Advanced LinkedIn Prospecting Techniques of Top Sales Performers


According to Forbes, 78% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers. Still, many B2B sellers don’t take advantage of LinkedIn’s powerful prospecting techniques to produce a steady stream of leads.

Join social selling expert Kurt Shaver in this fast-paced, no-fluff session to learn how to:
  • Have LinkedIn send you “Bluebird” leads
  • Get more referrals to new prospects
  • Mine LinkedIn posts to find prospects

Read the Full Transcript of the Briefinar Below: 

Lisa Rose:    Hello and welcome to Briefinars for Sales Leaders. We promise to be brief and bright and bring it all to you in 19 minutes. Today we’re talking about the advanced LinkedIn prospecting techniques of top sales performers. Our guests is Kurt Shaver of the Sales Foundry. Kurt has spent 10,000 hours speaking to and training corporate sales teams on advanced social selling skills. He is the creator of the Social Selling Bootcamp and has appeared at conferences like Sales 2.0, AAISP Social Selling and LinkedIn Sales Connect. Thanks for joining us, Kurt.
Kurt Shaver:    Hey, Lisa. I’m looking forward to it and I love this 19-minute briefinar format for busy sales leaders. It’s great. 
Lisa Rose:    Absolutely. They can eat their lunch, right? Before we get started, I’d like to tell you about the Brooks Group sales territory planning workshop. To be successful, salespeople need to have strong sales skills and techniques, but in order to hit their targets, it’s critical to execute an action plan. Let us customize this workshop to your industry and goals, then come and work directly with your sales team in developing their 2017 strategy. You can learn more about it by clicking on the address below on your screen. Okay, Kurt, let’s get started. LinkedIn is a great resource but it’s vast in the amount of information and potential prospects. So what’s the best way to sort through it all? 
Kurt Shaver:    Well, we’re going to talk about three specific techniques and these are kind of a little known techniques that a lot of people aren’t using that are really powerful for getting new prospects. So, we always say that social selling tools like LinkedIn are really particularly strong at the lead generation part, right? Getting that sale cycle started. So this first one is a perfect example of it. So hey, what salesperson wouldn’t like to get these blue bird leads from LinkedIn sent to them every day or every week, right? Ones that exactly match their ideal customer profile. So that’s what this first technique is about. It’s using a feature in LinkedIn called the saved search and it’s sort of like Google Alerts except it’s for people on LinkedIn. So I’m going to show you the results, kind of the punchline, and then we’ll just kind of go back and see how you get to it.
Lisa Rose:    Great. 
Kurt Shaver:    So this is one of the punchlines, what it look like. So this is a screenshot of my Gmail where LinkedIn has sent me this list of people that says, “Hey, here’s a fresh batch of top leads tailored for you,” right at the top. So that’s the screenshot, but let’s just jump over and look at the real thing. If I come over here and look at that in my Gmail right here, I can come in here and it’s telling me that I’ve got some sales enablement professionals that I’ve set up the criteria for and it’s telling me about new ones. So if I come and click on that thing that says, “See all of them,” it’s going to jump me over into LinkedIn. Now what you’re going to notice here as I’m using the LinkedIn sales navigator tool, which is the highest end premium version of it. But the saved search will work- 
Lisa Rose:    That paid service on it?
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah, exactly. But the saved search feature that I’m highlighting here works for any version of LinkedIn. But again, I was looking for people that had, senior sales leaders that had sales enablement somewhere in their LinkedIn profile and were fairly new on the job so we can say here’s a SVP of sales at Nitel, one month on the job. Here’s a SVP at Slalom Consulting, less than a month in the role, BMC Software, VP of Americas less than a month in the role. So that’s a really-
Lisa Rose:    So were they alerted because they’re newer to the role? Is that why that they’re adding to your search? 
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah. So that’s going to be one of the search criteria in there. We know as salespeople that that’s a great trigger event because that tends to give us a better opportunity whether we’re trying to displace an incumbent or maybe advance a new type of product into the company. It’s a little bit easier if somebody comes in with kind of a fresh mind and they haven’t been there for 30 years, always doing it the same way. So that’s why I like to look for these prospects that have just been in the role for a short amount of time. So it’s really easy to do. I’ll just jump back into regular LinkedIn because that’s probably what most people are looking at. What we would do is-
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah?
