LinkedIn was created as a place for networking and information sharing, but is quickly becoming an important aspect of cold outreach and sales.

Here, we outline how to turn LinkedIn into a valuable a sales tool, and some tactics for responding to prospects after your initial engagement.



  • Targeting
  • Connection requests
  • Outreach messages

Managing Responses



Whether you have a list of leads you'd like to make contact with, use Sales Navigator, or outsource to a lead gen service, you need to have a clear idea of who you are going after and what your message is. Having something relevant to offer or share with each lead that you reach out to is the key to success on LinkedIn.  

Connection requests

Sending connection requests accomplishes two things in one: grows your existing network and allows you to send a personalized message to each lead. Even if they  connect but don't respond, they will still be exposed to you or your company's LinkedIn activity from then on (press releases, blog posts, etc.).

You'll need to start slow with your outreach and ramp up (25 per day to begin). If you have too many people marking "I don't know them," LinkedIn may suspend your account.

The best way to combat this is to reach out to high quality leads with customized, relevant text. You don't want to blindly send requests and you don't want to sound like a robot. Hello Outreach, for example, develops hyper-targeted data signals based on buyer behavior in order to deliver the most relevant copy.

Outreach messages

The initial connection request should be short and sweet (max 300 characters) and unique for each lead. You can accomplish this by swapping out words like {FirstName}, {Company} and {Industry} in each message.

Mentioning a recent article you wrote about their industry or a project you're doing with a similar company are two great ice breakers. It's key that the lead understands you have something of value to share, and aren't trying to hard sell them immediately.

Managing Responses

Accepted Connection Request

You may want to send a message to anyone who accepts your request, even if they don’t actually respond back to your original note.

Response #1
Hi {FirstName}, thanks for connecting! It looks like you’ve been in your digital marketing role for a few months now. I'm curious if any of {Company}'s recent social media content has gone viral?

Response #2
Hi {FirstName}, great to connect! It looks like you're working in the {Industry} space. I'm curious if your digital marketing team does any work with augmented reality technology?

Thanks for the connection

A lead could respond with something like “it’s a pleasure connecting” or “it's nice to connect with you, let me know how I can help.” Next, look up their company and ask them some pointed questions to help move the conversation along.

Response #1
Hi {FirstName}! We partner up with start ups in the {Industry} space to help them solidify their strategy and de-risk their product/software dev.

Would you be up for sharing more about the projects {Company} is working on right now?

Response #2
Thanks for the reply, looks like you are using {Tool} in your {Industry} software. Very cool!

Curious if you have any challenges in presenting/marketing that technology?

Asking for more information

If a lead responds wanting to clarify what you do or asking for more information, it’s a good opportunity to share relevant information with them and ask them more questions, without pushing too hard for a meeting.

Response #1
Hi {FirstName}! Yes, we rely on Behavioral Science methods to help develop engaging customer journeys for B2B companies. Can I ask what areas of design you’re prioritizing right now? I'd be happy to share some specifics with you once I have a little bit more context.

Response #2
Hey {FirstName}, I love the parallels you're drawing between successful software and successful business in your bio.

We actually work with startups to validate their roadmaps and develop digital products right the first time. Could you tell me a little more about your journey at {Company} and any recent product challenges you've run into?

Want to meet

Sometimes, a lead will respond that they are interested in your product/service and seem like they want to meet right away. Here is a good time to get their phone number/email address (even if we already have it saved in the platform) to formalize the interaction.

Response #1
The {FirstName},  that  you’re working on looks really exciting! Would you be open to hopping on a quick call this week?

Response #2
Congrats on ______! Would you be open to a quick exploratory chat sometime next week? It would be great to grab your email so we can schedule a time there.

Not Ready/Not a Good Fit

You won't always hit the nail on the head with your cold outreach, but if someone takes the time to read your message and respond, it's a good practice to send them a quick follow up. Sometimes just know there is a real person on the other side can be enough to turn the conservation around.

Response #1
The {FirstName}, thanks for getting back to me. Best of luck with your endeavors!

Response #2
{FirstName}, appreciate the response and understand that it's not the right time.

Would it be okay if I check in with you again next quarter? We'll be finishing up a design project for an {Industry} company and should have a few takeaways that might be relevant to {Company}.

Learn more about developing your data signals and the benefits of partnering with a LinkedIn expert here.