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LinkedIn Lead Generation is Hard, But You Can Make it Easier

April 17, 2023

According to a CSO Insights survey, 68% of marketers struggle with B2B lead generation. 



Why is lead gen (especially on LinkedIn) so difficult for B2B marketers? It all comes down to the unique challenges which marketers face when dealing with the B2B sales cycle, like:


  • Low conversion rates
  • Limited channels
  • Fierce competition, especially for small-to-medium-sized companies
  • Low ROI
  • Small marketing budgets


To make matters worse, the pandemic heightened the effect of social selling, mainly on LinkedIn. What worked three years ago won’t work today, especially when people in Gen-Z and younger are slowly taking over the workforce.



This means new considerations for lead generators, like tailoring marketing messages to appeal to the unique interests of different customer segments. For example, besides common goals like “being successful” or “financial security,” 67% of Gen Zers place equal importance on social issues like diversity and equality in the workplace.



So, in this article, we’ll give you the tools necessary to help adjust your LinkedIn lead generation strategy for 2023 and beyond.



LinkedIn Lead Generation in 3 Steps


You can’t expect to jump on LinkedIn and score 100 MQLs in your first few hours. There’s some crucial groundwork you need to establish before you can successfully run any outreach campaign on LinkedIn.



Getting this wrong is usually what sets businesses up for failure when they’re trying to reach out to potential clients on the platform. But if you follow these 3 steps, you can get started on the right foot:



1. Change Your Definition of a “Lead”


Chris Walker, Refine Labs’ CEO, keenly monitors the troubles facing most marketing professionals. And he zeroed in on an interesting factoid: most B2B/SaaS companies identify leads as: “Anyone who gives us an email address for our eBook.”



Put that way, it’s obvious why marketers face problems in lead generation—interest in a whitepaper/eBook doesn’t directly correlate with intent to buy a product. Likewise, adding a name to your contact list doesn’t make a lead. Instead, it’s an exercise in padding your mailing list.



For example, if you successfully got Greg Joswiak to respond to you on LinkedIn, it doesn’t immediately translate to interest in booking a demo with Apple.



So, adjusting your definition of “leads” might be in order. So let’s go back to Chris Walker for more ideas. Instead of defining a lead based on acquiring an email address, you should change your lead definition to: “Anyone who fits your ideal customer profile which comes to you on their own and says: ‘I want to speak to sales about your product.’”



Lead generation is tough for many companies because of their faulty definition of a “lead.” So start by analyzing how your company identifies leads to ensure you’re on the right track.  



2. Create a Marketing Strategy that Works for You


Once you’ve adjusted your lead definition, construct a marketing strategy. Unfortunately, like most things in life, marketing has no concept of “one size fits all.” As a result, what works for one company might not for another, and the same applies to different customer segments within a single business’s audience. 



So if your LinkedIn lead generation efforts aren’t producing results, it might be time to re-evaluate your overall branding and marketing strategy.



To craft an effective B2B marketing strategy, you need to:


    1. Set your goals – Align your marketing strategy with your overall business goals. For example, if you want to reach a sales goal, your marketing strategy goal could be to increase your MQLs by a specified amount.
    2. Perform a marketing analysis – Study your strengths and weaknesses to understand your position in the market, then look at what your competition is up to. The aim is to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your audience.
    3. Know your customers – Set a target market and craft customer personas. For instance, if you’re addressing Gen Z professionals, recognize their priorities. Of course, everyone wants to earn more money, but if you’re talking to a Gen Z-er, highlighting issues like sustainability might better pique their interest.
    4. Know your products – Understand what you’re selling and why customers want to buy your products/services—zero in on your USPs. Then, highlight your products’ unique features over the competition, and address WHY they alleviate your ICP’s pain points. 
    5. Set short-term goals – Add on to your overall target. Set milestones like increasing customers or brand awareness. For example, in line with increasing MQLs, set a target after a specific time—100 MQLs after three months, 1000 within a year, etc.
    6. Define your tactics – Assign the marketing plans for the business—for example, content marketing, social media campaigns, email marketing, etc.
    7. Set a budget – Ensure the marketing team has the leeway to achieve your goals. It might be obvious to set a budget, but it’s still an essential part of the process. Ideally, you want your budget to afford all your goals. But you also need to ensure a healthy ROI.
    8. Evaluate performance – Track whether your strategy is on track to achieve your goals, and make adjustments to optimize performance. Eliminate redundant or ineffective strategies while promoting elements that prove successful.


