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min read
March 27, 2024

Playbook: How to Turn LinkedIn Into a Customer Acquisition Channel for SaaS

Parthi Loganathan
CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search

Can LinkedIn Drive Pipeline for My SaaS Business?

Yes, as long as your buyers are on LinkedIn.

Content will impact your pipeline. Source: Pavilion


Are My Buyers on Linkedin?

LinkedIn has 800 million active users. Most budget-holding decision-makers are also on the platform to recruit and hire. The LinkedIn feed is a great place to intercept them.

If you sell to Sales, Marketing, or HR leaders, the answer is a resounding yes.

If you sell to CTOs, CIOs, CSOs, or other technology teams, the answer is still probably yes.

If you sell to old-school industries where the average buyer is over 50 and not very online, you need to consider another channel.

Do your homework on your ICP, go talk to them, and see if they spend time on LinkedIn.

Which Companies Are Actually Building Pipeline on Linkedin?

The best B2B GTM teams know how to use LinkedIn to drive new business. Komal Ahuja, who has over 100k followers herself recognizes it.

‎A new wave of SaaS companies like Gong, Apollo, Lavendar, Clari, and HockeyStack know how to make LinkedIn their primary pipeline driver.

Chris Walker, CEO of Refine Labs, on LinkedIn and dark social

‎Don't believe me? Go follow some of the people above and see for yourself.

You will start seeing them everywhere and learn about their companies whether you like it or not.

When we get on sales calls, prospects mention how we surround them on LinkedIn, and how it influences their decision to book a demo.

‎If your buyers are on LinkedIn and you want to be like the above companies, keep reading. I'll give you the step-by-step playbook to achieve similar results within the quarter.

Who Should Follow This Playbook?

If you have a vested interest in building pipeline for a SaaS business, this playbook is for you. You might be a:

  • Head of Marketing
  • Content Marketer
  • Product Marketer
  • Head of Sales
  • AE
  • BDR
  • CEO or Founder

I promise that if you follow this guide, you will have:

  • built the start of a personal brand that will open up doors throughout your career
  • a better sense for what your customers care about

And if things go great, you will:

  • have meaningfully impacted pipeline and revenue for your business
  • impress your boss and have built a new source of pipeline; maybe even get a promotion

Real results compound over time and become very effective when you get your entire GTM team involved, but you can start seeing results in a few weeks yourself first as a proof point.

Phase 1: You Need to Prove Out the Playbook Solo First

Phase 1 of Turning LinkedIn into an Acquisition Channel
Phase 1 of turning LinkedIn into an acquisition channel starts with you

Why Get Started Solo?

Change is hard. Organizational change is harder.

You will not get everybody at your company to wake up one day and be bought into social selling on LinkedIn.

You need to build a business case for change.

By following this first part of the playbook yourself, you will lead the charge and showcase how LinkedIn is an acquisition channel.

Once you have that proof point, you can get leadership buy-in and push it across the company.

As the founder, I ran this playbook myself first. I think it's important that all companies begin with founder-led influence.

I went from 1,500 followers and zero impressions to 7,600 followers and one million impressions in my first six months. My LinkedIn continues to drive the lion's share of our inbound pipeline (the rest of the team's LinkedIn, SEO, and outbound are quickly catching up.)

If I can do it, with no marketing or sales background, you can too.

How Long Will This Take Me?

About two days of dedicated effort to execute on this playbook in the first month. But most of it is fixed costs.

And then 4-5 hours every month moving forward.

Step 1: Set up Your LinkedIn Profile to Be a Sales Page

Estimated Time: 4 hours

You want people landing on your LinkedIn page to take action and get one step closer to buying from you. It's not a place for your resume but is actually a sales page.

Your LinkedIn page should communicate:

  1. Who you are and what you talk about
  2. What you can help with
  3. Why anyone should follow you

Follow our in-depth guide to social selling on LinkedIn on how to set up your profile — you can also check out this video where Mark Jung walks me through improvements I could make to my LinkedIn profile.

