Look for These 6 Actionable Insights in Your Sales Prospect's LinkedIn Profile

June 14, 2018

Prospecting on LinkedIn takes more than mindlessly scrolling through profiles and firing off messages. Using LinkedIn for lead gen means finding the right prospects, which requires knowing how to quickly detect relevant insights.

Every prospect’s profile offers clues that can help move a conversation forward. Here are tips on finding the most valuable information for lead generation.

1. Are they leaders or individual contributors?

The obvious starting point when checking a LinkedIn profile is job title or role. When prospecting, you want to find stakeholders who can take action. That alone, however, is not enough to identify prospects. You should also:

  • Verify their role and responsibilities. Not every company is the same. Titles may mean, even if only slightly, different things at different organizations. A title will give you a basic overview, but dig deeper to make sure you are engaging with someone who can propel a sale forward.
  • Look for words that indicate leadership. “Leader.” “Driver.” “Strategy.” Any word or phrase that implies decision-making could make someone a valuable contact.
  • Look for people who influence decision makers. Just because someone isn’t the ultimate authority doesn’t mean they don’t have influence. Building relationships with people who directly influence decision makers can be just as valuable.


2. Are they publishing or sharing content?

A prospect’s work history and job roles only get you so far. What they publish and share on their profile can provide insight into their pain points, expertise, and priorities.

For example, they might share a presentation or piece of content that highlights their business goals and plans for the year. This can give you an idea for how to frame your offering.

Equally important is to get a feel for what ideas they are sharing. Do they ask a lot of questions? Are they showcasing their specialization? Every update can give you valuable insight into how a prospect thinks and acts.

3. What are their interests outside the office?

There’s a reason the old stereotype about sales involves handshake deals over a round of golf. And it’s not just so people have an excuse to play golf.

Every salesperson knows that making a deal is about making a connection. Doing this means more than just talking business. Sure, you can be an expert in your field, but successful prospecting is as much about gaining the other person’s trust, and connecting over a shared interest is a great way to do that.

Here are a few things you can look for:

  • Alma mater. You may not have gone to the same school, but you may know someone who did or have another personal connection to share.
  • Organizations/Charities. Have you both volunteered for the same organization? Do you know someone who sits on a board with the prospect? They don’t spend all their time at work, and their other affiliations can point to personal values. You can also search their organizations for shared connections who may be able to introduce you.
  • Interests. Perhaps you both love photography. Or painting. Or a myriad of other interests. This can spark conversation.

4. What are their career goals and what have they achieved?

People who have a record of success are more likely to hold influence. Nobody starts out as a CEO. Identifying people who are moving along their journey quickly can be a valuable prospecting tool now and in the future.

For example, maybe you notice someone has already been promoted twice within a year. It is likely they have an important voice in their organization and may even be on the fast track to becoming a key decision maker, if they aren’t already one. Getting in with a prospect like this early could lead to success now and a productive relationship going forward.

5. Which LinkedIn Groups do they belong to?

Like interests and status updates, LinkedIn Groups contain helpful insights beyond a member’s job experience. Groups offer a way to see what is most important to a prospect. There is a group for almost anything: entrepreneurship, digital marketing, future trends, women leaders, etc.

If you are part of the same group, you’ll have another shared interest to leverage. If you aren’t, you may consider joining, so long as you can bring something to the table.

6. What do others say about them?

Whether it’s because of modesty or simple oversight, some people aren’t good at highlighting their own skills and expertise. If that’s the case, look to recommendations from others.

Endorsements from leaders, peers, direct reports, or clients will offer insight into a prospect’s past projects, working relationships, influence, and most coveted skills. It may also paint a picture of their working style, which can help you understand how to craft a message that will get a response.

LinkedIn profiles are a powerful tool when prospecting. If you go in with a plan and know what you are looking for, you’ll be able to use the platform more efficiently and effectively.

As a last note, before you start digging into prospects’ LinkedIn profiles, make sure yours is updated. If you’re researching their professional background, you can bet others are doing the same for you.

Looking for more ways to use LinkedIn for prospecting and lead gen? Download our guide, Read Me If You Want to Make the Most Out of Sales Insights on LinkedIn.