The Essential “How To” Guide For B2B LinkedIn Lead Generation

by Paul Slack
  |  July 23, 2020  |  
July 23, 2020

A magnet attracts leads out of a computer | LinkedIn Lead Generation

Are you struggling to generate more leads for your business? If you are selling to buyers in the corporate world, you need to be leveraging LinkedIn for B2B lead generation. Why? Because, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn’s audience is all about business. Luckily for you, we’ve gathered everything you need to get started with LinkedIn Lead Generation into this handy essential guide. Let’s get started.

The Essential “How To” Guide For B2B LinkedIn Lead Generation

There is no other platform that will give you access to so many decision-makers in one place. LinkedIn’s more than 600 million members are engaging on the platform at record rates. 

Your B2B buyers are on LinkedIn looking for the content to help them move forward in their decision journey. LinkedIn creates the opportunity for you to aid in the buying process and share your knowledge and expertise. 

If implemented correctly, LinkedIn can become one of your best sources for finding new leads and opportunities and is an ideal platform for your digital B2B marketing strategy. This post will walk you through the 3 essential steps on how to get a  LinkedIn lead generation plan started.

LinkedIn Facts:

  • 630M users and growing
  • 4 of 5 users are involved in business decisions
  • #1 platform for B2B Lead Generation
  • 75% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers use social media to make decisions, and over 
  • 50% specifically use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decisions.

Still not convinced? Check out these 5 reasons why LinkedIn is an ideal platform for B2B marketing.

Step One: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 

Generating and nurturing leads on LinkedIn will require sales and marketing alignment to ensure success. It’s Sales’ job to identify contacts, share content, and nurture relationships, ultimately moving online engagement into real-world opportunities. It’s Marketing’s job to develop personas/avatars, produce content that matters to them, run campaigns that build awareness, and generate Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

The Chart Below Identifies Marketing Vs. Sales Roles for Each Stage of the B2B Marketing Funnel.

channels for ABM sales funnel

The B2B buyer journey has become more complex. Sales and Marketing alignment is important if we are going to capture the attention of the modern buyer.  Buyers are now on a self-guided decision-making process. Sales reps are no longer a required source of knowledge. Additionally, there are, on average, 8 individuals from more than 3 departments involved in a typical B2B buying decision. This requires sales reps to maintain multiple relationships and be available when questions arise. 

Within LinkedIn, all of these issues can be addressed if sales and marketing can work together: 

  • Sales can reach out and connect with prospects
  • Marketing can produce content the buyer is looking for on their self-guided tour
  • Sales can share this content to prospective buyers via LinkedIn direct messages or as a status update
  • Marketing can run campaigns to generate awareness and produce Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
  • Sales can follow up with those leads by sending connection requests and providing their contact information
  • Sales can call SQLs and work to get appointments in the real world
  • Marketing can run drip email campaigns to MQLs 

Here are some additional LinkedIn lead generation resources to help you implement an integrated plan.

Step Two: Develop Content For The Modern Buyer

Buyers don’t need to talk to your salespeople to learn the best ways to solve problems anymore. If buyers aren’t going to pick up the phone and call your reps to get answers to questions, how are they going to learn about how you can help them? 

Developing content is the best way to influence a buyer today. Content marketing allows B2B companies to demonstrate their expertise and highly engage their target audience. 

Here’s some good news. Customers don’t know how to solve their problems, or they would do it themselves. This creates an opportunity for you to step in as the guide and point them in the best direction. When you are developing content for LinkedIn, consider these best practices:

  • Give them a plan forward. What is the process for customers to get from where they are today (a problem that needs to be fixed) to what life would look like tomorrow? 
  • Give them resources to aid in their self-education. These could be blogs, videos, case studies, and industry research. 
  • Always talk about the problems you solve. Every piece of content needs to tie back to a problem you can solve for the prospect.  

If you aren’t writing 2-3 social posts and a blog per week, producing at least one video per month and some type of gated asset like a webinar, or guide, you really aren’t talking to prospects.
Image text: Content = Communication | If you aren't producing content, they you're not really talking to prospects
Your content must build trust, motivate your audience toward becoming a customer, and should be engaging. Remember, B2B buyers are still human beings who base decisions on emotion. All companies have a story to tell. Appeal to your buyers’ emotions and create connections with these B2B content marketing tips.

Content Marketing Goals:

  • Guide – build Trust and Authority
  • Become a resource for our audience
  • Generate traffic
  • Stay top of mind – Nurture with knowledge 
  • Produce leads (MQLs & SQLs)

We can’t control where the buyer is in their own journey to solve a business issue.  You will need to develop a plan that includes content for each stage of the buyer journey. 
Buyer journey funnel from Need to Discover to Enlightenment to Commitment | 60% of topics should be focused on need and discover while 40% should be focused on enlightenment and commitment

Developing Topics that Motivate Sell:

Use these suggestions to flesh out the best topics for your business.

