How To Start Selling Using LinkedIn: A Guide For B2B Business

In today’s noisy social media environment a question in every marketer’s mind is, “How can my message be heard?” It can be even more confusing for B2B businesses, whose messages are lost in a never-ending flow of B2C social feeds. “Is it even effective for B2B?” I heard clients ask.

The answer is “yes”! With a good strategy and the right tools, not only can you enhance your brand awareness and image, but also generate the sales leads for your business. This article will focus on the latter topic – lead generation.

“LinkedIn is 227% more effective for Lead Generation than Facebook and Twitter” – HubsSpot

The key to LinkedIn effectiveness is to engage the decision makers directly, without any gatekeepers. It is this ability that many companies employ as an important part of their digital marketing strategy. And here is how you start:


Decide what LinkedIn account you will be using for lead generation. If you’re a big corporation, everybody in your sales team should be using their own accounts. For smaller B2B businesses, it should be the LinkedIn account of a senior official — the president, director or vice president. The LinkedIn network you are building will have a lasting value, so you need to make sure you are building it with somebody’s account you are sure will stay in the company for a long time! It would be a waste of effort if the network you built in LinkedIn was made using the account of a new hire who would end up resigning after barely a year in your company.

Check out 7 Tips to Create an Outstanding LinkedIn Profile to learn how to set up an account, and to find people to engage with effectively, read our blog on the Master Networker’s Guide to LinkedIn Engagement.


Once you are active on LinkedIn and have some connections, you can start prospecting. LinkedIn is basically a sophisticated search engine and you can easily look for leads in different industries using your desired keywords.

In the following example, I typed in “filmmaker” and LinkedIn gives me all results associated with that keyword (don’t forget to choose “People” on the left side filter to show only people profile results). It’s better to keep the keywords more generic and customize your search with filters on the left side.

Basic Filters include: Relationship (1st, 2nd, 3rd degree connections or Group connections), Location, Current Company, Industry, Past Company, School, Profile Language, and Non-profit Interests.

Premium subscribers can filter their results even further by: Groups, Years of Experience, Function, Seniority Level, Interests, Company Size, Fortune, When Joined LinkedIn.

It’s highly recommended that you use a premium LinkedIn subscription if you want to fully utilize the network for prospecting and social selling services. Not only will you be able to use premium search filters, you will also have the ability to send messages via “InMails” to people who you are not connected to. You will also see profiles of people from the 3rd degree of connection and further. A basic account will limit effectiveness of this strategy because it only has basic features.

LinkedIn now offers specialized premium packages for different purposes and different pricing: Job Seekers, Business Plus, Sales Navigator, and Recruiter. For social selling the Sales Navigator account is the most convenient.

Bonus Tip 1: Save a search and get Weekly or Monthly Alerts from LinkedIn when new activity is happening with the keywords and specific filters you chose for the search.

Bonus Tip 2: In the search results, choose the “Group Members” Relationship filter. Then in the new search results you can send direct connection requests to all 2nd degree connections without having to explain “How do you know this person”. You do need to be a member of some groups first.

Warning: Use this tip with caution. LinkedIn penalizes profiles who send too many unsolicited connection requests and may even shut your profile down. It is much better to engage in the same group with your prospect prior to sending him/her connection request, so they could recall your name and profile.

Read the article The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Groups to get the best strategy for utilizing this feature.


Track your activity on LinkedIn to measure ROI. In each company’s case, the success metric may vary, but the basic thing to track are the following:

Set a time scale (every month, every quarter, etc.) and compare the results of the last two periods. This way you can try out new strategies and see what will work better. Just note, at first it will take quite a while to see initial results, especially if you just started on LinkedIn and have a very small network. Networking takes time!

You are not alone – join other B2B professionals on LinkedIn sharing their issues and strategies at the B2B Lead Roundtable.

“Just like in the real world, social selling is more about being SOCIAL and less about SELLING. Focus on building quality connections with people rather than going for quantity and copy/paste message blasting. Think about this — if you were in the prospect’s shoes, what message would you like to receive?”

In succeeding articles, I will expand this topic by talking about how to enhance your social selling strategy with content marketing. Stay tuned!


Kurt Shaver “S.E.L.L. Score Report” Lewis Howes “LinkedIn Master Strategies” Marketing Sherpa “B2B Lead Generation: 6 social media tactics form 7 experts”

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