There are two things everyone should know about LinkedIn. First, it was founded when Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school and second, it isn’t exactly a social media platform.
The reason both of these points are important is that unless you accept LinkedIn has a DNA of its own, you can’t truly leverage its true purpose.
Yes, it looks and feels like social media but LinkedIn at its core is a business productivity tool like, say, Email or Slack. This is reflected in its business model as well. While most social media platforms are free to use and make money selling ads, LinkedIn has over 100 million paying customers and the majority of its revenue comes from selling premium access to its users.
So the best way to use LinkedIn is not just making connections but leveraging those connections to advance business prospects. Be it salespeople, marketers, or recruiters, LinkedIn is the holy grail for all B2B purposes.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- The Value of LinkedIn Contacts
- Navigating LinkedIn Contacts
- Why You Should Export LinkedIn Contacts
- How to Export Your LinkedIn Contacts
- How to Export ANY LinkedIn Contact
When LinkedIn was first conceived, most execs thought the idea of exposing your little black book was career suicide. After all, business contacts are supposed to be fiercely guarded and not shared openly. While at the time, they missed the larger picture (a globally connected business community), they did accurately recognize its core value: contacts.
Just so you know, the value of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube is derived from the content their users generate. Be it selfies, cat memes or educational videos, the content that users upload attracts new users and generates engagement. You log on to Instagram or YouTube not to contact publishers, or even your friends, but to consume their content and see their latest posts.
The same can’t be said for LinkedIn. While the content does play a modest role, its true value resides in the users themselves. You go to LinkedIn to find people, not content.
The fact that you can find almost every executive and decision-maker of significance on LinkedIn makes it the go-to platform for all kinds of business purposes. From talent hunting to sales prospecting, LinkedIn has what recruiters and marketers need: the right people.
A Facebook account on average has 330 friends compared to 930 connections of a LinkedIn account. It isn’t uncommon to find company pages on LinkedIn that have millions or even tens of millions of followers. Couple that with its smaller user base and this clearly indicates that LinkedIn as a platform is much more densely connected.
This has both an upside and a downside. On the upside, everyone you might want to contact is always just a few connections away, making it much easier to find prospects on LinkedIn. On the downside, you can’t contact them as easily as you would on other platforms. You can only message your own connections directly and there is InMail for people with common connections.
Beyond that, there is no third option to contact people you just found on LinkedIn. This limitation can be frustrating, particularly for salespeople and recruiters. They can visit the LinkedIn profile of a person who they believe can help close a deal or be the ideal candidate for a job – but they can’t contact them!
While LinkedIn is the best place to find appropriate prospects, it isn’t very effective for actually contacting them. For example, a salesperson might shortlist 50 contacts from 10 companies they wish to target. They can visit their LinkedIn profile but what next? Drop InMail messages and wait for their response?
Well, that isn’t going to work for two reasons. First, the response rate is very low. Even if you InMail 50 prospects, you will hear back from no more than 5-6 people. Also, there is a limit on the number of InMail messages you can send. If your response rate continues to be low, LinkedIn might even flag your account as spam.
Second, even the prospects who respond aren’t integrated into the regular sales and marketing engine. That means you can’t send automated messages or track engagement, making nurturing leads via InMail virtually impossible.
You need all your contacts to be fed into the core marketing/recruitment engine. So once you shortlist your prospects, the ideal approach would be to first export those contacts into your CRM and then start prospecting.
But this again has two challenges depending on which contacts you want.
If they are already in your network, exporting contacts is a fairly easy process. But this begs the question: if you already know them, why go through all the trouble? Just pick up a phone and call them!
If they are not in your network (i.e. you don’t know them) you probably don’t even have their contact details. So there isn’t anything to export in the first place!
For example, HR managers looking to fill a specific profile find candidates on LinkedIn (generally prospecting employees working at companies in a similar industry or vertical). Now if they are already connected with these candidates, they can be messaged or InMailed or even have their contacts exported. But what if they are not connected? How can they be contacted?
At this point, two things are absolutely clear:
- LinkedIn is, by far, the most reliable and abundant source of business contacts.
- It isn’t very effective for actually contacting them.
This is why if you export the LinkedIn contacts to your CRM or other marketing engines, you can reap all the benefits without struggling with the related downsides.
As mentioned earlier, exporting contacts you already have in your connections is a fairly simple process. Just follow these steps:
- Go to “My Account”
- Select “Setting & Privacy”
- Select the “Privacy” tab
- Scroll down and select “Download your data”
- Choose the categories of data you want to export (in this case, Connections) and select “Request Archive”
- Open your email account associated with the LinkedIn account
- Open the notification email and select “download it with this link”
- Select “Download Archive”
- Your data is downloaded. Open the corresponding CSV file to access it.
This CSV file can then be uploaded to any CRM or marketing engine you use.
This is an entirely different ballgame that enables you to export contacts of ANY LinkedIn users, irrespective of whether you are connected with them or not. With this workflow you can visit any LinkedIn profile and not just see their contact details but also export them directly to your CRM.
To take the earlier example, if a salesperson has shortlisted 50 people from 10 companies, they no longer have to rely on InMail. All they need to do is visit their profile, export their contact to their CRM or marketing automation platform and run more effective outreach campaigns. This enables them to use all sorts of marketing strategies including but not limited to email campaigns, cold calling, or even ABM. So how do you do it?
Download the SalesIntel Chrome Extension
The first step is to download SalesIntel’s Chrome extension from the Chrome Store and create an account. That’s pretty much it. You are good to go. And yes, it’s 100% free.
After that, visit any LinkedIn profile you are interested in and click the SalesIntel icon in the toolbar. SalesIntel will list all of the available contacts associated with the page which can then be filtered to get the precise information you need. Watch this short video to learn how it works:
It is worth mentioning that SalesIntel only allows human-verified contact data to be exported to CRMs because we value the accuracy of your database. With over 4 million human-verified you are virtually guaranteed to find what you are looking for.
There is also SalesIntel’s Research on Demand service, where you can request contact details of anyone who is not already verified and we will get it to you in a few hours.
Go Beyond LinkedIn
As a bonus, you can also use the extension on any website to find and export contact details of people in that organization. For example, if you visit Google.com and click the extension icon:
You will see we have 5,925 human-verified and 17,015 machine-processed contacts for the company. Just click “export” on any of those contacts and they will be sent directly to your CRM.
When it comes to business contacts, LinkedIn is a goldmine with almost endless supplies. And just as with mining gold, you need specific tools for extracting LinkedIn contacts. Tools that are simple to use, efficient and justify the ROI.
The SalesIntel Chrome Extension meets all of these needs and more. So what are you waiting for?