How to Get Results Using Cold Outreach on Linkedin – 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Solutions

By: Jack Reamer |
 March 7, 2023 |
With generating close to 7000 sales-qualified leads in the past 24 months for our clients, we know that Linkedin outreach works. 

But if you’re struggling to get potential customers to reply to your outreach messages, you’re probably making some common mistakes… 

The good news is with the right kind of knowledge you can become a Linkedin prospecting guru in no time at all.

In this article we will share some of the “beginner” mistakes sales teams and individuals make when it comes to Linkedin outreach messages, and how to fix them, ensuring guaranteed results. 

(If reading isn’t your thing, be sure to listen to our podcast where we share all our tricks and tips for cold outreach. Or if you need sales-qualified leads as in yesterday, hop on a free 15-minute consultation call with Salesbread to discuss how we can reach your quotas.)

Mistake 1: You’re using salesy messages or you aren’t being transparent about your intentions

Most of us know that you shouldn’t start your Linkedin message with a sales pitch.  

It’s probably one of the fastest ways to get a prospect to run for the hill, or just delete our message and ignore you. 

Sales pitches in a cold outreach message just don’t work.  

I’m sure that you’ve come across messages like these in your Linkedin inbox:

And the chances are that you probably ignored it.

But what’s important is that a lot of people have come to Salesbread and have tried the opposite approach and are still getting poor results.

And the opposite approach is like a networking tactic, where the salesperson might have done a good job with the prospect, but they fail to be transparent about why they are reaching out. 

They fail to tell the prospect about their product or how their company can solve pain points

If this fails to be communicated, you’re going to have a really awkward time trying to transition to the sales pitch.


The prospect is going to tell you that what you’re trying to say is not relevant to them at all. They aren’t going to like that you tried to sell them something because you reached out with this totally non-salesy networking message that you thought would work. 

This is just going to upset the prospect when you’re on the phone with them. And this is going to waste your time because these sales calls aren’t going to go anywhere.

It’s like going to a networking event and no one is really qualified; You just go home with a whole lot of business cards but really no new revenue. 

Finding this balance is really important so that you can get results through your Linkedin lead generation.

Here’s our solution – Use personalization and be transparent about your intentions

So what you want to do instead is make the cold Linkedin message very much about the prospect. You have to send personalized messages… 

(Read this article for exactly how to write personalized messages. This article is intended for cold email, but the same principles apply to Linkedin copywriting.)


Please, for the sake of transparency and for respecting your time and the prospects’ time, you need to make it very clear about what you’re working on. Mention what you do and why just for some background. 

The copywriting at Salesbread strives to communicate this clearly, but without sounding “salesy” or aggressive. 

You need to be clear about your intentions in order to succeed on Linkedin. 

Here are some example message templates that get this balance right

The below examples are from our article: 60 LinkedIn Connection Request Message Templates. As you can see the examples below are personalized but they also tell the prospect their intentions.

You want to use personalization AND be transparent about your product/service.

If you do this, you will end up booking meetings with people who are actually interested in what you have to sell. 

Mistake 2: Your target audience list is broad

When it comes to getting results on Linkedin, you can’t say:

“Oh, I’m selling to small business owners”.. and go into Linkedin Sales Navigator, filter by 1-10 employees, and “title” is owner, and off you go…

This is way too broad.

We have even seen that segmenting by “industry” doesn’t work because Sales Navigator data can be inaccurate if you use the tool the wrong way. 

Here’s our solution – Obsess about building an ultra-refined list of prospects

If your prospect list is too broad the chances are that you’re going to be sending a lot of Linkedin cold outreach messages to people who don’t care about what you’re selling. 

When you have an ultra-refined list of prospects the chances of having success with your outreach strategy will be so much higher.

So how do you refine your target list?

Have a look at WHO has been buying from you within the last 6 months. What common patterns are you seeing?

  • Are they all small businesses? (0-10 employees)
  • Do they all use a specific social media platform for marketing? (Like Instagram or Facebook)
  • Are these businesses located in the same area?
  • Who has the buying power or who is the decision maker? Is it the CEO of the company or someone else?
  • Do they all use the same CRM tool?
  • Has this company been recently funded?
  • Which industry are these businesses in? If it’s health and wellness, is it hospitals? Clinics? Mental health practices? 

