Smart Lead Generation with LinkedIn
Video Showing Smart Lead Generation with LinkedIn
Lead generation is one of the major challenges businesses big and small have to contend with. It’s a never-ending challenge because you’d never have enough leads. You’d have to constantly seek more leads if you’re going to have a thriving and sustainable business. So, it’s smart to devote time and resources to master the challenge, because as we all know, there is really no business if you don’t have a stream of clients/customers, and before you can have clients/customers, you’d have to get leads.
Fortunately, it’s a tad easier now. How? You have a social media network, that’s really a dedicated lead-generation machine: LinkedIn. In fact, it’s not a “social” network. It’s the pre-eminent business network in the world. If you’re a business owner and you’re not leveraging LinkedIn to the max, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Automated Prospecting or the Inefficient Manual Method
In this post, based on my interview with an expert, I share how he leveraged LinkedIn to help grow a few clients’ businesses. LinkedIn Prospect is one of the major resources he used. His expertise covers growth hacking, lead-generation, conversion optimization, Google AdWords, Google analytics…At a point, he wanted to focus on how to grow his client’s businesses through strategies that bring recurring income. This was when he started exploring how to use LinkedIn more effectively, as a lead generation channel.
The expert, like most entrepreneurs, does not get excited at the prospect of doing the same tasks over and over again. He wanted a tool that’d help him automate part of the task, and in his search, he happened on LinkedIn Prospect.
One to Two Leads per Day
He told me how he tweaked some of the copy he found on one of our blog posts, to craft lead-generation messages for a client of his. At the time, he was just getting started knowing how to use LinkedIn Prospect. His client’s business is a career agency with a focus on helping high-level executives to be more strategic. Some of these executives make half a million dollars per annum. You can be forgiven for thinking: why would they need strategic advice? The owner of the agency summed it best:
“These people are not people that have ended up in a strategic position out of clever thinking. They basically stumbled forward.”
The reality is that most executives are very busy with their narrow disciplines. They need help with others. (This is an opportunity for discerning business owners).
The expert started a campaign for this agency in the first week of November, and even though he had not really mastered our software, he was able to help the agency generate an average of one to two leads daily by the following month. This is highly impressive if you ask me, seeing as this is the very first campaign. That’s an average of 15-30 leads in a month. If a company has a good lead nurturing and lead conversion process in place, it could convert 20% to 30% of that volume of leads. His consulting packages have a price range of $13,000 – $30,000.
After a month, the agency had generated $18,000, that’s essentially income from one client. By the month of February, the owner of the agency had asked the expert to get two of his consultants on board. His retainer increased from $1000 to $3000. Essentially, the expert taught them how to use LinkedIn better. In a nutshell, they’ve made two sales $61,000, their Social Selling Index has gone up from 40 to 50 per consultant to up to 60 to 70. He noted that the challenge in converting the agency’s target market (high-end C-level executives) is unique.
Now, let’s check out the expert’s result for another client he worked with.
Multi-Million, Billion Dollar Projects
This is an IT consulting business. Specifically, it involves consulting for Government on high-level multi-million, billion-dollar projects. The focus is to help with smarter execution of these projects. The expert worked with the consultant for two months, and the latter was happy with the engagement. He was being sent an average of two leads per day. In fact, he asked the expert to stop the campaign because he could not handle the volume!
One of the key points the expert pointed out is that at the beginning of an engagement, he’d survey his clients. One of the main parameters he’s interested in knowing is their ideal audience, and, the importance of having a broad conception of this. For example, he suggested to the consultant that he could also consider larger companies, instead of Government. This is because the Government at times spends months or even years planning for something that could take days or weeks to execute in the private sector. The expert told the consultant:
“Well, there might be an opportunity in larger companies because if you’re dealing with government, things are going just unbelievably slow.”
Both also realized that procurement professionals are a good audience. So, they were also targeted, using the keyword “technology transformation.” One of the challenges faced in the campaigns was how to separate real clients, from job seekers who had misread the messages. He ended up putting negative keywords using Boolean search parameters.
