LinkedIn Lead Generation: Simple 7-step process + Free lead tracker template

LinkedIn lead generation“Where will my next client come from?”

Whether you’re a one person consultancy like me or an enterprise marketer, I’m sure that’s what keeps you up at night.

Selling is hard. Selling to businesses is harder. Let’s step back to understand how strangers become clients.

  • First, you identify your audience, the businesses that need your product.
  • Next, you reach out to these businesses. The ones that show interest in your product become your leads.
  • Eventually some of these leads buy from you and become clients.

That is why leads are so important. Without leads there are no clients, no revenue and no business.

But where do you find leads? The answer is LinkedIn.

Bonus: Get my free lead tracker template to simplify your LinkedIn lead generation campaign.

LinkedIn lead generation in 1 minute

If you’re in a hurry, watch this 52 second video to learn the 6 most important steps in LinkedIn lead generation. Bookmark this page to come back later for more details.

Why LinkedIn is the best source for generating B2B leads?

Yes, Facebook and Twitter are bigger. But when it comes to B2B leads, LinkedIn is a goldmine. Here’s why:

  • 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
  • 43% of marketers say that they have sourced a customer from LinkedIn.
  • 92% B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn over all other social platforms.
  • 79% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as an effective source for generating B2B leads.
  • 46% of social media traffic to your website comes from LinkedIn.
When it comes to generating B2B leads, LinkedIn rules. Click To Tweet
LinkedIn lead generation statistics

I hope by now you’re convinced why LinkedIn is the right platform for B2B. Let’s look at how to generate B2B leads from LinkedIn in 7 steps.

A simple 7-step LinkedIn lead generation process

Before you begin, I suggest you get my free lead tracker template. Make a copy of the template. And use it to keep track of your LinkedIn lead generation campaign.

Step 1: Create a target audience profile

Without a clearly defined audience, you’re wasting time on LinkedIn. Click To Tweet

Before you start a LinkedIn lead generation campaign, you need to have a clear plan of action. You need to know who you want to target and connect with. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time and effort.

Answer these questions to create a clearly defined target audience profile.

  • What are your target industries?
  • What is the employee size of your target companies?
  • What are the 5-10 job titles of decision makers in these companies?
  • What groups are these decision makers active in?
  • What geographical areas are you targeting?

Step 2: Optimize your profile

Optimize your LinkedIn profile to match the needs of your target audience. Click To Tweet

When you send someone a connection request, the first thing they’ll do is go through your profile. They’ll connect if they see value. Otherwise simply ignore your request.

Here are 5 quick ways to improve your LinkedIn profile:

Optimize your LinkedIn profile
3 most important components of your LinkedIn profile are your profile picture, headline and summary.
  1. Add a professional profile picture with an uncluttered background. Include a cover photo and claim your vanity URL for more branding.
  2. Optimize your headline to tell your audience what you can do for them. For example: “I help {your target audience} achieve {benefit} using {your product}”.
  3. Fill your summary section to showcase your achievements and examples of your ability. Add a clear call to action at the end.
  4. Add documents, videos and presentations in your media section to showcase your expertise and experience.
  5. Share 3-5 articles that are relevant and valuable to your audience. Comment & like other people’s posts to keep your profile active.

With a clearly defined audience and an optimized profile, your foundation is ready. It’s time to start reaching out to your audience and connecting with them.

Step 3: Find your audience

LinkedIn’s advanced search is a powerful tool to find prospective B2B leads. Click To Tweet

Finding you audience within LinkedIn’s half a billion members may seem like a daunting task. Thankfully LinkedIn has a powerful search feature. Combined with your target audience profile you can accurately find your target audience.

To make your search more potent:

  • Limit your search to second degree connections. There’s a better chance to connect with these members than total strangers.
  • Use boolean search operators to search for multiple job titles. LinkedIn now supports Quoted, Parenthetical, AND, OR and NOT operators.

For example, here’s how I can search CEOs of software companies in Bangalore.

LinkedIn People Filters

Next look at each member profile from the search results carefully. You may want to:

  • Look at their activities section. Find out if they active on LinkedIn.
  • Look at their company page. Check if the company size matches your target audience profile.
  • Go through their profile and company website. Do they fit your target audience profile?
  • Look at other employees of their company on LinkedIn. Check if there is someone who fits your audience profile better.