Make your LinkedIn a Sales Page

Get step by step instructions on how to make your LinkedIn a sales page

Here are the most important steps:

  • Turn on Creator Mode, which makes people follow you as soon as they connect with you
  • Have a professional profile picture
  • Your tagline should include your role and what you help people do
  • Include a clear CTA in your banner
  • Link to your website
  • Make your "About" section helpful to prospects and help them qualify themselves as buy‎ers

Your profile needs to immediately show what you
Your profile needs to immediately show what you're able to do to help

Your "About" section should help prospects qualify themselves
Your "About" section should help prospects qualify themselves

Step 2: Build and Engage with Your Network

Estimated Time: Half a day to set up Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Helper. 15 minutes a day ongoing after that. That's 5 hrs per month.

Estimated Cost: $115 per month (if you're in sales and marketing, no one should flinch at this small expense.)

When you're getting started, you probably have no followers in your target ICP.

Posting every day isn't going to do anything for you unless it gets in front of the right people.

You will need to do this in two ways, one automated and the other manual. I recommend running both in parallel:

1. Automated Way to Grow Followers:

Create a list of your target ICP in Sales Navigator (costs $99 per month) and automate connection requests to them using a tool like Linked Helper (costs $15 per month — there are others like Salesflow too). Here's a guide on how to automate connection requests to a list.

I recommend not adding a message to your connection request. I get a 20% acceptance rate connecting to VPs of Marketing doing this. As soon as they connect with me, since I have Creator Mode turned on, they automatically start following me, too.

A sample lead list of VPs of Marketing I
A sample lead list of VPs of Marketing I'd like to connect with in Sales Navigator

Automating connection requests to the list from Sales Nav
Automating connection requests to the list from Sales Nav

‎A quick caveat — use Linked Helper at your own discretion since it does bypass LinkedIn to impersonate you, and is not done via LinkedIn APIs. It has proven safe for the above use case in 1.5 years of use for me.

2. Manual Way to Grow Followers:

  1. Start by following industry leaders and set up notifications for whenever they post. Here's our own list of the 20 must-follow LinkedIn creators out there. You will find equivalent folks in every industry if you look around. For example, as a marketer, you'd follow some CMOs, agency owners, and other active marketers on LinkedIn.
  2. Send connection requests to their followers
  3. Comment on their posts as soon as they post — add unique value instead of rehashing what the author has said
  4. Engage consistently through likes and thoughtful comments to start building relationships in your space.

This achieves two goals for you:

  1. You grow your network. When you share thoughtful comments, you're seen by the followers of these influencers and can "borrow their audience."
  2. You can learn from others by studying what they write about and what resonates to influence your content

St‎ep 3: Identify Your Company's Narrative and Break It Down Into Perspectives

Estimated Time: 4 hours

What Is the Narrative for My Company?

Like all good marketing, you'll be more successful if you first nail your narrative and positioning.

LinkedIn is ephemeral. You need A LOT of repetition to get your point across. If your message is going to be changing every day, it'll be less impactful.

For you to build pipeline and for a prospect to buy from you, you need to "generate demand" for your product.

To explore buying a product, prospects need a reason to change how things are done today.

Do not underestimate the status quo.

We will use a standard narrative template used in sales and good business writing called TAS (Thesis Antithesis Synthesis).

For example, here's what this would look like for a company like Lavender:

  1. Thesis (current state of the world): Your BDRs use automated template emails that are long and generic to reach thousands of buyers.
  2. Antithesis (why this doesn't work): Buyers ignore these emails and mark them as spam. You fail to hit targets for meetings booked because of ineffective cold email.
  3. Synthesis (the "new and improved" state): Write short, thoughtful, and truly personalized emails with data-backed insights to actually get responses on your cold email.

Talk to your CEO or VP of Marketing to understand your narrative. If you don't have a narrative, that's hurting your marketing, and they should fix it. In the meantime, do your best to create one using the above framework.

Make The Narrative Tangible with Perspectives

A narrative needs to be actualized through Perspectives. For example, with Letterdrop:

Letterdrop's Narrative:

Thesis: 98% of marketers at SaaS companies produce content ad hoc without a revenue focus or discipline around creation and distribution.

Antithesis: They don't believe content works, underinvest in it, and pour more money into high CAC, low effectiveness channels like paid and cold outbound to hit next quarter's goals. They enter a doom loop without a sustainable way to acquire customers.