We can’t stress how important it is to go through these steps when formulating your LinkedIn prospecting campaigns. Just think of all the times you’ve gotten spammy, clearly copy-pasted mass messages in your inbox that have ZERO relevance to your business needs. 



You don’t want to be that guy. 



And by knowing exactly who your customer is, what they want, and how your offering benefits them, you can start to create outreach messages that really resonate with your soon-to-be clients.



3. LinkedIn Cold Outreach


With your foundation built, you can begin your LinkedIn lead generation journey! And if you’re on a lean budget, LinkedIn cold outreach provides excellent value.



LinkedIn generates three times more replies than email contact. In fact, 85% of your LinkedIn messages will generate a response.



And, to get the most value out of LinkedIn cold outreach, you need to accomplish the following tasks:


  • Create a qualified contact list – Search for your buyer persona on LinkedIn. Then, use software like Excel for data accounting. Finally, use LinkedIn lead generation tools to craft personalized messages for each prospect.
  • Balance scaling with relationship building – Give each profile a look-see before sending out responses. Show that you actually know your leads before sending an automated response. Accomplishing the task shows contacts that you took the time to get to know them, encouraging them to respond.
  • Send a connection request – Here, you start by contacting prospective leads within the same industry. Your goal here is to get your foot in the door. To improve the odds, add a comment responding to a recent post from your prospect.
  • Present your introductory message – Don’t start with a sales talk. On average, prospects will convert into an MQL after eight touches. So, instead, send an introduction that answers 3 questions:
    • Why are you reaching out to the prospect?
    • How can you address their pain points?
    • Whether they’re interested right now?
  • Ask for an introductory call – Now, the goal is to get on a call with the prospect. Note common rejection replies like, “we are currently using (competitor) right now,” or “we have our own solution,” and look for the best replies. Your ideal situation is for the prospect to book a call with you.
  • Handle correction correctly – Realistically, rejection is the norm in LinkedIn lead generation. The best way to address rejection is by categorizing your prospects and knowing when to follow up or settle for a newsletter subscription. The three types of candidates you’ll encounter are:
    • Prospects actively searching for solutions.
    • Prospects never looking to buy
    • Prospects on the fence


With a practiced LinkedIn cold outreach strategy, you’re on your way to guaranteeing impressive LinkedIn lead generation.



Scale From 0 to 100 B2B Leads on LinkedIn


As highlighted by the first step: a lead is more than a successful connection request. To acquire a lead, you’ll need your prospect to reach out to you to demo your product or service. So, let’s take you on the journey of your first 100 leads on LinkedIn:



The First 10


Starting from ground zero is a chore. You have no credibility, no contacts, nor any brand recognition. In short, no one trusts you. Generating leads on LinkedIn is the most challenging in this phase of your journey. Here, you want to: 


  • Send at least 75 connection requests in a day. 
  • Reply to a connection request within 24 hours of receiving one. 
  • For prospects who haven’t responded, send a follow-up within the first 48 hours of the first request. But remember, limit messages to two a week to avoid flooding your prospects. 


Soon enough, you’ll land your first 10 B2B leads on LinkedIn.



The Midway Point: 50


Your next goal is to reach 50 leads in total. Now, you’ll want to:


  •  Leverage networking to find more leads. To accomplish that, you’ll need:
    • Contact your current prospects for referrals to anyone interested in your solutions or 
    • Contacts with similar pain points. 
  • Additionally, position yourself as a thought leader by sharing valuable insights or commentary. 


By becoming a thought leader and through networking, you’ll reach 50 B2B leads in no time.



100 in a Quarter


Finally, you must leverage your team to reach the 100 B2B lead milestone. 


  1. Share your LinkedIn lead generation playbook with the team. 
  2. Match prospects with your team member’s roles, allowing them to get a handle on what pain points your buyer personas might encounter.
  3. Hire 3rd party agencies to help with your LinkedIn B2B lead generation. 


If all goes well, you’ll reach your 100 B2B lead milestone within three months.



Reach More Lead Generation Milestones on LinkedIn


LinkedIn can be a go-to tool for generating B2B leads if used correctly. Thanks to its vast community, helpful features, LinkedIn cold outreach tools, and even free email cold outreach tools, LinkedIn provides ample opportunity to land more sales.



But LinkedIn lead generation is easier said than done. Luckily by partnering with LinkedIn lead generation experts like us, you’re guaranteed success.



With ScaleUpSales, you can be confident that B2B lead generation with LinkedIn will succeed. Even 1000 B2B leads won’t be a pipedream by working with us! Contact us today!