Lisa Rose:    The email that you started from, that’s automatically generated, right? Once you set up the server, you don’t have to do anything for it to send you the email consistently.
Kurt Shaver:    Right, exactly. So, LinkedIn would just come in and find me that.
Lisa Rose:    Right, working with-
Kurt Shaver:    I’m just jumping into a LinkedIn search now just to kind of give people a feel for it. So if I wanted to look at CMOs in the San Francisco area for example, I’m just typing the CMO into the title, looking in San Francisco and there’s 470 of them. Let’s say I’m just trying to get a profile set up. So I might come in and say, “I’m particularly strong in the biotech industry.” Okay, great. It comes up and tells me there’s 37 people, CMO title, biotech industry, San Francisco area. Now, so the whole value of this is to use, remember I said, these are kind of little known features. The reason it’s little known is look where you got to enable this thing. Oh my gosh, right? It’s this tiny gray next to the gear, this tiny gray thing that says saved search. But if I went up here and saved it right now, it’s given me a warning because I’ve maxed out my number of searches, but had I, which is what you want to do, right, use them all.
Lisa Rose:    Right. 
Kurt Shaver:    In case, if I hadn’t maxed them out, I could come in and type this as San Francisco, CMO, biotech, and then I would get those emails for people. If somebody new that promoted to CMO or the company moved to San Francisco area or something like that, right, I would automatically get it. So it doesn’t make any difference if you’re on vacation or you’re sleeping or you’re away to a Brooks Group workshop, right, LinkedIn keeps looking. It’s like a personal digital assistant.
Lisa Rose:    Excellent.
Kurt Shaver:    That’s number one. 
Lisa Rose:    Great.
Kurt Shaver:    Okay. 
Lisa Rose:    Okay. So we know who our connections are, but what’s the best way to get referrals from them? So once we’ve set up our number of links, how do we get referred?
Kurt Shaver:    So one of the best ways to get referrals is to start with someone that you’re connected to, that you have a pretty good hunch is also well connected amongst your prospects or amongst the people you’re trying to reach, right?
Lisa Rose:    Right.
Kurt Shaver:    You can actually go in and search through their own connections. So it’s sort of the digital equivalent of driving over to their office and flipping through their Rolodex and reading all the business cards in their Rolodex. It’s digital LinkedIn version of that.
Lisa Rose:    So it’s kind of friends of friends like on Facebook. 
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it is a friends of friends scenario. With the, I guess, added feature that we can search for those friends based on any kind of particular keyword.
Lisa Rose:    Oh, okay.
Kurt Shaver:    Here’s a screenshot just so kind of people know what it is, but let’s go over and do the real thing. So I’m going to jump back over into LinkedIn again. So remember, I said it’s good to start with somebody that is well connected in with the types of prospects you’re trying to reach. So I’m going to stick with this idea that maybe I’m looking for CMOs, maybe I sell marketing automation service or marketing positioning services or sort of something like that. So I’m going to start on the profile of a friend of mine, Jeffrey Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, now bestselling business author and speaker and runs a program called the C-Suite Network.
Kurt Shaver:    So being a former fortune 500 CMO, he knows lots of those people. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to jump down to a portion of his public profile, right? So I’m on a public profile, but I’m connected to him on level one and that lets me come up here and again, remember I said these are little known techniques and part of that reason is because so many of these are on these like tiny little grayed out kind of things. So to get to this feature, what the sales leaders want their salespeople to do is to come up and see how I, right up here, see this little, tiny little gray magnifying glass as I’m scrolling over it, it turns blue. 
Kurt Shaver:    So that means, “Hey, something’s going on there.” It’s like an Easter egg in a video game. So if I come over here and I click on it, it opens up a search box. We need that magic use sound here. That thing that goes [inaudible 00:08:57]. So okay, again, let’s just say again, I’m looking for CMOs. So I’m looking within Jeffrey Hayzlett’s level one connections for CMOs, right? It comes back and it tells me, “Hey, we found 44 of them,” right? That’s pretty good. So 44, you can see Scott Holden, CMO At ThoughtSpot. Will Wiegler, CMO at SteelBrick. Here’s somebody, CMO of KODAKIT. CMO, CMO, CMO, CMO. So that’s a really great way to leverage your, like you said, your friends of friends. 
Lisa Rose:    Yeah, I was going to say you can only search his because he’s a first connection of yours, correct?
Kurt Shaver:    That is correct. Yes, exactly.