  • Numbered lists / Checklists
  • Common mistakes or pitfalls
  • Overcoming problems & challenges
  • Lists of Tips, Tricks, & Best Practices
  • Your Point of View (POV) on industry trends
  • Industry-specific information or research
  • How-to guides or explainer content
  • Changes that will impact your customer
  • Something that will get a laugh 
  • Something that will inspire or motivate
  • Overcoming objections to your product or service

Now that you have topics in mind, follow these B2B blogging tips to get your content noticed. 

When you think about where to promote your content on LinkedIn, don’t stop at your LinkedIn Company Page. Get your employees (especially the C-Suite, Sales, and Subject Matter Experts) to share your content. This is known as employee amplification and will exponentially increase your reach and engagement. 

Step Three: Run Campaigns to Generate Demand, MQLs, and SQLs

For many years B2Bs marketers had limited choices in the online advertising space. Google AdWords is expensive, Facebook doesn’t target business people well, and there’s too much waste in programmatic display ads. LinkedIn offers the best channel for B2Bs to accomplish demand generation and lead generation. Their advertising platform includes a host of options and targeting capabilities, including CRM, intent-based, and look-alike targeting. With the right advertising campaign strategy, LinkedIn can be a huge factor in achieving your goals. 

Start by nailing your targeting – Even if you have experience buying on other platforms, targeting on LinkedIn can be tricky. The choices you make will have a big impact on who you reach and how much you pay. Developing the right targeting strategy and selecting the best targeting options can make all the difference.

Boost Blog Content To Build Awareness – Promote your blog content to your target audience using Sponsored Content. When running Sponsored Content campaigns, write headlines that are under 150 characters for more engagement. Try to keep descriptive copy under 70 characters to keep content from being truncated. Use larger images and include people when relevant to get the attention of your audience as they are scrolling through their feed.

Images of how a blog boost appears on desktop and mobile

LinkedIn is The Best Place for Generating MQLs Online… Period – Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are the lifeblood of any B2B digital marketing lead generation strategy. Why? MQL campaigns allow you to target qualified “cold traffic” with an offer that is low risk/high value for the prospect. It’s a win/win. The prospect opts-in for something valuable that aids in their decision-making process and you get their contact information and permission to further nurture a relationship. LinkedIn is ideal for this tactic because of their targeting capabilities. Try MQL campaigns for events, gated assets (ebooks/guides, video series, whitepapers, etc.), and other mid-funnel offers. There are several fantastic options for generating MQLs in LinkedIn, including:

  • Sponsored Updates with MQL Offer Similar to promoting blog content, you can also run a sponsored update campaign to promote your MQL offer.

Close up of a sponsored update with MQL offer

  • Running Sponsored InMail campaigns InMail campaigns are similar to email marketing campaigns, however; your message appears in a user’s LinkedIn InMail vs. their email inbox. With InMail you don’t need a prospect’s email to target them. Plus, LinkedIn waits for the user to log in before they send your message. That way, your message is always at the top of their inbox.

Image of and explanation of how LinkedIn InMail and LinkedIn lead generation form appears on desktop

  • Native Lead Gen Increases Response Rates Exponentially – Native Lead Gen allows you to convert the user natively on LinkedIn vs. sending them to a landing page. Native Lead Gen also prepopulates the native conversion form with the user’s data. These two factors boost conversion rates exponentially!

Animation of how a native lead generation form on LinkedIn works

Leverage LinkedIn Retargeting, Intent-Based Targeting, and CRM targeting to produce SQLs LinkedIn can help you effectively move prospects down the funnel and produce those coveted Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). It is better to ask for the appointment after a prospect has been exposed to your brand.  LinkedIn offers great features for this:

  • Retargeting – Simply add the LinkedIn insight tag to your website to create retargeting pools and then target these prospects with your bottom of the funnel offer.
  • Intent-Based Targeting – You can also target prospects based on their activity with your MQL ads. You can target a prospect if they clicked on your ad or opt-ed into your offer. 
  • CRM Targeting – You can also upload your CRM list into LinkedIn and target matched users with an SQL offer.

SQL offers that work well in LinkedIn, include Demos, Initial Consultations, Analysis/Review of their current environment, etc. 

LinkedIn Lead Generation Next Steps:

Adding LinkedIn to your overall digital marketing strategy can produce highly-targeted and qualified B2B leads for your business. It will require sales/marketing alignment, effective content marketing, and advertising on LinkedIn. This may seem overwhelming, but here are some “baby steps” you can take:

  • Sales and Marketing Alignment – Start by having your sales reps update their profiles, reach out to prospects, and share your blog content. Have them add new connections to your CRM system.
  • LinkedIn Content Marketing – Write a new blog post each week that is focused on your buyers’ problems and how you can solve them. Get your sales reps to share it (mentioned above), and run a Sponsored Update campaign to promote your blog to your target audience. 
  • Advertising on Linkedin to Produce MQLs & SQLs – Beyond running a Sponsored Update campaign to promote your blogs, develop a gated asset (or use one that is already developed), and promote it to your target audience with a Native Lead Gen form.

How Can We Help

Do you need help developing a comprehensive LinkedIn lead generation strategy for your business?  We offer strategic planning, training, and execution support for companies wanting to take their digital lead generation to the next level.  If you are interested in learning more, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting. Schedule yours today, and let’s see if we can help.

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