373 – Generating More Sales With Linkedin Outreach With Stefan Smulders

Accelerating Sales to Scale your Business

CTA Cloud Consultants Collective

Over the past few years, LinkedIn has grown tremendously, and so has the outreach game. New features, algorithms, and the 100 invitations limit per week have been created to fight spam. So, how business owners are supposed to reach out to their ideal clients?

Paul talks to Stefan Smulders, founder of Expandi, and the number one growth hacker in the Netherlands. He helps agencies and tech consultants to increase your revenue through social selling. You will learn how to use GIFs to double the number of your conversations on LinkedIn, why your Social Selling Index (SSI) Score is so important and how you can improve it and why events are what you should be doing on the platform.


3:28 – LinkedIn Outreach. Agencies versus individuals.

8:36 – When and where to use GIFs in your LinkedIn Outreach. InMail and group campaigns.

10:26 – What are some of the images that work best? GIFs of yourself.

14:40 – The automations you should be using in your LinkedIn outreach strategy. It’s not as simple as adding another filter to the sales navigator.

22:20 – How to improve your SSI – Social Selling Index. It’s not about connecting, it’s about building relationships.

30:10 – What to do with the no reply messages. Send a reminder, ask for feedback, use short sentences.

34:13 – The Sales Deep Dive. Stefan’s sales habits.


CTA Request Transcription


How animated GIFs and images help to improve LinkedIn outreach?

LinkedIn has been growing so fast in recent years that people are now fighting against spam. And personalization plays a big role in this game, especially when the platform now limits the number of invitations members can send per week to one hundred.

Stefan has split tested and compared different ways to reach out to people, and GIFs do help to double the engagement and reply rates. It’s a friendlier way to get people to reply. Such kind of out of the box personalization allows you to interrupt patterns and is a funny way to connect with people via email, making it easier for them to reply.


Where in the sequence should you use the GIFs?

Unfortunately, LinkedIn does not allow GIFs in the connection request, but you can use and send a personalized video link. And once you connect with that person, you can use animations. However, you can send those GIFs by InMail if it’s an open profile. 

But what is an open profile? An open profile means that all LinkedIn users can message you free of charge. How do you know if the profile is open? Go and check the header and if the LinkedIn logo next to your name is golden, you can send messages using InMail. You can also send GIFs in group campaigns to other group members without sending a connections request.


Automations to improve your LinkedIn Outreach

When LinkedIn introduced the 100 connection requests per week limit, targeting the right people became a priority. Running a couple of filters on Sales Navigator was not enough anymore. It was the moment to change that spray and pray approach. Stefan firmly believes that targeting people who engage with somebody’s posts on LinkedIn is a much warmer start, and he suggests three different ways to do it:

  1. Go to the search bar, enter a keyword, and select the Post filter under the search bar. LinkedIn will show the most valuable posts based on that keyword. And if you see a post that meets your business goals, Expandi will scrape all the people who like or comment on the post with two clicks.
  1. If you find an online event on LinkedIn that you’re interested in attending or could attract your ICP, you can copy the URL. Expandi will import all the people attending that specific event.
  1. When you run a poll, Expandi makes it easy to import the poll and the voting people. And then, you can classify them based on the answer and use them for outreach.


How to improve your SSI (Social Selling Index) on LinkedIn

Stefan has run random tests and has found that 90% of people have an SSI score lower than 70%. Why? Because people are focusing on connecting with people instead of building relationships, which is, in the end, what LinkedIn actually wants you to do. LinkedIn wants you to be a healthy user by building your authority, improving your profile and using it to attract people. The more attractive your profile is, the more people will visit, the more content you’ll produce on a consistent base, and the better you are ranked.

But one of the best-untapped strategies concerning the SSI score is LinkedIn events. LinkedIn is heavily promoting and pushing you to host your own event, and it made it so easy for you to host and plan your own event.


CTA 1-on-1


The Sales Deep Dive

1. What are the sales habits that help you accelerate your sales?

I always start scrolling through my LinkedIn feed. I mainly check a couple of colleagues profiles to see what’s going on and engage with their content. I try to attend events and dig up useful information about topics that could be interesting for us to go after and start scraping the data.

2. What are some of the tech tools you use to accelerate your sales?

A middle man we are using to connect the dots is Zapier. That’s one of the tools we can’t live without these days.

3. What’s the best source of leads for your business?

I strongly think that LinkedIn is the best and most accurate data source. But I’m also a fan of a tool called Built It. It’s also a tool to search for different technologies that people use on websites.

4. What is one action that someone can take to 10 X their sales today?

I should say at the moment, take advantage of the in‑depth strategy before everybody is doing it, and that’s the LinkedIn events. It’s one of the best sales strategies to show your authority, engage with many people, and take advantage of all of your connections.


Important Links


About Stefan Smulders

Stefan is a serial SaaS Entrepreneur, also the founder at expandi.io and Netherlands #1 LinkedIn Growth Hacker. He pushed his last SaaS company Bootstrapped to $6M+ ARR from Zero within 17 months months.

He helps Growth hackers, agencies and SaaS Founders like to explode their growth and drastically increase their revenue through implementing social selling funnels.

He has helped clients in dozens of different niches book tons of new sales appointments on their calendar on autopilot through LinkedIn.




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