How to Build a Sales Pipeline on LinkedIn – an Ultimate Guide

by Mellonie Francis Mon May 10

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A salesperson’s most valuable resource isn’t time… its attention.

This explains why they spend less than 40% of their time selling – according to a report from LinkedIn. 

They surveyed more than 2,500 sales professionals around the world. 

But, what do they spend the other bunk of their time on?

They use that in filling out reports, updating their CRM, training, sitting in internal meetings… and most importantly, building the buyer’s persona.

The latter makes all the difference in the approach of such a professional.
It’s the most important task of a salesperson (not forgetting closing the deals obviously)

By doing that, it places the professional in the 40% of people that they trust.

So, while buyers have this distrust in the sales profession, decision-makers do business with people they trust.

And this happens only if there is a piece of detailed and up-to-date information about the lead in question.

The more you know about your leads – the better you’ll be able to perform

That’s where LinkedIn comes into play. 

Using LinkedIn to build your lead persona, gives you an insight into how best to approach them and how best to place them in your current sales process. 

With LinkedIn, you can automate your outreach in a personalised manner to generate meetings nonstop. 

That would keep your sales pipeline buzzing with Leads.

Now, we’ll cover the essentials needed for building a sales pipeline with LinkedIn. 

And most importantly, we’d share how to apply LinkedIn to boost your B2B lead generation efforts.

Here’s what you need to know about building a sales pipeline on LinkedIn. 

What Is a Sales Pipeline and How to Prepare For LinkedIn Outreach

If you have been in the online marketing space… it’s only normal that you’ve heard about a sales pipeline. 

There are lots of stages that are involved before a buyer buys your service or product.

A sales pipeline’s main goal is to organise, track and manage lists of potential leads as they progress through different stages before purchasing. 

It involves a series of steps that guide your leads from being a potential lead to a raving customer. 

There is a staggering amount of importance attached to having a sales funnel as each lead is different in behaviour, so it is important to track. 

Take for instance, when your leads have come across your content at least 3 times… then, you need to move them to the product awareness stage. 

If they engage, you can make note of that in your sales pipeline, and follow-up with content that keeps them engaged. 

Along the way, you can guide them to start using your product. Here, you can also help them with any questions or concerns they might have. 

In a minute, we will dive into the details of how to build and connect a sales pipeline to LinkedIn. 

But… there’s something we need to make clear about the sales pipeline and sales funnel. 

What’s the difference – Sales pipeline and sales funnel

While some people believe a sales pipeline is also the same as sales funnel, the two are actually not the same.

They are different and here’s the notable difference 

A sales pipeline is only about your deals coming in. While your funnel deals with your leads.

A little more about it, the sales pipeline contains the sales process that takes a lead from start to finish. Preferably, the whole process should align with the buyer’s journey.

The sales funnel, on the other hand, involves the stages in the sales process that your leads go through before becoming your customers. Traditionally, the funnel involves the awareness, interest, decision, and action stages. 

Moving forward… Here’s what you need to know about the different sales pipeline stages.

What are the different sales pipeline stages?

Salespeople should strive to keep their stages short and straightforward, as that helps in moving prospects as quickly as possible.

Your pipeline stages may differ depending on what the buyer’s journey looks like for your niche.

But for the most part… you can still organise your sales activity in a variety of ways.

Following a general rule of thumb, here’s what your sales pipeline might look like. 

  1. Qualifying the prospect – In the primary stage, the salesperson evaluates the new lead and determines if their solution fits their needs. That is, are they compatible?  Activities under this first stage involve checking their budget, their needs,  and what requirements they’re looking for.
  2. Meeting to create a connection – After, you’ll need to have a meeting with the prospect, as this creates better understanding between the both. For accountability and effectiveness, you must track every action in this stage in your CRM.
  3. Draft a tailored proposal – Now that you have adequate information on what your prospect is after, you can draft a proposal and send it to them. It should contain detailed information on the benefits of your solution, the investment, and the expected ROI.
  4. Negotiate the terms involved – Subject to your proposal, your prospect will either accept it or reconsider their choices. Most times, it depends on their budget and if your proposal matches their expectations. You need to find out what’s stopping them and negotiate.
  5. Closing the deal – Finally, if everything checks out and the deal is closed, they should also update the CRM. Furthermore, sales don’t stop there, focus on improving the post-purchase experience of your customer.

Now that you have a general understanding of how a sales pipeline works, we can move to how to combine it with LinkedIn

How to Combine Your Sales Pipeline with LinkedIn and Boost Your Sales

In 2021, if anyone is looking to get B2B leads, LinkedIn is the GO-TO platform for that.