It’s vital to stress that using LinkedIn and LinkedIn Prospect is not a magic bullet. You need to craft the right strategy, too. For example, one of the clients the expert worked for generated zero! Yes, that’s not a typo. Zero. But, it’s pertinent to say that the campaign was on for only two weeks, and after two weeks the client asked that it be stopped. The client is in the personal development space. Frankly, two weeks is too short a period within which to evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign.
He suggested 6 weeks, as an ideal timeframe for evaluating a campaign. But, he went further to say, that he observed a commonality in the personal development space: most of the players sound alike. And, that he’d often ask them:
“I ask these people every time, “What makes you different?” And they say, “Oh, I’m more qualified.” Well, how would I know that you’re more … I mean, how do I know the difference in your credentials?”
In order to help these professionals, he tried a different approach. Instead of a direct pitch, he started using an indirect one, where, for example, he’d first position the pitch as if he were conducting research. So, that he can have vital data, for the next stage. He’d ask for the respondents’ feedback. He found that this approach was generating a high reply rate. Essentially, he’s finding a more specific way of reaching prospects and ensuring his messaging speaks to their concerns, and he’s focusing on owners. He also spoke about how there’s a dearth of quality information on how to use LinkedIn. That’s it. It’s a wrap.
It’s a Wrap
In conclusion, in about 4 months, the expert has picked up about 6 clients. He’s using LinkedIn, and LinkedIn Prospect as pillar resources, and he’s getting impressive results for his clients. We’re positive you can have similar or even more stellar results when you know how to use both resources very well. Click here to start using LinkedIn Prospect today. Make sure you come around next week when I’d be sharing some other fresh insights from the field.
Here is the full transcript.
Bjarne: Okay. Would you like me to start again or … Okay. I got into digital marketing after I left uni because I wanted to have a career, even though I use that term very, very loosely, which allowed me to have a job where I wasn’t limited to a particular physical location. At the time I had, well, I still have, family in Norway and my Dad passed away of cancer at the end of my final degree. And I realized I didn’t wanna be in a situation where I had to be in a particular place in case I was needed elsewhere.
Bjarne: I decided I wanted to focus on online marketing. I could have gone into venture capital but I thought, no. I’d much rather have a job that might earn me a little bit less but give me more of a life and give me more choice in how I live my life. My alternative at the time was to maybe go to the Gold Coast and work on venture capital deals and that wasn’t exactly something I wanted to do.
Bjarne: I started creating a few online companies. At the time I went to all the seminars I could get around here, in Melbourne, on how to start a membership website, how to start ebook websites. Which are now, to be honest, I’m embarrassed about because it was … Given that fact that at the time I had a degree in business administration, entrepreneurship and accounting, I should have been able to look through all that BS. But I was blue and naïve.
Bjarne: I wasted a few years on that. And then I realized that there was an opportunity to help business owners that were stuck in generating leads. And I went into conversion optimization, which is basically how to tweak and optimize a website to generate more leads. And from then on I just … The company evolved and I realized, I think it was a year ago, that I was really on the wrong path. Because what I should have focused on, instead of focusing on doing one-off projects with clients, I should have been smart enough to focus on what can I do to get more ongoing revenue from each client?
Bjarne: And that got me into looking at LinkedIn, ’cause I generally tend to dislike most of the social media that I see out there. With the exception of CORA, which I like because it’s straight to the point and you learn stuff, and LinkedIn because it’s just straight business. You don’t have the fluffy cats of Facebook, there’s none of that crap that always annoys me. And I really like the LinkedIn system. But I’m always the type of person that’s into growth hacking. I was, this is a little side avenue. I’ve done a bit of teaching here in Melbourne, I’ve been teaching digital marketing, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, in particular, growth hacking. So I was asked through a friend of mine to do a presentation on growth hacking here at General Assembly. And that ended up being a three-year gig where I was basically teaching other entrepreneurs, BDMs, Business Development Managers, salespeople, how to grow.
