Episode Summary

How can you write your LinkedIn DMs in a way that they get noticed? What’s the best way to approach target accounts on LinkedIn and get them to *actually* pay attention to you?

On this episode of the B2B Power Hour, hosts Nick Thickett and Morgan Smith cover the key aspects of how to make social selling on LinkedIn work for you.

Fundamentally, sales is about starting relevant conversations with the right people at the right time. But on social media, the fundamentals can be easily lost in a tidal wave of automation and digital interactions.

Triggers are helpful, but they need to be leveraged appropriately. That doesn’t mean reaching out just because a company announced it raised a Series C or made a certain type of hire. As the sales rep, your role is to use your unique vantage point — based on the experience you’ve gained working with similar organizations — to help them understand how the triggering event changes their business, and why they will need to make a change.

Starting a conversation with this mindset will eventually help you earn the right to pitch. Think about it this way: Good outreach should get them comfortable enough to want to have a deeper business conversation.

“I think this is something that got lost in digital and with automation,” Nick observes in the episode. Social selling is about “having conversations and earning trust at scale so that people are willing and want to have those deeper conversations.”

Nick and Morgan detail how best to warm up prospects on LinkedIn. They discuss three different approaches for writing thoughtful comments that will get ICPs to notice you and establish trust. Also discussed: When it makes sense to ask for a connection request, send a DM, and what to say (read: avoid highly scripted messages).

Listen in and you’ll also learn how to leverage influencers, as well as how to find influencers in industries where they are not easily apparent.

B2B Power Tips

Top takeaways from this week’s conversation

💡 Use design thinking questions to ensure your LinkedIn outreach is relevant.

When reaching out to a target account, you need to demonstrate that you have a clear reason for getting in touch. And it should connect to the deeper business case — not just the fact that the company might have raised a new round of capital. To get your outreach to stand out, you should have an answer to the following questions: Why them? Why now? Why us?

💬 To warm up prospects, master the art of thoughtful LinkedIn comments.

There are two approaches to take when you’re trying to warm up (not pitch!) an account or person on LinkedIn:

1) When a target persona reshares content, ask a question that will generate discussion in the comments.

2) If the account creates original content or reshares a post with some of their own added commentary, you have a few options:

  • “Yes, and…” Agree with the post and add something meaningful from your experience or perspective that supports it or illustrates a noteworthy contradiction.
  • Ask a thoughtful question (like you would on a straight reshare).
  • Write a joke comment, but only if you can actually write humorously (hint: emojis help).
  • Add a comment and tag an authoritative colleague, but preferably not someone from your own company.

3) Follow your ICP’s influencers (accounts with 5,000+ followers). You can comment on the actual post, but the real magic happens when you reply to ICPs that have already commented on the influencer’s post.

📲 Treat DMs like text messages.

Once you’ve started engaging with a prospect in DMs, keep it conversational. You shouldn’t copy and paste formal pre-written blocks of text.You might even want to write and reply to your messages from your phone. Remember, you’re still not trying to sell. Your goal is to validate your triggers — to see if it makes sense to eventually pitch.

Episode Highlights

Inflection points from the show

[6:49] Trigger happy: Many sales reps want to reach accounts that have just raised VC money, and they all have automation set up for trigger events like raising a Series C. Your reach out should be for a deeper reason.

[10:42] Strategic triggers: Nick describes how to leverage sales triggers to ask deeper questions based on your unique viewpoint.

[20:48] Their problems: When you DM a prospect on LinkedIn, you want to ask them about their problems (but you can’t ask exactly that). Morgan explains how to phrase an impactful question using your research.

[26:57] Social selling FTW: Most of your time on LinkedIn should be spent warming up accounts and working with triggered accounts. A smaller amount of time should be spent on direct outreach.

[28:10] The sales warmup: The old school way to do this was with a few emails before a call. With social selling, you want to comment on their LinkedIn posts (or wherever they are most active). Morgan then elaborates on the kind of comments to write.

[34:20] Industries with few influencers: Some industries don’t have an abundance of clear influencers. To find influencers in these industries, Nick has some “cheats.”

[38:33] Take it private: Nick discusses how you know when to make a connection request or switch a conversation to DM. Since DMs are private and take place once some trust has been built, it’s an opportunity to start asking bigger discovery questions.

[42:31] Appropriate person: With companies having many overlapping roles, Nick and Morgan discuss how manual prospecting can help you validate whether you’re speaking to the right prospect.

[51:28] Common messaging mistake: Don’t forget to tie your outreach back to the prospect’s problem.

[57:03] Vampire sales: In folklore, vampires weren’t allowed in your home unless invited. Do the right things to get invited to make a pitch and then only pitch when asked.

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