Building Your Lead Generation Machine Using LinkedIn

February 11, 2015

Linkedin lead generation

What if you could have an infinite resource of targeted leads? The biggest list of targeted leads on earth is yours and the best thing is it’s free.

We all know this mega database of leads called LinkedIn, but how do you turn it into a lead generation machine with workable leads that can turn into prospects and ultimately customers? That is exactly what we cover in this article that is derived from a previous podcast with LinkedIn expert Josh Turner (that you can listen to here).

How to build a successful LinkedIn lead generation campaign:

Step one

The first thing that you want to do is define your targets and create a group for them. Who are the people you want to sell to or who are the people that usually buy from you? Define the exact types of people and companies you would like to target and design a tailor made group.

This group is not created for you to promote to or talk about how awesome your company is. The group is designed to supply your targets with information that is interesting and helpful to them.

Your chance for promotion will present itself when you have gained their trust. The following excerpt from the podcast will explain this with an example:

Josh: Yeah, here is an example, we have a client and they run a software development company, they are out of Illinois one of their big targets is manufacturing. And so if the CEO of the client firm that I am working with comes to me and says, “What is the best way for us to utilize LinkedIn to get in front of these kinds of companies?” Think about it, the people they are targeting in these big manufacturing firms are typically going to be the CEOs, the CFOs, the senior decision makers, sometimes CTOs, and such.

If we create a campaign all about software development those people are going to tune that out, so what we did in their case is we created a LinkedIn group called Mid-West Manufacturing leaders. This campaign and this LinkedIn group and all of the content we are positioning in front of these prospects is very broad. And we put first and foremost the interest of the prospects.

LinkedIn Group Midwest Manufacturing

Note that the interest of your prospects is your top priority; this is not about you or your product.

Step two

The second step of this process is to find the right content to get in front of your prospects. You don’t have to create all of this content yourself. Most of the content you should use is curated content.

You find good quality articles that would interest your prospects and you post it on the group as a discussion point. You or someone in your company need to monitor the best industry sites for great relevant content.

A great free tool to use to find popular content is They tell you what content is the most popular on different social platforms in a given period. Just type in the subject you are looking for and it will throw the articles out in order of total shares. You can customize the search with all kinds of parameters so you can really make it relevant.

Find targeted lead generation ideas with BuzzSumo

Josh recommends that you post 10 articles from different posters (so that it doesn’t look like a monologue of one guy just talking to himself) in the first week before you start inviting people to the group. LinkedIn will give you the option to invite your contact list. Invite the appropriate contacts on your list and you are now live. It will be easier to get people to join because it is starting to look active.

According to Social Media Examiner, it is acceptable to promote your group in a casual and unspammy way in similar groups. You can read more about that here.

If you post enough good quality content the group will start growing without you having to do much direct promotion but in the beginning you need to consistently reach out to new prospects to join the group. Just be diligent and at a certain point the members list will start growing steadily on its own.

The amazing thing is that if you do this right you will have built a relationship and set yourself up as an authority. Now when you approach the client you will not be wearing your salesperson hat but come from a very strong position of being helpful.

Ongoing process of managing your lead generation machine

LinkedIn allows you to send out an email to your group members once a week that goes directly into their inbox. This is a great tool for when you want to arrange for a talk with your sales team, but you need to be patient and build a relationship with those prospects first. Therefore, a better email would be to promote some form of helpful content if they are new to your group.

If your group has grown to a certain point you need to start keeping track of what content and messages certain group members have seen (based on when they joined the group) to be able to form meaningful discussions about challenges or opportunities they might be experiencing. Josh advises that you keep this information accurate and updated in a basic CRM tracking system. You can view an example of such a simple tracking system here.

Mistakes and pitfalls to avoid

1. Josh says that the biggest mistake he sees people making with this technique is to go for the sale too quickly. Build a relationship through conversation first.

Josh: …gain some top of mind awareness, position yourself as one of the good guys before you try and set up a meeting or call; you are going to get a much better response rate out of that.

2. The second biggest mistake he sees people making is not having a strategy to follow. Map out your plan and decide you are going to spend a certain amount of time consistently on getting this to work.

For this particular strategy, you are going to need up to ten hours a week to see meaningful results so plan accordingly or get your virtual assistant to do it. Make sure you document results so that you have something to iterate and improve on.


If you are new to LinkedIn we have written a great article on what rookie mistakes you need to avoid and general best practices when interacting on LinkedIn that you can get to here.

A consistent stream of leads is the life blood of your business so start doing this and it might help you simplify your whole sales process. Happy prospecting!

Have questions or comments? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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