Bjarne: And then I was looking for a way to use LinkedIn more effectively because a common challenge that I have on LinkedIn is I don’t have the tenacity and discipline to do something manual repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly. And then I did a search looking for an automating software and I found LinkedIn Helper and I thought, well, this looks like an interesting American company. I’d no idea you guys were in Perth.
Bjarne: Yeah, LinkedProspect, yeah, sorry. All these brands just go into my head. What did I say? Did I say LinkedIn Helper? Or-
David: Yeah, you did say LinkedIn Helper.
Bjarne: Okay. Sorry.
David: It doesn’t matter. We’ve looked at them, too. And they’re basically a browser-based plug-in which is one of the-
Bjarne: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I was looking at all these different options. And what attracted me with LinkedProspect, it was the only one that was directly … that was offline, in a way. I mean, I didn’t need to have, like you mentioned, I didn’t need to have a browser open to have it open all the time. So because that was a system that I could actually systemize and optimize I decided okay, that was something that I wanted to try out.
Bjarne: And then I went, after I first got the hang of that software and tested it out a little bit, I thought to myself, “I have a friend of mine who runs a career service here in Melbourne. Let me see if this might be a solution that he would be interested in.” I went in being completely honest, saying, “Look, this is what LinkedProspect allows you to do. I think I’ll be able to offer similar to the management solution,” that you are offering. ‘Cause at the time you had three different packages, the $49, the $99, which for some reason you didn’t have listed on the homepage, and the fully managed solution.
Bjarne: Now, at the time I was a little bit clueless as to what the managed solution actually entailed. But I presumed, from just looking at the user interface, that it entailed using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, tweaking the copy. So I took the copy from one of your blog articles, which were two templates, the connection message and the follow-up message and I just tweaked it for that particular client. At the time I was very lucky ’cause he was running a career agency which was targeted towards high-end executives. Basically helping high-end executives getting job opportunities by basically helping them becoming strategic. And I just set that up for him in the beginning of November. And at the time I had no experience with the software and I was lucky in the sense that he managed to get results extremely quickly because he had the right offer to an audience that was really, really interested in it. And putting out a message was very easy ’cause they thought that he was some sort of recruiter that would be helping them generating income. Which, to a certain extent, is true.
Bjarne: In the first month going into Christmas he had, on average, one or two leads coming in every day.
David: Oh, wow.
Bjarne: And for me, that being the very, very first campaign, that was a massive win. Also at the time I was working with guy, [Darryl Carlton 00:06:26], who was basically an IT consultant helping government agencies make smarter decisions about IT implementation. Basically multi-million, billion dollar projects. And he wrote all these really funny articles about how the Australian government had completely stuffed up the [NBN 00:06:43], completely stuffed up on the myki implementation here in Victoria, which is the system for use of public transport. To the point that we’re, in the case of myki for instance, it would have been cheaper to have given everyone in Melbourne free public transport than implementing the myki system.
David: That’s crazy.
Bjarne: It’s completely crazy. If you have a chance, look up this YouTube channel called Honest Government Ads. It’s made by someone here in Melbourne. It’s just fantastic, goes into a lot of the stupidity about Australian politics. Anyway, for me those two projects were fun because on the one hand, it was good ethical projects to be involved in. The guy was really interested in helping people out. And the other one, the career service, was really a no-brainer because it was a service that allowed this guy who was very interested in helping high-end executives get ahead in life be more strategic in the way of getting work. Which, for me, was tremendously interesting and still is because you have all these people that have literally half a million dollar salaries. And you look at them as these extremely intelligent, strategic people. In reality, they might be smart but as my client said last time I met with him, which I think was last week, he said that, “These people are not people that have ended up in a strategic position out of clever thinking. They basically stumbled forward.”
David: Yeah, cool.
