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Linkedin lead generation – best practices for 2024 and beyond

LinkedIn lead generation – best practices for 2024 and beyond

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LinkedIn is one of the most lucrative places for B2B lead generation, but there’s a lot to get right. From setting yourself up for success to sending an InMail that strikes the right chord, we’ve got you covered.

A sales and marketing super-couple, LinkedIn and B2B lead generation stick together like copy and paste.

Don’t take our word for it, though.

Research from Sprout Social suggests that up to 89% of B2B marketers now use LinkedIn for lead generation.

But why’s this social tool so popular for B2B outreach, exactly? 🤷

It’s all in the numbers

HubSpot reports LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead gen than Facebook and Twitter. Not only that, LinkedIn’s cost per lead is 28% lower than Google AdWords too.

How important is LinkedIn in B2B marketing?

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that LinkedIn is not just important for lead gen; it’s becoming essential. 

According to Sprout Social’s research, 69% of the B2B marketers that use LinkedIn for lead gen say it produces leads for them. To put that figure into context, Facebook generates around 13% with Twitter (now X) producing around 13% (Straits Research).

OK, that’s all well and good, but isn’t it a bit pricey? Especially when budgets are tighter than ever.

“Although LinkedIn may be seen as a more expensive lead-generating tool than Facebook, its capacity to provide B2B marketers with highly focused leads more than justifies the price,” says the experts at Straits Research.

So with this in mind, it’s no wonder LinkedIn’s become such a popular choice for filling the pipeline. Especially when the system has been expressly set up for B2B sales success. Stats from SocialPilot suggest: 

  • Brands have seen a 33% increase in purchase intent from ad exposure on LinkedIn
  • Marketers see up to 2x higher conversion rates on LinkedIn
  • Lead generation forms in messaging ads result in 4 times more leads and 3 times more conversions
  • LinkedIn users exposed to business and acquisition messages are 6 times more likely to convert.
  • Finally, LinkedIn generates a ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) that’s 2-5 times higher compared to other social media platforms.

Sounds like a no-brainer then, right? 

In theory, yes. But only if you set yourself up for success too. 

How do I set myself up properly on LinkedIn?

We’re not treading any new ground here, but it’s still important to remember when it comes to LinkedIn lead generation.

Unlike other social platforms, connections are more important than clicks.

To give you and your business the best chance of building a quality network, you’ve got to put in the legwork – and long before you start reaching out to any potential leads,

Why, exactly? 

Because first impressions are everything. Especially when, according to Sage research,  it takes just a tenth of a second for people to judge what they see. 

So take the time to build the perfect presence and then start making your approach. Here’s how to set off on the right foot.

Optimise your company profile

Your company profile is a reflection of your brand’s professionalism, values and commitment to engagement – so it’s the only place to start. Here are some quick, easy and actionable tips to ensure your LinkedIn company page is working just as hard as you are. 💪

1. Don’t leave any gaps

First and foremost, make sure you complete every aspect of your profile. Gaps don’t scream professionalism or give off good trust signals, so ensure you’ve included a high-resolution logo, a striking banner image and a detailed description of your products or services.

You also need to ensure your contact information – that includes your website URL, email address and phone number – is up-to-date and easily accessible. We know it might sound a bit like being taught how to suck eggs🥚, but you’d be surprised at how often this stuff is missing – especially when marketing teams have a million other things to do.

2. Go unique with your URL

All company pages and profiles are given a standard – and often pretty clunky – LinkedIn URL. But you can create a custom link which is much more user-friendly and easier to find. To do so: 

  • Sign in to your page admin centre
  • Click the admin tools dropdown
  • Select the public URL option and make any changes you like

Easy as that. Just note there are a few LinkedIn policies it’s worth being aware of. Especially the fact that you’re limited to changing your URL to once every 30 days (any dropped URLs are available for others to claim after 365 days). We reckon you’re best finding one that satisfies your users and sticking to it, anyway.