Synthesis: Companies need to systematically prioritize high ROI content and distribute it aggressively in formats optimized for every channel to kickstart a flywheel and accelerate revenue growth.

Here's some ways we distill that into perspectives.

Perspective 1: SEO Is Changing, and You Need to Adapt

  1. SEO today: Copy a keyword list from competitors → sort by difficulty → outsource to an agency that doesn't understand your business → stuff keywords to generate poorly qualified traffic.
  2. The SEO landscape has changed with AI: Low-effort content that's no better than ChatGPT will not rank. Google SGE will cannibalize top-of-funnel content.
  3. Companies should focus further down the funnel: They should create genuinely helpful content with unique perspectives focusing on information, not keywords.

Perspective 2: Content Needs to Be Repurposed

  1. Content is underutilized: Most companies create content and let it rot on their site
  2. Creating good content that drives business is expensive: Companies waste money on more new content when they haven't distributed existing content
  3. Repurpose and refresh your best content aggressively: This is a perfect use case for AI.

Perspective 3: Companies Don't Know How to Attribute Content

  1. Companies only invest in activities they can directly attribute.
  2. Content is hard to attribute. You don't know if an anonymous LinkedIn impression is one of many touch points that got a prospect to respond to a cold email.
  3. Companies should hold content accountable for revenue and not vanity metrics they can measure. Instead, directionally measure content impact on pipeline over time.

I can now publish customer stories, case studies, repurpose existing content, and share trending news, all from one of the above perspectives.

Step 4: Coming Up With Content Ideas

Estimated Time: 45 mins per week

Coming up with consistent pipeline-generating ideas is hard, especially as you scale your publishing volume.

Low-hanging fruit is just repurposing content you already have.

📢 Tip: You can use tools like Letterdrop to quickly repurpose a webinar or a blog post into a LinkedIn post in your voice.

Where Do I Get Content Ideas for LinkedIn?

1. From sales calls: You don't get closer to the source than this. Sales calls give you direct access to what your prospects are struggling with, the status quo, their questions, and their worldview. Just sharing answers to questions you hear from sales calls will get you far.

Your sales team likely uses a tool like Fathom or Gong to capture call recordings you can listen to.

Don't have 100 hrs to listen to calls? You can pull pain points, objections, and more automatically into your idea backlog with the Letterdrop Gong integration.

Pulling out pain points directly from sales calls

‎2. Get inspiration from fellow creators and remix: By now, you should be following industry peers and leaders. Draw inspiration from their posts and riff on them, adding your perspective from above (be sure to acknowledge that you're riffing on their idea)

Pay attention to formats that make for easy reading and get a lot of engagement.

📢 Tip: Letterdrop can repurpose long form text or video content in your voice.

Using and remixing the list post format from fellow creators
Using and remixing the list post format from fellow creators

3. Talk to your team: Your customer-facing teams, like Sales and Customer Success, can give you insight into customers' challenges. You can get them to suggest ideas in a spreadsheet, or use the automated Letterdrop Slack and email integrations for them to instantly add ideas after a customer conversation.

Collecting team ideas in a spreadsheet
Collecting team ideas in a spreadsheet

4. Turn conversations into posts: People love to hear stories and experiences from real people. Use interactions with prospects, your team, or others you engage with on a daily basis to further that conversation for your network and offer valuable insights.

Turning conversations into posts
I literally use an anonymized conversation as a source of content. If one person asks me a question, you can bet others have the same question.

5. Talk about what you learn: Simply sharing something new you learned is helpful. If it's new to you, it's probably new to a lot of your audience too. Again, people love to hear from and relate to real people's experiences.

Sharing what you
Sharing what you've learned with your followers

6. Recycle old LinkedIn posts: If a post resonated before, it will likely work again. Go through your feed to check your highest performers and recycle. Just make sure enough time has passed between reposts.

We recycled a post from my account to the company account months later
We recycled a post from my account to the company account months later

📢 Tip: Letterdrop can automatically find old top-performing content and repost for you

7. Repurpose videos and blogs: Use existing blogs and videos (can be yours or from others) to inspire posts. Make sure to credit the original work.

