How to Build Your Targeted Prospect List on LinkedIn

Precisely identify and filter your target prospects on LinkedIn using these proven techniques.

October 17, 2017

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Precise prospecting is one of the easier ways to boost sales productivity, which explains why so many successful sales pros turn to LinkedIn for prospecting. LinkedIn’s members self-report their job history, industry, title, level of experience, and much more, allowing you to more accurately gauge whether it makes sense to engage with a potential sales target.

Here are the steps to identifying and filtering your targets on the world’s largest professional network.

Know Your Buyer

Before searching for prospects, it helps to know who you’re looking for. Which types of contacts and accounts can most benefit from doing business with your company? If your marketing and sales teams already collaborated to define your ideal customer profile, use that as your guide. If not, think through characteristics like industry, function/department, location, and seniority level. At LinkedIn, for example, we tend to look for Director or CXO-level individuals within the marketing function in companies across industries. If you’re using Sales Navigator, you can enter relevant criteria and create a list of matching leads within seconds.

Narrow Your Sights

With more than 500 million members on LinkedIn, it’s not humanly possible to contact each and every potential lead – even when Sales Navigator filters these down into the hundreds. From search results in Sales Navigator or LinkedIn’s general search, open only profiles that match your target decision-making level and industry/company size. Then, scan the following to get a better sense of the prospect so you can zero in on the best matches.

  • Language. What sorts of phrases does the prospect highlight or repeat in their profile headline and/or summary? These often give insight into their values and passions. For example, the terms “culture-focused” and “growth mindset” immediately tell you a lot about someone’s business style and personality.
  • Experience. What sorts of companies has the prospect worked for? This can provide a clue into their preferred working style. Those with a history in start-ups, for example, will operate differently than those who’ve matured in large enterprises.
  • Roles. Has the prospect always been in the same discipline or has this person switched careers at some point? Such moves can reveal a lot about their appetite for risk and growth.

Expand Your List

Once you identify companies and people who fit your criteria, you can search for look-alikes. You can filter on Connections Of to identify others within an account who might also make prime targets. Another option is to check out the People Also Viewed section associated with the contact’s company. This list might help you unearth similar companies that could use your solution.

Take Advantage of Your Network

It’s often easier to connect with prospects when you share a mutual connection. Within LinkedIn, you can filter by connections to identify someone in your network who is also connected to the prospect in your target list and can make that introduction. In fact, by tapping into the extended networks of everyone on your team, you can find more warm paths to prospects.

For more proven ways to boost sales proficiency, check out the LinkedIn Selling Tactical Plan