Top LinkedIn Tools to Supercharge Your Deal Flow
With over half a billion users and counting, LinkedIn is the leading platform for connecting with professionals across the globe. Following UX changes in 2017 that have made LinkedIn more akin to a social network, the website has seen huge growth in traffic, with some publications suggesting LinkedIn now generates over 250m active users per month.
Given the size and engagement levels of the network, it will come as no surprise that LinkedIn is the number one platform for generating leads and sales for the B2B sector. However, for many marketers, it can be difficult to get right. In this article we will focus on the tools of the trade that every marketing pro should have in their arsenal to supercharge and scale their LinkedIn campaigns.
We have broken down the tools into three categories; Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Browser Plugins and official LinkedIn tools. We’ll touch on details of each of the applications that we have tried and tested so you get a feel for how you could incorporate these tools with your current and future marketing strategies.
Hosted LinkedIn Tools
Tools hosted online, good old fashioned SaaS software.
The rather strangely named LinkedIn automation tool allows you to auto-visit and engage with hundreds of LinkedIn profiles each day. Boasting over 45,000 members, the platform will automatically seek out prospects and engage with them so you can focus purely on closing the deals.
Dux Soup – Key Features:
- Automatically views LinkedIn prospect profiles, follows their activity and endorses their skills.
- Sends personalised inbox messages to 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections without you having to lift a finger.
- Integrates with CRM systems, allowing you to auto upload the data for easy lead management.
- To avoid breaching LinkedIn’s fair-use limits and bot detection, the tool will randomise waiting times between actions and will run only during scheduled hours.
As an application, the tool is slick and easy-to-use, however it does have one downside which is that the entire premise of the tool is built around eliciting a response from profile views. In our tests we found that we had good response rates from senior/mid management down, but had little luck with the c-suite – although granted this will vary depending on industry and market.
In terms of pricing, the tool has three tiers. The first tier is FREE but you are limited to only auto engage with just 100 profiles a day, there’s also limited tool functionality. The second tier up is just $11.25 per month per user account – this tier doesn’t have extensive workflow integrations (Zapier) which you get with the “Turbo” account which rings in at $41.25 per month.
In summary, if you find a lot of your resource and time is being taken up “cold contacting” potential leads on LinkedIn then Dux Soup is a great candidate. However, do bear in mind that if the typical buyer profile operates at the c-level, you may have less success than those marketers who are looking to prospect employees on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder.
LeadFuze is a lead gen platform that discovers and contacts new leads automatically. Unlike other tools on the market, LeadFuze gathers data from multiple sources (not just LinkedIn) to speed up the process of qualifying your leads. The platform also has strong API integrations, allowing you to fully automate the prospecting process from data capture to outbound email or call.
LeadFuse – Key Features:
- Easily search for new potential customers based on a number of criteria including industry, company size, technologies used and Adword spend to name but a few.
- Access to verified telephone numbers and email addresses.
- Pre-built integrations with over 700 tools including Hubspot, Salesforce, G Suite, Zapier, Pipedrive and many more.
We found LeadFuze worked great for the US market, but if you are focusing on EMEA or APAC you may be slightly disappointed on the number of verified telephone numbers that are returned. However, if your campaigns will be purely email led than the platform performed well across all regions.
LeadFuze has two pricing tiers – the solo tier costs $97 a month which limits you to 500 leads a month, unfortunately there’s also no integrations available on this package. The other tier comes in at $297 a month and has no limits on the number of leads, it also comes with pre-built integrations and the ability to de-dupe leads if other members of your team have the lead in their account.
If you are trying to target niche buyers and want to create extremely targeted lists automatically, then LeadFuze is an excellent choice thanks to the breadth of data they have access to. Just be wary if you are looking to use the data to run telemarketing campaigns in non-US markets.
LeadFeeder reveals prospects who are already showing an interest in your company’s products/services by shining a light on which companies are visiting your website. The tool connects with LinkedIn to show you who you’re connected with at a visiting company so you can start a conversion immediately.
LeadFeeder – Key Features:
- See which people and companies are visiting your website and what content they are viewing.
- Email alerts when your key prospects visit your web property.
- Your hottest leads are automatically scored so you know where to focus your attention.
- Integrates directly with LinkedIn so you can pick up the conversation directly with the prospect.
- Integrates with your CRM with new leads automatically pushed into your sales pipeline.
