How to use LinkedIn outreach in your account-based marketing strategy
Want to improve your ABM with LinkedIn. Will Cannon provides an in-depth actionable, step-by-step plan
Account-based marketing (ABM) has become common practice in recent years. Indeed, there are now entire teams and job roles dedicated to the practice.
According to ITSMA, 87% of marketers say the ROI from ABM outperforms other marketing channels. This alone shows the power of this 'long-play' B2B marketing methodology.
But when it comes to engaging and nurturing target accounts, different channels require different approaches. For me, one of the most effective channels is LinkedIn.
In this blog, I’m going to outline a process that uses LinkedIn marketing. It’s an approach I use in my own outreach marketing and, as you’ll learn, the results are extremely favourable.
1. Research target contacts in LinkedIn
You should already have a list of target accounts. Therefore, the first step to a strong ABM outreach approach is in researching the right contacts.
Although it’s not required, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can make this process much easier.
For the sake of this article, we’ll stick with the standard LinkedIn platform for research.
Start by heading to your target company’s LinkedIn page. For example, if I were targeting Shopify, here’s what the company profile page looks like:
Next, find the right job roles within that organisation. For example, if you were selling to senior marketing decision-makers, you would click on the link that says 'See all employees on LinkedIn' and search for the term 'marketing':
Add these contacts to your tracking system (e.g. CRM or spreadsheet).
Next, you must collect as much background information on each contact as possible. Uncover key information on LinkedIn such as:
Commonalities, e.g., groups, skills, interests and events you’ve both attended.
How long they’ve worked for the target company.
The content they create and where they publish.
Communities and LinkedIn groups they’re members of.
Any accomplishments/awards they’ve won.
Recent mentions in the news (individual and company level).
With the increased popularity of LinkedIn as a content platform, it’s likely your target contacts create their own. To find it, head to their profile and click 'See all activity' under the activity section of their profile:
On the following page, click on 'Posts'. This will display only the content that this contact has posted themselves:
This insight will fuel the personalisation of your email outreach. Now it’s time to warm up your contacts. This step is key before moving into the outreach phase. To do this, get involved in their content and conversations.
How to engage with target contacts pre-outreach:
Comment on their blog posts with meaningful insights.
Engage with their LinkedIn posts.
Share their content with tailored content and tag them in your post.
Join in the community conversations where they’re involved.
By doing this, you’re more likely to be a familiar face when you land in their inbox.
2. Building authority through LinkedIn
When connecting with your target audience (especially senior decision-makers), building trust is important. But you can’t do that from email outreach alone.
Which is why LinkedIn is such a powerful tool for account-based marketers. With it, you can create and share engaging content that positions you as an authority and thought leader in your space.
Here, I’ll cover three tips you can use LinkedIn to boost your personal brand and establish expert-level credibility. These tips will bolster your ABM outreach and get you noticed by your target accounts.
LinkedIn tip 1: Optimise your profile
When engaging with target contacts on LinkedIn, the first thing they’ll do is check your profile which is why having it optimised is key.
Make sure you have the following elements in place when optimising your profile:
1. Profile picture: This is what most people will see first. Ensure you have a professional, up-to-date profile picture.
2. Header image: Use this as an opportunity to boost your social proof. For example, if you’ve been featured in certain publications, include their logos here.
3. Headline: Highlight your accomplishments, subjects of expertise and how you help your clients.
4. Bio: Go into detail about the benefits of your product or the services you offer to help clients. Get as specific as possible, and don’t forget to name-drop any prominent client names.
LinkedIn tip 2: Create educational posts
LinkedIn has become a serious publishing platform. Executives of all levels have used it to spread thought leadership and build their personal brand in recent years.
It’s also one of the best ways to nurture your ABM leads over time. There are several LinkedIn post formats you can use, but the more effective include:
- Business lessons learned through trials, tribulations and mistakes.
- Lessons and stories learned from your conversations with other business leaders.
- Value-driven posts that show your audience how to accomplish something.
For example, Aaron Orendorff, editor-in-chief at Shopify, uses LinkedIn posts to share stories around the lessons, struggles and successes he's experienced in business.
As a result, Aaron generates lots of engagement from his connections, which help to spread his message further.
LinkedIn tip 3: Co-branded video content
Video is another content format that has a high chance of going viral on LinkedIn. The best part? It doesn’t have to be a big-budget production.
Indeed, many thought leaders simple stand in front of their iPhone, hit record and then upload. In the example below, Allen Gannett uses video to pair up with the CEO of Morning Brew to talk about the art of making business newsletters exciting.
As you can see, all it took was a minute standing in front of an iPhone.
Making your own can be a simple process. Whenever you meet someone who has an interesting or inspiring story, ask if you can get them to share some quick insights in front of the camera. It’s that simple.
When you upload your video to LinkedIn, make sure you tag them in the post. This way, you attract the attention of their connections as well as yours.
This works especially well if the individual is affiliated with your target accounts in some way. By doing this, you’re essentially piggy-backing off the trust they have already established!
Be patient when playing the long game
Everyone knows ABM is a long game. To secure meetings with strategic decision-makers, you need to be patient.
The approach outlined in this article uses LinkedIn outreach as part of a greater strategy. It’s about understanding your target contacts and adding value as part of an omnichannel approach. For us, it’s all about blending email marketing with LinkedIn.
How are you currently using outreach in your ABM campaigns? Share your experiences in the comments below.