Brian Carroll

5 steps for using LinkedIn as lead generation tool

Like many of you, I’m using LinkedIn to connect with work friends and colleagues. But I’ve been intrigued by how LinkedIn has quietly developed into a useful lead generation tool for marketers and sales people to build relationships with potential customers.

I’ve discovered that it’s a pretty simple process if you’re willing to invest the time to freely share your expertise and thought leadership with others.

Here are 5 ways you can generate leads via LinkedIn:

Step #1 - Create a polished and personally branded profile on LinkedIn. Start connecting to your current and past contacts – focus on connecting with contacts where trust already exists.

Step #2 - Join LinkedIn groups where your clients/customers gather and participate.

Step #3 - Post relevant content on groups. Start building your credibility in the group by sharing relevant content. This can include things like relevant blog posts, links to articles you have written, articles that quote you and event notices for webinars etc. Be sensitive to the dynamics of your group and don’t dominate the conversation!

Step #4 – Answer questions posted on LinkedIn. Answer questions that are relevant to your expertise or something you're passionate about.  Group members often post questions on LinkedIn. Answer them and demonstrate your expertise and add value to the conversation. You can also visit LinkedIn Answers.  

Step #5 – Create your own LinkedIn group and share relevant content. Starting your own group gives you control over its content and reach. You can choose to open the group only to people you know or if appropriate, and you have the time, you can open it up to a larger audience. The goal is to engage your audience and leverage your thought leadership to make a difference with members of your group.

Here are a few other resources that have helpful tips on using LinkedIn for lead generation.

Ford Harding’s blog: Leads from LinkedIn

Hubspot blog: LinkedIn's Little Secret: It's a Great Lead-Gen Tool

What have your experiences been with LinkedIn for lead generation? Which LinkedIn Groups do you find the most useful as a B2B Sales person or Marketer and why?

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Human Touch, Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy, Sales Leads, Social Media, Thought Leadership



  1. April 21st, 2009 at 14:12 | #1

    Agreed – Linkedin has a great potentiality for B2B lead generation.
    However, as easy as it seems, you really need to invest time on it before it starts paying off.
    For ex : it might be hard sometimes to make your content stand out of the garbage that is polluting some groups.

  2. April 21st, 2009 at 14:20 | #2

    True. Just like email there is junk that can clog and pollutes group posts and discussion. But that’s where moderation by the group leader is important.

    Be sure to share RELEVANT content, posts and answers on LinkedIn. People are looking for relevant resources via groups not sales pitches.

  3. April 22nd, 2009 at 10:16 | #3

    I find that LinkedIn is good for networking, but to me, a lead is the potential for a sale. The difficulty is transforming a relationship conversation into a sales conversation without killing the relationship. Nurturing from LinkedIn or other social network will be a longer process than if LinkedIn can drive potential customers into a formal lead process. It’s not to say that some LinkedIn leads will be short cycles, but my impression is that it is a qualifying step vs. being qualified for a marketing status to sales status transition.

  4. Tracy Earles
    April 22nd, 2009 at 10:24 | #4

    Interesting that your post and this one: http://leadmarketwatch.com/index.php/2009/04/21/using-linkedin-for-lead-generation/comment-page-1/#comment-1018 were posted the same day and have the same five steps.

  5. April 23rd, 2009 at 12:28 | #5

    No worries. They’re just using what I wrote with proper attribution which is great : ) So we’re fine. All is good and thanks for the heads up.

  6. May 7th, 2009 at 13:58 | #6

    Interesting, I am trying LinkedIn which I hardly gave a thought to as a lead generation tool a few years ago. Similarly I am trying with e-cademy as well as flirting with lots of other social media sites.

    Undoubtedly relationships and then leads will result – I hope(!) – but I am worried about the time investment and resultant ROI.

    Google Ads definately worked for me but I recall 95% of search is on the left, organic side – so would it be better to spend time and money on the organic search results??

    With LinkedIn and other social media would the time and money be better spent on more diect methods like Google or telemarketing.

