The power of LinkedIn voice messages for inside sales reps: a guide to prospecting and effective communication

Businesswoman dictating voice message

Want a faster, more personalised way to connect with your LinkedIn contacts? LinkedIn voice messages could be the perfect solution. Or they could be a complete waste of time. The only way to know for sure is to test them out.

That’s exactly what our Commercial Director Callum Henderson has been doing the last few months. Below we reveal all, sharing everything he found.

What are LinkedIn voice messages?

LinkedIn voice messages are 60-second voicemails you can send to any first-degree connection. You’ll need the LinkedIn app to leave one (it works on both iPhones and Androids), but you can receive them on both your phone and the website. It’s basically like leaving a voicemail or sending a voice note on Whatsapp. 

LinkedIn introduced the feature a year ago, and they have already become another weapon in the arsenal of the sales executive thanks to thought leaders like Morgan Ingram.

How to leave a LinkedIn voice message

Leaving a voice message is simple. 

Open the LinkedIn app and head to your messages. Find the prospect you want to send a message to and click on the microphone icon to go to the voice message screen. Hold down the microphone button to record a message and release it to send. Don’t worry, there’s a prompt to confirm before the message is actually sent.

You can pause the recording by swiping your finger or cancel the entire message by swiping your finger and letting go. 

How to use voice messages successfully

LinkedIn’s voice message is just another channel like a call or an email. That means you can use them in several ways for just about any purpose. Chasing up a prospect, touching base, heck, you could even book a meeting using a voice message. 

Okay, because you can only send messages to people you’re connected with, it means you can’t use them for completely cold prospecting. But, they can be a great way to follow up with a cold prospect as soon as they have accepted your invitation to connect. 

Callum tried them out in as many different ways as possible during his trial period to get the lay of the land and find out what worked and what didn’t. It’s too small a sample size to say for sure, mind. But the following tactics may spark inspiration in you. 

Naturally, the first method was standard inside sales outreach, touching base with a prospect to inch them closer to booking a meeting. In this scenario, Callum found it much easier to get a prospect’s phone number through a voice message than through email. 

Callum also found voice messages to be a useful way to rapidly accelerate the sales process. For example, he was able to connect with a senior decision-maker and send them a voice note catching them up on what they missed in a recent call. This would be impractical over email and impossible by phone without the decision maker’s number. 

Similarly, it can be an excellent way to reach out to any colleagues a prospect mentions may be involved in the deal. It wouldn’t be worth ringing them, in this case, and an email would be too cold. But voice messages offer a great way to introduce yourself. 

Finally, it’s an effective way to communicate with hot leads. It takes time to write out a long email or a standard LinkedIn message, and there’s no guarantee they’ll take your call. Saying everything in a voice message can be much faster than typing it out, and you can send it at a time convenient for you. That makes it great for driving efficiencies in your prospecting campaigns.

What else have we found?

Okay, so we’ve covered how you can use voice messages. Now let’s look at everything else we’ve found. 

We’ll start with our response rate. In our small sample size, we’ve had around a 40% response rate. That’s pretty good going and in line with Morgan Ingram’s results. Some of these were warm leads but, given that you have to be connected to send a voice note, we don’t think this changed the response rate too much. 

Interestingly, very few people send a voice message in response. Just like with WhatsApp voice notes, if someone sends a voice message, the other person almost always responds in writing. This isn’t necessarily a problem, after all if you both want to speak to each other you can use the phone, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re thinking of asking a lot of questions. 

Regardless of how people respond, voice messages are very effective at moving prospects down the funnel and speeding the whole sales process up. We reckon you can cut out about 15 emails by sending one voice message. As long as you’re able to get your message right in a couple of takes, this can be very effective. 

While doing this experiment, we also found out what it was like to receive a voice message. One proactive candidate took the time to send us a voice message ahead of an interview. Not only did this impress upon us how good of a candidate he potentially is, it also showed us just how impactful receiving one of these messages can be.

LinkedIn voice messages aren’t without issues, however

If you’ve got this far, you’re probably thinking voice messages sound pretty good. And they are in many ways. But they’re not perfect. 

For one, it’s really hard to record a good message — even harder than a voicemail. You really need to think carefully about what you’re trying to say (and why). It can take a fair few attempts to get it right. Of course, that means it’s not as efficient as it should be. If you’re spending five minutes trying to nail your message, you may well be better typing it out, instead.

It’s also hard to scale. Sending a voice message is not the same as sending an email. It doesn’t work in every instance and it’s not like you can churn out one voicemail after another. Nor do voice messages work in every instance. In fact, it can be quite hard to predict when it makes sense to send one. 

Finally, there’s the recipient to consider. It’s a lot easier for your prospect to read a message than it is to listen to one. You could be left waiting a while for a reply as a result. It will almost certainly get heard in the end, particularly when voice messages are still fairly novel, but it may not be read immediately. 

Moving forward with voice notes

We’re definitely going to be carrying on using voice messages in our prospecting. For the few flaws we’ve uncovered, they are still very good at moving the conversation on. We’re also encouraging all our reps to give voice messages a go. 

But if you do try this new tactic, please, please think about what you are doing. Don’t rush into it headfirst and smash out 100 voice messages. 

One of the biggest mistakes we see is people copying the strategy of someone like Ingram without thinking for themselves. The same is true for a lot of SDRs about any sales strategy, to be honest. 

Rather than just copy what someone else has done, it’s important to think for yourself. Sure, be inspired by another rep’s work, be inspired by this article, but tailor it to your specific needs and your target prospects. What works for someone in one industry isn’t guaranteed to work for you.


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