LeadFeeder works based on known IP ranges of corporates, this works great if you’re going after large firms who will have their own dedicated IP addresses. However, expect the match-rate to decline if you’re targeting SMB’s who may be using an ISP like BT/Virgin/Sky.
The application has two pricing tiers – lite and premium. The lite version is free but only allows you to see the last 7 days’ worth of leads and comes with very limited functionality. The premium version starts at €53 a month and increases on a sliding scale depending on the number of leads you would generate per month. For example, 200 leads a month would cost €79 (€0.40 per lead), whereas a 1000 leads would set you back €219 (€0.22 per lead).
We would recommend trying out the free version to start with so you can gauge volumes / match-rates before you commit to the full paid plan.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
If you class yourself as a marketing whizz, then it’s a safe bet that IFTTT will already be one of your go-to tools. Launched in 2011, the platform has empowered marketers to automate workflows themselves without the need for IT assistance. The tool has a number of pre-built integrations for LinkedIn that will help you super-charge your sales efforts.
ITTTT – Key Features:
- Setup email alerts when a LinkedIn connection moves jobs or changes roles.
- Automate LinkedIn posts based on your social media activity on other channels such as Facebook/Instagram.
- 54 million IFTTT prebuilt applets to choose from.
This is a perfect tool for marketers who want to automate their LinkedIn workflows and best of all, it’s completely free! Ideal for startups that are strapped for cash and want to free up resource.
This isn’t your normal run of the mill marketing tool, Crystal Knows has definitely carved out a niche for itself. Crystal – regarded as the ‘worlds largest personality platform’ – can review a LinkedIn profile and provide you with feedback and insight into that persons personality and character.
Armed with this information, you’ll be in a better position to understand the best way to make contact with the potential lead. From which channel (email, cold call) through to the way you craft your message – the tool offers a high-level of guidance.
Crystal Knows – Key Features:
- Make your communication more impactful with individual prompts such as “skip the small talk” and “use facts over stories”.
- Chrome plugin auto-corrects your sales emails (InMail and Gmail) to fit the personality of the potential buyer.
- Understand which personality types you are most likely to have a successful conversation with so you don’t waste time on leads that won’t convert.
After playing around with the tool, we found that the personality descriptions were accurate and the prompts were useful when crafting emails. What we would like to see is which variables were used in the algorithm to determine the personality type and how strong the signals were. It feels quite “blackbox” and would be more re-assuring if the tool could say why they think a lead was a certain personality type.
The tool has a restricted free version that allows you to analyse 10 profiles of current LinkedIn connections. The premium version costs $29 a month and allows you unlimited access to the platform.
Crystal Knows is an ideal tool for marketers who are looking to target niche markets and therefore can manually contact each lead with a bespoke, personality-tailored message. The tool would also work well further down the sales funnel once you have qualified your leads. If Crystal release an API or pre-build integrations with lead gen tools, I could also see this platform being used as part of an auto-contact strategy, allowing you to deliver bespoke messages based on personality at scale!
The Chrome plugin is one of a number of “autovisit” tools that have sprung up in the last 12 months or so. This simple solution works by automatically visiting profiles on LinkedIn based on your search criteria. In turn this triggers a notification to the target in question that you have viewed their profile which will inevitably mean a percentage of targets will then view your profile to see what you have to offer.
Protop – Key Features:
- Quick and easy installation through the Google Chrome store.
- Filter what types of profiles you want to visit based on search keywords.
- Automatically skip profiles you have previously visited.
- Download a CSV of profiles you have visited in the last 90 days.
Protop is relatively inexpensive. The lower tier is FREE and allows you to visit 100 profiles per day. The second tier comes in at $25 per month with a cap of 1,000 profiles per day, plus the ability to store visited profiles for up to 90 days.
We found the plugin to be reliable and the ability to skip previously viewed profiles is a welcome feature to avoid freaking out potential leads. Additional features such as the ability to add additional filters to the search criteria would be the icing on the cake.
Used by the likes of Google, Uber and Amazon – Lusha’s browser extension will automatically scan LinkedIn profile pages (along with other platforms) you are visiting and return back the most up-to-date contact information for that profile.
Lusha – Key Features:
- Reveals up-to-date phone numbers and email addresses of potential customers.
- In addition to LinkedIn, Lusha will also automatically show the contact and company information of the people you correspond with in Gmail.
- Zapier integration allows you to hook Lusha into your CRM/mailing workflows.
