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LinkedIn Prospecting: Top Tips for Effective Outreach

Think LinkedIn is just for flaunting your latest job title or catching up with old office mates? 

Think again! 

In today’s digital world, LinkedIn is the top spot for serious prospecting. 

It’s not just about who you know, but how you connect. With the right insights, tools and tactics, LinkedIn becomes more than a platform; it’s your key to impactful and effective outreach.

For practical outreach tips, we turned to an expert in the field: Madison Yuille, Enterprise SDR at Cognism.

Ready to level up your LinkedIn prospecting game?

Let’s get started! 👇

Understanding LinkedIn prospecting

LinkedIn prospecting has become indispensable for modern businesses. With 900 million users, LinkedIn is the go-to platform for B2B outreach. It provides access to a global network of professionals across all sectors. With the right prospecting approach, LinkedIn can facilitate direct, meaningful communication with decision-makers.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, LinkedIn encourages you to understand your leads’ unique needs and interests. It helps businesses really get to know who they’re reaching out to. 

Why LinkedIn prospecting is a game-changer

Quality lead generation

Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for a catch, LinkedIn allows you to target specific industries, roles, and regions. 

This pinpointed approach ensures that you direct your efforts towards the most relevant, high-value prospects.

Advanced search capabilities

LinkedIn’s advanced search functionality goes beyond merely finding names or companies. It allows salespeople to target prospects based on industries, roles, regions, company size, mutual connections, and specific skills or endorsements. 

Again, it’s about targeting the most relevant prospects rather than casting a wide and generic net.

Kickstarting your LinkedIn prospecting journey

Strategy is key

The value of a well-defined strategy can’t be overstated. Without a clear plan, your LinkedIn prospecting can become scattered and ineffective.

Define your sales goals, understand your target audience, and map out a structured approach to achieve those targets.

Target audience recognition

The platform’s diversity means it’s crucial to recognise your target audience on LinkedIn.

Whether you’re targeting C-suite executives in the tech industry or managers in the retail sector, understanding their profiles, needs, and pain points will significantly improve your outreach’s success rate.

The art of researching on LinkedIn

The key to impactful LinkedIn prospecting is really getting to know the person you’re reaching out to. 

This means diving deep into their profile and picking up on the details that can help you connect in a meaningful way. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Career trajectory: Look at where the prospect has worked and how they’ve progressed.
  • Endorsements and recommendations: See what skills people praise them for and if you have any mutual connections.
  • Groups and associations: Check out the groups they’re in; get a feel for their interests and industry focus.
  • Recent activity: Look at what they’re posting and commenting on to find out what’s on their mind.
  • Education and certifications: See where they studied and any extra qualifications they have; it might be a good talking point.

LinkedIn prospecting techniques


“Crafting messages that resonate” is not just a catchy phrase; it’s an essential aspect of LinkedIn prospecting.

The more tailored your outreach, the higher the likelihood of a positive response. It’s about merging the professional with the personal, striking a balance that grabs attention.

Here are some tips for personalised LinkedIn prospecting:

  • Mention recent activity: Comment on a recent post they made or congratulate them on a new role/accomplishment; this demonstrates your genuine interest.
  • Tailor your value proposition: Highlight specific ways your solution can address the challenges you believe they might be facing.
  • Keep it relevant: Ensure that what you’re offering aligns with their current role or industry challenges.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encouraging dialogue is key. For example, “I noticed you recently attended the XYZ conference. How did you find it?”
  • Avoid generic praise: Rather than stating, “I admire your professional background,” pinpoint exactly what stood out to you about their career.

Remember, the goal is to make your prospect feel recognised and appreciated, not just another contact on a list.

Leverage mutual connections

Shared connections can open doors in unexpected ways. When you and a prospect have mutual acquaintances, it lays a foundation of trust. 

Here are some suggestions to make the most of these connections:

  • Mention the connection: Simply pointing out a mutual acquaintance can set a friendly tone for your outreach.
  • Consider an introduction: If the situation feels right, you might ask the mutual connection for a brief introduction.
  • Discuss common ground: It can be a good talking point if you both recently attended the same industry event or gathering.

Madison’s LinkedIn prospecting example

Madison uses a blend of humour and persistence in her LinkedIn prospecting approach. She walked us through a successful interaction 👇

Initial approach

“I reached out to a Director of Sales Development through LinkedIn. I sent him a connection request, then a brief message asking if I could send a voice note to explain why I was contacting him.”

Madison has found that being direct and considerate gets the best results. Asking permission to send a more detailed voice note lets you know whether they’re comfortable with the format.

Using humour

After no response, Madison shifted tactics. She sent a GIF of the comedy character Mr. Bean checking his wristwatch impatiently - a humorous nudge about her wait.

The only reply was a laughing emoji. 

Undeterred, Madison saw this as a positive sign. As she told us:

“He replied with a laughing emoji, so, I started sending GIFs daily.”

“After a while, he replied saying, ‘Okay, you’ve earned 15 minutes of my time.’”

“Unless they go ‘please stop not interested’, keep following up because they will eventually answer.”

Madison’s persistence, combined with her humour, caught the Director’s attention. She didn’t just rely on initial messages but focused on consistent, playful follow-ups.

So what are the takeaways?

  • The human touch: Madison’s personal approach, instead of a bog standard sales pitch, made her stand out.
  • Persistence is key: LinkedIn prospecting requires patience and determination. Madison’s creative persistence paid off.
  • Reading signals: Madison picked up on cues, like the laughing emoji, and adjusted her strategy accordingly.

Using Cognism for LinkedIn prospecting

For anyone serious about LinkedIn prospecting, Cognism’s Chrome Extension is the go-to tool.

It allows users to research prospects on their LinkedIn profiles, gaining data points such as business emails and direct dials, co-workers, company intel and intent signals.

Plus, reps can quickly import a large number of contacts directly into tools like Salesforce or Outreach.

Madison told us:

“The ability to import 25 contacts at once into Salesforce or Outreach is amazing. Creating lead lists and quickly finding contact details after a referral is an added bonus.”

Getting ahead with intent data

In the world of LinkedIn prospecting, having timely knowledge can set you miles ahead of the competition. Identifying companies that are actively seeking solutions or showing market interest is crucial. 

This is precisely where Cognism’s intent data comes into play - it gives you direct insights, pointing you towards businesses that show a genuine interest in making a purchase.

Madison told us:

“Intent data pinpoints companies that might have a use case. Looking at a company’s structure helps, but intent data clearly shows their readiness in the market.”

Cognism LinkedIn prospecting workflow

Discover how Cognism’s Chrome Extension streamlines LinkedIn prospecting. Dive into our demo and experience the simplicity and effectiveness firsthand 👇


Where many go wrong with LinkedIn prospecting

Like all outbound sales methods, LinkedIn prospecting has its pitfalls which, if overlooked, can hinder your efforts right from the start.

A common mistake is leading with a sales pitch, aiming to immediately sell the product. Madison explained:

“Pitching right in the first message is a big mistake. You need to engage with and understand the prospect before introducing a solution.”

The lesson is clear:

The emphasis should be on forming a genuine connection. Beyond tapping into LinkedIn’s expansive network, the real art is in showing true interest in the individual behind the profile, discerning their needs, and only after that, presenting a relevant solution.

Follow Cognism on LinkedIn

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