3. Don’t bury the lead

Make sure your headline pops off the page and grabs their attention. So in as little real estate as possible, clearly and concisely communicate your value proposition – and what sets your company apart.

4. Make it about them 

Ideally, your ‘About’ section shouldn’t be chapter and verse. So succinctly highlight your company’s mission, values and the solutions you provide B2B clients. But more importantly, how they solve the challenges your prospects face as well.

When you optimise your company profile for SEO, you increase your chances of being found by searchers outside of your network – pretty crucial for lead gen. So include relevant keyword terms to increase your presence and any potential traffic to your page. 

Not sure where to start? Use traditional keyword research tools to check volume, intent and competition, browse competitor pages for ideas and look at LinkedIn’s autocomplete suggestions – that should put you in good stead. 

6. Showcase what you’ve got

Use the ‘Products and Services’ section to highlight your key offerings. Be sure to include detailed descriptions, high-quality images and relevant links to each. 

What’s more, rich media like HD videos and glossy documents will make your profile feel premium and position you as an industry heavyweight. Want to personalise your approach? LinkedIn ‘Showcase Pages’ allow you to shine a spotlight on certain solutions. This enables you to tailor relevant content to specific audiences.

7. Prove your worth

Did you know a whopping 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review from another customer? So request recommendations from clients, partners and colleagues and display them on your profile. Positive reviews are a powerful way of building trust among potential leads – so don’t skip the social proof.

8. Promote your culture with a careers page

A ‘Careers Page’ isn’t just a way of advertising your job opportunities; it’s a tool to subtly promote your company culture, creating a positive company image that can attract qualified leads. But you don’t have to stop there…

8. Ask employees to amplify the message

You can also encourage current employees to link their profiles to your company page. This is a great way to extend your company’s reach and amplify its credibility.

This leads us to our next point…

Optimise your personal profile 

As an advocate for your business when reaching out to leads, it’s essential to complete your own profile too. Prospects will tend to check out who you are, as well as who your company is.

Along with the catchy headline, compelling ‘About’ section and other optimisation hacks that we talked about above, here’s how to do your personal profile justice:

1. Put the pro in profile pic 

It makes sense that LinkedIn members with a profile photo would receive more engagement; that’s up to 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests. But did you know that users with a professional headshot receive 14 times more views as well? So be sure to invest in a high-quality, professional photo, if nothing else.

2. Get rich with media

This isn’t a paper CV, so you can get much more creative in bringing your experience section to life. Try mixing it up with rich media and enhance your profile with pressies, articles, portfolio snips and videos – all helping to demonstrate the sheer breadth of your expertise.

3. Drill down on results 

Sure, your summary section should highlight your professional background, skills and accomplishments. But be sure to quickly articulate how you can help your target audience IRL. That goes for your experience section too; skills, certifications and accomplishments are great – ROI and results are better.

4. Lean on your network

One of the great features of LinkedIn is how other users can help build your profile. So don’t be afraid to: 

  • Ask colleagues, clients or partners for recommendations about working with you. Positive testimonials are a great way of building trust.
  • Feature skills that align with your B2B expertise and then encourage colleagues to endorse you for them. This is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your personal profile.

5. Don’t leave it stagnant

There’s no better way to look like you’ve fallen off the grid than not updating your profile. So keep it up-to-date with your latest accomplishments, projects and experiences. An active profile is more likely to put you front and centre on the platform too, so you can attract more leads.

You’ve been busy doing worthwhile work: make sure your network knows it! 📣

What’s the best way to post and share on LinkedIn?

Whether it’s from the company page or your personal profile, quality content generation is the bread and butter of LinkedIn lead generation.

But maybe more than any other special platform around there’s one rule to live and die by: Know your audience.

Despite any pressure to “keep up” by posting night and day – and honestly, we get it –  the average C-level executive is likely to be far more interested in a timely industry update, or the odd insightful opinion piece, than a stream of inspirational posts.

So although LinkedIn itself recommends posting at least once a day (even on weekends) and also says companies that post weekly see a 2x life in content engagement, always prioritise quality over quantity. 

