5 LinkedIn InMail Mistakes That Sap Your Sales Mojo

June 11, 2018

Avoid these 5 all-too-common mistakes that suppress response rates.

When you need to make sure a sales prospect gets your message, it makes sense to use LinkedIn InMail. As mentioned in our new guide, Read Me If You Want to Improve Your InMail Response Rates on LinkedIn, InMail messages have a 10-25% hit rate when it comes to soliciting a response from prospects, 300% higher than emails with the same content.

And when you need to make sure a sales prospect responds to your message, it makes sense to know why InMail senders get left hanging. Avoid the following LinkedIn InMail blunders to spend more time working on promising deals and less time agonizing over “inactive” prospects.

Avoid These Common LinkedIn InMail Mistakes

Mistake #1: Improper Targeting and Preparation

To varying degrees, every salesperson wastes time on deals that don’t stand a chance of closing. Fortunately, today’s sellers have never been better equipped to nip wasted effort in the bud.

All salespeople have access to insights they can use to rationally explain to sales prospects (and themselves, really), why a prospect should be compelled to engage now. It’s okay if your target prospect pool shrinks. It’s a good thing, actually, because it means you are getting better at identifying and attracting only those who are a good fit, and you’re also getting better at purging prospects who are destined to waste your time.  

The background information you gather will help you decide whether it’s best to either make a prospect your A1 priority, save them as a lead to engage at a better time, or eliminating them from your list altogether.

Mistake #2: Failing to Personalize the Message

Personalizing a sales message is more than inserting your prospect’s name and their company name into a message template. This type of “personalization” tells the buyer you know who they are and who they work for. Hardly impressive or useful. Personalization is only truly achieved when the communication makes the buyer feel like you understand their unique situation and are in tune with their needs.

Here’s another test you can use. Before sending the message, ask yourself, “Could I swap out my prospect’s name and their company name and send this exact same message to someone else?” If the answer is yes, your message is not as personalized as it could be.

And if you struggle to explain why it makes sense to deliver this exact information, to this exact person, at this moment in time, one of the following three factors probably needs your attention:

  1. The prospect is not qualified
  2. The timing isn’t right – there’s no urgency
  3. More research is needed

In a few sentences, a well-crafted InMail can convey to a prospect that you’ve taken time to research their company carefully, understand their business, and have value to offer.

Mistake #3: Being Vague About Your Purpose

Sales outreach can be like a first date. Person A isn’t exactly sure what they want, only that they want Person B’s attention. Person B doesn’t know how to respond because they aren’t sure what’s on the table. When prospects don’t understand what’s happening, things get awkward, and hitting the delete button is a heck of a lot easier than asking strangers (even professional strangers) to clarify their intentions.

A well-written InMail is clear in its purpose. Whether you’re inviting a prospect to an event or webinar, or striking up a conversation about a common experience, be specific about your reason for reaching out. Your prospect will appreciate the context, and having understood your rationale for reaching out, can more easily focus on your message instead of wondering what your motivation may be.

Mistake #4: Offering Soft Next Steps

Nobody likes it when sales conversations stall out, especially qualified buyers who need to solve a problem. By using an action-oriented CTA, you can make it easy for buyers to escort themselves through the various stages of your sales pipeline.

Consider using your knowledge of each prospect to offer specific next steps you’d like them to take. In instances where you’ve had little exposure, offering your availability for a short call might be appropriate. In others, where you’ve collected more intelligence, you might feel it’s appropriate to request a meeting involving specific stakeholders and internal resources.

Mistake #5: Improperly Closing the Loop

Leaving prospects hanging (even low-priority prospects) is bad business. It can prevent future opportunities with your prospect or your prospect’s company. Conversely, stellar service opens the door to future opportunities and referrals, even when the service doesn’t immediately result in a sale. If you initiated the conversation, take responsibility for making sure it comes to a clear, satisfying conclusion.

LinkedIn InMail can help you gain the attention of potential buyers whom you don’t already know. By following best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you can gain your sales prospect’s respect as well.

Learn more about using LinkedIn for lead generation when you download our latest guide, Read Me If You Want to Improve Your InMail Response Rates on LinkedIn.