Using LinkedIn for Sales in 2021: How to Get Ahead


IN SUMMARY: How to Use LinkedIn for Sales

  1. Keep your LinkedIn profile optimized for sales
  2. Use LinkedIn’s networking hack
  3. Utilize LinkedIn publishing to showcase your abilities
  4. Find the groups with potential customers
  5. Refine your LinkedIn searches
  6. Use LinkedIn’s alumni search
  7. Click on profiles in your industry

In 2021, LinkedIn saw record engagement of its nearly 740 million users, meaning now more than ever is the prime time to be selling on LinkedIn. Even in the chaos that was 2020, LinkedIn still pulled in $181 billion in revenue, meaning professionals saw it as a crucial platform to connect with people who could use their products and services. 

If you are wondering how to use LinkedIn for direct sales or how you can optimize your profile for LinkedIn sales, you’ll want to keep reading because we’ve gathered seven effective strategies—and one secret weapon!

Get more LinkedIn leads

1. Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Optimized for Sales

Optimizing your profile to be a sales asset is a simple strategy to get ahead. Professionals miss key opportunities with their LinkedIn profile by having an ineffective headline or writing their profile as if it were a resume.

When it comes to optimizing your LinkedIn profile for sales, there are many aspects to consider, but the first thing that needs to be optimized is the first thing your prospects will see: your headline.

LinkedIn’s default setting uses your current job title as your headline. Successful LinkedIn salespeople, however, use this as an opportunity to create a custom, attention-grabbing tagline. 

Great taglines often involve value-grabbing propositions. The easiest formula for making the most of your headline is, after your job title, to write: “helping [prospect demographic] to [outcome].”

Linkedin profile example

For example, if you sell copy machines to small businesses, a good tagline could be “I help small businesses reduce their copying costs by 25% or more yearly.” 

Don’t shy away from putting “sales” in your headline. You want your prospect to know you are the person to come to for their specific needs.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to write, look at your company’s value proposition. Customer testimonials are also a great resource for learning your company’s main selling points.

2. Secure Contact Email Addresses Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for tracking down potential leads. If you are looking for a specific individual, their LinkedIn profile is often produced with a quick Google search. If you are targeting people based on their profession and geographical area, LinkedIn is a goldmine.

But when it comes to making contact, you will want to make the connections you have made on LinkedIn out of the platform and integrate it into your CRM, advertise to these contacts on Facebook and email campaigns. This means that you need to find a way to export the name, job title, and crucial email information locked in the LinkedIn platform.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

While you can export all of your connections from LinkedIn to a spreadsheet easily enough, when you open the spreadsheet, you will notice that the column marked for email addresses is empty. 

Why? Since 2018, by default, LinkedIn gives all of its users the strongest privacy settings, which, among other things, marks their email as private. As a result, their email address is not exportable. To make their emails exportable, they need to go into their settings and actively choose to make their email public. Most users won’t do this or even be aware that it is something that they could do. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you have to resort to managing your LinkedIn leads separately. Other tools out there interact with LinkedIn differently and will let you export those important contact details. For example, GrowthX, a lead-generating tool, will allow you to scrape contact information, including email addresses, out of LinkedIn, which you can then export to excel or send directly to your CRM for integration.

This can be used to make initial connections through email and be used for Facebook advertising campaigns or email marketing campaigns.

Lead generation software

3. Utilize LinkedIn Publishing to Showcase Your Abilities

If you’re not using LinkedIn’s publishing platform, you’re missing out. For anyone using LinkedIn for sales, this is an opportunity to create brand recognition for potential prospects.

With the publishing app’s initial launch in 2010 as LinkedIn Pulse, only certain influencers were granted access to publish content. In 2014, however, Pulse was opened up to all LinkedIn users, and the now-integrated platform is an excellent tool for salespeople to share insights and showcase their professional knowledge.

LinkedIn publishing allows you to build an audience of prospects, build brand recall, and cement professional relationships to use LinkedIn for B2B sales.

All of your LinkedIn connections get an alert in their notifications when you publish an article. If you want to stay on prospects’ radar, publishing on LinkedIn is a great way to non-invasively promote yourself and get noticed by people in your industry.

Maintaining a cadence of both regular posts three times a week and publishing an article bi-weekly is an excellent way to build recognition and engage with prospects. Don’t forget to turn on the comments!

Click on “Write an Article” at the top of your LinkedIn feed to compose and publish your first article.

