The Biggest Missed Opportunity On LinkedIn For Businesses Today

Posted by LinkedSelling in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Development, LinkedIn Marketing Insights

There has never been a better time for lead generation online, especially when done right, using LinkedIn for businesses.

Before the internet and before being able to affordably access millions of people at your fingertips, companies really had to get creative. At a recent Traffic and Conversion Conference, Richard Branson reflected on how easy it is now with social media. When he was starting his businesses, he had to be creative in very different ways in order to get any traction. 

Today, if you want to stand out and cut through that noise, you have the resources you need at your fingertips. However, knowing where to start - and where to focus your efforts - is key.

For most businesses, “Operation Be Everywhere” may not be feasible. Being everywhere takes a lot of resources. While you might not be in a position to be everywhere at once, you can focus your efforts on the most relevant platforms.

There are three places we recommend you dominate before you move on to other channels:

  1. Ads (LinkedIn / Facebook / etc.)
  2. Email
  3. SDR

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How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

These three channels are the backbones of our multi-channel outbound sales development strategy. However, in this blog post, we’ll be focusing on LinkedIn specifically - and why it represents one of the biggest missed opportunities for businesses today.

Why Use LinkedIn For Business

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You can find pretty much any business on LinkedIn, and what’s better, you can connect with pretty much anybody. That opportunity alone is enormous. If experience working with hundreds of businesses tells us anything, we’re seeing that most companies aren’t taking advantage of LinkedIn as they could be.

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The Biggest Missed Opportunity On LinkedIn

Our President and COO, Ben Kniffen, shot a quick video going through some specifics that we think you should watch on the opportunity that is out there... watch below:

LinkedIn can be used as an excellent lead generation and sales development tool, but we’ve found that most businesses aren’t using it as well as they could be. One part of our multi-channel approach to lead generation is using LinkedIn to individually target hand-picked prospects and build real business relationships with them using LinkedIn messaging, groups, and sharing content. We have that down to a science.

However, there is another way to use LinkedIn to generate leads and get them to book appointments with your sales team, one that is entirely underused, especially by businesses with a reported revenue of $2MM and above. 

When we saw how underutilized this was, we were literally blown away because it represents a HUGE opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

Check this out…

According to insights from LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool, ONLY 1% of companies on LinkedIn doing significant revenue ($2mm+) are utilizing LinkedIn ads to generate leads.


There are 120,000 companies on LinkedIn doing $2MM+ in revenue, and just over 1200 are running ads; which means only 1% of these companies are taking advantage of paid media on LinkedIn right now.

Right now competition is LOW.

This begs a question… if the opportunity is so great, then…

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How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

Why Aren’t More Businesses Using Linkedin Ads For Lead Generation?

There are a few reasons actually that act as barriers to entry:

99% of these companies on LinkedIn simply may not be aware of the opportunity

“Hang on, I see ads on LinkedIn all the time.” If you thought that, you’d be right.

The LinkedIn ad platform is definitely growing. LinkedIn has invested significantly in their targeting capabilities, including targeting them by job title, function, industry, and more. They’ve made it more intuitive and user friendly to create and manage effective ads with their revamped Campaign Manager platform and you can choose flexible pricing options so that you’re not stuck in long contracts at eye-gouging prices for your ads. The benefit you have is that right now, the ad platform is well-developed, people just don’t know about it yet.

They just don’t know how to properly take advantage of the ad platform as a lead generation tool.

Admittedly, it’s not as easy as throwing an ad up and expecting your ideal prospects to just waltz in asking how they can work with you. It’s certainly not a “build it and they will come” thing. However, once you’ve optimized and properly dialed in your targeting, your message, and your back end funnel (including incorporating email and phone calling), you can get to a point where you create a mathematical formula.

Higher Ad Costs

For those who’ve advertised on social media, you know that paid media Facebook costs are typically lower than LinkedIn costs. No debate about that.

So why invest in LinkedIn ads? The difference is in the quality of leads.

If you remember all the stats we dropped earlier about LinkedIn’s audience, you’ll know that you’ve got a high-caliber, business-oriented audience if you want to sell your services or high end products. In essence, you’re targeting active decision makers who either go to LinkedIn to consume content related to their business, industry, and professional interests or who are directly searching for answers to their problems. On LinkedIn, the ad costs reflect quality over quantity.