So what sort of content should I share on LinkedIn?

Valuable content that educates and empowers – that’s the stuff that hits the right note on LinkedIn. 

And there’s growing evidence that one format is piquing our interest more than any other. 

“Videos are proven to capture audiences’ attention in their feeds, and that audience is 20x more likely to share them than any other type of post,” says Tequia Burt,

Editor in Chief, LinkedIn Collective & LinkedIn Ads Blog.

This is especially important when looking to engage C-Suite decision-makers and senior influencers, in fact: “…LinkedIn is fast becoming one of this group’s most trusted sources of video content,” she continues. 

Not sure where to start or satisfy the platform? Burt offers 13 tips for creating B2B marketing videos on LinkedIn here.

So this is all well in good in terms of the format that’s working well on LinkedIn. But what about the content itself? 

Jim Habig, VP of Marketing at LinkedIn, believes two types of content resonate best for B2B lead generation. 

“There’s a delicate balance between offering what I’ll call practical content geared towards the practitioners and presenting forward-thinking thought leadership. Both are essential for capturing the attention of your prospects and customers,” he said in an interview with HubSpot.

Premium educational content can include how-to guides, case slides, whitepapers and ebooks. According to Habig, this positions your brand as a “helpful teammate” to lean on for support and expertise. 

“It’s crucial to incorporate thought leadership, demonstrating that you’re in tune with the industry’s trajectory,” says Habig, Especially when LinkedIn and Edelman’s research shows that 50% of C-suite executives believe quality thought leadership has more impact on their purchase decision-making during economic downturns than when times are good.

Of course, context is everything. And it’s also crucial to check your analytics to see what’s clicking and what isn’t. So be sure to take advantage of LinkedIn Analytics to track how your page is performing. Start by identifying top-performing quality content and then adjust your strategy accordingly.

All of this should give you a good idea of where to start. But what about when? 

When is the best time to post on LinkedIn?

Although there’s no hard and fast rule for this, we do have some best practices that can help. 

Like most of the algorithms on today’s social media platforms, LinkedIn’s recommendation system prioritises recency. So be sure to check your analytics to see when your target audience is online and try to post when they’re most likely to be present on the platform. 

It also depends on what you’re trying to achieve and, crucially,  how far down the funnel your prospect may be. 

“Your audience might engage with an inspirational post while scrolling the platform on a Monday morning, but only open a sales pitch later in the week (and day), when they’re the most productive. Understanding your goals will help you set every piece of LinkedIn content up for success by getting it out the door at the right time,” says Sara Nguyen and Trish Riswick over at Hootsuite

Looking for a rough guide? No problem. Hootsuite’s research shows the best overall time to post on LinkedIn is 9:00 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Weekends are the worst time to see much engagement, which is unsurprising for what’s mostly perceived as a work-based platform.

The thing is: whatever you decide to do, try to be consistent about it. Consistency is a big green tick of authenticity for LinkedIn’s algorithm because it helps your audience feel more connected to you as a brand.

But what about lead gen, though?

Well, when it comes to reaching out, an ice-cold approach will only get you so far – and it’s never as effective as when you have a connection. 

That’s why you need to take some time to grow your network before you start reaching out. 

How do I grow my network on LinkedIn?

To be honest, there’s no cheat code for building a valuable network of B2B connections. Not an authentic one, anyway. 

But while it does take a bit of grafting to get there, we’re going to show you how to make the process a little less painful for any sales reps who are reaching out.

