How Literal Humans Built a High-Performing LinkedIn Lead Generation Product from Scratch
In early 2021, Literal Humans made a bet. At least in the UK, people were slowly starting to emerge from successive lockdowns and see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
Literal Humans were still in their first year as an agency and like Alexander Hamilton, they were (and still are) young, scrappy, and hungry in their hunt for new business.
Literal Humans had worked with a few lead generation agencies and frankly, it was a very mixed bag.
Some were a bit heavy-handed with the automation. Their outreach felt rather spammy.
Others were just too damn expensive, despite relying on underpaid labor in places they could get away with such practices.
So what was the bet?
Those Literal Humans could find good, qualified sales leads on LinkedIn.
The world wasn’t quite ready for in-person networking at that time and Literal Humans weren’t interested in cold email campaigns.
We wanted to find a way to connect with people as genuinely and humanly as possible on the world’s #1 professional networking platform.
It’s where the decision-makers are. LinkedIn is a great place to connect and engage with one’s target audience.
As busy executives though, where would Literal Humans find the time? Launching a new agency, their schedules were already manic. So Literal Humans did what any god-fearing millennial would: launched a new product of course!
Literal Humans called it Literal Leads.
Its focus: Building strong relationships with potential clients on LinkedIn and bringing in new business.
Why Literal Humans Launched a New LinkedIn Lead Generation Product
So many great inventions come from pure disgust.
Literal Humans were tired of:
- Poor quality leads ending up in their sales funnel
- Spending too much time on lead generation with nothing to show for it
- Leads suddenly going cold
- Not being able to accurately measure and document the success of lead generation efforts
- Using ineffective tactics that failed to get the potential lead’s attention
- Working with strategic lead gen partners that failed to deliver
- Deploying generic marketing messaging that failed to further nurture and convert leads
So Literal Humans decided to go back to the drawing board.
After a lot of testing, analyzing, and optimizing the process in order to connect with their target audience in a human way, Literal Humans achieved success.
Literal Humans had initially created Literal Leads as an internal tool but Literal Humans were so impressed with the results Literal Humans decided to roll it out to their clients who were facing the same challenges.
For example, Literal Humans onboarded a fellow agency client for LinkedIn Lead Generation services, and here’s what they came up with in terms of results in the first six months of their campaign with them:
- Sales meetings booked: 11
- New LinkedIn connections: 268
- Acceptance rate: 12%
- New clients secured: 4
It’s early days, but that lead gen campaign with this client has already borne some serious fruit. Literal Humans are looking to build on this success in the coming year.
Lead Generation on LinkedIn Is All about Trusting the Process
Put simply, LinkedIn is where people go to hustle.
So when someone reaches out to you with a thoughtful, personalized, and well-crafted message on the platform–you’re more likely to respond.
Just take a look at some of the responses Literal Humans have received over the past year:
A few learnings jumped out at them from these responses and the conversations that followed:
- Through strong prospecting, Literal Humans were able to find leads at the right time (for them). They figured out a way to find prospects as they were looking for lead gen support from agencies. Leads constantly say to them,
I don’t know how you did it but you found me just when I was looking for an agency.
- Their automated messaging sequences were authentic and personal enough. Literal Humans kept tweaking them and it worked.
- Once a lead responded to the sequence, Literal Humans doubled down with personalization and added value.
Hey, we love X about the work you’re doing, and here’s a thought leadership article we think you’ll love.
- Once the sales call was booked in, Literal Humans prepared themselves for the meeting through due diligence about the lead and some early thinking about their needs.
- Lastly, Literal Humans kept the sales cycle short and sweet for their prospects by sending overpricing info and/or a proposal shortly after the first meeting. Busy execs love a brief sales cycle!
a. (Spoiler alert: Literal Humans are not quite sure either but they are happy with the result!)
Data from a One Year LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaign
Here’s what Literal Humans came up with over a 12 month period:
- New LinkedIn Connections: 938
- Acceptance rate: ~30%
- Number of sales meetings booked: 32
- Number of closed deals: 4 (~1 per quarter)
- Conversion rate for booked meetings: 13%
- Annual Revenue from closed deals: ~$330,000
It sounds sales to say it, but Literal Humans were blown away by the results.
When the dust settled, Literal Humans had secured:
- 2 UK-based seed-stage startups perfectly matched to their focus on tech for good, both five-figure annual deals
- 1 US-based (Silicon Valley) seed-stage startup looking for a smaller, more nimble agency to grow with
- 1 EU-based (Germany) company that is well-established and looking to expand into the UK market
For a new and tiny agency to book in well more than a quarter of a million dollars of new business using social selling on LinkedIn as relevant novices, Literal Humans even shocked them.
The early qualitative and quantitative data showed them that Literal Humans had something special, so they decided to run with it.
