LinkedIn Marketing Strategy Blog
LinkedIn Prospecting: 8 Things to Look for in a Prospect’s Profile
When utilizing LinkedIn to grow your business, you need a process in place to quickly find, qualify and research prospects.
LinkedIn prospecting starts with the Advanced People Search. Input search terms and filters in LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search and instantly you'll have thousands (and depending on the industry you are targeting – potentially millions) of results for people that fit the bill for your product or services.
But with that many potential results, how can you quickly analyze these LinkedIn profiles to verify these potential prospects are PERFECT prospects? I'm going to give you an 8-point checklist to simply and efficiently determine the legitimacy of your potential prospects within LinkedIn. All of items on the list can easily be customized to fit your business and target market.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #1 – Verify their job title
If you search for CEOs (or other positions) using the people search, LinkedIn will give you a ton of results. But…not all of those results will be exactly right.
You'll surely run into people that will show up in results because they are the CEO of a ninja-training app as a side project, but in their day job they are in a completely different position at the company you are targeting. Take two seconds and look at their experience and headline to make sure they have the right job title for the organization you are targeting.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #2 – Investigate their company
If you are a B2B company and targeting small businesses, it will be worth the extra minute to follow the company page link to do a little investigation.
On the prospect’s profile page scroll down to the “Experience” section and hover over the company logo to the right of their title and open up the company page in a new tab.
Once on the company page, the things you should look at are:
- The brief bio of the company to make sure their business would be a general fit.
- The company size.
- The company headquarters location (if your business is geographically-based).
Some companies won't have the company logo to the right and, therefore, no company page. It is still best to visit the company website and take a quick look around to see if they would be a good match.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #3 – Go ahead and judge them (Based on their connections total)
Another important factor in LinkedIn Prospecting, is the number of connections your prospect has. That total will tell you a lot about how much this person uses LinkedIn, and whether or not they are a good person to approach on this platform.
If the person only has 11 connections, they probably don’t use or check LinkedIn often enough to make it worth your time to try and connect or message them. You don't want to waste a connection request on someone who rarely logs in.
If you plan to reach out to them in a different way, their profile can still be a great tool to research and learn more about them, but LinkedIn might not be the best platform to approach a person with a very low connection total. From my experience, I wouldn’t recommend reaching out to a prospect on LinkedIn unless they have at least 40-50 connections (which is still quite low).
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #4 – Are you two already connected in some way?
This is important to understand. You can send connection requests to 2nd-degree connections (meaning you have a common 1st-degree connection) and those with whom you share a group. Mark these prospects as friends when sending the request, and you won't need to know their email address.
If the person is a 3rd-degree connection, the only way to approach them is with an inMail (which typically have lower response rates) or by sending a connection request with that person’s email address.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #5 – Search for common interests
Take a peek at their full profile and make a note if there are any personal or professional connections you have with the prospect. This knowledge can be pivotal in positioning yourself as a person that they will know, like and trust.
LinkedIn profiles have a lot of information that you may be able to identify with. Did you both go to the same college? Do you have interest in any of the same volunteer organizations or causes?
Many profiles are complete with all of this kind of bonus information to help you get a step up on moving the relationship from cold to warm.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #6 – Check your shared connections
If the two of you are both connected with a shared friend or colleague, it’s a great idea to use that information to your advantage.
In your initial outreach, it can accelerate the trust-building if you call out this common acquaintance or friend. It gives you a place to start the introduction and conversation in a positive way, and that can make all the difference.
You can find the “How You're Connected” section shown above by scrolling down and looking in the right-hand column of their profile.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #7 – Review their contact information
Some people make their contact information available to view for all LinkedIn members. If you can get a jump on the process by getting their email address or phone number, you are primed to reach out in a couple different ways.
Having a variety of ways to contact them will always help you get the relationship started. Even if you eventually give them a “cold call” because they didn't respond to any of your LinkedIn messages, the call will be warmer since they are at the very least familiar with your name/headline by seeing your messages.
LinkedIn Prospecting Step #8 – Look for shared groups
If you share a group with the prospect, you will be able to message them, whether they accept your connection request or not. I wrote some more about that process here.
As I brought up earlier, it doesn't matter if you plan on running a lead generating messaging campaign through LinkedIn or not.
What DOES matter is that LinkedIn profiles have an INSANE amount of data that can help you approach, craft your messaging, and learn about your ideal prospects.
So even if you already have a call lined up with a new lead, it is still worth taking 3-4 minutes to find them on LinkedIn and do some quick research on them. If you do that, I promise that your sales calls will start improving.
What do you think?
What is the #1 thing you check on a prospect's LinkedIn profile before engaging with them? Tell us in the comments below!