Lisa Rose:    So he’s the front door to you to meet his friends. 
Kurt Shaver:    Exactly. Just, I guess, as an aside, there is a privacy setting like he could turn that off if you wanted to, like any individual can. You can essentially turn it off so that your first levels can’t look at your second levels if you want it. So it’s a privacy setting, but in this case it’s really, really valuable because I know that he would refer me and now I know a list of people to ask him. 
Lisa Rose:    Well, that brings up a good question too. Is it more effective to reach out to them directly through an in-mail or is it more effective to ask him to introduce you? 
Kurt Shaver:    That is a great question and this is really where we … If we’re talking about what buttons to click and where the little hidden screens, that’s what I call the science of LinkedIn. 
Lisa Rose:    Right. 
Kurt Shaver:    But the question that you just asked is really what’s the art of LinkedIn, and this is really going to rely a lot on the individual’s sales skills. So my comment to that would be, it depends, so you could send a LinkedIn in-mail to somebody if you’re on a premium version. You could possibly send an email to him if you can acquire their email or you could pick up the telephone and call any of these ways. Whether I’m going to fall of the third, the common third party here, let’s say my target in this case is Jed Morley, right, CMO for Hire and I want to reach Jed. So if Jed was like a really important person that I had to meet and I want it to be really the highest quality, then I’d probably maybe even pick up the phone and ask Jeffrey, “Hey, how well do you know Jed? Would you be willing to introduce me?” Or I could maybe set up a joint email, that type of thing. So that’s a really high quality but it’s not super high quantity because it’s going to take you awhile. I got to track down Jeffrey and he’s going to track down Jed and that type of thing. 
Kurt Shaver:    So the other extreme, if you want to go more for quantity or at least accelerate it and not sacrifice of some quality is I could just name … I could reach out directly to Jed, again, whether I choose email, in-mails or telephones, but I could reach out directly to Jed and just say, “Hey, Jed. I see we’re both connected to a Jeffrey Hayzlett. I know that you’re currently a CMO for this company and wanted to talk to you about this type of thing.” So that’s where the sales acumen is going to come in in terms of which vehicle, telephone, email in-mails you’re going to use to contact either the direct prospect or the common in-between. 
Lisa Rose:    Got you. Okay. All right. 
Kurt Shaver:    The last one we’re going to talk about here in our 19 minutes briefinar is again another way to find prospects here. So we’re talking about prospects like that big gold nugget that this miner has. So the first two things that we looked at had a lot to do with the LinkedIn, sort of the database aspects of LinkedIn, the fact that there’s 450 million business professionals there, and we could sort of like search on them and get to them. This is the flip side of LinkedIn. This is the real social part. This is the media part and the discussion part that we’re going to do here again. 
Lisa Rose:    Right, right. 
Kurt Shaver:    So the idea is we want to just find out who’s gathering around a certain topic.
Lisa Rose:    Right. 
Kurt Shaver:    So when I say gathering, I’m either looking at people that have either clicked the like button or ones that have commented on it. So again, here’s a screenshot. We’re just going to go look at the real thing. So I’m going to jump back over into LinkedIn and you can use this technique on anyone’s content. It just has to be a piece of content that has attracted a lot of … A piece of content that’s relevant to your industry and to your prospects that has attracted a lot of engagement. That’s all you’re looking for. But for demo purposes, I’m going to use one of my own pieces of content just because I know what it is and I know how many people are there and it will save us time from hunting around on my own page. So I’m going to come-
Lisa Rose:    So I guess you could look at someone you know is a good opinion leader or puts out-
Kurt Shaver:    That true. 
Lisa Rose:    Or on your news feed, right?
Kurt Shaver:    Exactly, right. Yeah, yeah. In fact, probably the, the first one you mentioned really is a good way to do it. I should probably do it that way next time. Which is, yeah, look at somebody that you know well respected in your industry, is a thought leader and probably has a lot of comments and actions. 
Lisa Rose:    Right. Well, you’re a good example, Kurt. 
Kurt Shaver:    Oh, no. Thank you. So this is something that I posted a couple days ago and it was kind of just talking about our people posting things on LinkedIn. This was a screenshot basically showing this sales leader hadn’t posted anything on LinkedIn. So the content is sort of irrelevant except for the fact that this applies to my industry. So it’s whatever applies to the industry of the audience. But what we’re really looking for it down here is numbers. We’re looking for something that has gained eyeballs and responses, right? We’re just looking for responses either here in the thumbs up icon which is a like, or actually the balloon icon, which means people have commented like these people down here. 
