Anti-Social Linkedin Lead Generation?

Anti-Social Linkedin Lead Generation?

 A crazed man thumps a message into his keyboard “STOP PRETENDING YOU ARE A HUMAN!”     

This man is working his way through multiple LinkedIn messages that pretend to come from a human being but are, in reality, part of an automated outreach sequence.   

Sound familiar?  

Yet thousands of companies are choosing to be anti-social in their lead generation.  

When I speak to CEO’s, CRO’s and VP sales about the ROI on automated Linkedin lead generation, they talk of fantastic ROI and one the best ways to reach new prospects at scale.  

So if this approach may work for the company.  But does it work for the individual sales rep? 

Do not get me wrong, cold prospecting sits at the heart of most successful sales strategies. Many Sales Reps (myself included) started their careers spending their days dialing away to cold prospects hoping to find the diamond in the rough.  

What I am trying to get my head around is how automated cold prospecting, that is designed to look as if it is sent to an individual from another individual but in reality part of an automation, delivers the results the seller is looking for.  

As a potential customer am I more likely to engage with a person who has just adding me to an automation?   

Does my perception of that company go up or down when I figure out, they are not really interested in knowing me at all?   

The irony that seems to be lost on those using high volume automated prospecting on social media, is that social media is meant to be a place to build relationships. Yet their approach is actually anti-social and may be doing them more harm than good.  

The paradox I see is that most sales professionals will openly say that they do not want to cold call using the phone, fearing being seen as pushy or bothering clients.      

Yet many sales professionals seem happy to burn the reputation they have worked hard to build up on social media by spamming their new connections with an automated sequence.   (unless they are using BURNER Linkedin profiles – more on that another time)  

Just in case you start thinking I am anti-technology in sales,  I LOVE sales technology, BUT only when used to enhance the buyer’s experience as well as improving overall sales productivity.  

The challenge that many businesses face is how to use technology to enhance the sales process by blending existing human interactions with digitised services.   

Gartner’s  Q1 edition of The Chief Sales Officer highlights that B2B buyers are increasingly wanting a “sales rep free” buying experience. They predict that by 2025 80% of B2B sales interactions will take place through digital channels as buyers increasingly seek out seller-free sales experiences (currently at 33%).  

So, if you want to invest in technology to drive sales, think about how you can digitise your sales process to make it seller free….it is where the future is at.  

 So, if you want to invest in technology to drive sales, think about how you can digitise your sales process to make it seller free….it is where the future is at.  

And IF YOU MUST use automated prospecting funnels think about trying these things:  

1: Highlight that it is an automation…..  they will work it out anyway.  By saying upfront what the process is, then the pressure is on you to make them feel like they want to engage with a human.   

2: Plan your content that aims to add value & learn more about them vs trying to write every email like you wrote it. ( i.e, Hi Alex, one last message before I do not email you again…)  

3: Blend automation with humanity – taking the extra time to send some personalised messages as part of a cycle will allow you to add information that cannot be scraped from a LinkedIn profile and make you look more human.   


At this point you might be thinking I am just a grump traditionalist.   

But you would be wrong, because ultimately I love meeting individuals that are skilled at sales.  So I do offer those that put me in an automated sequence a chance to prove their worth.  

How?  I throw them an objection and see how they respond.

After the third message I reply with something like this “I do not engage with automated message sequences on social media as I feel they are anti-social and defeat the objective of “social”.  But if you want to engage human to human then feel free to message me back?”

Sadly only only 1 in 5 respond, however when they do I have met some great people, seen some great products and even bought one or two.

I call this game HUNT the HUMAN….. may be you can play it too!!

Let me know how it goes


How Recruitment Agencies Can Build a Business Development Culture

How Recruitment Agencies Can Build a Business Development Culture

Can Recruitment Agencies create a culture where everyone wants to contribute to Business Development?   

The answer is YES they can. 

However it for many agencies it will require a significant change in how they approach helping their customers needs and also how they treat their staff.

The video below is a shortened version of the presentation I gave to Recruitment Agency Leaders at the Recruitment Agency Expo recently.


3 Ways To Improve Business Development Collaboration

3 Ways To Improve Business Development Collaboration

Business development collaboration is key to combatting the BD paradox.

Our last post, the business development paradox, provoked a lot of agreement. “Yes Alex – good point” was the consensus reaction. From a neutral point of view, it makes no sense to have the toughest part of business development, fall on the least experienced members of your business.

But if you’re reading this you probably work in recruitment. You’ve got skin in the game. You probably have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. You may fear the consequences of telling your top billers they need to change. Perhaps you recognise things aren’t right, but you feel powerless to do anything about it. You can’t just turn the classic recruitment business model on it’s head over night can you?…can you? That’s another question entirely, for another blog.

Who’s to say the market couldn’t be disrupted?

But there are some less disruptive steps you can take, to create a healthier business development culture. A culture that benefits your whole company, not just certain individuals. You might not turn things round overnight, but you won’t alienate your biggest billers either.

We need to move towards a culture of Business development collaboration

1. Incentivise Collaboration

Talking about business development collaboration isn’t enough. You need to recognise and reward the consultants who actively promote other people in the business. You could formalise it by running quarterly competitions. You could just put more effort into recognising people in team meetings. If you praise people who go out of their way to help team mates and talk about it regularly, things will start to change.

2. All for one and one for all

Encourage knowledge sharing. Pair up your top billers and less experienced team members during core business development hours. Encourage them to share the tricks of the trade and their market knowledge. Move towards a culture where senior consultants are expected to support the rookies’ development. You can do this through formal objectives. However, it’s better if you can persuade them it’s in their interests too. It will lighten the load of billing managers and it will help identify senior consultants who are ready to step up to a leadership role.

3. Use it or lose it

Are your top billers creating a culture of fear? Experienced consultants will often ring-fence their best clients and intimidate others from calling them. They may be making tens of thousands a quarter from these clients, cherry picking the clients they want to work with, but what are they leaving on the table? How many thousands could your other consultants to pick up? If you suspect that opportunities are being missed, you need to call them out on it. You can give them a choice:

  1. Maximise the available billings with the client
  2. Introduce your colleagues when opportunities arise, or..
  3. Risk losing that client.

If the relationship between your company and the client, relies on just one consultant, you’re always at risk of that consultant leaving and taking the client with them. When you have several consultants working with the same client, you spread your risk and reduce the power of any individual consultant.

Culture change is never easy.

It takes time and inevitably upsets people along the way. If you do decide to try and change things, you need to plot a clear strategy out at the start and work hard to keep everyone engaged along the way. One of the reasons it’s hard, is because we all react differently to change. Some will feel threatened, others will see opportunity. Regular open conversations are key to understanding where people’s heads are at. Give them the chance to express themselves and contribute regularly.

Balancing Learning With Performance

Balancing Learning With Performance

When it comes to developing your people, finding a formula for success that delivers on the learning needs of the individual, as well as the performance needs of the company can be tricky. After recently attending the 20 year reunion from my summer job selling books...

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