Why InMails suck (and what to use instead)

In today’s newsletter, I’m going to share why LinkedIn InMails are terrible for prospecting, and what you can use instead. Prospecting on LinkedIn is the easiest way to book meetings (if your prospects are active on it), but you have to know which tool to use, and how to be creative to stand out.

Let’s dive in:

Why InMails suck

When you google InMails, the first sponsored result looks like this:

Image #1

How many times do you see the word “Ads”? I checked, and it’s written 12 times. What it means is that LinkedIn InMails are designed for marketers (to run campaigns at scale), but not for salespeople.

For example, they are used for lead generation, to send messages at scale (like the one below):

Image #2

As you can see, a few elements are problematic with this InMail as a prospecting message:

  1. An InMail lands in a parallel inbox, it is flagged as an InMail, and a small label appears to signal this
  2. The person is a 2nd degree connection, which normally prevents them from reaching out
  3. There’s two call-to-action at the bottom of the InMail (which I never get in normal messages)

Now, how do you think prospects react when they see your InMails? Most ignore them, because they see it as ads, not as prospecting messages sent specifically for them.

What to do instead

Step 1: Optimize your LinkedIn profile for sales

The first thing you need to do is to stop using InMails as a prospecting tool. Instead, focus on optimizing your LinkedIn profile. You have a few 3 mains goals when optimizing your LinkedIn profile for sales:

  1. Catch the attention of your prospects with a banner
  2. Get them to read your headline
  3. Build trust

I wrote a full guide on doing just that. It’s a bit old, so hit me up on LinkedIn (or reply to this message) if you want to see a V2.

Step 2: Find a relevant trigger for each prospect

With a LinkedIn profile optimized for sales, you then need to find a relevant trigger to get in touch with your prospects. A trigger is a publicly available piece of information that indicates a prospect may have a problem you can help with, or an interest in speaking with you. A trigger can take many shapes, for example:

  • A reaction/comment to a LinkedIn post
  • A visit on your LinkedIn profile
  • A post from a prospect

There are countless triggers you can use to start conversations with prospects. You just need to know their problems in details, and find out where these people hang out.

Step 3: Write direct, useful connection requests (or write nothing)

In most cases, you won’t be connected with your prospects on LinkedIn. This means you only have two options to contact them on LinkedIn:

  • Send them an InMail (you know how I feel about that)
  • Send them a connection request

There’s an art to sending connection requests. Your goal is to create a short, direct, and useful message to your prospect. You want to catch their attention, and get them to become a first degree connection by accepting the request.

In some cases, you won’t have anything relevant to mention in your connection request. If that’s the case, let your optimized LinkedIn profile do the job and send it without a text. If you need some inspiration, I have a list of connection requests (and cold messages) you can’t afford to miss.

And this why InMails suck for prospecting, and what you can do instead. If you need help to build a prospecting system on LinkedIn, I recommend purchasing my Prospecting Engine. It’s the ultimate knowledge and systems to start conversations, book meetings, and generate a healthy pipeline in 2024 and beyond.

Hope this helps.


Thibaut Souyris

P.S. When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

→ Enroll in The Prospecting Engine

Need to train your team or invite me as a speaker? Book a call here

→ Sponsor my content & get 45K+ eyeballs on your ad

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