In this post I’m going to break down the best way to create a scalable B2B lead generation process using LinkedIn. Then I’m going to give you a couple of specific case studies on what can be achieved.
This is the exact same process we used to generate ongoing streams of leads for a client, a mature B2B SaaS vendor in a highly competitive niche, for just $16.76 per lead.
This step by step guide that will tell you exactly where to focus your attention for maximum impact.
Is LinkedIn good for B2B Lead Generation?
First things first. Is LinkedIn actually useful for B2B lead generation.
In short, yes, Linkedin is great for B2B lead generation because it allows you to accurately target your sales messages to a big database (11 million in Australia) of B2B employees by company, position, industry, etc.
Of all the social networks, there is good evidence that it is indeed the best in terms of lead generation.
How to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn
There are three main ways to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn:
- Social selling: posting on the platform and growing your organic audience and connecting with them;
- Direct messaging: sending prospects either Connection Requests or InMail emails
- Advertising: paid promotion of content – LinkedIn even has a specific type of advertising targeting Lead Generation. It’s called, drum roll please, “Lead Generation”!
How to Run a Profitable LinkedIn Lead Generation Campaign
While Social Selling and Direct Messaging can be great, they are also difficult to scale effectively.
In this post we’ll focus instead on the use of Advertising to generate sales leads.
Further we’ll focus on a content marketing led strategy where you exchange valuable business content for a prospects contact details and permission to contact them.
Here are the seven keys to maximising your advertising lead gen results on LI.
1. Target Top of the Funnel prospects
While it is possible to convert people directly with Bottom of the Funnel offers (free trial, book an appointment, etc) you need a strong brand to do that: HubSpot, SalesForce, etc.
For everyone else, it’s an expensive and low yield approach.
Instead, go for Top of the Funnel conversions. Prospects are much more likely to download a useful resource and once they’re in your database you can nurture them long term.
2. Use a Relevant Piece of Persona and Journey Based Content
Your content must be of high quality and relevant at both a Persona and Journey level.
Content targeted to the right persona and journey step generates leads that are of high sales value.
Un-targeted “click-bait’ content might convert highly but generates low value leads.
Low quality content (thin, poor visually, typos, etc) also reflects poorly on your brand.
3. Use The “Lead Generation” Campaign Objective
There are seven different LinkedIn Advertising Campaign Objectives:
Of these Lead Generation and Website Conversions can be used for lead generation purposes but you should use Lead Generation.
Website Conversions pushes the person directly to your website landing page for conversion there.
However, Lead Generation puts the conversion form right in the promoted content. It also pre-fills the form fields from the user’s LI profile. Fewer, easier, steps to conversion.
If you use Website Conversions and push them to your website it has two major negative impacts:
- More clicks: they must click on more links to get to your site and the download. Every click lowers conversion
- Harder Data Entry : they must manually fill out the fields on your form. This dramatically increases effort, and the potential for misentry due to typos
Both of these are significant impediments for users browsing on mobile devices and LinkedIn says 57% of traffic is on mobile devices so this is important.
When they can just hit the “download” button without even leaving the LinkedIn app, conversion is higher.
These benefits are confirmed in our side by side testing: Lead Gen forms convert better than Website conversion forms.
4. Use a simple image based post/Advert
Essentially, LI Lead Generation adverts are just posts that are promoted in the LinkedIn feed.
When designing your ad remember that you only have a second or two to catch their attention and get them to act, so be direct.
Of course you need test different text and images for your advert to determine what works best for you, but here are some starting points:
- Simple and direct “Introductory Text”: in this case targeting a job type
- Make your download “physical” – no artistic interpretation here. Show them what they are getting, even though it’s digital, and give them an immediate benefit.
- Show them how to get it: “Download” works pretty well
5. Include Only these Form Fields
Your form can contain as many fields as you like but, as for all conversion forms, the fewer fields, the higher the conversion rate.
