WomenPreneurs Blog

Sales Prep Guide: How to Use a LinkedIn Profile to Prepare for Reaching out to a Prospect Cold

Posted by Jan 3, 2014 2:46:00 PM Ali Powell

At HubSpot I work with marketers. My target market and who I prospect to our CMOs, Director's of Marketing, Marketing Managers, VP's of Marketing, etc. Really anyone on the marketing team. Obviously the more I can just get in touch with the person who is charge, the decision maker the better. Either way, really anywhere on the marketing team is a great start. I need to do research ahead of reaching out to them to make sure that I have a good chance at them responding to me. That person's background is a good first start and the internet has made it super easy for me to understand this person. cold_emailing_tricks

There are a few things that I look for when exploring how to reach out to someone at a company that I would like to talk to. This is after you have sourced a company that you know your product or service could be useful or helpful to. This is after you got an inbound lead and decided that you want to work it. This is what you do when you are ready to learn about the person or people that you need to reach out to. 

For this post I am just going to talk about what to look for in the LinkedIn profile of the person you are going after. The first thing I do when I get a lead or source a lead is head to their LinkedIn Profile. 


  • Do they look like a nice person? Honestly, I know this might seem funny but it is important. If you are going to cold reach out to someone or even reach out to an inbound lead you need to know what type of person they are. Figure out if they are maybe going to be cold or if you think they might be nice. A good first start is the picture. A picture can tell a thousand words, right. 


  • What city do they live in and work in? Make notes of these things in the description in your CRM. I really don't like the whole commonality thing. I know that when you are taught sales they tell you to create commonality out of location. Blah- that is boring, even if I was born in the same place they live now I don't think that is super interesting off the bat. Maybe bring it up down the line but why would someone open your email or take a call from you just because you lived in the same place they live in now. I would write that down though to think about what could make that interesting for you to reach out with. Some ideas for that would be:
  • Do you have an office in that location?
  • Do you have any customers in their location?


  • Check out their where they went to school.
  • Do you have anything in common with this school? Do you know anyone who went there?
  • What is that school good for?
  • What was their degree? 
  • What did they study? 

Current job and Current company

  • You want to make sure you know where their work obviously- make sure they still work for the company you are going after. You also should check out where they have worked before and for how long before the role they are in now.
  • If they have been at the company for a while and have been in multiple roles there write them down so you can tell them what you know.
  • Read the titles, write down the titles, write down the companies, etc. Always be thinking about ways that those little pieces of information could be relevant to you reaching out to try to help them. 


  • Who are you connected to that they are connected to? What you want to look for here are ways that this person that you are connected to could help your cause in reaching out to this prospect. Things I would ask myself if I did have a connection would be:
    • Do I actually know the connection?
    • How well do I know the connection and what is the context of the connection?
    • Would it be weird or normal to ask that connection to introduce me?
    • How can they help my cause of getting in touch with this prospect?

cold_emailing_ideasContact Information section 

  • Click on the contact info section of the upper part of their linkedin profile and see if their Twitter name is in there. This can help you to reach out to them in multiple ways. Now you can tweet at them, follow them on Twitter, etc. This just gives you more context as to why or how your company and what you do could help them. 
  • At that moment when you are checking out their Twitter page I would also see if you can get to their website and their blog. Subscribe to their newsletter if they have one. This will help you in the long run as you prospect the company. Use your work email address as well and you will be surprised as to how bad some company's newsletters and emails are. Take that information from the emails that they are sending and use it to help them. Come up with good ideas based off of what they send you in emails to help them help their prospects more. The more unique and valuable ways that you can show you care and really can give them advice the better chance you will have at them responding to something from you. 

Experience tab

  • Write down their current role and anything about the role. Sometimes I will just copy and paste it or take the relevant pieces that mean something to me. 
  • How long have they been in that role? 
  • Were they always at that company? Probably not, when did they start in the role? Those things can be leading indicators and triggers as to whether or not you should reach out. 
  • What are their responsibilities? Do they have anything to do with what you sell or what you think you could help them with? 
  • What are their past roles and what did they do in those roles? 

In Common with

  • Do you have any groups or skills in common with this person?
  • Sometimes if you have a group in common it is an easy way to start a conversation? Once again this comes with commonality but if you can show that you actually care about that thing they are interested in and for a specific reason it could help you.

Volunteer Experience and Causes 

  • Not everyone has these filled out but some people do. Do you like what they care about or know someone who does? Think of creative ways to make this an interesting way to reach out. 


  • Recommendations can say a lot about a person. I know I don't have tons but I wish I did. I should ask people to write me some because I think it is a great way to show your personality and your human side of you. 
  • The internet is your first place for your research. Recommendations are coming from real humans who wrote them their selves. Reading these will help you understand what kind of person someone is and you can talk about what you read on the phone. 
  • Anything you can use to make you stand out and them open your email or listen to your vmail is good to write down. 

Now that you have gone through the whole profile of your point contact that you really want to get in touch with I would recommend you do this for anyone else on the team that is relevant. If you have all this information to start with as you start to craft your plan to reach out to them you will be equipping yourself for success along the way. Never make reaching out to someone harder than it has to be. 

What I have seen doing this kind of research on the LinkedIn profile and background of a lead is that it helps me:

  • To be more confident when I reach out. I already feel like I know a lot about the person that I want to speak to. That in itself should make you confident to talk to them. 
  • When you have a conversation with them you will look and sound smart because you have a lot of ammo to use in your call. 

You never know what little thing might spur someone to want to talk to you. I wish I could put myself into my prospects brains sometimes to understand what got them to take my call or got them to open my email. I can only ask them for feedback and a lot of the time people tell me that it was because of all the research I did. How could they not answer my vmail, my email or my call? They felt like they had to. 

Even if the timing is wrong or they don't actually have a need for what I do, I still appreciate them telling me. That means it is one less person for me to call and one less person that I need to bother. I can spend my time on those where it is timely and is relevant to their business needs. 

How would you take this information that you gathered from a LinkedIn profile and use it in your prospecting? Would love to hear your ideas...

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Topics: sales skills, sales tips, sales prospecting, sales process, smart prospecting, smart research, smart startup marketing, LinkedIn profiles, Linkedin research

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