📢 Tip: You can repurpose videos or articles into LinkedIn posts using Letterdrop's AI

Step 5: Plan Your Content Around A Theme

Repetition matters on ephemeral channels like LinkedIn. You want to be seen by your ICP repeatedly. You want the messaging to layer on top of each other to tell a story that drives someone to buy.

If every post is different, you'll be all over the place and won't be able to move a prospect in your audience down the funnel. So, you want to stick to a theme for a week or more.

You can come up with ideas for campaigns by starting from a perspective that you defined in step 3.

Here's a week of socials we planned at Letterdrop about employee advocacy. We also make it easier by dedicating Mondays to creatives and memes and Fridays to talking directly about the feature.

Setting up themed social campaigns
Setting up themed LinkedIn campaigns

Step 6: Write Content in Batches

Estimated Time: 30-45 minutes a week to knock out five posts‎

Ideally, you want to be posting to LinkedIn daily.

Start with something achievable in your first month, like three times a week, and scale up. You want to get to a point where you're posting at least once a day, every day.

The best way to get there is to block off time on your calendar to write all your posts at the start of the week and schedule them. This way, you don't skip posting on days when you get caught up with other work.

You can use Letterdrop to schedule and plan out your LinkedIn content calendar.

Step 7: Setup Analytics to Measure

Estimated Time: 30 mins

The whole purpose of this exercise is to build pipeline. You will need to come back with results to get buy-in at your company.

We will be measuring pipeline impact in the following ways:

1. LinkedIn-sourced demo or signups: Add a "How did you hear about us?" free form input on your demo requests and signup forms to monitor LinkedIn attribution. Do not use a dropdown — it limits people's options.

Demo form attribution
Free form input in forms on demo requests

You're looking for directional attribution. Ideally, you'll see more people saying something like "heard about you from LinkedIn."

2. Mentions in sales calls: This is a little outside your control, but in most good discovery calls in sales, a sales rep might ask why the prospect reached out, in which case you want to know if they mention LinkedIn.

Add a filter for the keyword "linkedin" in your sales transcript recording tool to look for these. Here's how you'd set up keyword tracking in Gong, for example.

3. Accounts on site: Install a de-anonymization or data enrichment tool on your website, like Clearbit (it's free for a certain number of accounts). If you have a follower from a specific company and see that company on your site, you know your content is working.

De-anonymized accounts on site

4. Accounts engaginged on LinkedIn site: Across all your content, you'll start seeing members of your ICP liking or commenting with your content. Keep track of them in a spreadsheet.

Down the road, you can explore tools like Letterdrop to aggregate these accounts across all LinkedIn content, letting you build a list of warm leads for your BDRs.

Tracking engaged LinkedIn accounts with Letterdrop

You can also measure top-of-funnel impact directly on LinkedIn or a social posting tool.

1. In LinkedIn, Navigate to the "Analytics & Tools" section at the top of your profile page. You can view data on engagement, impressions, and clicks over time.

Using LinkedIn analytics to monitor engagement and impressions
Using LinkedIn analytics to monitor engagement and impressions

2. Take a snapshot of your impressions and clicks today.

Our BDR, Ryan, started from scratch, posting consistently from when he joined Letterdrop in September.

Our BDR's engagement rates since starting to post on LinkedIn 5x/week

Phase 2: Get the Entire Team Bought Into Linkedin

Phase 2 of Turning LinkedIn into an Acquisition Channel
Phase 2 of Turning LinkedIn into an Acquisition Channel

You followed the step-by-step guide in Phase 1. Now, it's time to measure your impact and see if you can make a business case to leadership.

Step 1: Understand How You Impacted Pipeline

You set up some attribution in Phase 1. Go through the data and see if you can attribute any deals to the 45 mins of effort you put in every week for the last month.

