Recently, I was reading through HubSpot’s book The Sales Acceleration Formula and I found it to be incredibly insightful. For context, HubSpot is a customer relationship management tool that used data, technology, and inbound selling to go from $0 to $100 million in revenue. They’re now a public company.
This is a must-read if you’re looking to build a great sales team.
One particularly interesting section in the book was on Forced Hiring. HubSpot Chief Revenue Officer Mark Roberge says that it’s by far his most effective hiring tactic and after reading it, I felt compelled to take action.
The basic gist of it is going through your LinkedIn contacts and combing through their connections to find what you’re looking for.
I’ve broken this down into a simple-to-follow process that you can put to use almost immediately after reading this.
Let’s get started!
Who Are the Most Influential People of Your Connections?
The first thing to do is to make a list of your most influential connections in LinkedIn. These could be people who have 500+ connections or people that you know have a big network outside of LinkedIn.
One important step is to separate relationships into two buckets: friends and acquaintances.
- Friends – people who you actually have a relationship with.
- Acquaintances – someone you may have met at a networking event or e-mailed a few times.
The point of doing this is to increase efficiency when asking for a referral. Your ask will be more effective many times over. I’ll show you what I’m talking about in a bit.
For this exercise, we’re going to find paid advertising specialists. I’m feeling good about this because there’s definitely some great digital marketers connected to Neil.
Search Those Connections
This part is for your ‘Friends’ bucket. If you did not make a ‘Friends’ bucket, go and add your closest friends/influencers on LinkedIn and come back to this later.
The next thing to do is to click on the ‘connections’ link in the bottom right corner of the person’s profile:
A list appears, but you’ll immediately see that there’s a lot of noise in this list. Remember, we’re looking for a paid advertising specialist, so we need to narrow it down by searching for the right title:
Let’s try searching for ‘paid advertising specialist’ and see what we get:
This looks a bit tedious at first glance (having to click through multiple pages). Ugh, right?
Let’s come up with more variations of this title:
- PPC Manager
- Facebook Ads Manager
- Google AdWords Manager
Pro tip: make sure you use quotations to target the keyword phrase, e.g. “PPC Manager”. If you don’t do this, you risk getting a lot more noise in your results. Here’s what I’m talking about.
The wrong way (notice the 3,316 results):
The right way (53 results… much better):
Now to really speed things up, click on the ‘advanced search’ link.
Don’t want to copy all these names manually? You can get the Scraper browser extension for Google Chrome and scrape them all at once.
Put your list of names into a spreadsheet for safekeeping.
Rinse and repeat for all your influencers until you are satisfied.
Now, onto the outreach portion. We’re all looking to save time, so here are some templates that you can swipe and deploy. First, let’s start with friends.
For friends, it’s much easier to ask because you already have a relationship and a bond established. Here’s an example of a template that can be used:
I hope all is well. We’re looking for a Paid Advertising Manager and it looks like you have a few good connections on LinkedIn.
Who do you think is exceptional in this list?
[LIST OF NAMES]
Acquaintances can be a little trickier because, well, you don’t really have much of a relationship with them to begin with. You might be LinkedIn friends with them after talking for two minutes at a conference, but that’s about it.
Here’s a template I just recently used:
I hope all is well! I wanted to reach out because I’m looking for a [JOB TITLE] to help with [RESPONSIBILITIES]. This would mainly involve [TASKS]. Do you know of anyone who might be interested?
Thanks in advance!
It’s short and to the point.
As a bonus: you can also use this template to reach out cold to individuals who you think might be a fit. In that scenario, you’re obviously hoping that they’ll volunteer themselves, but if they have someone else in mind, that’s not a bad consolation price.
Pro tip: When e-mailing individuals, try using a tool like Outreach.io for mass reachout. Outreach.io will use templates that you set and automatically follow up with people. Here’s an introduction to Outreach.io.
I did a a test on LinkedIn and and via e-mail with NO follow ups. Here’s what happened:
- 20% response rate
- 7% response rate
Pretty good traction for a small test. Granted this is a small sample size but this just goes to show you what the potential is for this tactic.
When someone who takes a company from $0 to $100M and reveals their most effective hiring tactic, that person is worth listening to. This is just one of those ‘doh! why didn’t I think of that!’ tactics that slipped by me. But no matter—I’m glad I found it and I’ll be continuing to refine it over time.
Two last thoughts on how to optimize this in the future:
- Use a tool like Outreach.io (or mail merge) to send out mass e-mails. Ideally Outreach.io because it can follow up automatically.
- Once you have the process figured out, have an assistant compile lists of people for your ‘Friends’ reachouts. You just need to do a good job of specifying the criteria that you’re looking for.
Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.