LinkedIn is Not a Lead Generation Engine

Don't get us wrong. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool...but it's not a lead generation engine.
Reading Time: 7 minutes

As a B2B brand, your golden social media goose is LinkedIn. With 40 million “decision-makers” and +60 million senior-level execs regularly flipping through hordes of content on LinkedIn, finding top-tier prospects on this platform is a breeze.

Better yet, LinkedIn’s world-class firmographic and targeting capabilities give you the tools and resources you need to execute rich, discrete, and highly-targeted campaigns. But, and here’s the tricky part, LinkedIn isn’t a lead generation engine. Don’t get us wrong. LinkedIn is a fantastic exposure tool that can help you connect with prospects and generate rich, organic conversations surrounding their biggest pain points.

But it isn’t a lead generation engine.

And that’s where most B2B marketers get tripped up. Over half of B2B marketers use LinkedIn ads for lead gen. Yet, 68% of B2B marketers struggle daily to secure leads. Something isn’t working. And the problem isn’t LinkedIn. It’s your overall marketing strategy.

Understanding the Limitations of LinkedIn

With +90% of marketers dipping into the social media lead bucket, it’s easy to find justification for hyper-aggressive social media strategies. It seems simple. You pour your marketing budget into social media ads and
content, and you swim around in evergreen buckets of golden leads and revenue. But social media has its limitations, and LinkedIn is no exception.

Let’s start with the basics. LinkedIn is expensive. You’ll average around $7 per click, which can reach astronomical levels for niche businesses in competitive spaces. We’ve seen clicks reach $10 in some circumstances, which rivals some of Google Ads prices. Luckily, LinkedIn suggests that it has an extremely high (6.1%) conversion rate, which helps offset some of those insane costs-per-click. Still, an average of $7 per click is much higher than similar social media competitors, so there’s a tangible cost to running LinkedIn campaigns — which can add up quickly for mid-market companies and niche industries.

In addition to a high CPC, LinkedIn is saturated in content. There’s a reason that one in four people actively ignore brands on social media, and 74% of people are annoyed by LinkedIn ads. They’re everywhere. Decision-makers have InMail boxes stuffed to the brim with spam messages, and 45% of people don’t even notice ads anymore, since they have to see a whopping +6,000 of them a day. It’s difficult to capture attention on LinkedIn. That’s ok! It’s part of the game. But relying on LinkedIn ads or InMail as your primary lead generation tool forces you to eliminate a significant portion of your target audience. Many of them are simply ignoring your attempts to make contact. But they still may be a perfect fit for your awesome solution.

This leads to an extremely prevalent issue in the marketing landscape: missing out on potential leads due to saturation. If you’re relying solely on LinkedIn to capture the attention of prospects, you’re leaving a significant chunk of them off-the-table. In a world where 65% of B2B brands struggle with sales, eliminating +45% of your potential leads isn’t an option.

There are other issues boiling on the horizon. Apple’s latest privacy update is going to significantly decrease the overall value of targeted advertising, and privacy-forward regulations and platform changes threaten to undermine your entire campaign structure.

This isn’t to say that LinkedIn isn’t a valuable tool. It’s incredibly valuable. But you can’t throw money into the never-ending black hole of LinkedIn ads and expect cost-effective results. You need a holistic, end-to-end strategy that incorporates a swarm of marketing strategies to build a meaningful lead generation engine.

Using Multichannel Sequences to Build Your Lead Engine

Where do most B2B leads come from?


Is it social media? Is it SEO? Maybe it’s email marketing?

Here’s the secret: no one knows.

According to a CrazyEgg analysis of HubSpot data, the majority of leads come from… “other.” It’s easy to think of leads as these static, straightforward objects that we can lure into our funnel with ads or a quick Connection Request. But they’re not. Behind every lead is a person, and people are complicated, unpredictable, and driven by emotions. In fact, Google suggests that B2B decision-makers are 50% more likely to buy a product when they feel an emotional connection with it, rather than a business connection.