Bjarne: I know this a little bit on the side but I find this interesting both from a marketing perspective and what these guys are actually doing. After one month he had $18,000 worth of sales, basically one client. He’s selling packages that are in the price range of between 13 and 30,000. So somewhere in between that, that’s where he ends up getting sales. And then in the beginning of February … yeah, beginning of February, he asked me to get two of his consultants on board. So my monthly retainer went up from 1,000 to 3,000. And I had a chat to them last week, as I said, and they were saying they weren’t entirely sure if it was working or not. It was very early days. They pointed out that on the bright side, the caliber of people they had coming in through the doors was extremely high. We’re talking about high, C-Level executives meeting at their offices here in Melbourne. On the downside, the quality of the leads that they actually had in terms of how interested they were in buying the product, much lower than if they would use them through Google.
Bjarne: That’s a mix that I’m still working on, how can I help these guys to have a higher conversion rate? Towards the end of the meeting, after I’ve basically taught them a little bit about how to use the LinkedIn better and proven to them that their SSI score, their Social Selling Index, had gone up from between 40 to 50 per consultant to up to 60 to 70. I asked them, “How many sales have you got?” And they said, “Well, we had two sales. One was $13,000 and the other one was $30,000. So all up we’re looking at $61,000 worth of sales.” [crosstalk 00:09:54] And that might sound-
David: And complaining. That’s funny.
Bjarne: Yeah. But I guess what I have to keep in mind with every person that I deal with is it’s very much a person-to-person business. They were dealing with high-end executives. When they came in through the door, they needed to speak with someone who understood their language. And their sales process was entirely different than if you’re trying to sell something worth $1,000. You’re dealing with people that are making usually, their salaries are high six figures or we’re talking about 2, 3, 400,000, going up. And the challenges that these guys have in converting them are pretty unique.
Bjarne: On the one hand, they have little to no strategic understanding of how to sell themselves. On the other hand, if you try to sell them something worth $2-3,000 a month they’re like, “Well, I can’t afford that.” I’m like, “How can you not afford that when you’re paying your salary half a million?” Well, it’s because they’re dumb about their money. Much like the stereotype of doctors and dentists. They might have their money down to silly cars and houses and mistresses and whatever else, things you need to pay off. Anyway, that was that client.
Bjarne: The other one, Darryl Carlton, I worked with him for two months. He was very, very happy towards the end of it. Towards the point he basically asked me to stop the campaign because he couldn’t handle the volume. He was working, he’s still working probably, for Swinburne University here. And I sent him, on average, I think it was two leads every day. And the challenge there was how to tweak the campaign. One of the key lessons that I learned from him is that in the beginning of the campaign I can go with whatever search parameter they give me, the client gives me. Which I usually send that out to them in a survey, ask them what you think is your ideal audience.
Bjarne: But then what I realize when I’m reading through the replies of each client in their LinkedIn account is that I’m actually picking up which audience is the best. I actually picked up that in the beginning a general, broader search was good within, I think it was government administration I started with. And he thought government administration was where he had the biggest opportunity. And I said to him, “Well, there might be an opportunity in larger companies because if you’re dealing with government, things are going just unbelievably slow.”
Bjarne: But to give you, and I know this a little bit on the side but I find this interesting. Through General Assembly I was once asked to do a presentation about innovation at an event that was, I think it was either run by the Australian government or have a high-ranking Minister of Small Business or whatever in Australia. It took those guys six months to get that event together. And to just get the guy, whoever was the high Minister available to speak, again, six month ahead time. While we, working for General Assembly, we could have got this up in two weeks. And it was an event about innovation. But … Anyway.
David: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Bjarne: Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. Going back to the experience with Darryl Carlton, we realized that it would be an opportunity to focus on procurement professionals. Which is a certain type of role inside either a larger company or a government agency. And also use the key word technology transformation. Now, a challenge with that, again, is how do you separate the leads that come in, the people that are interested, that are real, genuine clients. ‘Cause at times you had a lot of people that might contact you saying that might be interested in getting work and thinking that Darryl was someone who could provide them work. One thing I’ve started doing now with my later campaigns is to put in negative key works using Boolean search parameters. I first used the general key word and then negative not consultant, not blah, blah, blah, blah. That’s on the positive side.