As you can see, there is definitely a barrier to entry, some of it is simply not knowing the possibilities of what you can do on LinkedIn however, to date, that hasn’t stopped 1,200 companies with revenue of over $2MM from creating successful ad campaigns that actually work to fill their pipeline with sales qualified leads. 

There is a caveat though. Ad campaigns are notoriously difficult to optimize if you don’t have a solid strategy in place, including having the marketing materials and content to attract and engage potential prospects, the backend follow-up support via email or via phone call. This is all part of our multi-channel outbound approach to lead generation and sales development.

>>>Learn about the importance of increasing your “Speed to Lead” and why calling prospects when they’ve shown interest in your content helps you get more sales appointments. <<<

Let’s take a look at what’s working...

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How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

Top 3 Ad Campaign Formats We See Working Now:


These are ads that attract your targeted audience with a pdf report, eBooks, whitepaper, checklist, or other valuable download that helps solve an immediate pain for them. From there, the follow up emails you send them after they opt-in to receive the download will encourage them to book an appointment.

In many cases, we also have our sales development rep (SDR) team call these prospects as soon as possible after they download the pdf. This is just one way we take advantage of both key timing and multiple channels; we talk to prospects when they show interest (or as soon afterwards as possible) and encourage them to make an appointment with our clients’ sales calendars (or at least to take that next step in the sales cycle). 

Assessment requests. (Example “Get your free marketing analysis to ensure your meeting industry benchmarks, register there”)

Here, instead of downloading a PDF, we’re offering value in a different way: an assessment. This can also take the form of something like an audit or strategy call. On the back end, after a prospect signs up for their assessment, similar to the pdf download campaigns, we use email and our sales development rep team to continue providing value, stay top of mind, qualify the prospect, and encourage them to take the next step.

Direct to appointment or consultation

Unlike the previous two campaigns, the ads in these campaigns encourage the prospect to book an appointment directly.

What Kinds of Results Are Companies Getting With the LinkedIn Ads Platform?

Not to brag (too much) but there’s a reason that LinkedIn did a case study on us. 

(Yes, we’ve been doing this for awhile. We’ve got a proven system dialed in for launching and optimizing ad campaigns, and are the one of the first to receive updates about new ad features.)

The title, “How LinkedSelling Achieves Consistent Volume and Reliability with LinkedIn Lead Gen.” Here’s what they wrote about us…

“Seeking to align its LinkedIn marketing strategy with the sales funnel, LinkedSelling started using different products for different stages of the buying cycle. Their team had identified that beyond engagement or opt-ins, what really drives their business forward is appointments. They structured each of their campaigns around a simple process to get more qualified prospects to book a phone call with their sales team.”

And here’s what that process looked like…

“For colder prospects who were actively seeking out lead gen solutions or were not yet familiar with their brand, LinkedSelling ran Sponsored Content to drive awareness and engagement. 

With warmer audiences, the team would reach out directly through Sponsored InMail to spark conversations, or with highly targeted follow-up messaging via Text Ads and Dynamic Ads. 

“We just want to be in every location,” says Pat Henseler, LinkedSelling’s Director of Products. He adds that collaborating with sales reps to identify their most desirable audiences and building custom follow-up campaigns for new leads have been key to this fruitful approach.”

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How B2B Companies Increase Control Over Their Lead Generation & Sales Pipeline

But what was that fruitful approach? As LinkedIn highlighted, from these particular campaigns, we saw:

820 new leads generated for our SDR team to follow up with

7:1 Return on Ad Spend

And the leads keep flowing. In fact, in full transparency, here’s our ad internal ad spend for ALL of 2020. This will give you an idea of:

  • what we spent on LinkedIn, 
  • how many opt-ins we got for the downloadable report, 
  • how many appointments came from that,
  • and the average cost per appointment per month (the CPR)

As far as ROI on these ads, it’s important to consider the Lifetime Value of each client (the LTV) vs your lead generation costs.

So for example, our average Cost Per Appointment (the CPA) for 2020 was $168.98. 