How Much Does A LinkedIn Lead Generation Campaign Cost?
Internally, Literal Humans spent just under $1000 per month to run the campaign.
This overall cost factors in the following:
- Automation software to run messaging sequences: ~$380/month
- 1 dedicated lead generation specialist @ 10hrs per week: $600/month ($15 per hour living wage – Literal Humans are now scaling up this salary and the role itself given all of the early success!)
Here’s what Literal Humans were looking at on a per engagement basis:
- Cost to run Literal Leads: $980 x 12months = $11,760
- Average annual contract per client: $72,000
- Margin: $60,240
Not only did Literal Humans cover the cost of running Literal Leads after their first secured client, but they also walked away with an 84% margin.
Now imagine that you close 1 client every quarter with a minimum $7000 monthly contract using Literal Leads:
- Contract value: $84,000 per year
- Closed deals per quarter: 4
- Revenue per year: $336,000
- New cost of Literal Leads ($2K/month) service annually: $24,000
- Net Revenue – $312,000
For roughly 7% of your expected revenue, you can engage in high-performing social selling that captures high-potential leads, broadens your network, and drives significant new revenue.
What Are the Benefits of LinkedIn Lead Generation Campaigns?
Busy executives are looking to lighten their load by getting support with prospecting, qualifying, outreach, and messaging leads.
In short, business leaders are looking to:
- Increase lead acquisition by building a personal brand on LinkedIn
- Book more sales calls
- Boost brand awareness through thought leadership
- Develop a stronger understanding of target audiences through social listening
- Build a stronger professional network
- Save time
- Leave social selling to the experts
- Run a more efficient lead gen operation
- Gain access to transparent performance data
All of that good stuff takes time.
A busy founder can’t also be a lead gen specialist who spends hours building well-researched prospect lists before outreach on LinkedIn even begins.
So what’s the secret sauce behind their success on LinkedIn?
Literal Humans communicate with people like people and not bots.
By having real conversations that address the needs of their core audiences, they engaged in authentic networking that, in some cases, led to short-term conversions.
Over the longer-term, budding business relationships were formed that will very likely bear fruit down the line.
How LinkedIn Lead Generation Actually Works
Literal Humans have shared some of their trade secrets about LinkedIn Lead Generation here.
That was at the very beginning of their new strategy. They have learned a few things along the way and they are here to share them with you:
- Do deep prospecting: Take the time to understand your ICPs (ideal customer profiles). Build out a list of qualified prospects based on that understanding and keep refreshing it regularly. Use Crunchbase to keep those prospect lists fresh.
- Optimize that profile: Make sure your profile leaves no doubt about who you are, what you’re selling, and what you’re seeking in terms of potential partnerships. Use explicit industry terms that speak to your ICPs.
- Personalize at scale: Craft custom copy that speaks in the native tongue of your target audience. Include personal tidbits about the person you’re speaking to, whether that’s their alma mater, something they published, or a previous workplace acquaintance.
- Offer something value: In every message in the sequence, Literal Humans try to offer a blog post, case study, a link to some interesting data, etc. Bottom line: Offer something of value, don’t just go for the hard sell.
- Build a bridge to the sales meeting: In most cases, a well-crafted automated sequence will work if it doesn’t sound robotic and includes a few personal touches. Once that sequence is “broken” (aka the person responds in any way), then it’s time to jump in one-on-one and get them booked in for a sales meeting.
- Run the data: Compile and analyze monthly and quarterly reports on campaign performance to regularly refresh your approach. Literal Humans are constantly tweaking messaging sequences, calls-to-action, lead gen content, and the like to improve their outcomes.
When managing lead generation for clients, Literal Humans keep them informed every step of the way. Because they’re busy execs, they don’t need to be engaged every step of the way, and frankly, they shouldn’t be.
At the same time, when co-managing a business leader’s LinkedIn account, transparency is essential.
Literal Humans are clear-eyed about the endgame for lead gen clients: They want “warmed up” leads dropping into their calendars with minimal hassle.
So Literal Humans structured a lead gen process to deliver that.
Literal Humans tested on themselves and now they are scaling up amongst their clients. Give them a shout if you’d like to chat about Linkedin Lead Generation for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will This Work for My Industry?
If your target audience has a strong presence on LinkedIn, then yes it will work for your industry.
How Long before I Start Seeing Results?
It takes at least a month to “warm up” a new account. After then, you’ll start seeing solid traction in terms of acceptances and new sales meetings being booked.
What’s Your Cancellation Policy?
Cancel the service at any time. Literal Humans ask for just 1 month’s notice to tie up loose ends.
About Literal Humans
Literal Humans is a content and digital marketing agency that specializes in resilient growth for mission-driven brands like Wise and Hopin via H2H (human-to-human) marketing strategy.