Why InMail Is Replacing Email for Sales Lead Generation

May 23, 2018

InMails get a 10-25% response rate, 300% higher than emails

When you invest so much of your precious time toward pinpointing the right sales prospect, researching their situation and how you might improve it, and then crafting a message meant for their eyes only, does it make sense to rely on a leap of faith that your message even gets seen?

In this post, we explain why you might consider LinkedIn InMail for your most important sales messages, and we also point out a few InMail features that help senders achieve a 300% higher response rate than emails sent with the same content.

Why InMail Outperforms Email for B2B Selling

Most decision makers get hundreds of emails for every InMail message they receive. Unlike with email, decision makers don’t struggle to achieve “InMail zero,” and your prospects don’t need to dig out from their InMail when they return from vacation. All in all, it’s not hard to see why messages sent to a smaller, more exclusive inbox have a better chance of getting noticed.

Exclusivity aside though, there’s also a professional context inherent to InMail. People invest time on LinkedIn, and an InMail from you can pique a buyer’s interest at a time when they’re thinking about career goals and how they might achieve them.

With one click, a prospect can view your profile to learn more about you, your company, your solution, your connections, and can read recommendations from similar buyers you’ve helped – all without leaving the LinkedIn platform. They can easily respond to your InMail, then go back to what they’re doing on LinkedIn.

It works the other way, too. When selling, it’s common to peruse profiles on LinkedIn, looking for ideal customer profile matches and relevant sales triggers. When you spot the right sales prospect, it’s much easier to reference something you saw in their LinkedIn profile in a LinkedIn InMail versus trying to insert personalized information into a cold email, which is less contextualized. Plus, you can initiate your message in a single click.

Here are a few more LinkedIn InMail features that help to ensure your messages get noticed by the people you need to reach:

Use LinkedIn’s Active Status to Send InMail Messages at The Optimal Time

Have you noticed those green dots next to LinkedIn members’ profile photos? They indicate your connection is currently active on LinkedIn from their desktop. That means they’re probably in the office, making it a good time to send them an InMail. This doesn’t mean you should never send an InMail if someone isn’t currently active. Your prospect will still be notified in multiple ways, as you’ll learn more about below. But if you need to reach someone with an important, time-sensitive message, LinkedIn’s Active Status can help you do so.

LinkedIn InMail Ensures a Mobile-Optimized Experience

What happens if your sales prospect prefers to message people from their mobile device? With email, several varibles, on both your and your recipient’s end, factor into the quality of the mobile experience. The LinkedIn app for iPhone and Android, on the other hand, always offers users an intuitive, fluid experience on their mobile devices. When you send an InMail to a prospect who uses the app, your message will reach them wherever they are, on a device they use about 80 times a day.

InMail replies flow in a natural order, mimicking an in-person conversation. Include images or attachments to give your prospect additional context for your outreach.

Push Notifications and Emails Also Alert Prospects to Your New InMail

When a prospect using the LinkedIn mobile app receives your InMail, the app issues an alert to make them aware of the new message (if the member’s notification setting is turned on, that is). Similar to other apps, the LinkedIn app also uses a visual cue (a circle with a numeral in the corner of the app icon) to signal to the device owner that a new InMail message awaits.

In addition to the two types of notifications from the LinkedIn app, members also receive an email notice when you send an InMail (again, as long as they've retained their default settings on the platform). This multi-pronged notification system greatly improves the likelihood your message gets noticed.

The Power of Sponsored InMail

If you're looking to add an extra "oomph" to your InMail game, you might try sending Sponsored InMail to key prospects. With Sponsored InMail, prospects are notified of an message only when they are actively engaging on LinkedIn (i.e. scrolling through their feed, viewing profiles, researching companies, etc.). This allows for the active members of your target audience to receive your message in an engaged, business-minded context. 

And since members are only eligible to receive one InMail message from any advertiser every 45 days, you have an opportunity to own that audience and block competition from messaging them.

Discover more ways to use InMail to connect with qualified sales prospects. Download our latest guide, Read Me If You Want to Improve Your InMail Response Rates on LinkedIn to learn more.