I hate to be the one to break it to you. But that thing you’re doing on LinkedIn, where you’re messaging 75 people a day with a canned message that’s vaguely related to their job title? It’s not ‘lead generation’ or an ‘outbound cadence’.
What you are doing there, my fellow salesperson, is called span. You’re blasting a cold audience with a salesy message that they don’t want to hear, and hoping for the best. What’s worse, it doesn’t even work: at this point, everyone has been using Linkedin automation tools; people can smell your robotic sales pitch 100 miles away, and tune it out without skipping a beat.
This stuff might have worked five years ago, but it doesn’t work anymore. So is it time to give up on LinkedIn and go back to selling door-to-door?
Not quite. Let’s look at ways you can continue to use LinkedIn for effective sales outreach – and even continue using automation tools – with the power of personalisation.
How NOT to Do Personalised Outreach
Let’s start with the types of ‘personalisation hacks’ that are completely transparent, put people off, and should be avoided:
Sending the same spammy message, but “personalising” it with tokens:
This is the basic functionality you’ll get in every automation tool – the ability to use data from the prospect’s profile as tokens in your message. It ends up looking like this:
This is an extreme example – but even when you don’t end up scraping joke titles and redundant information, it doesn’t look natural and no one is buying it.
Using a handful of variations of the same spammy message
Slightly less spammy but still obvious are the cases where you make minor tweaks to the same message, which is supposedly meant to align it with the interests of whatever job title you’re bulk-messaging that day.
Sorry, this still isn’t good enough, and the wider the net you try to cast in terms of the people you’re messaging, the less accurate it will be. Yes, one out of ten times you’ll manage to hit a person who actually identifies with the problem you’re describing; the rest will either fall on the wrong ears, or your audience will see right through it.
The completely fake compliment
Compliments tend to work both on and offline – but not when they look like this:
Again, you might find the rare gullible person who believes you are actually very impressed with their work. But it’s not going to work on most people who will find you offputting and fake.
If you’re still doing any of the above in 2022, it’s time to move on.
Do This Instead: 3 Good Ways to Personalise Your LinkedIn Outreach
1. Use intent signals to engage a narrower set of prospects
It’s always a numbers game in sales, but if you’re targeting a warmer audience you can do less spraying-and-praying to get the same amount of meetings. By narrowing down your prospect list to companies or people who are potentially interested in what you’re selling, you’ll be able to spend more time researching each prospect and tailoring a message that will get a response.
One way to do this is using tools such as Leadfeeder or VisitorQueue, which reveal companies that have been visiting your website. These tools won’t tell you the contact details of specific visitors, but you can use them to create lists of relevant personas from these companies, and then craft personalised message sequences for each one.
If you’re using these tools on your website, Salesloop will allow you to automatically connect to either of them to build your list, add both general and specific personalisation variables, and message the entire group with a single click. Learn more about our integration with Leadfeeder, or our integration with VisitorQueue.
2. The first few lines of your message should be specific to the person you’re contacting
Personalisation means actually tailoring your message to the one person you’re contacting – not their job title, cohort, or industry. (Yes, this is difficult to do at scale, but narrowing your audience will help and you’ll learn to do it faster over time.)
Do your research. Even spending a few minutes on the person’s social media profiles or Googling their name will reveal information that you can use to craft personalised messages: Professional interests, awards, achievements, or job history are all fair game and show that you’ve done the work, rather than pulled your prospect’s name out of a hat (or a Sales Nav query). But please don’t overdo it and go rifling through someone’s Instagram photos…
Once you’ve learned something useful and interesting about your prospect, incorporate in the first one or two lines of your outreach message. Here are some tips on what you might to include there:
- Find a shared event or interest, and lead with that. Try to choose a topic you actually know firsthand, or an event you attended – and use that as your conversation starter.
- Say something nice, but be genuine about it: Generic, mindless flattery is bad; but actually finding something nice to say is a great way to start a conversation. Your prospect has surely achieved some great feats that you can mention – just make sure you’re weaving these compliments into the natural flow of conversation, and demonstrate that you understand what’s actually impressive or noteworthy about them.
- Aim to have a conversation, not to sell. This is a piece of advice that’s often repeated and can be quite frustrating because obviously, you are trying to sell a product or service. However, not everyone is ready to be sold to immediately, and many people shut off when they realise that they are being pitched to. Instead, build a connection with the person you’re prospecting, ask them a question, identify with their pain points – and then go ahead and pitch them if you believe you have the solution. This doesn’t always mean sending a dozen messages; in some cases, you can sense there’s an opportunity after just one or two. Read the room.
Related: Ryan O’Hara of LeadiQ wrote this great guide about cold emailing – many of the same tips apply!
3. Use a hybrid approach to automation
If you go for a fully automated approach, it will inevitably look and feel like spam. There is no way to hit 500 people a week with a message that’s truly relevant for each and every one of them – so just dumping a list from Sales Navigator into your automation tool is not the way.
However, this doesn’t mean you should go completely manual and expend the excruciating amount of clicks and waiting times that LinkedIn forces you to go through to send a single message. Instead, you can use Salesloop to build your list, and then add several layers of personalisation:
- Segment your audiences based on demographic and intent data
- Build messaging per each segment
- Add a specific opening line or paragraph tailored to the specific prospect or company
Even after personalisation, it’s very likely that there will be repetitive parts in your connection requests, and that’s completely fine. As a rule of thumb, you might aim to keep about 10-20% of your message personalised.
In Salesloop, you can do this using variables, which can apply to either a list of prospects or a specific prospect:
Simply go through the list, add the relevant personalisation variables (which will be based on the research you did in the previous steps), and launch your campaign. You can also use the same tokens that are available in other automation tools, but we wouldn’t recommend relying exclusively on these.
Closing: Make Sales, Not Spam
Obviously, a lot of these best practices are easier said than done. When you need to hit your numbers, sometimes the ability to really research each prospect takes a hit. We’ve all been there!
However, even if you can’t go 100% personalised, it’s always best to try to do whatever you can in order to craft better messages with a more personal touch. It might be painful at start, but over time, it will pay off in better conversion rates and more deals.
If you need a tool that can support true personalisation and not just canned messages with [job title] tokens, check out Salesloop today – it’s 100% free to start with no credit card required.