Social Selling Pests – Avoid the LinkedIn InMail of Shame


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As a Sales & Marketing Leader, you are responsible for driving lead generation. In 2013, leveraging social selling & prospecting has become mission critical. Your business development teams are using LinkedIn and you’ve equipped them with the best social selling tools. To be effective, carefully consider how you drive social media through the sales field. Sending a LinkedIn InMail without carefully choosing every word will lead to doom.

This article will give you the best practices to guide your team’s messaging. To assist you further, sign-up for SBI’s Sales & Marketing Research Review here. At no cost, an expert from SBI will present the full research findings. You will have access to guides, templates and tools to help your social selling efforts.

Problem Examination

Trying to call or email a prospect is ineffective. Buyers have become even more evasive. LinkedIn is the best way to reach your B2B buyer.

Once a buyer triggers an alert on your buying process radar, you engage. Often times, if not careful, you could appear as an unwanted pest. When desperation sets in, late night infomercial talk is pounded out of the keyboard. What does your buyer do? They punch “Delete” on the keyboard.

Here is a real life InMail of Shame example. You can’t make this one up. It was forwarded from client and the names were changed to protect.


Greetings Mr. Smith,

This is Joe Smith, an Account Manager of ACME company, an elite research and consulting think tank. I was wondering if you have a few minutes to chat?

Because I completely get how valuable and irreplaceable time is, I will get right to the point.

ACME is on a mission to restore proven methods of communication that have been forgotten by modern marketing, embracing the heroic qualities of our market and petitioning to act as a trusted guide rather than the traditional “you are broken, I will fix you” ineffectual model of advertising.

By incorporating our proprietary formula, backed by cutting edge research, we have consistently achieved increased lead generation by up to a factor of 80x and maxed out sales conversions by a factor of up to 50, repeatedly.

Why might this be important to you?

Did you know 67% of sales pros do not meet quota?

A full 40% of salespeople cannot understand their target customer’s pain.

Nearly half of all sales team struggle to perform without a playbook. Our objective is to partner with a select number of businesses prepared to move to the next level of competivity. Based on our preliminary screening our goals would seem aligned. Did we get that right?

The good news is we both can know for sure in about 15 minutes of stimulating conversation. Are you up for it? Just grab the best time at:

If this isn’t for you, no problem, but please let me know either way and let’s connect here on LinkedIn to stay in touch.


Let’s Diagnose this InMail

The InMail is clear isn’t it (sarcasm)? I can just see Joe agonizing over the use of adjectives. Steam must have been rolling out of his Microsoft Word thesaurus word generator. This InMail has so many problems. It’s a lengthy sales pitch even after it says I’ll get to the point. It’s messaging is not buyer centric. My favorite part is that he calls his company an “Elite research and consulting think tank.” These mistakes seem so obvious right? Wrong, surprisingly this happens quite often as well as these InMail of Shame categories:

  • Canned, generic message provided by LinkedIn introduction. (i.e. Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.)
  • Canned, the short form letter
  • Customized, with spelling errors (or other mistakes)
  • Customized, no clear call to action. (I have no idea what the person wanted from me)

How to Avoid the InMail Wall of Shame

First, you have to earn the right to send a LinkedIn message. While a LinkedIn profile is public, the inbox is not. Someone’s LinkedIn message inbox is immensely personal. Unless they know you well, you have little to no reputational value. When you send a message, you enter personal space. Therefore you must earn the right for the person to respond.

The secret sauce is a customized, short n sweet message with a clear call to action. You will get responses from InMails that drive value. Download a copy of SBI’s LinkedIn Message Writing Guide. It includes best practices, message examples, and several templates. You can get a copy by signing up for SBI’s Sales & Marketing research review here. One core area of focus in the research review is on social selling. Here you will get free access to all of our guides, templates and tools to help your social selling efforts.

The LinkedIn Message Writing Guide

Key Takeaway:

These simple InMail best practices will set your team on the right path. It will help you avoid the Wall of Shame. Respond with your favorite InMail of Shame in the comments below. We’ve all made them once and learned when hearing nothing back.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Koehler
John Koehler serves as Director of Demand Generation at SBI. He specializes in top of the funnel activities. John has extensive expertise in Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Web Analytics, Search Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, Social Media, Social Selling, Buying Process Maps and A/B Testing.


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