How to Find and Engage Leads on LinkedIn (and Beyond)

How to Find and Engage Leads on LinkedIn (and Beyond)

I am pretty sure, there are barely any sales or SDR professionals who don’t use LinkedIn in their day-to-day work. I personally find it an invaluable source of information and use it frequently to research my prospects or connect with them (and, if you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you do too).

Considering its huge user base, LinkedIn is a go-to platform to discover potential clients. To help you spot the most promising contacts among millions of profiles, I’ve decided to put together a quick list of tips that can level up your LinkedIn prospecting efforts.

Here’s a short overview of the LinkedIn list-building hacks you can adopt.

Before we start

There’s one thing that is more important than the valid prospect contact – your ideal customer profile. So, before we start building a list of leads, let’s focus on understanding WHO should be on that list.

The first step of our LinkedIn prospecting process is to identify prospective buyers for your product or service – your ideal customer profile (ICP) – and document their key attributes, e.g. firmographic, demographic, technographic data, etc.

For example, the ICP used by our SDR team at Reply relies on the following data points:

  • Firmographics: companies that are located USA, California, San Francisco Bay Area, which have 50-200 employees, focused on the Computer Software industry.
  • Demographics: within those companies, we want to target SDR Team Leaders, who have been working at a company for at least one year.
  • Technographics: Although this part isn’t essential, it might help you improve your targeting and increase the success of your sales outreach. So, for example, here at Reply we know that around 30% of our customers use Intercom as their customer messaging platform. So we use that data to more accurate and targeted lists.

Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas Workbook (+ Templates)


If you’re looking to build or update your ICP and create spot-on buyer personas, grab a copy of this workbook packed with handy tips and ready-to-use templates.

Once you have a clear understanding of your ICP, you can use the info to tailor your search accordingly. Now, let’s focus on the first step of our LinkedIn prospecting process and start building a list of leads – prospective buyers for your product or service.

How to find leads on LinkedIn? 7 easy-to-use tactics

Search on LinkedIn (Sales Navigator)

First and foremost, you can use the data about your ICP as criteria to filter your lead search on Sales Navigator or in an extended LinkedIn search.

Once you’ve applied all relevant filters, just click the “Search” button:

It might take a few seconds for LinkedIn to pull the contacts based on your criteria. But after that, you will get hundreds or thousands of potential buyers who are very likely to have a conversation with you or your team about your company’s services or products (of course, if your outreach strategy is designed in the right way – we will get to that later).

Pro tip: The amount of search requests you can make for free is limited. So if you’re looking to ramp up your LinkedIn prospecting, it makes sense to invest in paid Sales Navigator subscription. This will also allow you to automate LinkedIn Sales Navigator queries and create a scalable list-building process.

Look up the “People Also Viewed” suggestions

In my experience, some of the decision-makers might not make it to your search (especially if they have fancy job titles that Sales Navigator can’t understand). 

So, another tactic to find leads on LinkedIn is to visit your prospects’ profiles one by one and browse through the relevant suggestions in the “People also viewed” in the top right corner of the page.

This is a great way to find additional persona types across different roles within the same organization. 

This tactic will come in handy if you follow the 5/2 rule, i.e., contact 5 people within the same company, 2 of them being the decision makers with the purchasing power. If that’s too much, try to get in touch with at least 3 different types of personas, including evaluator, influencer, and decision maker.

Steal your competitors’ audience

Guess who else is working hard to find and engage the same audience as you? Your competitors! And the chances are some of them might also have much bigger budgets and teams for the automated LinkedIn lead generation process.

While you can’t see the actual list of page followers on LinkedIn (unlike other social networks, if you know what I mean 😏), there are a few ways to tap into that audience.

  • The easiest and most legit strategy is to look through the popular posts on the page and the people who have engaged with them. Aside from their employees, there might be prospects considering their product or customers open to switching a provider.
  • Target people who are following employees from the competitor company with paid ads (although a costly tactic, it might in fact work in terms of awareness).
  • Play an imposter (which I personally don’t recommend) create a new account, state that you work at the target company, and export the list of page followers from the advanced search.