  • Do your research first – start by using LinkedIn’s search and filters to identify the industry experts and any potential leads. Not sure where to start? Just look for any commonalities like shared connections, group memberships or mutual interests.
  • Personalise connection requests and messages – there’s nothing more off-putting than a blanket approach, so craft a personalised connection request that explains why you want to connect. Got some mutual connections in your network or any common interests and challenges? Be sure to mention anything relevant to set their mind at ease. Just avoid immediately pitching your product or services; it’s more important to try and build a relationship first. You can also let them know you’re there – and that you bring some added value – beforehand by joining the comments on one of their posts…
  • Show an interest in quality content – the good thing about LinkedIn is that it’s not just about posting content. To stand out, it’s just as important to like, comment on and share valuable content from thought leaders and members of your target audience. 
  • Join LinkedIn Groups – you don’t have to enter the comments to join the debate. Why not search for and enter relevant LinkedIn groups where your prospects are most active? Then, engage in discussions, share insights and establish yourself as a valuable member of the community. And there’s one way you can seriously shine in the spotlight…
  • Attend and host events – Participating in industry-related events and conferences is a great way to grow your network and demonstrate your expertise. Pulled together some valuable insights or have an interesting angle for debate? Then go a step further and consider hosting your own event, podcast or webinar – perfect for attracting leads and connecting with a like-minded audience.

Sound like a lot of work? 🥱 

Sure, it can be. But LinkedIn is designed to help you navigate the sales journey in style. 

How to use LinkedIn for lead generation

OK, we’ve established that LinkedIn is prime for lead gen. But with 43% of salespeople using the platform to find new prospects and sell socially, it’s pretty competitive too. 

Don’t worry, that’s where Sales Navigator can set you on the right path. 🗺️

What is Sales Navigator?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium subscription service with advanced tools for sales professionals. It allows sales reps to find and connect with potential leads, track account activities and streamline the business development process. 

Simply put: it’s a salesperson’s secret weapon.

Valuable tool

LinkedIn Sales Navigator: a beginner’s guide

What LinkedIn Sales Navigator is, how it works, and how you can use it to get new business

Grab yours

What features does Sales Navigator have?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a ton of features that can enhance your outreach and optimise any relationship-building efforts. Here are the best ones for B2B lead gen:

  • Advanced search filters – these allow users to search for leads based on specific criteria, e.g. job title, company size and location.
  • Lead recommendations – this feature gives you personalised suggestions for potential prospects – all based on user preferences and saved leads.
  • Saved leads and accounts – this saves valuable time on admin by allowing you to save, track and target specific accounts.
  • Custom lists – next, you can use this feature to create and manage custom lists of leads and accounts – perfect for more targeted outreach.
  • InMail credits – users will also get a monthly allocation of InMail credits to directly message individuals outside of their network. On the subject…
  • Extended network access – this feature allows users to reach a much broader audience beyond their immediate connections. And when it comes to those existing connections in your network… 
  • Real-time sales updates – keeping you up-to-date with what your prospects are doing, this feature delivers real-time alerts on lead and account activities, e.g. job changes and company news.
  • TeamLink – this tool shows shared connections within your team; great for leveraging networks and facilitating warm introductions.
  • CRM integration and advanced analytics – finally, one of the best things about Sales Navigator is how it integrates with the leading CRM systems. This allows for seamless data transfer, making it the perfect tool when reps are out in the field. What’s more, Navigator has much more advanced analytics around profile views, saved leads and engagement metrics.

And when it comes to using Sales Navigator, the metrics speak for themselves. 

Last year, LinkedIn commissioned Forrester Consulting to calculate the return on investment of using Navigator and found it yielded 312% ROI over 3 years, paying for itself in less than 6 months.

At Sopro, we reckon one of the most important benefits of using Navigator is how it helps sales teams personalise their approach. That’s how it can set you apart. 

But it’s not the only trick LinkedIn has up its sleeve in that department. 

Enter InMail 📩

How to communicate effectively via InMail 

As we mentioned before, InMail enables you to message individuals without a connection. Coming with a limited monthly allocation of credits and allowing you to reach far beyond your existing network, it’s a much better tool for B2B lead gen than standard LinkedIn messaging. 

So it’s looking pretty good for InMail then, right?

Absolutely. But only if you get your message straight.

InMail dos and don’ts to swear by

InMail may sound tantalisingly promising but if you don’t strike the right tone straight away, you’re going to end up ghosted. 👻

Don’t panic. Just follow these do’s and don’ts to avoid disappearing into the ether…


Personalise your message – sure, it’s time-consuming. But you’ve come this far, so there’s no point falling at the last hurdle. No carbon copies or cookie-cutter messages here, please. Just tailored content that sings to your target audience.