4. Find the Groups with Potential Customers

Finding the LinkedIn groups your prospects belong to and joining them is a great way to connect with your prospects before sending them a message. Here’s how to find effective groups for networking:

  • Find your list of prospects and their LinkedIn profiles
  • Scroll to the bottom of their profile where it says “Interests.”

example of interests

  • Under “Interests,” click “see all” and a window will pop up displaying influencers, companies, groups, and schools

example of groups search by interests

  • Click on “groups,” and take note of groups that customers have in common
  • Assess the groups: number of members, level of group engagement, and number of current prospects in the group
  • Based on the assessment, select two or three groups and become an active member 

Groups are a great tool to find prospects and conduct market research on prospects’ linguistic patterns and values. Understanding how your prospects speak to each other is crucial knowledge for creating effective LinkedIn sales messages.

Don’t underestimate the power of group engagement as part of the sales funnel and one of LinkedIn’s most effective LinkedIn sales solutions. Once you have joined a group, do not squander this opportunity to build professional relationships and engage with prospects. 

Ineffective salespeople make the mistake of posting only promotional material. This comes across as spam-y. Groups are only a viable LinkedIn sales strategy if you genuinely engage with the community, so people can get to know your professional identity.

LinkedIn group community engagement can be as simple as:

  • Commenting on a community member’s post 
  • Answering questions members post to the group
  • Asking the community questions 
  • Asking the group for help
  • Posting promotional content
  • Posting group-related content from other people

While this is a LinkedIn sales strategy, you don’t want to focus on selling in the groups. People generally view sales as an “untrustworthy” profession, and 88% of people buy only when they view the salesperson as an advisor they can trust. And how do you build trust? By engaging with the community.

Remember that group engagement is less about closing a sale and building the foundation of professional relationships necessary for the successful LinkedIn sales message to be sent.

Like publishing articles on LinkedIn, you can set up a schedule to engage consistently. Theme-related days can help you keep the perfect schedule. Choose specific days for leaving comments, answering questions, and sharing content useful to the group.

5. Refine Your LinkedIn Searches

If you’re serious about LinkedIn sales, you might want to consider using LinkedIn Premium. LinkedIn offers four premium tier options: Premium Career, Premium Business, Sales Navigator Professional, and Recruiter Lite. Both Business and Sales options include more refined search features and more InMail messages, and some other lead management tools.

If you’re using LinkedIn’s premium services, you can still refine searches for prospects by utilizing Boolean strings. Boolean strings combine keywords with connector words like AND, NOT, and OR. 

Using AND in a search will provide a list of only those who meet all search terms, so a search of “IT consulting AND project management” will only provide prospects for IT consultants and project managers.

Using NOT in your search also provides refinement. A Boolean search of “IT consultants NOT project managers” will generate a list of prospects who are only IT consultants.

Using OR will expand your search. A search for “IT consultant OR project manager” will create a list of people in either field, if not directly related. 

6. Utilize LinkedIn’s Alumni Search

Alumni search can generate sales prospects by searching for people you have not yet met but who share values in line with what you offer. 

To search for any university’s alumni, first search for the university, click on the university’s profile, and at the top of the profile, click on the tab labeled “alumni.” This will bring up a new tab that will allow you to search any university’s alumni by title, keyword, or company.

Example of University Linkedin Page

Be sure to pay attention to the groups that your university’s alumni have joined. Alumni search can also lead to groups in which you can effectively promote your professional presence.

7. Click on Profiles in Your Industry

Did you know that you can increase your own profile views by clicking on profiles in your industry? It works with simple reverse psychology.

What happens when you see that someone has viewed your profile? The most common reaction is to click on that profile and determine why that person viewed your profile. Using reverse psychology, this can be a LinkedIn sales strategy. If you have a compelling profile that is optimized to sell, you have a chance to show your pitch to anyone coming to your profile, and this becomes an opportunity to close.

Make a habit of searching profiles in your target industry every couple of days and viewing them. You don’t need to reach out to anyone; you just have to click on the profile. Viewing numerous profiles in your target industry will, in turn, drive up your profile views, and hopefully, lead to sales on LinkedIn.

The Secret Weapon: LinkedIn Selling

With the key strategies provided, people using LinkedIn for sales can expect to see increases in engagement and professional relationship building, leading to returning customers. 

However, all of these strategies are time-intensive. It can take hours daily to connect with prospects, which takes time away from important sales conversations. If you want to maximize your LinkedIn sales, you will need to automate some of these processes. That’s where Growth-X Linkedin Automation comes in.

Growth-X allows you to launch sales campaigns using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to choose a target audience and generate automated messaging sequences. Growth-X also offers expert sales feedback every step of the way.

Seventy-six percent of successful LinkedIn sellers say sales technology like Growth-X is “critical or extremely critical to closing sales.” Growth-X helps you use LinkedIn for sales by generating highly engaged prospects through automating the LinkedIn sales funnel. 

What have you got to lose? Contact Growth-X today!

I’m Growth-X’s digital marketing, copywriter, and customer success expert who focuses on growth hacks for B2B companies. When not working, you might catch me doing yoga or planning my next adventure.