LinkedIn is the fastest growing and most powerful database of engaged business people in the world.

Reaching out to and engaging the right people on the network can be a challenge – especially fitting social networking time around your life and day to day work.

That’s where automation tools (like Linda) come in.

To help you get started, we’ve put together this Beginner’s Guide: How to use LinkedIn automation tools to generate leads – we hope you find it useful!

 

Intro : A tool us only as good as its operator

Automation often gets a bad rap these days.

It’s used as a convenient scapegoat for bad marketing, sales or communications practice, when in fact as we all know; a tool only does what it is directed to do.

When automation is deployed thoughtfully, as part of an overall mix of methods to achieve a goal, it can help us to do much more than we can without it.

Think of modern car production; the perfect mix of automation and human activity!

Checklist : 3 key things before you begin automating

1 : What’s your objective?

Having a clear objective is crucial to create a clear plan to achieve it – don’t start a journey without knowing the destination!

2 : What’s the plan and how will you deliver it?

Once you have planned out how to achieve your objective, you should have a good idea of what you’ll need to do when to deliver it (and whether you can do it all yourself).

3 : Which parts of your process can – and most importantly should – be automated?

Finally, you should now have a clear idea of which elements or processes can be automated to accelerate or enhance your route to your objective. 

Remember – you can’t automate everything!

 

Chapter 1 : The Dos and Don'ts of automation

Ever hear the old cliche “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”?

Well before you start hammering all of your current and future contacts into submission, let’s cover the basics of automation.

DO

  • Have a clear view of your overall process
  • Understand which elements of that process it’s actually efficient and appropriate to automate
  • Put in place OKR (or your measurement framework of choice) to understand success

DO NOT

  • Dive into the tools and turn everything up to 11!
  • Make the mistake of thinking you can automate everything
  • Leave your tools plugged in, turned on and unattended 

We’ll dive into why these points are so important in the following chapters.

 

Chapter 2 : Planning is the key to success

Like so many things in life, having a good plan is essential to successful automation.

If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, or how you will achieve it, you can’t begin assess whether you even need to automate activity.

This is particularly important for lead generation. As we all know there is no silver bullet solution to good lead generation. The really skilled lead generators create a compelling mix of activities that draw people in to take an action – be it a meeting, a call or data capture.

This can be as simple as deciding between a Push or Pull approach, to as complex as building cross functional customer journeys spanning many months and many touchpoints.

To create a truly great plan, you need to work backwards from your ultimate objective. So sticking with the OKR framework, for example:

I will…  

Objective: Generate 100 new sales qualified leads in 12 months.

As measured by…

Key Results:

  • 50 relevant, net new connections per month (or 600 by end of year)
  • Capture data from at least 50%
  • Meet at least 25%

So we now know that our plan needs to incorporate activity that will generate connections, capture data and generate meetings. If we also know that we’re definitely going to use LinkedIn to contribute to some (or potentially all) of that Objective, we can start to map out a plan.

We can also immediately see where and how automation may fit into this plan; using outreach and messaging as a delivery / engagement vehicle to achieve our Key Results.

SECRET WEAPON

Develop a cadence.  The secret to delivering results long term is consistency – at a pace you can manage.

It’s no good generating a huge amount of conversations you can’t handle, or building a giant network you can’t interact with. Quality over quantity is the way to make this work. 

Integrating your new way of working into your current commitments is key to forming positive new habits that generate results.

Chapter 3 : Be relevant, be specific and be personal

Let’s be honest, it’s not hard to spot Spray and Pray spam.

It’s crap, it’s lazy and it rarely works for long (if it works at all). 

To create successful automated messaging or chat requires a little more finesse, forethought and planning. it also requires you to focus on three core areas. 

Relevant

Creating relevance and common ground in automated outreach is essential to create any level of interest from the recipient. This doesn’t have to be over engineered, and as we covered in our previous Beginner’s Guide on LinkedIn Sales Navigator, it can be as simple as graduating from the same school. If anything, the simpler the better. 