Likewise, when you are building your sales pipeline, here are the steps to undergo for an effective sales funnel. 

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Find prospects

On LinkedIn, you can get laser-like accuracy when searching for a company or an individual to work with.

To do that, simply click on the search bar and select the drop-down on the left side of your screen. 

Next, you can tailor your search by the specifics – job, posts, mutual connections, events, and even their current company. 

Going further, this is what I get when I look for 2nd-degree Marketing managers in Hubspot. 

If you need a more specific result, you can take advantage of a more advanced feature by clicking the “All filters” tab at the extreme end of the drop-downs.  

With this capability, you can go all out when finding that one individual that exact insight you want. 

That ultimately gives you the power to search for professionals you can build a relationship with. Instead of relying on them to seek for you. 

Pretty cool right?

What’s more, is that you get all these features for FREE on LinkedIn. Talk about an exclusive platform. 

Once you find the person you’re looking for, what next? 

2. Customise LinkedIn Messaging to build relationships.

So, you’ve found the person you need, the next is to introduce yourself using either the basic (free) account or the paid feature Inmail.

If you’re using the Basic account, you can’t message users who have chosen not to receive Inmail messages.

However, for some connections, you’d get to see this when you send a connection request.

Now, when you’re running a sales outreach campaign on LinkedIn, you need to consider safety.

Why? Because, if too many people decline your connection request, not responding to your messages, or report your profile because of spam messages – LinkedIn might suspend your account.

To make sure people add you on Linkedin and reply to your messages… three is a need to use personalisation. Which looks something like this:

Notice there’s no selling

Hi Dana!

I noticed you went to Stanford University – I graduated from there myself 6 years ago! I’d love to connect with you and see how we might be able to support each other professionally. 

To your success,

Mel 

Maybe you don’t share the same alma mater, you can also use:

  • You can send a congratulatory message, and be clear about what prompted you to connect. 
  • You can use your shared connection as a talking point
  • You can connect on common grounds – seminars, meetings.

After this, you can thank the prospect for connecting. 

Hey Dana, 

I just wanted to drop you a quick note and say thanks for connecting with me on LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch.

Take care,

Mel

It might seem a bit time-consuming, but if you’re going to make a very strong impression and stand out from the cookie-cutter messages your leads get, it’s completely worth it. 

3. Extract Emails Of Your Leads From Sales Navigator

The more people see you online and come across your name, business, and content, the more they’ll begin to trust you. 

You can build authority, trust, and relationships by sharing content. 

But sometimes your audience might miss your content in the pool of their LinkedIn newsfeeds.

Fortunately, you can set up a custom email list from your audience on LinkedIn.

With this, you can automate follow-ups with ready-to-go templates,  according to which step of my pipeline my sales leads are.

If you’re thinking of using the LinkedIn native feature to export leads from sales navigator

Sales Navigator doesn’t offer any way of exporting a list of leads. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible… far from it.

In the absence of an export feature, the next thing is to copy/paste the data into a spreadsheet. 

But instead of doing this manually, we’ll have xxxxx browse Sales Navigator on our behalf and do the copy/pasting automatically for us.

For Waqas: Please walk me through the tool we use to extract???

In sales, people hate the idea of cold outreach, but if done properly -using personalized messages, they are more likely to respond.

Using this integration, we tripled the response rate for one of our sales campaigns.

Learn how to start using the safest LinkedIn personalization outreach here.

Conclusion

To sum it up, if you are planning to reach out to prospects on LinkedIn, a sales pipeline is essential. 

Because the data and information you get from it can make or break your business.

With Hubspot, you can integrate your CRM and pipeline to manage your sales and marketing efforts effectively.

Need help to start using Expand to boost your sales once you’ve built your pipeline?

Learn how to get started by booking a call here.

Notes for hassanajanaku@gmail.com

Hassan, you have maybe picked 2 blogs and just mixed them both here. If the blog is about how to build a sales pipeline using LinkedIn, then you really need to just talk about that.

Have you watched Mel’s webinar? Maybe you can take hints from there as to how to structure this.

The structure here is off and there isn’t really a flow the reader is following.

How to build a sales pipeline using LinkedIn.

It should talk about how to find prospects, using LI search feature (which is free).

How you can connect with influential people in prospective organizations and then push great content to nurture them.

Then how you can export your contacts and start an emailing list, further nurture them and use a crm like Hubspot to keep track of your leads stages.

This is how the structure should be, giving free tools away and then in the end explain how we automate the whole process to make things easier for you, if you want it done professionally, contact us.

Hope this helps

Learn how to get started by booking a call here.


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