State your intentions – you’ve got to get to the point quickly here. So keep it brief and make a clear case for why this connection is a good thing. 

Find common ground – whether it’s market challenges or mutual connections, break the ice with something you’ve both got in common. Just keep it personable and professional – like you would if it was a first-time meeting in person.

Provide some value – along with your super-strong and unique value proposition consider a little something extra. This could be an eBook with industry insights, an opportunity to collaborate or an invite to your webinar. You don’t have to open with this; just don’t come empty-handed. 


Jump straight into a pitch – you wouldn’t do it face-to-face so ensure reps aren’t going straight for the hard sell. It takes time to build a trusting relationship out of the blue, so work on that first.  

Send without proofing – read it aloud and double-check it sounds like a human, not a 🤖. With the advent of AI, this is more important than ever before. Next, double-check your spelling and grammar. Whilst they are human mistakes, they’re still a little off-putting when you’re trying to make a good first impression.

Be too pushy – you know what it’s like; excessive follow-ups are the worst. Silence speaks volumes, so avoid sending multiple follow-up messages in a short period. Give the recipient time to respond and if it’s a no, it’s a no.

Be generic or jargony – prospects spot a templated message a mile off – especially when it doesn’t feel industry-specific. But you know what’s another major turn-off? Jargon and sales speak. 🤮 Above all else, you’ve got to keep it natural.

And that’s where multi-channel prospecting can make all the difference. 

LinkedIn outreach at Sopro

At Sopro, our multi-channel outreach service engages buyers naturally across multiple formats, meeting them on their preferred platform. 

We use buyer intent signals generated as part of your campaign to send coordinated and highly personalised LinkedIn outreach. We only send tailored connection messages to prospects who have already shown some interest in your business. Simply put: we focus on the leads that matter.

But how do we do it at scale? There’s science to our sales. 🧑‍🔬

Instead of spamming prospects without context, buyer intent acts as a trigger to send InMail messages and connection requests. Our research on the State of Prospecting in 2024 revealed that up to 4.8% of triggered LinkedIn messages ended in a meeting booked. Not only that 55% of the InMail responses progressed into an active dialogue; where the lead could be nurtured further. 

But with endless targets and senior management to satisfy, how else can you measure InMail’s success? 🤔 

How to track InMail performance and ROI

One of the great things about measuring InMail – and using LinkedIn’s analytics in general – is just how comprehensive the suite is. You can use InMail analytics to pull reports showing metrics which include:

  • Open rate – start by analysing the percentage of prospects who opened your InMail. A higher open rate indicates that your message caught their attention.
  • Response rate – next, look at the percentage of InMails that received a response. A higher response rate = better engagement.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) – if you’ve included links or attachments, track the CTR to gauge the general level of interest and engagement. A higher CTR indicates that recipients are taking action. Looking a little low? Might be time to pivot to a new approach. 
  • Conversion rate – does your InMail include a call-to-action (CTA)? If so, you can drill down and measure the effectiveness of your message in driving a desired action.
  • Conversion into connections – looking to grow your network? Then track how many recipients accept your connection request after receiving an InMail.
  • Lead generation – similarly, If your InMail is part of a wider lead generation strategy, measure the number of qualified leads generated from your campaign.
  • Positive replies or conversations started – taking a more qualitative view of things, you could also evaluate the number of positive replies or conversations your InMail received. This indicates successful engagement and potential relationship-building.

Remember: you don’t have to stick to one strategy at once. We’d recommend A/B testing a couple of variations of the InMail to different segments of your target audience. That way you can compare the performance of different messages and refine your approach accordingly. 

Great. But what about ROI? 💸

Essentially, the best thing to do is compare the cost of InMail credits to the value they generate. Sure, this might look a little different for sales and marketing teams – but closed deals or new business opportunities will certainly prove its worth.

