The Ultimate LinkedIn Prospecting Guide in 2021

The Ultimate LinkedIn Prospecting Guide in 2021

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
July 28th, 2021
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LinkedIn is the answer you’re looking for.

There are about 250 million professionals are on it.

And, they’re just waiting for you to reach out to them.

But, LinkedIn prospecting isn’t like other types of prospecting.

It has its own rules and there are best practices that you have to follow to succeed.

Today, I want to share our ultimate guide on LinkedIn prospecting.

You need this.

Identifying Your Ideal Customer Profile

Your first step in LinkedIn prospecting – or sales prospecting in general – is identifying your target customer profile.

A target customer profile details the characteristics of your ideal customers, this includes their demographic profile, possible connections, pain points, challenges, and what sets them apart from general customers.

By doing this you not only get a clearer picture of who you’re looking for but also how you should be targeting them.

But, here’s what.

You’re not going to have just one target ideal customer profile.

You might end up with a lot of them.

It’s not uncommon to have about a dozen target customer profiles, that’s perfectly fine if you want to create customized campaigns for each of them – which we highly recommend.

Apart from the obvious inclusions like age and industry, here are a couple of things you can add to your target customer profile:

  • Pain points
  • Opportunities for growth
  • Challenges unique to their positions
  • Vision
  • Goals
  • Years in the industry
  • Position in the industry
  • Number of employees

I want to create advanced ideal customer profiles!

LinkedIn Prospecting Methods

The most basic LinkedIn prospecting method is through LinkedIn search.

You can easily input the job title or industry that you want to do your prospecting on and it will turn up results that you can sift through.

linkedin prospecting, The Ultimate LinkedIn Prospecting Guide in 2021

However, this method is rather crude for growth hackers because it can usually turn up thousands of results that you won’t even be able to use.

A way to fix that is to use LinkedIn boolean search which uses the “AND”, “OR”, “NOT”, parenthesis, and quotations parameters to create more specific search results.

Basically, you want to structure your searches with as many parameters as possible to narrow down your search criteria.

linkedin prospecting, The Ultimate LinkedIn Prospecting Guide in 2021

By doing this you’ll have fewer results that you have to sift through making your searches meaningful.

However, there’s a problem.

LinkedIn has search limits for basic users. This is because it wants to make money if you’re using the platform for commercial purposes.

You could lose the availability of search if you’re seen to be in violation or exceeding an unspecified limit.

The way around is to get a LinkedIn premium account.

Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is powerful.

It might be a paid tool but it’s worth every penny.

And, the reason why we like it so much is that it uses data coming in from LinkedIn itself.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator might not have the fanciest toolkit around, but it has a pretty robust prospecting feature.

There are basic filters for profiles, role and tenure, company, and even prospecting by keywords that they use or groups that they’re in.

linkedin prospecting, The Ultimate LinkedIn Prospecting Guide in 2021

Anyone can easily drill down the customer profile that they’re looking for.

Once you’re done with the search, you can push those results over to your CRM since it has integrations for a couple of the most popular ones.

We wouldn’t really recommend that you use their outreach features because they aren’t as solid as others, but the inclusion on LinkedIn InMail credits is a great addition to your toolkit.

Other Ways of Looking for LinkedIn Prospects

People Who Have Engaged With Your Posts

People who have interacted with your posts are the best people to reach out to.


Because they already know you.

Technically, they’ve shown interest in what you have to offer, and that’s already one step through the door.

It’s easier to talk to someone if they’re already familiar with who you are than having to send cold messages first.

There are different ways to reach out to someone who’s engaged with you.

  • You can connect with them first and then just continue showing them your content.
  • Connect with them and then send them a message
  • Engage with them directly on the post if they’ve made a comment
  • Send them a message on another medium such as email

I want to read the full guide on how to turn LinkedIn engagements into targeted lists!

People Who’ve Visited Your LinkedIn Profile

Just like post engagements, people who’ve viewed your profile are a good source of LinkedIn leads.

By visiting your profile, they have already shown initial interest in who you are.

LinkedIn allows you to view who’s viewed your profile.

Again, there are limitations if you’ve only got a normal account.

If you’re using a LinkedIn premium account, you can get a full list of all the people that have viewed your profile in the past 90 days.

linkedin prospecting, The Ultimate LinkedIn Prospecting Guide in 2021

Plus, what’s so great about it is that you can also get interesting insights about your viewers.

If you’ve got LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can use a tool like Phantombuster to extract that list and start the qualifying process.

Start by grabbing additional information about these leads and once you’re done with that, you can start segmenting them depending on the ideal customer profiles you’ve created.

This will allow you to personalize whatever outreach you have planned out for them.

Here’s a caveat.

Not everyone who’s visited your profile is a potential customer, some people are just inherently curious about you.

Using Gated Content

Gated content is nothing new with a lot of landing pages over the years using it as an email capture device.