Lisa Rose:    Okay. 
Kurt Shaver:    So again, going back to our analogy, we’re looking for gold in the mine here, the gold are people or prospects. So what I want to know is who’s liking this comment about sharing content on LinkedIn? Because that’s what I train companies to do. I want to see who’s in there. So all’s I got to do is click on that little, when I hover over it, it turns blue. Another one of those things that when you hover over, it turns blue. That means it’s alive. I can click on it.
Lisa Rose:    Zing. 
Kurt Shaver:    Zing, oh yeah, next time we’re getting the sound effect, Lisa. 
Lisa Rose:    Absolutely.
Kurt Shaver:    So here I can see these are the 82 people now that liked it, okay? Some of these people make it a prospecting list for me. Now we can see that like here, Kevin O’Nell from PeopleLinx, if I’m connected to them and it shows, well, it gives me an action item of messaging them, okay?
Lisa Rose:    Okay. 
Kurt Shaver:    If I’m not connected to them, like John Smibert here, I’m on level two, so I’m not connected to John and in here it gives me the opportunity to connect with him so that he could be in my level one. So again, here’s 82 people and I would just come down here and scan, like here’s a perfect example. Look at this guy, Simon Porter. So he is not connected to me. He’s level two, which means until he probably clicked like on my comment, he had never heard of Kurt Shaver in the world. But he’s a vice president of commercial sales in Europe for IBM. Is that a good prospect? Absolutely. Right. 
Lisa Rose:    Click it, click it Kurt.
Kurt Shaver:    Yes. You don’t want to click that because it sends the default message.
Lisa Rose:    Oh, okay.
Kurt Shaver:    We don’t have quite the time to do that in the default, but I will absolutely click it. I will invite Simon to join my network. I will thank him for liking my post. Again that is just one of the ways that you can kind of do the prospecting elements in there and all these various elements together of both, whether you’re searching for somebody based on the database or whether you’re just going in and looking at what content that they’ve actually posted.
Lisa Rose:    Right. Well, that’s great. All great tips, things I hadn’t thought of before. So we have about two minutes left. I had a couple of questions I wanted to ask you. You ready? 
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah.
Lisa Rose:    Can you share too much content? While we’re talking about content here, are there over sharers? Is there any bad side to that? 
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah. So my standard line is you can share too much bad content. You can’t really share too much good content. So the real kind of goal there is to get obviously good quality content that your audience is going to really appreciate, right? I mean, if it’s great content, they don’t mind seeing it every day, but that’s a really, really high bar that most people cannot hit, right? So on a realistic level for a B2B salesperson, if you’re sharing two or three things a week, that is really going to raise your visibility and credibility above what it is now. 
Lisa Rose:    But I guess it could do the opposite and hurt your positioning if it’s bad content, right?
Kurt Shaver:    Right. Absolutely. 
Lisa Rose:    How about what would you say is the biggest mistake people make on LinkedIn? 
Kurt Shaver:    The biggest mistake people make on LinkedIn is just being passive on it, right? They think that LinkedIn is like a health club and just because they joined it and got the card in the wallet, that they’re automatically going to get these great results for it and it doesn’t quite work that way, right. You actually have to show up in the gym. I mean, Lisa, I know you’re really into fitness, so you know that just having the card in the wallet, saying “I’m a member,” it doesn’t work. You got to get in there and you got to work it, you got to be regular and you got to be disciplined and methodical and just take a little step forward every day and that’s going to end up producing great results. 
Lisa Rose:    Okay. Well, we promise to be brief and bright and bring it in 19 minutes and we’re about at that time. This is Lisa Rose. I’m with the Brooks Group. Feel free to reach out to me through the web. Kurt, would you like to give some background on you yourself? 
Kurt Shaver:    Yeah, sure. I’ll leave them with this slide, if they just want to connect with me. If you want to get more of LinkedIn tips, you can either send me a LinkedIn invitation and we’ll connect on LinkedIn or you can visit my website and join my mail list where I send out tips every week. 
Lisa Rose:    Well, thanks for having lunch with us or breakfast depending on which Coast or country you’re in. So, thanks for joining us and we hope you’ll join us next time in our series on Briefinars for Sales Leaders. Have a good day.

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