5 Simple Steps To Generate B2 B Leads Using Linked In
5 Simple Steps
By Andrew Wilks
5 Simple Steps
for Generating Business to Business Leads
LinkedIn is primarily an online business networking tool. Some key facts...
More than 60m users worldwide
More than 3m users in the UK
95,000 new users in the UK every month
Average age of users is 41yrs, with 15 years’ experience
London is the most ‘active’ city in the world
It took Linked in 18 months to get their first million users. It took 11 days to get their
latest million users
How it works
You can have up to 3 tiers in your network. The 1st tier is the people you connect with
directly. These will generally be people you know (at least at first).
The 2nd tier in your ‘network’ consists of the people who are linked with your first tier
The 3rd tier consists of people linked with your 2nd tier contacts.
Why would you use LinkedIn?
That depends. If you are NOT in a position where you need to generate new business, you
may feel it is a waste of time. Here are some reasons for you to join:
You are visible to potential recruiters, so it can be helpful to your career. Even if you’re
not looking to move at the moment, it’s always worth knowing what’s out there.
You can use it to find reliable suppliers
Get ideas and information from your network that may be helpful in either your work or
If you ARE in a position where some, or all, of your role is to generate new business, then, in
addition to the above benefits you can...
Research your prospects, especially those you might be meeting with, to increase your
chance of building rapport quickly and making the sale
Find additional networking opportunities
Raise your profile, so people are aware of you and are reminded of your skill sets on a
regular basis (making it more likely they will choose you)
Demonstrate your capabilities so you are seen as an ‘expert’
Reassure potential clients who ‘check you out’ and give them an alternative view
compared to your website (which they may be less likely to trust)
Identify and make contact with new prospects
Create backlinks to your website to enhance your Google ranking and raise your
personal profile on the internet, so that people searching for you can find you quickly.
And to be honest, this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of the potential benefits!
How to Generate Leads using LinkedIn
Here are five simple steps you can take to start getting leads using LinkedIn.
STEP 1 Build a compelling profile
The first step (once you’ve joined) is to build your profile. Most of the content is self
explanatory, but here are some important tips:
Remember that people are more interested in what you can do for THEM, than in what
you do. Tell them the problems you solve, the benefits they will derive and why they
should work with you or your company rather than anyone else.
Use both possible lines of your Headline to explain what you do for people. Every time
your profile appears, people will see your compelling message.
Make sure you add a picture. It should be a close-up of your face so it is clearly you!
Under ‘Websites’ you are allowed up to 3 links. Use them. You can edit the link names
too, to something that attracts attention to a particular topic eg ‘FREE Lead Generation
You can connect your LinkedIn profile to your Twitter account, so that when you post a
note it appears in Twitter too.
Change your Public Profile from numbers to your name. It will help Google find your
entry so you appear near the top of the page when people search for your name.
Add Applications such as Slideshare, so you can include presentations explaining what
you do. You can include photographs and embed video from YouTube.
Then add your public profile to your email signature and to your website. Click on Profile/Edit
Profile/Edit Public Profile Settings/customized buttons. Then copy and paste the code into
your website or email signature.
You can also add a profile for your Company. Click on the ‘More’ tab at the top, then click on
Companies, then + Add a Company.
STEP 2 Get connected
Next you need to add as many people to your network as you can. LinkedIn recommend that
you only connect with people you know and this is certainly a good way to start.
However, once you start sending out messages, they will be seen by everyone in the first tier
of your network, so the more there are, the more people will see your message and the more
people will be aware of you and what you do.
As a goal, I would recommend that you aim to connect with at least 500 people over a period
of a few months. There are ways to connect to significantly more, if you are in a real hurry!
Start by importing the email contacts you have in your normal email server.
Go to Contacts/Add connections/Import your desktop email contacts.
Alternatively, go through your address book and add contacts one by one. Ideally, as you go
on, you want to send a personal message, rather than the default message used by LinkedIn.
But to get your initial contacts linked, the standard message will be fine for most people who
know you reasonably well.
As you use LinkedIn, you will be presented with ‘People you may know’. This is useful for
adding to your network on a regular basis. Though they are 2nd Tier, it is worth upgrading
them to 1st Tier if you can
There is a useful application, if you’re using Outlook, which enables you to see which of your
incoming emails are from people already on linked in. You can then easily view their profile
and add them to your network. Click on Tools at the very bottom of your Home page. Then
click on Outlook Toolbar.
STEP 3 Join groups
There are more than 55,000 groups on LinkedIn. There are groups for almost everything and
if there isn’t a group for your type of activity, then it is worth creating one. In fact, there are
advantages to creating a group anyway.
It is worth finding some groups relevant to you (by way of activity, geography, topic of interest
or hobby) for the following reasons...
1. You can develop your position as an expert (especially among those you wish to
target) and every time you contribute, it goes round your network. And don’t forget the
power of ‘brand’ awareness. The more time you are seen by your network, the more
they will be aware of you and be more likely to contact you if they, or anyone they
know, have a requirement for what you do.
2. Network with your target market, so getting to link with new prospects and referrers,
and increasing the size of your tier 1
3. Make direct contact with people outside your network
4. Raise your profile with a prospect before you approach them directly
5. By increasing links to your profile and your website, it also improves your Google
Here’s what you do...