Specific

Be clear about why you are getting in touch and DO NOT try the old bait and switch – your audience will see it coming a mile away. 

No one likes having their time wasted, and no one likes to feel rushed or pressured. 

For example; if you’re running a campaign purely to grow our audience, just say “thanks for connecting” until you have something else to say down the track. You don’t need to blurt everything out immediately!

Personal

Finally, be personal. I don’t meant that in the overhyped marketing sense, I mean that in the real human sense.

Learn about your audience, understand their challenges, point of view and what they might like to hear from you, and weave that into your communication. 

Putting your ego to one side and stepping into someone else’s perspective can be hard, but you will find it will enable you to reach out to people in a way that sets you apart from the crowd by creating empathy and understanding – a much overlooked by extremely powerful skill to develop. 

Bonus Final Point – Have Fun

Most people are aware of the large game we’re all playing in the world of work (especially if you’re reading this and you’re in Sales); so combine all three of the previous points with a bit of frivolity and humour and you won’t go far wrong!

Chapter 4 : Measure the right things to hit your goals

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – that’s a given.

But you need to ensure you’re measuring *the right* things in order to achieve the result you want.

LinkedIn automation (or any sales automation) is not purely a numbers game, it’s about being super targeted and measuring the quality signals that give useful insight, then taking appropriate action.

For example, look at these two statements:

  • “Campaign A delivered 5,000 messages in 30 days!”
  • “Campaign A had a response rate over 50% better than the last one!”

Which of those two allows you to take an action? Or make a decision?

Here are a few keys things to bear in mind when putting together your set of metrics to measure your key results:

1. Quality, not quantity

The majority of people using LinkedIn to generate business outcomes are there because of the high quality of the network, not to play the numbers. As another old cliche says; “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” If you are only looking at numbers of things you are measuring the wrong metrics in the wrong channel and you might need to go back to the drawing board.

2. Trends, not snapshots

Looking at a ‘window in time’ doesn’t allow you to make any decisions, it just tells you what’s happening right now. That might be useful if you need to quickly check to see if things are still running, but you need a view of what’s happened before and ideally forecasting of what might happen next to give that information context. This context allows you to make decisions that a simple view of right now does not.

3. Compare & contrast
Comparing data over various time periods, different campaigns or tests will allow you to start to refine your activity and improve your results further. Testing all of the areas we have covered so far can uncover a treasure trove of different ways to tweak the pace, cadence, process and content of automated messaging to refine it against your target audience, your objectives and your own business. 

That’s where the fun really starts…

Chapter 5 : Be different - killer tools to create cut through

Ultimately automating elements of your outreach, messaging and the management of those things can only achieve so much.

People are getting bored of just text, and it seems a shame to waste that super expensive multimedia studio you have in your pocket or bag just tapping out text messages all day – it’s not a Nokia 3310!

With that in mind, here are some tools that will help you bring yourself to life so that when you deliver your well crafted campaign, the automated elements are delivering something outstanding!

1 : Be real – use videoLoom & Zoom

Video is the most personal way to introduce yourself “in person” – and it’s free! Make the most of it to make a better first impression.

2. Be real – use voice messages – your phone

If you’re not ready for video, you can send voice memos/messages as a good alternative. This is on your phone now – try it out to get your message across.

3 : Make meeting easyCalendly, Acuity or X.AI

Bored of the endless email back and forth to organise times to meet? Make it easy with a shared calendar or an AI assistant.

4 : Share stuff in interesting formatsPrezi

Don’t be trapped in Powerpoint! There are tons of tools to help you share your ideas in more interesting ways. Here’s one to get you going…

5 : Make sharing easy – Dropbox

Make sharing any types of files easy by using shared folders to easily share things with your connections.

6 : Get sign off fasterDocusign / Hellosign

Get things signed off faster using electronic signatures on your documents. Save paper and save time!

Next Steps : Put this theory into practice...

Get yourself a free trial of Linda and see what you can achieve through a mix of intelligent, well planned automation combined with your natural human skills!