Editors Note: Guest post by Scott Briton, Co-founder/CEO of Troops
An increasingly vital group to the modern sales org is a creative and efficient Sales Development team. Despite the official category of “sales development” is still only a few years old, it’s a discipline that’s changing by the second. With many businesses creating business and Minimal Avatar for their employees to potentially attract and bring in prospective clientele, the domain of sales and marketing has improved manifold.
Now, as a Co-Founder leading growth at my new company, Troops, staying ahead of the curve is more important than ever. I find that a significantly underutilized channel for targeting prospects in sales development efforts is LinkedIn Groups.
I like LinkedIn groups for a few reasons:
- They highlight “enthusiasts” for more narrow interests
- They provide a unique variable (group name) that is highly personalized in outbound campaigns and a bit more unique
- You can scrape them pretty easily
In this post, I’m going to share how to create an outbound sales development campaign off of a Linkedin Group.
Find and Join Your Target Interest Group
Once you understand your customer avatar, do a quick search in LinkedIn and use the “groups facet” on the left-hand side to narrow your search results to include groups only.
You can filter results by additional characteristics like geography and industry to narrow the results. Once you find a couple that seem promising, request to join the groups. In a few days, an admin should give you access.
Scraping The Group To Build A List
I know what some of you might be thinking by the header of this section…scraping!? Dude, I’m not a programmer. Fear not, there are plenty of tools you can use out there that make this incredibly simple.
The tool we’re going to use today is the Kimono Labs Chrome Widget. Download the widget and install it in your browser.
After you’ve done this head back to the group and click on the members link on the right hand side to get a list of the members.
You should see this.
We can call property 1 “Name” on the top left.
From here you want to just start highlighting the name of the of all the members one by one and scroll down to train the tool as depicted below.
Note, by default LinkedIn only let’s you see 1500 members per group so you’ll only be able to grab 1500 contacts from a group by this way. You can do more sophisticated stuff like use a boolean search with a crawler on bing search results using the group name as a targeted keyword, but that is much more complex than this for a short blog post.
Once you’ve grabbed the amount number of leads you want, you’re going to create another property by clicking the + symbol. We’ll call this one “Title.”
From here you’ll want to do the same thing except you want to highlight the subheader which is the group members professional headline.
If you by accident highlight both the name and title, make sure to click the x to only isolate the title.
Once satisfied, open the Raw Data View tab.
Select the “CSV” option and download a CSV.
Once you download the CSV, copy and paste it into a fresh google sheet.
Format and Enhance Data For Your Campaign
Before going any further, download two plugins that are going to make your life much easier.
Plugin: Split Names
Plugin 2: Power Tools
Now let’s get the data we need to create an email campaign.
Click on the “Add Ons” tab and use the split name function on column one to isolate the first name and last name. Your sheet should look like this when you’re done.
From here we’re going to separate the title using keywords in order to isolate the company name.
The main purpose here is to see which companies these people are at as well as create a company row that we might potentially use as a custom field in an outbound campaign.
To do this, open up the power tools add on and open the “Split” function. From here you want to highlight the column and split values by the word “at” as you see pictured below.
After you click split, you should be able to isolate the Company Name for a large portion of your list. It will likely not be perfect, but that’s fine. You can pay someone on UpWork to clean up or just take 5 minutes to do yourself.
Name the company column and then sort the data so you can see which leads you were able to get the company name for.
In about 30 seconds of cleanup, you now should have a pretty nice list with a bunch of prospects.
At this point, I usually ship this off to the Phillipines where someone else finds email addresses for all these people that I found on odesk.
Send Your Campaign
There is a way to do this programmatically using the Clearbit, Email Hunter, or Blockspring API(s) but honestly I prefer just to have someone get this right as well as fill in other gaps for me like all the people who don’t have their company listed.
Once you get the data returned with email addresses it’s time to create an outbound campaign. There are plenty of tools like Salesloft, Outreach, Toutapp, and Yesware where you can upload a CSV and create a bulk campaign.
Here is an example you might send that takes advantage of a LinkedIn group as a unique identifier.
Title: [Value Prop] – Saw You In Group
“Hey [First Name],
I saw that you’re also in the [Linkedin Group Name] on LinkedIn with me…
Are you guys currently thinking about [Insert Value Prop] at [Company]? Might have something worth checking out if this is a focus.
That’s it. Really simple stuff and this has worked really well for me on both the recruiting and sales development front.
LinkedIn groups are just another avenue that might be worth trying. By no means should this replace more direct targeting by things like most pertinent role at your ideal company size. This also might not make as much sense an account based sales development model.
BUT, if you are looking at unique ways to fill the top of the funnel, this tactics and suite of tools is definitely worth giving it a shot!
Scott Britton is the Co-Founder of Troops where he heads up sales and growth. Prior to Troops he was a business development executive at SinglePlatform where he built out one of the largest local data publishing networks in the world before the company’s acquisition to Constant Contact for $100m. You can follow him on twitter @Britton.