1. Join some groups:
Go to Groups/Groups Directory/Search Directory and type in some keywords relevant
to the type of group you’re looking for (by way of industry sector, activity, geography,
topic of interest or hobby)
Click on Join this group, when you find a group that looks interesting
Decide how often you want to receive details of discussions (daily or weekly) and then
click on Join Group.
Your application to join the group will then be reviewed by the moderator for that group
and you will receive notification in due course whether you have been accepted or not.
2. Post News items on a regular basis (‘regular’ means as often as is right for you, from
several a day to one a month). This could be anything newsworthy. Eg. The launch of
a new product or service; the issue of a new white paper or article; winning a large
tender; attending an exhibition etc. This not only publicises what you’re doing, but it
creates links back to your website which helps your Google ranking.
From My Groups, click on a group you are a member of
From the Overview page, click on Submit news
You will have to have the news article or a relevant website page at a url as this is the
first thing it asks for
Then put in a title and up to a 250 word summary
You can quote a source for the news and also add in extra comments so people can
see why they should read the article.
One advantage is that the system keeps the last news item you placed, so you can
quickly send the same message to multiple groups if it is appropriate to them.
3. Send out & respond to discussion topics
By looking at the sort of topics raised within the group you will quickly get a feel for
what is acceptable. Be careful not to do any overt selling (in UK groups particularly – in
US groups it seems more acceptable).
Perhaps raise an issue that you’d like to better understand, or one in which you can
counter a myth. Debunking a commonly held myth makes for a powerful headline and an
If you do raise a discussion topic and people reply. Thank them for their reply and add a
short comment, as this goes round the group again, keeps the topic current and sends
another round of links back to your profile.
If you are responding to a discussion topic, this is a chance to demonstrate your expertise,
if it is a topic relevant to what you do. Don’t feel that you should wait until it is a topic in
which you have special ‘expertise’. It is a good idea just to give your opinion, as this in
itself raises your profile (as long as what you say is sensible – or witty!).
STEP 4 Get recommendations
Recommendations are testimonials from other LinkedIn members. Like all good
testimonials, recommendations will boost your credibility. Use with a little caution though,
as too many, gained too quickly, could look false.
Start by contacting some of your best clients or customers via telephone or email and ask
them whether they’d be happy to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you.
Whenever you have a client that is particularly pleased with your work/services/product
then drop them a line and ask them to recommend you on LinkedIn.
Build them up gradually over a few weeks and once you get to around 5, then you have
more than enough to get started. You can of course have as many as you like, as long as
they’re all genuine.
It is also worth providing recommendation for people who have done work for you, or with
whom you’ve worked in the past. Not only does it raise your profile and improve your
ranking, but it also makes them more likely to refer you to others! Be careful though.
When recommending someone, always send them an email saying you’ve recommended
them but ask them not to recommend you straight back, or the two recommendations go
round the network together and in effect, cancel themselves out.
STEP 5 Search for individuals
Clearly you can wait for all the above efforts to start feeding you some interested potential
clients. Alternatively, you can be more proactive.
If you can identify the names of some potential companies with whom you’d like to do
business, then there are some actions you can take that might get you in front of the right
1. First, search for the company and see what people it lists for the company. You will
be able to see anyone who is in your network and view their profiles. You will also
be able to see summary info for others who are not in your network.
2. For those in your network, you can either make a more direct approach by asking
one of your connections to introduce you via LinkedIn, or you can take a more
measured approach. The danger with the first one is that if it fails, it may be difficult
to get in for a while. The second approach is to see which groups your prospect
belongs to and then join one or more of the same groups. Then raise your profile
within the group through News items or through the Discussion forum.
This has the advantage of raising your profile, before you try the linking strategy.
3. If you have upgraded your account to a subscription, then you will be able to see
everyone’s profile and make contact with them directly through an Inmail.
If you do not know the names of specific companies or people, you can create a list of
potential contacts by typing in a relevant term or job title that might appear in their profile. If
necessary, you can refine the search by geography or some other relevant criteria. You can
then use the same approaches as outlined above. If you’re going to send Inmails to a group
of people, then offer them something useful as an incentive to make contact with you.
Two other options
There are two other techniques you can use if you want to take things further.
If you are creating an event, such as a seminar, teleseminar, webinar or product launch, then
you can publicise it via LinkedIn.
This has a number of additional advantages:
It raises your (your company’s) profile, backlinks etc
You can encourage people to register to attend through Linked In, which means others
can see who is registering. This often has the effect of encouraging others to attend.
To create an Event in LinkedIn:
1. Click ‘More’ from the main menu, then ‘Events’
2. Add an Event
If you are attending an event, such as an exhibition or a conference, it is worth seeing if it is
listed. If it is, then register your intention to attend and it may prompt others in your network to
attend too. You can also see who is already planning to attend and perhaps make contact
with them beforehand to arrange to meet at the event.
Under the ‘More’ menu option, there is a section called ‘Answers’. In this area it is possible to
ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics. Using this tool has a number of
Raising your profile and creating backlinks
Demonstrating your expertise to potential clients/customers
You can become an ‘Expert’ on LinkedIn, which means you can be listed at the top of
the Experts section on the Answers page. When you answer questions, every time the
questioner picks your answer best, you gain a point of expertise. The more points of
expertise, the higher you appear on the lists of experts