The thing is: when it comes to placing yourself front and centre in a prospect’s mind, InMail is just one piece of the puzzle. 

The value in LinkedIn Ads and sponsored content

Research from LinkedIn suggests that buyers who were previously exposed to brand messages were 36% more likely to accept an InMail from a salesperson and 24% more likely to connect with them.

State of Prospecting 2024: The impact of brand marketing efforts on outbound sales.

Add to this the fact that a single LinkedIn ad has the potential to reach 14.6% of the world’s adult population and this approach still has a place in today’s B2B marketing efforts.

So what advertising options are available for B2B businesses? Well, the platform’s come a long way since it started over 20 years ago. Here’s a quick snapshot of where we are now:

  • Sponsored content – this allows you to promote your posts, articles or videos to a specific audience in their LinkedIn feeds.
  • Sponsored InMail – you can also send personalised messages directly to LinkedIn members’ inboxes. Ideal for hyper-targeted B2B messaging.
  • Sponsored display ads – literally ‘display’ ads to your target audience via the LinkedIn platform. This could include the homepage, prospect profile pages and LinkedIn Messaging.
  • LinkedIn text ads – these are the text-based ads that appear on the top or right side of LinkedIn pages. Still good for promoting content, generating leads or driving website visits.
  • Dynamic ads – this is a personalised ad that dynamically generates content based on the viewer’s LinkedIn profile, e.g. their photo or job title. Much better for a more personalised approach. Just as long as it’s creative – not creepy. 👀
  • LinkedIn video ads – just what it says; promote video content to a targeted audience via sponsored content or InMail.
  • Lead gen forms – you can also attach pre-filled forms to your ads, making it easy for users to submit their information without leaving LinkedIn.
  • Conversation ads – engage prospects more conversationally within LinkedIn Messaging. This allows for interactive and personalised communication that isn’t quite so one-sided.
  • LinkedIn events ads – looking to drum up some attendance? Promote webinars, conferences or other events by creating targeted ads for them.
  • LinkedIn company page ads – simply promote your LinkedIn Company Page to a specific audience, encouraging them to follow your brand.
  • Audience and Display Networks – you can also extend your reach beyond LinkedIn by delivering ads to LinkedIn’s partner sites via the Audience Network. Alternatively, display ads on partner websites within the LinkedIn Display Network to reach a much broader professional audience.

⬆️ But this isn’t the only way LinkedIn integrates with other lead-generation tools. 

How does LinkedIn integrate with sales and marketing tools?

To say that LinkedIn plays well with others would be a massive understatement. From the streamlined data sync between LinkedIn Sales Navigator and CRMs like Salesforce to the way Sopro uses buyer intent triggers to send InMails to warmer prospects, there’s no end to what you can do. 

Just remember: social isn’t meant to be used in silo. And as great as LinkedIn is, it works best with a little help from its friends.

The last line on LinkedIn lead gen

When we asked our panel of 377 sales and marketing professionals about the state of prospecting this year, they rated social second only to email as the channel they’d most like to be contacted on. 

Not too unexpected when the number of global social media users grew from 4.72 billion in January 2023 to 5.04 billion in January 2024.

However, when we quizzed them about which channels were the most effective for driving leads, LinkedIn InMail performed poorly; it was right down in 7th place. 

So what’s going on? 

To start with, the low success rate of standalone InMails can be put down to the sheer volume of outreach on LinkedIn. Consequently, the absence of a prior relationship or relevant context – not to mention the perceived impersonal nature – can lead standalone messages to be associated with the dreaded spam.

So while LinkedIn is a great option for lead generation, it’s even better as part of a multi-channel approach. With Sopro’s fully-managed service, you can hand prospecting to the experts. We’ll find the right people, send them the right messages, in the right places, and with buyer intent, do it at the right time.

Then it’s over to you and your pros to do what you do best – sell more.

Right person. Right message.
Right time. Right place.

Discover how our multi-channel outreach service helps hundreds of businesses sell more.

Multichannel prospecting