Marketing involves converging a variety of campaigns and content to slowly dig into the layers of onion that surround people’s buying intentions. Your industry relationships, culture, past client experiences, ads, organic content, and WoM all play into lead generation, and you need to effectively manage them all (over time) to create a holistic environment that supports leads.

Remember, culture, relationships, emotion, and branding all play a significant role in leads, but these are long-term, mid-horizon objectives that require careful coordination with your sales and marketing teams over a period of time. For now, let’s focus on channel-driven leads, as your efforts can be boiled down into direct strategies.

Instead of using LinkedIn as a golden goose, think of it as a weapon in a massive arsenal. Multichannel sequences are lead generation strategies that involve combining multiple channels to reach people in a more organic and wholesome manner.

Typically, multichannel sequences involve a combination of automation and human touch. Sound difficult? The reward is worth it. 67% of B2B buyers rely on content and research to make a purchasing decision, and 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels. There’s a bounty of leads out there. But they’re not necessarily linear.

The truth is: most companies use marketing channels in a bubble. They think of them as independent platforms that exist in their own little ecosystem. But that’s not how people work. Disjointed multichannel marketing is the plague of effective campaigns. You need to know how to deliver the right message to the right people across each platform in a way that seamlessly connects past channel experiences.

Not only do you have to tailor your message for each channel, but you have to choreograph your entire campaign to flow seamlessly across each channel. It’s not easy. In fact, multichannel sequences are notoriously difficult to perfect. They require a deep understanding of your target audience, unparalleled metrics and analytics, and the right systems, strategies, and resources to execute at scale.

In fact, multichannel sequences are so difficult that 95% of marketers say that multichannel marketing is critical, but only 73% have even attempted to put one into place. Of those that implement them, a mere 30% say they’re confident in their multichannel campaigns. In fact, 61% of customers struggle to connect with brands on more than one channel. It’s tough!

So… how do you create one?

How to Create an Outbound Multichannel Sequence

Let’s start this off simple: creating a multichannel sequence is incredibly difficult. We can’t overstate this enough. Don’t expect to build a fully-functional multichannel sequence without some help or experience. You have three options:

  1. Leverage an outbound marketing consultant with years of experience and expertise in lead generation to help you create your sequence.
  2. Use a sales engagement platform like to quickly build and automate your sequence.
  3. Lean on strategy (here’s a guide) to build out your campaigns (hint: this will be a little time-consuming).

The option you choose largely depends on your needs. If you’re looking to connect with people that care about your company and want to help build transformative lead gen strategies, choose a consultant. If you’re looking to leverage internal talent and keep everything in-house, use a sales engagement platform. For those who have a great team of marketers and plenty of time, building out your own sequence by relying on strategy can work — but it requires a trial-and-error-filled trek through the trenches of failure.

A very basic outbound, multichannel sequence may look something like this:

  • Initial contact email
  • LinkedIn followup
  • Followup email
  • Phone call
  • Followup email
  • LinkedIn contact
  • Phone call
  • SMS
  • Targeted ads
  • Re-targeting
  • Phone call
  • Email
  • etc.

They can get long, complicated, and filled with unique variables. As an example, you need to tailor your communication to your prospect to both the phase of the sequence and the platform. So, there’s plenty of craftsmanship that goes into multichannel sequence generation, and it’s never a static affair. You have to consistently switch up your strategy to meet the needs of your prospects.

SapperConsulting Can Help You Maximize the Value of Your LinkedIn Strategy

LinkedIn isn’t perfect.

If you’re focusing heavily on LinkedIn as your magic bullet: you’re missing out on leads. It’s that simple. B2B brands looking to win in 2021 should engage prospects using every tool at their disposal. Because behind every buyers’ persona lies a real, unpredictable person. And they require a special touch to be wooed into your lead engine.

Need some help? At Sapper, we specialize in long-term marketing campaigns that generate tangible, measurable long-term results. We don’t just grow your leads: we grow your brand.

Contact us to learn more.

How to Optimize Your Outbound Marketing Campaign

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About Sapper Consulting

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