- Google sheet integration is also available.
Lusha has four pricing categories to choose from. The first tier is free and allows you to scan 5 profiles a month. The second level costs $75 per month which includes 2 users and 1,440 profiles, the premium tier will set you back $149 per month for 5 users and 3,600 profiles. There’s also an ‘enterprise’ version which is bespoke in terms of pricing but starts with 6,000 profile views at a minimum.
In terms of performance, we found Lusha found contact details for around c65-70% of profiles we tested. When we attempted to contact each of the profiles around 10% of the emails/telephone numbers provided were incorrect or outdated. Despite this, we were pleased with the results and found it far more efficient to use this plugin instead of manually Googling to try and dig up the prospect contact details.
LinkedIn Messenger Assistant
A super simple Chrome extension that allows you to prepare templated messages on LinkedIn using variables that have been scraped directly from the prospect profile page. For anyone who is strapped for time, this is a life saver – no more manual copy / pastes!
LinkedIn Messenger Assistant – Key Features:
- Write templated messages using the following fields: FirstName, LastName, FullName, Headline, Company, Location, City, Education, Website and connection date.
This plugin isn’t the most feature-rich, but it does the basics well. If you want to scale your prospect message strategy on LinkedIn but want to maintain a level of personalisation and not come across like you are bulk mailing, this plugin is a great choice. And best of all, it’s absolutely free with no signup required!
Official LinkeIn Tools
LinkedIn also have their own suite of tools that can help turbo-charge your sales pipeline.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
The first thing to understand is that the Sales Navigator isn’t part of the premium account package. It’s a standalone subscription service that allows you to use LinkedIn as a lead gen and sales tool – think of it like a premium business account on steroids.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator – Key Features:
- Custom lead recommendations aligned to your company’s product/service offering.
- Real-time updates on both prospects and customers such as a change in job role / or company.
- Contact any LinkedIn member without inMail.
- Unlimited search and profile views.
- Integration with Salesforce.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator starts at $64.99 per month and goes up to $99.99 for those businesses that want multiple licenses. There’s also an “enterprise” version that has a bespoke pricing plan depending on the number of users.
The platform itself is very slick – as you’d expect – and is a good choice if you feel uncomfortable running your lead gen activities through third-party applications that some would argue are operating in a grey area of the market. We did find that the Pareto principle definitely applied, around 80% of our time was spent using 20% of the tools features which does make the price point feel a little hefty!
Sales Navigator for Gmail
LinkedIn paid Rapportive a whopping $15m to acquire their technology that shows you the latest social network updates from whoever you’re corresponding with on Gmail. At that kind of price tag – it’s no surprise that this plugin is a must-have for any self-respecting marketer.
Sales Navigator For Gmail – Key Features:
- See LinkedIn profile data for your contacts within Gmail.
- Build rapport with your prospects – shared connections, interests and experiences.
- Hover over any email address to view their profile, irrespective of whether you are connected with them on LinkedIn or not.
There are two versions of the plugin – a free edition which comes with all the key features above. The other version is available for those of you with a Sales Navigator account and comes with the added benefit of being able to see if prospects are connected with any of your colleagues or anyone in your network. The plugin also allows you to save contacts as leads within your Sales Navigator account.
LinkedIn Company Pages
Setting up a LinkedIn company page is a no-brainer if you want to engage with prospects and customers on the platform and best of all – it’s free!
LinkedIn Company Page Key Features:
- Share PowerPoint slides, Word docs and PDF’s with your audience.
- Insight into what content is trending with your target audience – a great source of information that can feed into your content strategy.
- Re-share member posts that mention your company and build reputation.
Creating a company page is quick, easy and intuitive and doesn’t require a premium membership. The real hard work is maintaining the page and making sure you regularly post content that is going to engage your audience. A recent study found that companies that post weekly will see a 2x uplift in engagement with their content vs. those that post less frequently.
We would also recommend adding campaign tracking codes to URL’s that point back to your company website. This will allow you to be able attribute sales back to your content marketing efforts on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Tools Summary
With CPMs going through the roof on Facebook and CPC’s sky-rocketing on Adwords, LinkedIn is a great alternative platform for generating leads / sales for businesses that focus on the B2B market. The tools and plugins we have showcased in this article will not only help you optimise your LinkedIn sales campaigns but will help you to scale once you have found a strategy that works for your business.