- LinkedIn prospecting can simply and effectively connect you to highly relevant audiences — and it starts with the thought leaders your ideal customers already engage with.
- SalesLabs CEO and Founder Thibaut Souyris coaches his clients to find prospecting success with multi-step sequences and outreach templates that result in reply rates of 38% or more. Rather than reinventing the wheel, establish processes you can repeat at scale.
- Even the best prospecting methods are useless if you don’t repeat them every day. Break your targets into small, achievable goals, and dedicate the time to consistent prospecting for consistent results.
How does a former pilot keep his sales soaring?
From co-founding a general aviation start-up to coaching high-converting conversations at his company SalesLabs, Thibaut Souyris’s career has been anything but uneventful.
After 10 years of B2B sales experience, the secret to his success is a solid and consistent LinkedIn prospecting routine.
In his Growth Month presentation, Thibaut shares how he finds relevant conversation triggers, how to build a multi-step sequence for high reply rates, and how you can create your prospecting routine.
With all that said — let’s take off, shall we?
Relevant triggers for LinkedIn prospecting
At SalesLabs, Thibaut coaches his clients to start conversations that boast a 38% reply rate — and higher.
Effective LinkedIn prospecting begins with finding the right people to start conversations with. And having a rock-solid trigger means you’ll have the right reason and timing for outreach on lock, too.
Thibaut looks for interesting content using what he calls “the oasis effect.”
He explains that someone stranded on a desert island should focus on looking for a central oasis with an ecosystem that provides both food and water. On LinkedIn, “oases” are influential thought leaders that attract followers with their insightful content.
You should be visiting the LinkedIn profiles of “oasis” content creators daily as part of your prospecting.
If your ideal customers are on LinkedIn, they’re likely engaging with these thought leaders’ content. “The beauty of it is that you can simply see who liked or commented on a specific post and use the post as a trigger to start a conversation,” Thibaut says.
When you find a LinkedIn post that is useful to your audience, use the list of people who liked it as a starting point for prospecting. This approach increases the relevance and precision of your outreach.
How do you track down this kind of content? “Look for other people who are doing the job [of attracting prospects] for you,” says Thibaut. For instance, if you have colleagues who are active on LinkedIn, look to their high-engagement posts to find potential prospects.
Another strategic LinkedIn audience? Competitors. If your competitors actively post content that appeals to your ideal customers, odds are you can find highly relevant prospects in their likes and comments.
Once you’ve found target LinkedIn content from a colleague, competitor, or thought leader, identify both the people engaging with the post and the decision-makers at their companies. Be sure to add these individuals to your CRM — they’re likely the ones you’ll want to talk to.
Now that you have a ready-made list of interesting prospects, you can use the post as a trigger and a conversation starter when you reach out.
A multi-step sequence for higher reply rates
Once you have your list of leads and relevant triggers, it’s time to set your outreach sequence.
The key to effective prospecting, Thibaut says, is having a structured approach you can follow every day. Start by defining your touchpoints — where and how you’ll reach out — and establish the number of days between each step before moving on to the next.
Thibaut recommends between four and six touchpoints, depending on your audience and the type of prospects you have. A well-rounded sequence typically involves a combination of LinkedIn outreaches — a text-based message, video, or voice note — and emails.
Navigate each touchpoint until you get a reply or reach the end of your sequence. This allows you to complete your follow-up without reinventing the wheel.
In addition to establishing your sequence, you should create templates to simplify and guide these outreaches to your prospects. The framework Thibaut uses is trigger, question, teaser, call to action.
First, establish why you’re reaching out (whether they viewed your profile or engaged on one of your posts). Next, lead with a question-oriented problem. Ask the prospect what they’re doing to prevent or avoid the problem, showing that you understand their challenges.
Then, hint at a resource or solution you offer, like a video or ebook related to that challenge. Thibaut compares this strategy to the way streaming services keep you watching shows by ending each episode with an intriguing cliffhanger.
But instead of sending the resource outright, let them know you won’t be sending it until they reply to let you know they’re interested. That request for a response is your final call to action.
Find your cruising altitude
Once you’ve identified a good reason to reach out to your prospects and built a repeatable sequence, you need to establish consistency.
Thibaut explains that these frameworks “will be totally useless” if we don’t repeat them every day. Overloading certain days of your week with prospecting tasks can get unmanageable and overwhelming very quickly. Instead, complete a bit of prospecting every single day and chip away at your goals. “Consistent input means consistent output,” Thibaut says.
Remember Thibaut’s aviation career? In the cockpit and in sales, cruising altitude is critical.
When piloting a plane, flying at a certain altitude allows you to ensure you don’t run into terrain or obstacles. When prospecting, you need to ensure your activity level — your “cruising altitude” — is higher than your quota.
To set your cruising altitude, work backward to break your bigger target into smaller pieces. Thibaut uses a tool he created called the Cruising Altitude Calculator to help his clients accomplish this. (You can access it in his New Outreach System course.)
First, identify how many opportunities you need to generate during a specific time period, such as the next quarter. Define your average prospect reply rate — for Thibaut, this is 40%. From those replies, calculate how many prospects book a call with you. Finally, out of those calls, how many convert into opportunities?
Armed with this data, you can calculate how many prospects you need to contact quarterly – that activity level will be your “cruising altitude.” You can also determine how many outreaches you need to complete when prospecting to set a manageable routine daily, weekly, and monthly.
Putting in the time for prospecting success
To reach your goals, though, you still have to put in the time every day. Cold emailing and messaging can feel repetitive. But Thibaut compares prospecting activities to exercising and eating healthy foods. Though not always enjoyable at the moment, they produce consistent results over time and make a huge impact.
“With prospecting, the secret sauce is time blocking,” he says. Set aside time for prospecting when you are at your most productive. Eliminate distractions by muting notifications, and ask your team and leader not to disturb you during time blocks reserved for prospecting.
Thibaut spends the first “power hour” of his day prospecting. If prospecting is just one part of your day, doing it first means that the rest of your calendar is free for your other meetings and to-dos.
Luckily, with Thibaut’s insights, LinkedIn prospecting doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Equipped with relevant triggers, outreach sequences and frameworks, and a repeatable routine, you can simplify and streamline your process to reach your sales goals: your final destination.