How to Sell on LinkedIn: Strategies and Tools for Startups

Elen Udovichenko
February 22, 2024
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An online community with 770M users worldwide (and growing), LinkedIn is the go-to medium for businesses of all sizes to market and sell their products, but even more so for startups.

Offering multiple ways to connect with and engage potential customers at little to no cost, it is a great place to reach and engage with your target audience.

At the same time, the competition for people’s attention on LinkedIn is getting bigger. How do you break through the noise?

Let’s unpack some of the startup strategies to sell on LinkedIn with a panel of experts:

In this post, we will share the summary and key takeaways from the recent panel discussion featuring the listed speakers.

You can listen to the full recording below.

It doesn't matter where you're starting — whether it's just the beginning of your sales journey on LinkedIn or you're already seeking to have like better results — everyone will find quite some useful information. So let’s dive in!

Getting started on LinkedIn

So you're a startup, a new business struggling to find its place, or one that's been around for a couple of years, still facing challenges in acquiring clients and gaining visibility. The key lies not only in identifying your target audience and reaching out to them effectively. First, you need to build your online presence. And there's no better place for business owners to do that than LinkedIn.

So, where should startups begin their LinkedIn selling journey?

A significant challenge for startups on LinkedIn is often the lack of clarity regarding their audience and messaging.

I would say, trying to create clarity as soon as possible. Who is your audience? Who are you talking to? Who are you writing to? Who are you trying to reach out to what do they care about? I think that's probably the biggest struggle.” — Alper Yurder

💡 Start by defining your audience – who are you addressing, and what interests them? Narrowing your focus will streamline your efforts and ensure your messages resonate with the right people — your target customers.

But how can startups achieve this clarity? It starts with casting a wide net, and experimenting with different content types and messaging to gauge audience engagement.

“First you need to cast a wide net, so you see who catches. And then, as you get signals, you try to double down and you try to measure the impact. So if you're posting for a month consistently, you know different post types, different topics, see what gets engagement, what actually works, and therefore double down on that.”Alper Yurder

💡 Tools like Waalaxy can assist in prospecting and identifying potential leads while tracking the impact of your efforts.

Consistency is another critical aspect when getting started. Regularity fosters familiarity and trust, essential for success on LinkedIn. Whether it's posting content or engaging with your prospective customers, maintaining a consistent presence is key.

💡 Aim for at least three posts per week from both your personal and company social profiles to stay top-of-mind with your connections.

“I would say consistency is the number one thing that you need to nail down. Start simple three posts per week from your personal profile and from the company profile. Then second thing that you can do is to clean your feed, follow all competitors that you have. You're going to see what is happening with industry, what kind of stuff they are doing, then you can get inspiration from them as well.” Dom Urniezius

Lastly, don't underestimate the power of visual content. Incorporating videos, images, and other multimedia elements can significantly enhance engagement and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Research indicates that visual content yields approximately 20% more engagement and impressions, making it a valuable addition to any startup's LinkedIn strategy.

💡 Tools like Taplio can further streamline content generation, ensuring a continuous flow of fresh ideas and perspectives.

From content creation to selling on LinkedIn

While content creation is an essential element of your marketing strategy for establishing visibility and credibility on LinkedIn, the outreach or sales side is equally significant. Initiating conversations with potential clients or industry peers is a key step in this process for early-stage startups.

“If we talk about very, very early-stage, startups, I would say that you definitely need to move your focus from how I can sell to how I can connect first.” — Edvin Vosylius

Start by inviting individuals to connect with you, then initiate conversations, especially with potential clients or peers in your industry. While immediate sales might not occur, this approach lays the groundwork for future opportunities.

There are three steps to gain quick traction with prospective clients on LinkedIn as a startup (without cold email):

  • Engage with competitors’ audience: Identify and engage with target users who are actively engaging with your competitor's content. These individuals present low-hanging fruit and can be easily reached out to.
  • Engage with your own audience: Analyze individuals who are engaging with your own content. Reach out to those who have not yet connected with you, especially those who fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Initiate conversations by asking relevant questions about your content, sparking meaningful interactions.
  • Comment on others’ content: An often overlooked tactic is to actively engage with other people's content through comments. By leaving insightful and relevant comments, especially on popular influencers' posts, you can increase your visibility and attract connections and engagement.

As relationships develop and trust is established, startups can gradually transition towards sales-focused initiatives. However, this shift should be gradual and considerate, avoiding aggressive sales tactics that may deter potential clients.

“I think a big part of closing a deal or selling or whatever you want to call it — convincing and influencing people — is having a system in place. That always helps. So when I say clarity, it's all about trying to figure out what that system is for you. But then there are general rules of thumb that you can leverage.” — Alper Yurder

Crafting compelling messages tailored to your target audience is crucial for initiating sales conversations on LinkedIn. Consider the following tactics:

  • Customized connection requests: When sending connection requests, personalize your messages to demonstrate genuine interest in the recipient's work or industry. Mention common interests or mutual connections to establish common ground and increase the likelihood of acceptance.
  • Value-driven messaging: In your outreach messages, focus on delivering value to the recipient. Highlight how your product or service can address their pain points or fulfill their needs. Use concrete examples, case studies, or testimonials to showcase the benefits of working with your startup.
  • Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): End your messages with a clear and concise call-to-action, prompting the recipient to take the next step. Whether it's scheduling a call, requesting more information, or visiting your website, make it easy for them to engage with you further.
“Don't ask for time. And when you have your CTA, don't ask for 15 minutes or 20 minutes, it’s like asking people for money, right? It doesn't work. So instead, use what we like to call not “call to action” but “call to conversation.” So that you are asking for just just to have a conversation and that's enough.” — Dom Urniezius

You can also leverage mutual connections to request warm introductions to potential leads or decision-makers. Reach out to shared connections with personalized requests, explaining why you're seeking an introduction and how it could benefit all parties involved.

“In my case, a lot of times I would go to LinkedIn, I would find the person that I want to reach out to or let's say they could be a potential prospect. And what we could do is we would then see where the people connected to that person. And if I would choose some people that I have a close relationship with or you know that I could ask for an intro I would definitely do it once in a while. This would really work wonders and would be an amazingly warm intro. So mutual connections. I feel like it's often overlooked, but it can really help.” — Kotryna Kurt

The ultimate toolset for LinkedIn selling

As the final section of this guide, let’s talk about some of the recommended tools to support your LinkedIn selling efforts. Our experts highlight the following ones as their go-to solutions:

  • Taplio helps with content optimization, providing insights, brainstorming ideas, and analytics to enhance content performance.
  • Kleo is useful for content curation and research, allowing you to sort through the most popular posts from each creator.
  • Waalaxy, Expandi, PhantomBuster, and Dripify are essential for task automation.
  • Shield offers robust analytics
  • Surfe streamlines lead generation and integrates seamlessly with LinkedIn.
  • Lemlist for personalized outreach, facilitating multi-wave campaigns while minimizing the risk of suspension.

❗ While automation tools may offer efficiency, users must exercise caution to avoid suspension. Start small with message volumes to stay within platform guidelines.

Final word

In conclusion, selling on LinkedIn presents a multitude of opportunities for startups to connect with their target audience, establish credibility, and drive sales. By implementing the strategies and utilizing the tools discussed in this post, startups can navigate the competitive landscape of LinkedIn with confidence.

Remember, success on LinkedIn is not just about selling—it's about building relationships, providing value, and fostering meaningful connections. With dedication, consistency, and a thoughtful approach, startups can leverage LinkedIn as a powerful platform to propel their growth and achieve their sales objectives.

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