We are happy to pay that in order to get sales qualified prospects on the phone with our sales team, especially when we know that the LTV of each client we close more than covers the lead generation costs.

For 2021, you can see our results from January to end of March

So far this year, our average Cost Per Appointment is $146.71.

Are LinkedIn Ads Worth The Investment?

Again, because we know the average Lifetime Value of each client we close from these appointments, we know that this is an investment that has a high ROI for us every time. 

One final note on these numbers. You’ll notice that ad spend and appointment costs vary. That depends on LinkedIn’s algorithm (how often your ad is shown to your targeted audience), time of year, and other factors. 

What’s important here is that you want to get to a point where you build a formula that gives you ROI - and it takes some time to get there. 

You need to optimize ad copy (your message), the creative (the ad graphics), the targeting, the follow-up, and even your sales process. Over time, the ROI gets better and better, and you’ll get to a point where you can plan ahead and create [pretty solid forecasts.

So, with time, you should be able to tell your team something like this...

“This month, if we spend $XX on ads, 

We’ll get approximately XX number of opt-ins, 

Which will lead to approximately XX number of sales qualified appointments, 

Which will lead to XX number of new clients,

Which will give us a return of $XX.”

Why the Strategy Works

We run ads that promote two different objectives:

  1. Content ads. For example, PDF downloads that bring your target audience into your sales process with some valuable content on the front end that gets traffic to book appointments 
  2. Or “Direct-to-Appointment” ads. This is where you’ll promote a free consultation or something similar in order to get qualified leads talking to your sales team.

The numbers we shared above from our LinkedIn ad results for 2020 and 2021 include both types of campaigns. Running two different types of campaigns like this gives us a nice mix of high volume for our call team and direct-to-appointment leads that are at a higher motivation level. 

Also, a big part of the success of any ad campaign is the ability to target the RIGHT prospects for your company. This is a major reason why the pool of quality leads our clients gain using LinkedIn ad campaigns - and especially the appointments booked from that pool of leads - are high quality. 

LinkedIn has really invested in their targeting capabilities, which is why it’s the next wave when it comes to professional B2B targeting.  Just take a look at how granular you can get with the targeting! You can target specific prospects based on:

  • Company
  • Demographics
  • Education
  • Job Experience
  • Interests
  • ...and Your Current Audience Lists

>>>For more in-depth information on our LinkedIn ads strategy, including LinkedIn’s granular targeting capabilities, read more here:  The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Ads <<<

Between these targeting features and the fact that right now, the LinkedIn advertising platform is a blue ocean of opportunity for established small and medium businesses, it’s a primary time to think about adding LinkedIn paid media to your marketing mix. 

To Sum Up: It’s a Blue Ocean

You’ve seen our numbers, but what does it mean for you? 

The reality is that right now, LinkedIn ads as a lead generation tool is a “blue ocean” for you. Right now you have an opportunity to reach a targeted market, without a lot of competing voices. Which means:

  • Low competition
  • And higher quality audiences

Remember, LinkedIn’s numbers show that there are over 100,000 businesses on LinkedIn with revenue over $2MM and only 1% of those businesses are using LinkedIn ads as a lead generation tool. 

Again, there are some barriers to entry. Some can be addressed simply by understanding the strategy behind LinkedIn ads, another is expecting the ads to be more expensive than Facebook ads, for example. 

However when you look at the big picture, because you have sales qualified prospects booking appointments, you 1) shorten the sales process and 2) save money in the long run, especially when you consider the lifetime value (LTV) of each client or contract. 

These barriers to entry so far have been enough to give companies an advantage right now using paid media on LinkedIn. If you feel that LinkedIn ads might be a viable marketing channel for you and your team, you’re not sure yet but you’re interested in the possibilities, or you're concerned about overcoming the barriers to entry we discussed above, book a call to find out more!

You’ll discuss the strategy one-on-one with a LinkedIn paid expert who can look at your audience, your business, your industry, your budget, and how it fits in with the rest of your marketing mix, and discuss with you exactly what options are available and which ones you can expect results from. 

Think we can help? Click below to schedule a free LinkedIn ads consultation now.

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