Scenario 1: No impact

If you can't find any lead mentioning your activity on LinkedIn, one of two things happened:

Reason 1: Execution Failure:

  1. Your narrative or perspectives did not resonate with your target ICP. This is a larger company positioning and marketing problem. You should bring it up with your CEO or VP of Marketing. You might want to set up calls with your ICP and get qualitative feedback from them. You should be able to do this with your existing customers and network, but you can also use a platform like Wynter to get in front of more people. Check your engagement rate in your LinkedIn dashboard to diagnose this issue.
  2. Your content was weak. Honestly evaluate your content efforts from the last week. Did you post regularly? Did you follow the framework? Was your content unique, helpful, and educational? Check your LinkedIn dashboard's post count and engagement rate to diagnose this issue.
  3. You did not build an audience. If you didn't set up automation to connect with your ICP, or if you didn't make the time to manually comment on industry influencer posts, your content won't get in front of the right people. Check your impressions and new followers in your LinkedIn dashboard to diagnose this issue.

Reason 2: Your ICP Isn't on LinkedIn

Your assumption that your ICP is on LinkedIn might be false. If you can find other industry influencers whose audience you want, then this is not the reason — it's your execution.

If you're the first one trying to build a voice in your industry, then it's possible you might need to go to another channel.

Scenario 2: Some impact

Amazing! You can see at least one or more leads tied to your LinkedIn activity.

Put together a report with these numbers:

  1. Leads that came in from LinkedIn
  2. Total clicks
  3. Total impressions
  4. Accounts on site who follow you
  5. Time taken on your side in the month to execute on this strategy

Step 2: Get Buy-In from Leadership

You can keep doing what you're doing and you'll definitely have impact.

As an individual, I followed this playbook to grow my personal LinkedIn. I added 6,000 followers in my ICP and generated over a million impressions in 6 months.

But if you truly want to scale and create a surround sound effect around your target customers, you'll need to get your team involved.

Specifically, you need the networks of your Sales and Exec teams. Because they're connected to and talking to your prospects.

If you're an IC running this playbook, you first need support from your Head of Marketing.

If you're a Head of Marketing running this playbook, you will need support from your CEO and Head of Sales.

"What's in It for Them?" for Your Leadership Team

This is the question you should always ask yourself when making an ask. Any sane leadership team would be incredibly excited for someone to have:

  • identified a growth opportunity for the business
  • done their homework and run an initial test in a scrappy manner
  • have quantifiable results and make a proposal to scale it

Sounds like a real go-getter to me!

The only thing that might sour their interest is if you approach them when they have bigger problems — maybe the #1 problem for your business is not new customer acquisition, but instead it's churn, in which case, you need to understand that this might need to take a backseat.

Here's how you can pitch it to them.

1. Estimate the impact of the broader team running your playbook. Here's a calculator to help you estimate possible monthly new bookings closed based on team size and LinkedIn ad spend.

LinkedIn Social Selling Impact Calculator

Estimate the impact of organic LinkedIn on pipeline

Add this number to your report from Phase 1.

2. Share the report outlining cost of the test campaign and outcomes

3. Create a proposal asking for continued support and resources to scale your effort

4. Get approval for resources and mandating cooperation from the Sales and Exec team

It's very important to make a strong business case when making any sort of executive ask. Here's a guide to building a business case.

"You need to show real numbers to leadership and align your KPIs with theirs to make a strong case for any investment, including a new channel." — Zach Fransisco, Head of Sales at Letterdrop

Here is a template you can copy and fill out to send to your leadership team.

Here's a template you can use

A template proposing an investment in LinkedIn Organic as a pipeline building channel

Step 3: Get Buy-In from Your Sales Team

Once your leadership team is bought in, it should be easier to get your Sales team excited since the exec team has their eyes on it.

"What's in It for Them?" for Your Sales Team

Sales cares about one thing: booking revenue, which in turn impacts their commission.

Both AEs and BDRs need to prospect and build pipeline to hit quota.

But 99% of them do it today through brute force cold emails, LinkedIn DMs, and cold calls.

They would be so much more successful at booking meetings and speeding up existing sales cycles if they could show up as a trusted authority on the problem your company solves.

For example, Ryan exceeds quota and credits it to his LinkedIn presence:

In a recent sales cycle with Synack, our champion, commented on how she loved my content on LinkedIn after our initial call. When her VP started shopping around for Generative AI writing tools, she immediately scheduled a follow-up and got her VP involved because our content helped her build trust with our solution. We closed that deal!

Here's our Head of Growth, Zach, talking about the importance of getting the GTM team to sell on LinkedIn.

Share your report with them and make an ask to be more active on LinkedIn.

