The Way of the LinkedIn Ninja — searching for prospects like a pro

LinkedIn is awesome. It’s a simple fact, yet a shame that some of the tools and techniques you can use on it are overlooked.

One of the most powerful things about LinkedIn is it’s search capability, although it takes many people to truly use it, in all its glory.

Mastering some of the below techniques really can make you into a LinkedIn Ninja.

These techniques can be technical, however when mastered you’ll be able to utilize these in our day-to-day prospecting activity and really refine finding your Ideal Customer Profile and working outwards from this in a structured, scalable and predictable way for your Sales Development Team.

1. Advanced search
One of the key search tools on LinkedIn is the Advanced search. This is available to all active members on LinkedIn. The best part is the Advanced Search provides the ability to search in a structured format.

This means that your way of searching can be done in the same structured way as opposed to one long search query. For example, if looking for people who work at a particular company, you could simply search with that keyword. Using the Advanced Search allows you to refine either further, for example you could use your same company keyword within ‘Company’ field and set the ‘Current’ or ‘Past’ setting to provide even more accuracy.

You can also refine your search further with a number of further parameters such as Industry, Relationship, Location.

You can find the Advanced Search on the top right, next to the main search box.

2. LinkedIn Premium
Whilst LinkedIn Premium isn’t necessary a lot of the time, if you are looking to refine your searches further by Groups, Years of experience, Function, Company Size you may want to utilize the Premium service.

Premium provides another layer to filtering your prospects. We suggest running on basic to begin and explore Premium as a secondary layer to filtering should it be required.

3. LinkedIn Boolean Search (OR)
Example: VP OR Director

Certain titles will have different descriptions as highlighted above. LinkedIn search supports the use of OR which means that LinkedIn will return the results of the terms within a profile.

(Note that the “OR” needs to be in capital letters).

4. LinkedIn Boolean Search (AND)
Example 1: (VP OR Director) AND (Marketing OR Advertising)
Example 2: VP AND Director

If you’re enjoying the OR function, you’ll love AND. This function allows you to ensure that your profiles include both terms on your profile. So if you want someone who has both VP and Director in their profile you’d type: VP AND Director

This becomes a really powerful tool when you combine it with OR. Note the requirement to use parentheses to group the OR terms together, so the AND will apply correctly to any words within the grouped terms.

5. LinkedIn Boolean Search (NOT)
Example: (VP OR Director) AND (Marketing OR Advertising) NOT Sales

This last search function is NOT — it can be a tricky but powerful operator. It can’t be used along, but in conjunction with other terms. It will help you exclude certain terms from your profile search.

As the example suggests, a lot of persons in the search above are suggesting they’re both sales and marketing roles. We don’t want that. The NOT function is perfect for eliminating that in the search.

6. Using the sorting function.
By default, LinkedIn sorts your search results by keyword relevance, however in many cases, it may be better to search your results by more relevant information. To use the sort function, click ‘Refine Search’ on the header of any of the search results pages.

It may take some adjusting in the initial instance to search by these more advanced filters however the improved efficiency across your SDR team will be greatly improved. You’ll be the Mr. Miyagi of LinkedIn before you know it.

Using these operators together with our sales prospecting tool is an extremely efficient way to build your targeted prospect lists.