A Story Which Reveals What I Think Of Automated Lead Gen On LinkedIn  

Prospect: I see that you are advertising automated lead generation for LinkedIn? 

Sales Rep: You’ve come to the right place. We have a nice suite with modern selling, the buyer’s journey, thought leadership and digital selling.

Prospect: Hmm…

Sales Rep: or how about a lovely set of tools incorporating modern selling, warm leads, spam and actionable content?

Prospect: Did you just say spam? 

Sales Rep: Then again our most popular offering has the buyer’s journey, spam, the social selling index, spam and a disclaimer that you are responsible for ensuring you are in compliance with the LinkedIn user agreement. 

Prospect: I see. But…

Sales Rep (interrupting): ‘Course you could always go with the modern sales approach, spam, artificial intelligence, spam, messaging and spam. 

Prospect: Wait a second, are you suggesting this may not be in compliance with the Li user agreement?

Sales rep: That’s not our problem. You’re the one using the software. Where was I? Oh yes, there’s always the spam, filtering, spam, social selling, spam, outreach, spam and spam. 

Prospect: Well in that case… 

Sales rep: I’m not done yet. There’s spam, spam, spam, spam and auto-repeat sending of the spam over and over again.

Prospect: Is your product really just spam?

Sales rep: Mostly. 


(with apologies to Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones, and Palin) 

A Simple Path To Success On LinkedIn

…it’s all about their results, not your features

Here it is:

1) Figure out what results your customers want

2) Show them you can help them achieve those results

You tell this to someone and they scoff and say, “yeah. that’s marketing 101”. Then they go off and ignore the marketing 101 and talk about how great they are and not their customer’s problems. If I go and look at ten LinkedIn (Company) Pages, what will I see? A couple posts that genuninely assist prospective customers that are outnumbered by stuff like interviews with the CEO who outlines their thoughts on the next ten years.

When you start thinking of your ideal customer’s needs first, you will be more successful.

And LinkedIn is the perfect vehicle for this way of thinking, regardless of whether you are in marketing pondering what piece of content you need next, in sales wondering what to say in that outreach message to a prospect, or if you work for yourself and are both the marketing and the sales force.

To be successful, you need to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and start asking yourself:

  • What do they want?
  • What are they trying to do better?
  • What would they like to do that they can’t do now?
  • What process or processes are they they trying to improve?
  • Are they wondering whether what they would like to do or where they would like to go is even possible?

And the higher up the corporate ladder your prospect is, the more this is true. What do all executives want? Information to help them make better decisions. Give it to them. You aren’t going to be in the position of the consulting companies like McKinsey or Deloitte, but you are in a much more agile position to be able to react quickly.

What these questions help you identify is the gap that exists between where they are now and where they would like to be. Your job – whether it be by your next blog post, case study, outreach message or even the note you include with a connection request – is to show you have helped people in similar positions with similar problems in the past and it resulted in those people achieving good outcomes.

You want to be a resource. You want to be the person with the answers. You want to be the person they turn to when they have a question in your area of expertise.

Everything you do on LinkedIn should be aimed at this idea. Because that is all that matters to your ideal reader or prospects. That is why they are using LinkedIn.

It’s a simple message that needs repeating.

Using LinkedIn To Make Better Prospecting Decisions

One of the books that I read over the Christmas break was “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konnikova. The book is about her experiment taking up professional poker to see if her background in psychology (she has a PhD) would help her decision making in playing poker. The book is outstanding and I have re-read it twice in the past three months to just take it more slowly and let it soak in.

Besides being a good read, with a lot of good stories, a lot of what Konnikova has to say can be applied to sales and to LinkedIn. I think the whole idea of using LinkedIn to help us make better decisions applies. Here are some examples.

Use LinkedIn to find the right people

One of the great things I like about LinkedIn is it helps avoid the “anyone who” problem. This is the idea that salespeople draw too wide a net in order to drum up sales prospects, as in “We sell to anyone who builds medical devices.” or “We sell to anyone who uses LinkedIn for sales.”

If you have the ability to use LinkedIn search appropriately (and that can be a big “if”), you can hone in on the exact people who are the best fit for you. I have a client who manufactures printed circuit boards. Based on my research there are around 17,000 companies in North America who buy printed circuit boards. So nominally, they have 17,000 prospects they can find through LinkedIn. But…they have two applications that are their specialty. Using LinkedIn they can identify the hundred or so companies who are the best fit for their two specialities.

They use LinkedIn to make better decisions as to who to go after first.

Using LinkedIn to identify possible options

There are three ideas under this umbrella.

The first is that LinkedIn can show you paths to people you would like to meet. LinkedIn will show you which of your connections (if any) are connected to someone you would like to meet. Often these are hidden pathways you would not know about otherwise. Quite often I will come across someone’s profile and see I share five connections with that person, all of which are a complete surprise to me.

The second is finding alternate paths, if the first one you try doesn’t work. No pathway to the VP of Manufacturing? Ah, look, there is a pathway to the Director of Quality, or the Supply Chain VP or a key Product Manager, all of whom could lead you to the VP of Manufacturing.

And perhaps most important of all, LinkedIn can show you the times – and they are more the rule than the exception – when LinkedIn is not the best way to approach a person and you’re better off finding another means like email.

Using LinkedIn to unlock the doors

Using LinkedIn you can often find the keys to unlock the doors. LinkedIn can be a treasure trove of information that you can use in outreach and to seed initial conversations with people you reach out to. Between their profiles, their activity, and their company pages you can find information that will often surprise the person you are messaging. Nothing elicits a response more than someone asking themselves, “How the heck does he know that?”

There’s a lot more information available to you on LinkedIn than you may realize. Find that information and you can make better decisions in going after your prospects and leads.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.