Bjarne: Now, on the negative side are things that haven’t worked. I had one client that left after two weeks because I couldn’t get any leads for her. She is in the personal development space. I pretty much-
David: Two weeks is really short though too, right? That’s a very, very short amount of time. Six weeks, I tell people at least six weeks to know if there’s a campaign or not, how it’s going. It’s hilarious. It’s like, “I tried AdWords for two weeks and it didn’t work.” Well, that’s obvious that it’s not gonna work.
Bjarne: Well, to a certain extent I actually understood the client. Because what is actually happening is if you’re doing it over a two-week cycle you’re putting together a connection message and you’re getting data on that within a two-week timeframe. And you’re sending up a follow-up message within 24 hours from the first message. If you look at it over a two-week period she was able to see, and I provide her data through spreadsheets, I used the Google Docs. She was able to see how many of them were positive and negative. And she got absolutely nothing. And many of them were negative.
Bjarne: And I thought to myself, initially I thought like you. Well, two weeks doesn’t give you any particular type or sense of data. But then I thought, she was actually right. Because when I compare that to some of the challenges I had with other clients that are in the personal development space, it’s identical. I have someone I’m working with at the moment I’m really struggling with, who is also what you call a performance coach, a leadership coach. And the challenge that you have in those industries is if you try to sell your service, you’ll literally sound identical to the next guy. I ask these people every time, “What makes you different?” And they say, “Oh, I’m more qualified.” Well, how would I know that you’re more … I mean, how do I know the difference in your credentials?
Bjarne: And what I’ve ended up doing is I tested up different strategies. So I went from doing a direct pitch, “This is what I’m offering,” to, “This is what I’m offering in general as a person,” to offering a particular offer, to doing an indirect thing. Where I’m just saying, “I’m working on this offer. Would you be interested in giving me some feedback, what you think might work or might not work?”
David: I’m doing research. I’m doing research, [crosstalk 00:16:37] yeah. That’s brilliant.
Bjarne: Yeah. Doing research.
David: It’s brilliant.
Bjarne: Yeah. When I go in through the research route I’m getting a high positive reply rate. And I tried that out with, I forgot his last name, [Tim 00:16:49]. Tim is the professional development coach. And with him I had a high reply rate. He was literally down to 20% of positive replies out of the total amount of replies. I basically … I can show the spreadsheet, if you want. Where I basically calculate as much data as I can based on how people reply. Based on that, I realized that with Tim, getting back to people with, “I’m doing some research,” ended up having a higher reply rate. But what I’m now gonna be trying in version four, I’m gonna implement that either today or tomorrow, is instead of going indirect to people that might have a position of execution inside a company, I’m going directly to the owners. And I’m gonna say, “I’m working on this research on common health problems that business owners might be facing and how that can impact their performance. Would you be interested in being a part of the survey?”
Bjarne: Now, he’s not really going into the performance aspects of his work. It’s more focusing on the general health problems. And it’s going directly to the owners. That came, in a way, indirectly from me because I realized that the common problem that I have with many of the campaigns is I’m not specific enough. And I think going directly to the owners makes more sense because if you get the owner you can bypass many of the other roles. Like, for instance, I heard from the woman that canceled after two weeks that going to HR managers was a complete waste of time. Because even though HR managers might be the type of people who are, by role, the best to speak with, they are extremely time poor. And there might be some sort of problems with their, what’s the word I’m looking for? Either personality or their, I can’t really think of it.
David: But also even just the medium, right? They get hit up on LinkedIn all the time. Because people basically wanna get jobs at their companies, right? They get added and they get harassed all the time.
David: I think. A lot of it has to do with medium, too.
Bjarne: Yeah. From a medium perspective, that’s a group I’m trying to bypass. I’m still learning.
Bjarne: Another thing that I’m finding frustrating is how extremely little information there is around how to use LinkedIn effectively. I’m reading one or two books every week from experts that I’m getting from Kindle. And most of it is stuff that I’ve already picked up on.