Tap into the relevant influencers’ network

In my experience, not many companies boast the same number of followers as some of the influencers in a niche. There are many reasons for that, including the power of personal brand and the trust that comes with it. However, this isn’t the point here.

An influencer in your niche will most likely gather a super-relevant audience which you can leverage to your advantage in your LinkedIn outreach strategy. 

Unfortunately, you can’t view someone’s followers (similar to the company page). What you can do is look up people who engage with their content and start building connections with them.

Another helpful hack here is to find leads on LinkedIn using advanced search targeting the influencer’s followers specifically. 

Thus you can create laser-focused lists AND get a solid conversation starter for your LinkedIn direct outreach.

Leverage your own audience

If you’re feeling comfortable sharing your thoughts and engaging openly with a wider audience, you should totally do that! This way, instead of thinking about how to search for leads on LinkedIn, you can make sure those leads find you.

There are many reasons you should consider social selling on LinkedIn. Just like there are tons of ways to do it. One thing you should always keep in mind is that it’s a long game, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get any results right away. 

Once you do get some traction and start building your audience, the leads you will be able to get will be well worth every effort.

Turn to niche groups and communities

There are dozens of different user groups dedicated to practically any topic, role, or industry. They range in size from just a few hundred to tens of thousands of participants. Some are more active while others are eventually getting stale.

But what they all have in common is the audience gathered around a specific topic or interest. For example, there’s literally a LinkedIn group called Sales Management Executives out there! Guess who makes at least a part of that huge 367k audience? That’s right – Sales Management Executives 😉

Some groups will also bring together professionals from certain industries or locations allowing you to build a much more focused list. 

Keep an eye on the hashtags

A slightly less popular tactic is to find leads on LinkedIn using relevant hashtags. Similar to joining groups, following a topic of interest is a common way for people to connect with like-minded people and stay in the know.

And while you can’t get the list of people who follow the chosen hashtags, you can discover fresh leads or even high-intent prospects by simply looking through the recent posts around a certain topic and especially people who have engaged with those.

Before we move on: find prospects’ emails

If you’re looking for leads solely for your LinkedIn outreach strategy, you can skip right to the next part of the post. However, multichannel sales engagement proves to be a more viable and effective option.

In that case, you will also need to find sales email leads.

We’ve made a pretty detailed guide on how to find anyone’s email (for free). But if you’re looking for a more scalable and easy solution to complement your automated LinkedIn lead generation efforts, consider using Reply Data.

Our own database of more than 140 million contacts, it provides exhaustive prospect information to easily build or enrich your lists. You can filter out the people that perfectly match your ICP using 10+ criteria and export your list, sync it to your CRM, or push directly to a sequence in Reply and start your outreach.

Scale your list building and prospecting efforts with Reply Data for free

Learn more

Get in touch with those prospects using email & LinkedIn cold outreach sequence

This part may sound easy, but it’s not. Here at Reply, we encourage our customers to use personalization and a multichannel approach within their sequences, so let me share a few simple examples that will make your email and LinkedIn cold outreach more human (and effective).

Namely, in my experience, the 4 or 5-step sequence with a combination of the following touchpoints typically works best:

  • an automated email with personalized Reply Variables
  • social touch on LinkedIn
  • a manual email with a personalization snippet
  • an automated email with a Vidyard video

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Please, note: the 4-step framework I will talk about is just an example of a sequence you can build using Reply. You can add more steps or rearrange them within your sequence as you see fit. However, regardless of the number and order of the steps you decide to use, I strongly recommend sticking to the multichannel approach, including both email and social touches.

[Outbound] 5 proven multichannel sequence templates to scale your sales

Make sure to leave a good first impression on your leads (and turn them into engaged opportunities) with proven sequence templates.

Step 1: Automated email with variables

When looking up prospects on LinkedIn, it’s easy to fill in many additional data fields with relevant info. And personalized email with variables is a great chance for you to put that data to use. 