  7. May 12th, 2009 at 22:49 | #7

    Ah, LinkedIn is a true netweaver’s dream come true. Business networking on steroids and amphetamines. One of the things I’ve really been focusing on is ‘mapping’ my contacts (and their contacts) on a visual quadrant map using number of connections, their level of influence or recognition in their community, and how aligned I am with them in multiple dimensions such as services provided, approaches, backgrounds, etc. In theory, it will allow me to spend 80% of my time looking for ways to provide value and connections to the 20% of my most important connections. Otherwise it’s too easy and tempting to spend time where it’s comfortable but not necessarily (or usually) productive. This is something I really believe is making a difference in my business and I’m slowly turning my clients on to it as well.

  8. August 1st, 2009 at 07:46 | #8

    Wow.. Great stuff about Lead Generation. Really Linkedin is useful for B2B Lead generation.

  9. Mike
    August 5th, 2009 at 20:56 | #9

    Thank you for this helpful article. I think that it is very important for savvy sales people to leverage the possibilities that are being created by these new marketing networks.

  10. August 31st, 2009 at 17:28 | #10

    Julian,

    I was interested in you post on Brian Carroll’s blog about Linked in and took a look at your website.

    In response to your question concerning how best to promote your business, I would suggest what you undoubtedly tell your sales people when they call on a new customer. Until you as the professional evaluate your customers needs, you would not make any recommendations as to possible solutions.

    I would suggest that your organization speak with someone who, instead of selling you a product, provides a service. I actually represent one such service, Dirextion. We handle all types of digital media, not just one product or type. Through our discussions with our clients we help determine what vehicle should get you the best result. Further, within a particular medium, for example, on-line banner advertising, we evaluate which site or sites should offer you the best ROI based on the site’s visitor demographics, phsycographics and geographics.

    I saw on your website that you are primarily in the EU. We presently do not have any representatives there, however, what we do we can tailor to anyplace.

    Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help you in determining how to evaluate how and where you market your organization. Consultation is free.

  11. December 8th, 2009 at 14:27 | #11

    If you want one extra trick to find new leads : Look at who viewed you competitors profile.

    The Easiest, Cheapest and Fastest Way to Get New B2B Leads Using LinkedIn
    Links:

    * http://philgo20.com/2009/12/the-easiest-and-fastest-way-to-get-new-b2b-lead...

  12. January 14th, 2010 at 12:42 | #12

    we have used linkedin as a b2b marketing tool with much success. But we find that nothing takes the place of a successful cold call to a well researched and quailified prospect.

  13. January 14th, 2010 at 12:46 | #13

    We have used linkedin as a b2b marketing tool with a bit of success, But we find that nothing takes the place of a successfully placed cold call to a well researched and qualified prospect.

  14. May 11th, 2010 at 05:52 | #14

    Hi, great post thanks for sharing. i was looking for some simple suggestions so this is perfect.

  15. May 24th, 2010 at 13:34 | #15

    Hi Brian, I completely agree with your post. LinkedIn is a super tool for generating leads if done so correctly. Like with anything on the internet, it all comes down to quality, engaging content that adds value to you and your users while still doing it correctly within the framework of that social media tool. Ian Cleary blogged recently on the O2 Ideas Room blog about the importance of using LinkedIn for business and networking. I think your readers will benefit from his wisdom also.

    http://webkit.o2online.ie/ideasroom/2010/04/can-linkedin-be-a-valuable-tool-for-my-business/#more-1809

    Thanks again,
    Elaine @ O2 ideas room

  16. March 3rd, 2011 at 14:33 | #16

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  17. Gautam Tandon
    March 3rd, 2011 at 18:03 | #17

    Very well said. When it comes to making and keeping up with business connections, Linked In has one of the best features currently available in market, hands down. What makes Linked In different from Facebook and other Social Networks is that it’s extremely simplified when it comes to working your way out from a business perspective.

    Thanks,
    GT

  18. March 18th, 2011 at 03:29 | #18

    I agree. Linkedin is one way top generate leads. The network is composed of professionals with whom you can ask for advice and offer your services to.

  1. May 19th, 2011 at 13:34 | #1