Note: all of the fields are mandatory so you’ll get data for anything you request.
Here is what you should ask for:
First Name and Last Name
Name split into first and last name so they feed into your CRM properly.
Many people use a personal email address for their LinkedIn profile so if you ask for email you’ll likely get a personal email.
You can also ask for business email but you’ll still mostly get their personal email again. In our testing 71% of the time you end up with a personal address even if you ask for a company address.
In many respects this doesn’t matter because there there are plenty of ways to find someone’s email address from their name and company domain.
Tip: With the right software you can even export email lists from LinkedIn
LinkedIn Profile URL
This is the real gold – ask for their LI profile URL.
With this you don’t need to ask for their company, title, industry, etc, etc, it will all be in their profile.
Now, normally you need Company, title, etc to qualify leads but remember you’ve carefully set the audience for this advert so you already know they are broadly qualified.
Yes it takes a few seconds to update the details in the CRM but you were already going to check out their profile before contacting them, so nothing lost and more conversions gained.
That’s probably all you need.
6. Automatically load conversions to your CRM
Depending on your CRM, form fills can be automatically imported and actioned. HubSpot for instance has this ability.
Even if your CRM doesn’t have this ability natively, use Zapier to make it happen. You can download the leads from LinkedIn manually and upload them to your CRM but that takes time and, more importantly, delays the follow up process. Make it automatic.
Now you can send an automated followup to the prospect and alert your sales team.
7. Follow up: Start the Sales Process Immediately
Excellent – they’ve downloaded your super cool piece of content. You can sit back and relax. They’ll call with the order!
Yeah, not so much.
You can make a couple of assumptions about that excellent piece of content they downloaded:
- They probably don’t know where the download got saved and even if they do:
- They have not read it.
So you need to follow up, and quickly. Within an hour, or even better 10 minutes you need to:
- Send them a company branded email with the download included.
- Send them a note from a business development rep / account manager “reaching out” to assist.
- Start your formal lead nurture process
Case Study 1: Mature Australia SaaS Vendor (Includes Results)
Here are the results we achieved for a mature SaaS vendor to give you an idea of what is possible.
- Mature Australian SaaS vendor
- Highly competitive market space
- Tightly defined buyer persona and company firmographics
- LinkedIn form integration with client CRM driving automated follow up campaign and sales team engagement.
- Website with rich content at each stage of the buyer’s journey (top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel) with steadily growing website traffic and high value downloadable assets.
- While the website generates a steady rate of prospects there was a desire to supplement lead volumes to the sales team with targeted prospects in key industries.
- Advertising targeted at
- Australian companies and government agencies
- Specific industries
- Corporate and Enterprise sized organisations
- Specific job titles
- Strong Introductory copy and “physical” asset based image
- Strong and relevant download asset
- Cost Per Lead: A$16.76
- Post Engagement Rate: 2.77%, anything above 2% is considered very good
- Campaign duration: ongoing, with regular updating of creative and assets to maintain cost per lead
- Click through rate: 0.99% (going to client main site)
Case Study 2: SaaS Vendor – Entry to Australia (Includes Results)
We achieved these results for a new SaaS entrant to the Australian market.
- International SaaS vendor entering Australian marketplace
- Tightly defined buyer persona and target company firmographics
- LinedIn form integration with client CRM driving automated follow up campaign and sales team engagement.
- Website has thin local, i.e. Australian, content and little traffic but included a couple of valuable assets.
- Generate immediate prospects for the Australian sales force while building out the long term content marketing process.
- Advertising targeted at
- Larger SME companies
- Specific job roles
- Strong Introductory copy and “physical” asset based image
- Persona and journey relevant content asset
- Cost Per Lead: A$15.72
- Post Engagement Rate: 1.9%, anything above 2% is considered very good
- Campaign duration: 4 week fixed with same creative and assets
- Click through rate: 0.80% (going to client main site)