Here’s an example of the email template which contains personalization variables including {{FirstName}}, {{Company}} and {{JobTitle}}:

Hi {{FirstName}},

Daniel from here – an outreach and sales acceleration platform for sales teams.

I’m here to tell you about a service that helps automate communications with existing or potential clients and put sales outreach on autopilot. That means {{Company}}’s sales team shouldn’t spend a lot of time sending emails and follow-ups, so they can concentrate on closing deals.

Does it make sense for you as {{JobTitle}}?

If so, I’d be happy to set up a call with you to go over Reply in greater detail.

Note: the highlighted phrases within brackets will be automatically tailored to each recipient, based on the data on their profile.

This template will help you figure out if the prospect wants to talk or if they can refer you to someone else within their company.

Step 2: Social touch on LinkedIn

Since we also have LinkedIn profile URLs for all prospects on our list (this post is called “how to find leads on LinkedIn” for a reason), we can easily use a multichannel approach and add social touches within our outreach sequence. 

So, what is LinkedIn outreach, and how to add it to your email sequence?

All in all, you can use different types of interactions to reinforce your sequence with LinkedIn touchpoints:

  • Profile views
  • Connection requests (including personalized messages)
  • Direct messages (including voice messages)
  • Content engagement (likes, comments, shares)

Yet, let’s focus on LinkedIn direct outreach, i.e., the touchpoint that involves sending an actual message to the prospect. 

In this specific case, it’s best to use a more general connection request, while making it slightly personalized, as the second step in this specific sequence.

Hi {{FirstName}}, I’m making an effort to expand my network of {{Job Title}} in {{City}}, would you be open to connecting?

You can also mix different types of touchpoints here, viewing the profile, sending a connection request, and commenting on the most recent post to boost your chances of success. There are also tools for LinkedIn lead generation automation, but that is a whole different story!

Step 3: Manual email with a personalized snippet

As the next step in this sequence, let’s add a manual email with a personalized snippet. 

When adding a personalized email task, you have to slightly modify your emails for every prospect in a sequence. To do that, spend 1-2 minutes researching their Linkedin profiles, company websites, etc. 

Here’s an example of an email I’ve personalized for one of my prospects:

Hi {{FirstName}},


I’m reaching out to you because I noticed on your Linkedin profile that you are working at {{Company}}. Given your role as {{Role}}, I thought you might be interested in trying Reply.

In short, Reply has helped other companies in the {{Industry}} industry, such as {{Company1}} and {{Company}}. Our platform accelerated their sales by automating communications with existing or potential clients and putting sales outreach on autopilot

{{FirstName}}, how does your calendar look for a quick chat?

This kind of email will generate high open and reply rates, believe me!

Step 4: Automated email with personalized video

With our last touchpoint, let’s get even more creative and show prospects that you care about their business and their success. To do that, I suggest using an automated email featuring a personalized video. For example:


I know you’re very busy as {{Role}}, but I’ve been thinking to have a quick chat about bringing Reply to {{Company}} because I think it could really help your SDR team improve sales outreach efficiency and increase reply rates.

Here is a 30-second video on how we can do that: 


If 15 minutes of your time isn’t too much to ask, then maybe we could jump on a quick call to discuss this?

To create a personalized video pitch, use Vidyard integration with Reply.

Once you’re done, here’s how the final sequence should look like:

[Outbound] 5 proven multichannel sequence templates to scale your sales

Make sure to leave a good first impression on your leads (and turn them into engaged opportunities) with proven sequence templates.

Wrapping up

As you can see, using Reply Chrome extension is a must-have LinkedIn outreach tool that makes it super-easy to research your prospects on LinkedIn or Sales Navigator and feed your sequence with high-quality contacts that perfectly match your ICPs.

But remember: prospecting is a game of quality and personalization rather than quantity and aggressive 10-step email sequences with no personalization within 2 weeks. 

Spend more time researching your prospects, add value that correlates with their business and currents needs. Make it warm ☀️ and human 🤗!

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