With more than 530 million members in 200 different countries, and with two new members joining every second, LinkedIn remains the best place on the planet to network in the professional space.
Especially if you want to use LinkedIn to generate leads and win new business, there's a very specific science (and strategy) behind getting prospective clients to engage.
On a recent episode of the Nemo Radio podcast, Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, shared his best LinkedIn lead generation tips and engagement techniques based on what he's seeing work best on the platform.
(LISTEN: Talking Sales with LinkedIn Executive Doug Camplejohn.)
A Consultative Approach to Selling
"You're starting to see the transition from selling being transactional to being more strategic, where a salesperson is looking more like a customer success manager," Camplejohn says. "And where sales teams are acting more like a business consultant than a provider of widgets or software.
"I think that is increasingly becoming the case, and evolving your skills in that direction is really important."
Echoing the importance of replicating real life, 1-on-1 conversations via LinkedIn invites and messages, Camplejohn stresses the importance of "warm" introductions, conversational ice breakers and more.
"Within LinkedIn, you find that a warm introduction (where someone both you and your prospect have in common makes an introduction) is still the best path into an organization," he says. "The 'spray and pray' approach really doesn't work anymore."
Spam Cannons vs. Targeted, Personalized Messages
According to Camplejohn, the average B2B online marketing campaign these days is lucky to see a 3 percent response rate.
"In Sales Navigator, we find that our customers using InMail [the method you can use to reach any of LinkedIn's 530 million members, even if you don't have an email address] gets an average of a 15 percent response rate," he says. "And the top 10 percent of our Sales Navigator users are getting 30 percent or more for their InMail response rates."
The reason why, Camplejohn says, is that they're treating those InMail messages more like a handwritten note than a spam cannon. As a result, "we've tried to improve our Sales Navigator product and the entire InMail experience so that anyone can be one of those top 10 percent users," he says.
From creating personalized, recommended "ice breaker" notes to start an InMail message to showing people you and the person you want to reach have in common to listing out recent posts or status updates the other person has shared, the idea is to find context for a conversation.
Character Counts and Virtual Stoplights
LinkedIn even studied the metrics behind the ideal length of high-converting InMail messages, adding a "green, yellow, red" type traffic stoplight feature to help you follow best practices in terms of character count.
Also, the entire LinkedIn messaging experience has been revamped to feel more like a real-time, 1-on-1 text message exchange (complete with emojis and suggested replies) between friends than two professionals sending formal emails back and forth.
"Ultimately, real-time communication is where we're headed online," Camplejohn says. "Rather than sending something and then waiting for hours or even days to get a response."
When it comes to boosting your engagement on LinkedIn, at least according to Camplejohn and the platform's data, brevity is the soul of wit when it comes to your invites and messages.
(Note: If you're looking for additional inspiration and ideas, here are some specific copy-and-paste message scripts and templates you can utilize.)
To hear my entire conversation with Doug Camplejohn from LinkedIn, check out this episode of the Nemo Radio Podcast.