonie Dodaro is to share exclusive or time-restricted resources with prospects. The more value you can give prospects for free, the more likely they’ll be to respond. Make it clear that you aren’t sending this information to everyone, she advises. “People like the idea of being part of your hand-picked, exclusive network.”

If you do send links or documents to prospects, the team at PersistIQ recommends using tools like ClearSlide or DocSend to track whether prospects have engaged with your content. “Having this knowledge will help inform you how to move forward with this prospect, giving you vital information on when they open the document, what pages they read and for how long.”

It doesn’t take a degree to use LinkedIn effectively. You don’t need to buy a book or enrol in an online course. These tips alone should be enough to take you from amateur to pro and send your success rate soaring. 

Hit up prospects with a voice message

One niche tactic that’s gaining in popularity is sending voice messages via the LinkedIn app. You can only send them to first-degree connections, so they aren’t suitable for completely cold outreach. But they can be an effective way to move warm leads down your funnel. 

Sending them is as simple as finding the contact in your Messages, clicking the microphone to bring up the voice messaging screen and holding down the microphone to record. If you’ve ever sent voice notes in Whatsapp, the process is exactly the same. Voice messages can last 60 seconds but, as anyone who’s ever waited for a YouTube ad to finish knows, 10 seconds can feel like a lifetime.

Morgan J Ingram, the host of the SDR Chronicles, emphasises the need to get someone’s attention in the first 5-10 seconds. He recommends finding an insight or trigger on their LinkedIn profile or website to grab your prospect’s attention before proceeding with your pitch. Don’t forget to follow up, either, says Ingram. Ask your prospect what they thought of your voice message to encourage more responses and get feedback on your pitch.

LinkedIn can eat up all your time or it can be one of the most effective sales tools in your arsenal. It’s all a matter of how you use it. Have a successful tactic up your sleeve we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.


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