Once you decide someone is a good fit for you, add them to your lead tracker. In the next step we’ll ask them for a connection.

Step 4: Send a connection request

The secret to making connections on LinkedIn is not to sound like a salesperson. Click To Tweet

Sending a connection request on LinkedIn is easy. The hard part is getting people to accept your connection request.

Add a personal note with your connection request. This improves the chances of people accepting your connection request. Your message shouldn’t sound salesy. At the same time, it should make it clear that you mean business. How do you do that?

Here’s how:

Hi {first_name},
I came across your profile and noticed we are in a similar space, so I thought I’d reach out and connect.

Jitesh Patil
B2B Digital Marketer | I help businesses consistently attract new clients.

There’s no sales pitch in this message. But notice the tagline in my signature. I use it to position my service in the prospects mind.

You’ll have to customize the message and your tagline to match your target audience’s needs.

A quick word of caution.

Don’t get too greedy and start sending connection requests to everyone. LinkedIn imposes commercial use limits on searches. If you’re using a free LinkedIn account, limit the connection requests to 5-6 a day.

Step 5: Thank those who accept your request

Don’t miss out on thanking people when they connect with you on LinkedIn. Click To Tweet

Once someone accepts your connection request, send them a thank you note. This is another opportunity to position your business. This message acts like a bridge to the next few messages you’ll be sending.

Here’s a simple thank you message template that you can use.

Hi {first_name},
Thanks for connecting. I look forward to staying in touch.

Jitesh Patil
B2B Digital Marketer | I help businesses consistently attract new clients.

Step 6: Drip relevant, valuable content

Content is the key to LinkedIn lead generation. Use it to build affinity & trust. Click To Tweet

Congratulations! You’re now connected with your prospects. But how do you know if they are interested in your product?

That’s why making a connection isn’t enough. Sending your connections relevant, valuable content is a proven way to build affinity and trust. By sending helpful content, you’re creating value and improving your position as an expert.

According to LinkedIn, on an average buyers consume 10 content pieces before deciding to buy. Because you aren’t asking for a sale, you don’t have to send 10 pieces of content.

Here’s a template I use to send out useful content to my prospects:

Hi {first_name},
I published an article about how to {your article topic} and I thought it would be useful to you. You can read the article at {article link}.

Hope you find it useful.

Jitesh Patil
B2B Digital Marketer | I help businesses consistently attract new clients.

If you notice, this is again not a sales message. But this time, in addition to the tagline, I also use the article for positioning myself as an expert.

Use variations of the above template. Send out 2-3 articles on the second, fourth and sixth day after the ‘thank you’ message. That way you’ll stay in front of your prospects and create greater impact.

Need ideas on what content to send? Learn how to build a content marketing funnel.

Step 7: Ask for a meeting

Don’t ask for a sale on LinkedIn, ask for a meeting instead. Click To Tweet

Now that your prospect  warmed up, it’s time to ask for a meeting.

The prospect still doesn’t care enough about you to buy from you. So the purpose of this message is not to ask for a sale. Instead it’s to ask for a meeting.

Frame the message in a way that show why the meeting is beneficial to your prospect.

Here’s an example:

Hi {first_name},
I’m working with {target audience industry} companies and helping them generate 10-12 sales lead calls every month.

It would be great if we can work together to grow {prospect’s company name}. How does your schedule look for a quick call to talk more?

Jitesh Patil
B2B Digital Marketer | I help businesses consistently attract new clients.

Remember again your goal is not to close a sale on LinkedIn. Instead it’s to get a meeting with your prospect.

To wrap it up

LinkedIn is a treasure cave when it comes to finding B2B leads. And you don’t need to spend on ads or invest in a premium account to start generating leads from LinkedIn.

If you have a clear target audience, strong positioning and implement this LinkedIn lead generation process diligently you should start seeing results within 30 days.

Let me know in the comments below, how it worked for you.


  1. Hi Jitesh,
    This is one of the best articles I have read till date on this topic.. thanks.
    It’s quite apt and highly valuable. You just nailed it!
    Congratulations and keep up the good work.

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