How Startups Can Capture Hot Leads Using LinkedIn

We’ve all been on the receiving end of annoying sales emails. You don’t want them…so why would you send them?

There is only one way to make sure that your emails are not spam: Find the RIGHT leads. 

Your list should to be made up of those who will be interested and see the value of your product or service. They need to receive EXCELLENT, highly tailored information that appeals to them directly.

Based on my experience marketing for Global Marketing Tactics and my clients, here is an effective process you can use to generate these types of solid leads and hook them!

Less is More 

Targeted Lead Generation for StartupsThe key to effective cold email marketing is creating a highly targeted list. Size matters, but not if you have a bulky list of cold leads who won’t open, read or engage.

At GMT, we believe in making marketing personal. Our goal is offer useful information and relevant content that creates interest and engagement.

Mass messaging = spamming. So how can you get uber specific in your research, content creation and lead generation?

You can break your list up into small (less than 50 people) micro-segments and then talk to them directly in a way that makes sense for their interests. This used to be an agonizingly slow process, but with a few tools, you can speed up this important task list considerably.

Compressing the Process

Process breakdown for targeting LinkedIn Leads

Step1: Generate LinkedIn Connections

For me, LinkedIn is the top of my funnel. I use it to connect with prospects, influencers, customers and more. A good goal is to gain 100 new connections each month.

From these connections, you will want to personally converse with a few. LinkedIn has strategically built its process so that members don’t get spammed, so you can’t just go messaging and connecting with a ton of people outside your network.

Your 2nd and 3rd level connections are protected from receiving a ton of messages by LinkedIn’s use of “InMails,” which are expensive. The cost of these messages forces marketers to be selective and keeps the numbers down dramatically.

In order to use InMails, you have to have a Premium subscription with LinkedIn. Based on your subscription type, you will get a certain number of InMail credits.

For GMT, I currently use the Professional Plan on LinkedIn. It costs me $65/month and allows me to send 15 InMails per month. It’s not a lot…so what do I do?


Step 2: Drive Traffic to Your Account

The answer is to drive traffic to my account. I do this with AutoPilot for LinkedIn.

Autopilot for LinkedIn

Autopilot is a plugin for Chrome and/or Firefox that automatically visits hundreds of targeted LinkedIn profiles each day. Many of these people that “you” visited will then visit you back.

Once someone has visited you, there’s an opportunity to start a dialogue, research the person and hopefully make a meaningful connection.

AutoPilot lets you search with the same specificity as LinkedIn does (by title, keyword, industry, etc). These surgical searches help you quickly identify people who would value a connection with you.

For example, at GMT we help to build marketing for startups. Hence, I might search for CEO’s in Silicon Valley that have the keyword “Startup” or “Incubator.”


Step 3: Transfer Contacts to CRM

At the end of each month, I take the connections I’ve made on LinkedIn and export them to a CSV file.

LinkedIn How to export connections or contacts

LinkedIn How to export connections or contacts

LinkedIn How to export connections or contacts

LinkedIn How to export connections or contacts

Next, I prepare and import them into

What’s this preparation I speak of? Well, a lot of people still use personal accounts for their LinkedIn profiles. This is bad for CRM hygiene and can dramatically decrease the deliverability of messages you send out.

To keep your CRM clean, you will want to remove these personal email accounts from your list. Luckily, you don’t have to do it by hand!


Step 4: Run it by YesData

YesData for cleaning CRM

After importing to Salesforce, YesData is the tool I use to “scrub” my list clean. YesData is a B2B contact database that knows over 17 million phone verified decision makers. By subscribing, you get access to these verified leads as well as free data cleaning service that will fill in missing data in your CRM.

For each of my contacts, YesData replaces any personal email address from my LinkedIn export with the person’s corporate email address. Check out their site to see the other great benefits of using YesData.


Your LinkedIn profile can be your greatest source of new leads! Thanks to the tools mentioned above, it need not be an exhaustive process. Just a few simple steps will earn you targeted connections and grow your list with meaningful new emails each month.

What’s your favorite LeadGen hack?! I’d love to know, so tell me in the comments below and don’t forget to stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter!

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