Once you find patterns between your current buying customers, you can then create a look-a-like list of prospects and go after them. 

At Salesbread we analyze over 34 different filters to find your ideal target audience

You can read about this here:

Or watch this video that shows exactly how we would narrow down a list:

To break it down:

  • Find accounts that look like your current buying customers
  • Find the right job titles (or decision makers) at these companies to reach out to. 

For even better results…

Filter your list by your second-degree network, because stats show that prospects are more willing to accept a connection request if you already share a common connection… 


Filter your list by recently posted. 

The reason for this is because you want to reach out to prospects who are active on Linkedin.

If they haven’t posted something on the platform in the last 30 days, rather try to add them to an email outreach campaign

This should improve your positive reply rates already quite drastically because you’re reaching out to people who actually:

A.) Have the budget for your product/service


B.) Want to buy your product because it solves their pain points

Mistake 3: Your follow-up message could be the problem

Have you ever received 3 follow-ups in one day? Or a follow-up every single day from a salesperson

Annoying… Isn’t it?

But on the other end of the spectrum, you might never follow up (or follow up months later.) This is also a problem. 

Here’s our solution – Wait 72 hours before sending a follow-up and add more personalization

After a bit of A/B testing, we found that the perfect Linkedin cadence is about 3-5 follow-ups in total… And sending 1 follow-up message every 3 days. 

If you still don’t hear from the prospect they might not have seen your message.

If so, you could try a different outreach channel such as email or SMS. 

Below are some follow-up outreach templates that you could adapt for your own campaigns.

Another important thing to note with follow-up messages is that it’s important to add more personalization. 

Whether you mention common ground, a mutual connection, a compliment, or even a question in your messages. 

You will see with the message examples above we mentioned things like: 

  • “By the way, where’s your favorite hiking spot these days?”
  • “…You already know some executives in the group.” 
  • “By the way loved your webinar on XYZ, curious to hear how your company solves x problem.”
  • Congrats on your new role at (company name). What’s your secret to success? To be transparent, I do XYZ and help with XYZ. Does this resonate with you?”

Mistake 4: Your call to action isn’t clear or is a “high commitment ask”

If your outreach message lacks a call to action you’re going to confuse the Linkedin user and they aren’t going to know what you want from them.

Which might lead to them ignoring your message. 

So if you’re hoping to hop on a sales call, mention that in your message. Or if you would like to direct the reader to your website add a link. 

Here’s our solution – Be clear and don’t have a huge ask

The easier you make it for the prospect to reply, the better. Don’t ask them to watch an hour-long webinar, or to offer advice on your latest blog article. 

Make it simple. You could even say, reply with “yes” if you’re interested in scheduling a quick call. 

Here are some examples of low-commitment CTAs

Mistake 5: You’re using Linkedin automation tools for everything

Linkedin does not take kindly to automation. 
So if you’re automating everything in your outreach you might end up having your account blocked, or prospects will know you’re just a spammy bot and not reply to your messages. 

For example this message below: 

I know that this message has been sent to hundreds of other prospects.

(Besides, I’m not interested in hiring tools because I’m not in HR. So this was ignored by me.)

Don’t be this person. 

Here’s our solution – Don’t automate everyyyything

Some automation is ok. 

For example, we use a tool called Expandi that helps us streamline our campaigns. It sends about 20 connection requests per day. 

But we always ensure that we write personalized messages specifically for the prospect, even though we are using this tool, AND reply in real-time as a human. 

By doing this Linkedin won’t flag your account, and prospects will be more likely to engage with you because they know they are speaking to a real person. 

This article goes into more detail on Linkedin automation:

Then avoid the above mistakes and apply our solutions.

This is the strategy we use for our clients and it works. 

Feel free to read some of our case studies to see exactly how we generated leads for specific companies in the b2b space.

And if you’re interested in working with us, hop on a free 15-minute consultation call. 

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