The quickest way to get started with prospect research is to use LinkedIn. But there are a few things you should know before you start blindly reaching out to your target market.
Sales representatives frequently use LinkedIn for contact research and prospecting because of its vast potential audience and wealth of information. It can be an extremely effective platform if used correctly, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when using LinkedIn for sales purposes.
There are a few different ways to ue LinkedIn for prospect research. The most common is called “prospecting.” This is when someone takes a list of names and uses LinkedIn to try and find the associated email address.
This can be done manually or automatically. In the first case you use the combination of prospect’s first and last names plus their company domain address and combine them according to the common email address patterns. You can them paste the variants you come up with into gmail email composer (“to” field). The valid addresses will show the person’s profile when you hover over it.
In case you want to find LinkedIn emails automatically in bulk, you will need dedicated tools. These are email finders that are either standalone tools or browser extensions/add-ons. Either way, the process is pretty similar the key difference being that the research is performed automatically, in the background. In this case the search is much quicker and typically doesn’t require additional email validation.
A similar approach also works in reverse. Namely, you can take a list of email addresses and use corresponding tools to look up related LinkedIn profiles and find out who owns them. This can be useful if you’re trying to track down the owner of an anonymous email address.
The simplest way to find someone’s email address is to ask them for it. If you’re already in contact with the person, whether through social media or in-person, just send them a message asking for their email address. It never hurts to include why you need their email address, too (e.g. “I’m trying to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”).
If you don’t have any current methods of contact with the person whose email address you’re trying to find, LinkedIn can be a great resource for prospecting and research. Although LinkedIn doesn’t make it easy to find people’s contact information, there are tools that can help you with this task.