David: And now you could write the book. Now you should write the book, the right [inaudible 00:19:32] that people need.
Bjarne: Yeah. I’m actually doing that indirectly because someone, a Canadian, contacted me from Mexico. He’s there at the moment. And he’s offering a service on how to write a book in a week.
David: Yeah, cool.
Bjarne: And what he’s basically doing is he’s reaching out to experts and saying, “Look, I can do an interview for a couple of hours and turn that into a book.” And I said, “Well, this is interesting.” And he said, “I’m willing to offer a 20% referral fee.” I started a campaign with him last week where I said, “Look, I’m not gonna charge anything per month. I just wanna see where this goes.” And in the first couple of days he had eight leads. That was two days.
David: Tell me something quickly. You basically started in November 2018 from nothing. We’re now in March and you have five, six clients up and running and happy.
David: Yeah, wow. Do you use the service yourself to get leads too? Do you just link prospect to prospect yourself?
Bjarne: Yeah. I used that initially. And I had some technical issues last month so I went over to one of the other companies doing the same thing. Just as a test, because I wasn’t entirely sure at the time if you guys, if the problems you guys were facing was just a symptomatic thing or it was an industry-wide thing. ‘Cause a concern that I have running in my head is LinkedIn can change whatever they’re doing and what we are doing at the moment can dissipate. They can come up with some sort of technology.
Bjarne: However, the thing that I’m keeping in the back of my mind as a type of safeguard is, we’re dealing with a company that is owned by Microsoft. I’m not expecting any innovation. I’m expecting them to keep on doing, following their typical business model, which is develop something that is okay, release something that is crap. Develop something else okay … basically the release cycle of their operating systems. So I’m still seeing how badly they’re executing LinkedIn sales and [inaudible 00:21:36] I’m thinking to myself, well, I’m not expecting them to catch on.
Bjarne: Because what LinkedProspect is doing, what you guys are doing so well, and other automating software is doing so well, is that they’re tapping into a market that LinkedIn doesn’t know how to capitalize on. They literally don’t know how to do it because the LinkedIn advertising is so expensive to deal with, from what I’m hearing from other professionals, that the SME market cannot, are not willing to pay for it.
Bjarne: What’s LinkedIn’s options? Either they can come up with a low-rent solution which worked from the SME market, which then the corporates will go on straight away. Or they can try to stop these automating solutions from actually working to reduce the amount of spam, which I think is what they’re doing at the moment to put a spanner in the works. Or option three. They can ignore it. And I think by probably a combination of a lack of putting full resources and incompetency on their behalf, we’re publishing more the last option of the three.
David: Just keep going, yeah. Cool. Cool. Well, thank you very much for those insights. I really appreciate it. And yeah, no. I think I’m gonna turn this into a blog post and get it up on our blog, if you don’t mind.
Bjarne: I got … yeah, yeah, you’re more than welcome. I got much more information I could tell you from things I’m doing at the moment. I got this one last thing that I might wanna tell you is, I was contacted by a guy last week, [Troy Eadie 00:23:08], who runs [Our Network 00:23:10] here in Melbourne for helping business owners systemize their business. And he was, when I basically presented what I was doing, he was like, “Excellent. I want you to get started on doing what I’m doing for my company.” And he has got another two or three consultants. So I’m looking at probably having 10 clients either by the end of this month or next month that I’m working on. My challenge now, and this is the challenge for your development team, is if I’m going in to LinkedProspect and I wanna add additional accounts, which I want to, I really, really want to, it’s limited by 10 accounts in the current use interface. So you guys-
David: Just need to add 15, that’s easy.
Bjarne: Yeah. I need to have more. If it’s possible to have it unlimited in some sort of way, I’m fine with that.
David: Yeah, cool. Cool. Cool, cool. Thank you very much, Bjarne.
Bjarne: No worries. If there’s anything else I can do to help, please let me know. ‘Cause I’m working on that LinkedIn book.