However, you can do the same thing on LinkedIn without raising too many eyebrows.

What you do is create or post the link to a highly valuable piece of content, e.g. a database, templates, tools, and request that people who want to view it perform a specific action such as commenting on the post, liking it, etc.

The result is prequalified leads and their contact information.

The beauty of this process is that these leads are already interested in what you have to offer and you can weed out people who don’t fall into a specific category of customers based on their need for that piece of content.

It’s automatic passive lead qualification.

This technique should only be used in the content that you’re keeping under wraps is highly valuable.

LinkedIn Groups

Another great place to look for prospects is in LinkedIn groups, you can easily engage with people there and it’s easy to identify people who are looking for services similar to yours.

However, for this to work well, you need to be active to a certain degree. This means joining the group to actually contribute instead of just to scout out prospects.

Starting the Outreach Process

Optimize Your Profile

We cannot stress this enough.

You need to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s what.

Your LinkedIn profile acts as your landing page on the platform, this means that people who casually run into the content that you post online and are interested in will want to check you out.

In effect, it is a passive lead generation machine.

And, you want to maximize that.

But, it doesn’t end there.

Your profile is also a trust signal.

Optimized profiles aren’t just an indication of attention to detail, but also serve to boost your reputation on the platform.

We have dozens of guides on optimizing every single aspect of your profile available on our blog, and our LinkedIn influencer program will even guide you through the more advanced processes.

Warming Up Your LinkedIn Account

The first step in outreach or prospecting is warming your LinkedIn account.

This means gradually increasing activity on LinkedIn before you start connecting with people or sending out a ton of messages.

So, why do you have to do this?

You don’t want LinkedIn to think that you’re spamming people or you’re using a bot. If you suddenly decided to add 40 people a day for an entire week. LinkedIn is going to flag this as suspicious activity.

You want to do it slowly.

For example, you want to send out a maximum of 10 connections requests a day for about five days to a week before you can double that number.

After those five days, you can ramp that number up to 20 and do this for ten days.

We’ve actually listed down our recommended LinkedIn warmup sequence in the guide below. ?

I want to know how to warm up a LinkedIn account like a pro!

Personalizing Outreach

Since you’ve already developed ideal customer profiles before prospecting, it will be easier to create personalized messaging for the people that you want to reach out to.

Ideally, you need one unique campaign, approach, and message per ideal customer profile.

Once you’re done with prospecting for a specific customer profile, it’s time to reevaluate their characteristics and start building campaigns for them.

Don’t just add in their first names.

Make sure you only send them content that appeals to them, ask them questions that only matter to them, and sympathize with the challenges that they’re facing in their industry.

Lead Nurture With Content

Just because you’re prospecting and doing outreach doesn’t mean that you should stop releasing posts and content on LinkedIn.

Your posts on LinkedIn are constant reminders of your brand and your message to people that you’re connected with.

You can think of them as lead generation tools that slowly nudge your connections to build up interest in what you have to offer until they’re warm enough to be onboarded.

If they’re built to go viral, they can also act as lead generation magnets for connections past the third degree to connect with you, view your profile, and eventually get thrown into one of your funnels.

Creating Multidimensional Campaigns

Relying on LinkedIn is one thing, but modern campaigns also take advantage of other platforms to create multichannel and omnichannel campaigns.

Say you’ve connected with them on LinkedIn and you have their email, could move your follow-up to email, and then hit them up with brand awareness ads on Facebook.

There are dozens of possible combinations that you can do using different channels.

Since it’s assumed that you have a CRM in place to take care of all of the leads that you have, you’ll be able to give them multiple touchpoints where they can pick up a conversation with you on one platform and continue it on another.

Some might think that a multichannel campaign might be creepy, but I beg to disagree.

It all depends on how you manage the campaign.

If it involves a hard sell on every platform coupled with highly personalized messages, it could be really unpleasant for your prospect, but if you use more subtle marketing, it can make a difference.

Don’t Stick With One Campaign. Test.

You can’t just have one campaign.

Say, you’ve launched a campaign to connect with people in the B2B healthcare industry and you don’t seem to be getting the replies that you believe you should be getting.

That only means one thing.

Something’s wrong.

You need to be prepared with another outreach message, and you need to track the performance of that campaign as well.

At BAMF, we A/B test everything.

We do that because it creates more efficient campaigns and it’s less taxing on the resources that you have.

A good growth hacker is an efficient growth hacker.

People need to remember that.


LinkedIn prospecting can take your lead generation to new heights.

However, you can’t just jump on the bandwagon.

There are a lot of things that you have to prepare and there are rules you have to follow.

But, beyond this you need to remember one thing.

Prioritize the human connection.

People want to be heard.

They want to be understood.

And, most importantly, they want to feel connected.

Once you figure out how to do that, you’re golden.

If you need help with LinkedIn prospecting, you should check out the LinkedIn marketing services that we offer.

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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