Phase 3: Get the Entire Team Selling Together

Jordan Tennenbaum, Social Media Manager at Celigo, grew his company following from 15,000 to 30,000 in 12 months using LinkedIn as a social selling platform. It's become a primary acquisition channel for the company.

Here are his thirteen data points on why you should use LinkedIn for employee advocacy.

Why you should invest in employee advocacy by Jordan Tennenbaum
Why you should invest in employee advocacy by Jordan Tennenbaum

Step 1: Get Your Team Looking the Part

Media package: Take the changes you made to your profile in Phase 1 and package it up so that everyone who is customer-facing has a similar cover photo and can turn their LinkedIn into a sales page.

Your goal is for your team to be seen as the industry's best consultants and scale demand organically.

In terms of actual content, there are two levels to this:

Level 1: Likes, comments, and shares around one person

This is the lowest-effort option and easiest to get going. It allows you to leverage your team's network without asking them to do much.

📢 Tip: With Letterdrop, this would actually be 0 effort since you can automate likes, comments, and shares

Level 2: Everyone becomes a social seller

This requires every Salesperson and Exec to follow the playbook from Phase 1 individually. Plus, everyone engages with each other to boost each other's content to your team's collective professional network.

You can even ghostwrite for some folks if individuals don't have the time.

Steps 2 and 3: Get Your Team to Engage with Company Posts And Start Selling

Estimated Time: One and a half hours a day of back and forth without automation, and 1 minute with automation

You need to get your entire GTM team engaging with both company posts and each other's posts.

You can set up a dedicated #social-boost channel in Slack and request engagement from your team whenever you post.

Set up a dedicated channel to encourage engagement
Set up a dedicated channel to encourage engagement

This works for a few days. But your team is busy, and there's a high chance your messages will get ignored.

As a marketer, you need to reduce this friction, which is where Letterdrop's Employee Advocacy automation can help. You can automate likes, comments and reposts to get that reach without bugging anyone.

📢 Tip: Remember, you can use the Letterdrop LinkedIn Stats dashboard to create a list of engaged accounts to send your BDRs after.

Step 4: Measure Your Analytics Again

Estimated Time: 10 minutes a week

It's time to compare the initial results of your social selling to how they look today.

Do this with the LinkedIn dashboard or Letterdrop. You can get teammates to report on their metrics like you did in your solo setup, or use a Chrome extension like Shield Analytics to monitor performance and improvements across multiple profiles.

Shield Analytics for LinkedIn
Shield Analytics for LinkedIn

Later down the line, you can start getting insights into accounts in orbit as well as tie your LinkedIn content to revenue with Letterdrop's content attribution features.

Best Practices for Higher Engagement on LinkedIn

Here's what I found to be the best practices for using LinkedIn as a channel to sell over the last year:

  1. Add links in the comments, not in the body of the post. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn't promote content with links, so don't lose out on clicks. Letterdrop automatically puts your links in the comments for you.
  2. On that note, stay on top of the algorithm. The feed algorithm changes all the time. You should focus on consistency and providing value first. But it's always worth reading the LinkedIn Algorithm Research Report.
  3. Try to like and reply to every comment on your posts if it feels natural. This is a great way to start conversations and engage with new viewers.
  4. Reach out to regular participants on your posts if they're within your target audience, and try to set up calls with them. Pass them onto the sales team.
  5. Use all 100 of your connection requests every week.
  6. Keep up the employee advocacy. We've booked demos because people have seen us consistently on LinkedIn, and that's thanks to consistent engagement from our whole team.

Don't be controversial, and don't spam prospects with pitches.

Share genuinely helpful posts that can help qualified buyers overcome pain points, and you'll do great.

Turn Yourself and Your Team Into Social Sellers

Generating pipeline from LinkedIn comes down to you and your team consistently selling together.

You're missing out on thousands of impressions and MoM revenue if you're not leveraging LinkedIn for qualified leads.

We use LinkedIn as a stable acquisition channel at Letterdrop. Talk to us if you want to learn more or even try out our LinkedIn automation tooling.

Looking to put LinkedIn social selling on autopilot?

Celigo 3x'ed LinkedIn impressions with Letterdrop's automated engagement. You can, too.

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