LinkedIn is a powerful platform for lead generation--that is if you know how to use it correctly.

Regardless of your industry or target market, the people that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas are on LinkedIn. Seeing that there are over 690+ million users on the platform, it can be a gold mine for qualified and valuable leads.

However, using LinkedIn for lead generation can be tricky, especially if you’re relying solely on paid ads and cold emails. In this article, let’s talk about the best way to approach LinkedIn lead generation, the best strategies, and best practices that you can apply.

Why should you use LinkedIn?

Using LinkedIn for lead generation is a great way to supplement other methods of lead generation, such as cold emailing and paid ads. There are thousands of people in each industry, and there are bound to be people that fit your ICPs and buyer personas on the platform.

Is LinkedIn a good fit for your business?

To achieve great results on LinkedIn, you have to be specific about who you are targeting and what problem you are trying to solve. Come up with a specific set of criteria based on your ICP and buyer persona. For example:

  • Position: Head of Operations
  • Company size: 50 to 100 employees
  • Location: New York

If you operate an agency, mold your criteria to your target niche. Instead of saying that you work with all sorts of companies, say that you run an outbound sales agency for manufacturing companies.

Spend more than enough time tailoring your criteria and targeting potential customers. This way, your LinkedIn lead generation efforts can garner better results and you can avoid wasting time on people that are not interested in your product or service.

How to optimize your LinkedIn profile

When you reach out to someone on LinkedIn or if someone sees your name, the first thing that they are going to do is check your profile out. Designing your profile into something like a landing page can help improve your reply rates and, in turn, increase the leads you incur.

Here are several tips on how you can optimize your LinkedIn on profile

  1. Avoid fluff

Get straight to the point. When someone visits your profile, they want to find out who you are and what you do. They don’t want to waste time reading tons of fluff on your ‘About’ section, so give them what they are looking for and make it easy to read.

  1. Upload a high-quality profile and cover photo

Use a simple, high-quality photo of yourself for your profile picture. It doesn’t have to be a professional, expressionless headshot. A clear picture of you against a non-noisy background with a friendly smile will do just fine.

As for your cover photo, it is common practice to use the official banner of your company. You could upload a picture of yourself, but it would be redundant as you already have your profile picture.

  1. Highlight benefits in your headline

Along with your name, your headline is one of the first things that people see when they visit your profile. Make the most out of it. Focus on the benefits that you can provide for others. For example:

I help eCommerce companies generate more sales with social media ads.

As opposed to stating your job title, displaying what you can do for others helps people learn what you’re all about and, ultimately, what you can do for them.

How to find high-quality prospects on LinkedIn

Now comes the tricky part: finding people that are most likely to do business with you. With LinkedIn, here are the best ways to generate a high-quality list of leads:

  1. Use Sales Navigator

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to run searches and find people that best fit your criteria. You can filter results based on properties like:

  • Job title
  • Company size
  • Seniority level
  • Department size
  • Services
  • And many more

Each search will turn up to 2,500 profiles. Pro tip: run multiple searches using similar but not identical terms, export the results on a spreadsheet, then remove duplicates. You can also use the Sales Navigator to find ways to start the conversation with your leads, such as shared experiences (e.g. lived in the same town or city as you), recent job changes, or news features about their company.

  1. Work with a business development team

Services like Leadbird use huge amounts of data from outbound B2B campaigns to send personalized messages to your prospects via LinkedIn or email. Supplementing your cold outreach strategy by working with an external team can help you automate your lead generation process and help you make the most out of your time.

  1. Enrich existing data

Another way to maximize LinkedIn is to use Phantombuster to enrich existing data. With this tool, you can automate:

  • Finding LinkedIn profiles from an email list
  • Extract LinkedIn group members
  • Find emails from a list of profiles

It can help you find qualified leads much faster as opposed to verifying each profile one by one, thus helping you save huge amounts of time.

Building a killer lead generation strategy

Now that you have your list of leads, it’s time to connect to them. Here’s how:

  1. Connecting with your prospects

Just like in cold emails, your connection message on LinkedIn must appear authentic and personalized. It should not be too generic nor too sales-driven--otherwise, you’ll risk getting ignored completely.

Keep it short and simple, but make sure that your message is personalized. Show your prospect that you’ve actually done your research about them. For example, you can:

  • Mention a pain point
  • Cite a recent piece of content that they published on LinkedIn or somewhere else
  • Highlight something that you share in common
  • Start with a genuine compliment

  1. Following up

A great connection message is not always a guarantee that your prospect will engage in a long conversation with you, much less respond to your message. However, it’s not a sign that you should give up. Following up is just as important as your first message. In your follow-up, highlight what you can do for them and their business; specifically, what value can you bring.

Highlighting your value proposition is key to increasing your response rate. Even if you are obviously pitching, tailoring your pitch to their specific needs can effective garner a positive response.

Again, be specific about what you can do for them and what you want them to do. Keep it short and simple. 

For example:

Hi, [prospect name]!

Happy to connect with you. I’ve noticed that you’re running Instagram ads to generate more sales for [their company name].

We’ve recently helped [similar company or their competitor] reach their previous month’s sales goals and surpass them by 20% with a few simple changes. I’ll be happy to do the same--if not more--for you.

Let me know when you are available for a quick call.

[Your name]

  1. Improving your CTA

Your call-to-action is imperative to starting a conversation with your prospect. Avoid using ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions that can easily kill the conversation. Instead, your CTA should be something like:

  • Want me to send our white paper on this [specific topic]?
  • When are you available for a quick call?
  • Is that something you’d be interested in?

Your CTA should be easy to respond to. Simple, but without being too vague.

How many follow-up messages should you send?

There is no magic number when it comes to how many follow-up messages you should send to an unresponsive prospect. While you don’t want to come off as annoying, you don’t want to miss out on a prospect that perhaps just needs a little push.

Moreover, not every prospect is ignoring your message. Maybe it got buried in their inbox, or perhaps they clicked on it and got distracted by something else. In any case, patience is the key--as is the timing of your follow-up messages.

In general, it is best to send 3-5 follow up messages with a variety of CTAs. Space out your messages by at least three or four days. Otherwise, you’ll seem like a spammer.

Should you use sponsored emails?

Sponsored InMails don’t guarantee results, but they can help you connect with quality leads if you did your targeting and messaging right. Nevertheless, there is a risk of recipients immediately writing you off as a salesperson because you paid for sponsored emails.

Using LinkedIn for cold emails

Another good lead generation strategy is to source your contacts on LinkedIn, and then reach out to them via cold emails. Some profiles publicly list their emails on their ‘Contact Info’ section, but most don’t.

You can use tools like Phantombuster to scrape email addresses from LinkedIn profiles so that you don’t have to manually dig for each one. Verifying the emails you generate is also a vital step to improve email deliverability and minimize your bounce rate. Then, you can segment your email list, personalize, and schedule your emails accordingly.


Using LinkedIn is a great way to supplement your lead generation efforts. It is also a gold mine of public information that you can use to personalize your cold emails, improve your ICPs and buyer personas, as well as start conversations on the right foot.

As long as your targeting and messaging is good, LinkedIn can provide amazing results for your sales funnel.