LinkedIn InMail Changes: What B-to-B Sellers Should Do Next
The new LinkedIn InMail changes are in effect—leaving sales reps and managers upset and confused. InMail just got much more expensive for average B-to-B sellers. However, you can now access a nearly unlimited supply of InMail credits under the new policy—by making one small change to how you craft InMail messages.
Yes, I said nearly unlimited. No, I'm not kidding, nor risking my integrity.
There is a way to send 100 InMail messages and get 193 credits back (for you to re-use again).
Briefly, What Changed and Why?
When InMail was introduced, LinkedIn's "guaranteed response" policy rewarded spammy messages. Oops. So, as of January, LinkedIn gives InMail credits (that you buy) back—BUT only for InMails that earn a response in 90 days.
This is radically new.
Under the old system if you did not receive a response within a week, the InMail credit you purchased was given back. LinkedIn guaranteed a response. However, this rewards you for failing.
For example, let's say you purchased 50 InMails and sent them. A (poor) 10 percent response rate allowed you to earn credits and send over 400 InMails per month. Thus, the policy increased the amount of spammy InMail messages being sent. The system rewarded it.
What the New Policy Means to You
Going forward, you will receive a credit (get your money back) for each InMail receiving a response within 90 days. You can re-use the money to invest again ... and again and again. But if you earn no reply (or a poor response rate) your money is wasted.
LinkedIn's old InMail policy rewarded sellers who weren't successful with InMail.
LinkedIn's new InMail policy rewards you (only) for writing messages that get good response. How good?
If you send 100 InMails per month, with a steady 20 percent response rate, you will end up with about 125 total InMails to send-based on InMails credited back to your account.
How to Send 100 InMails and Get 193 Credits Back
If you're an average InMail user, you're seeing credits vanish lately. But there is a way to send 100 InMail messages and get 98 returned to you. Or even 193 credits back (for you to re-use again).
How? Write effective InMail messages.
For example, let's say you earn a 50 percent response rate on your first batch of 100 InMails sent. Over time (as you use the InMail credits returned to you) you earn a total of 98 credits. Not bad. You get nearly all of your investment back for re-use.
But what if you were really good? Let's say you earned a 70 percent response rate to your InMail messages? Hey, it's possible. I have students who earn 73 percent response rates.
With a 70 percent response rate, you would earn 193 InMail credits (of your original 100) to re-use for prospecting.
In actual practice the math is a bit messy, due to the delays between prospects responding and LinkedIn's re-issuing credits. But you get the picture.
Should You Stop Using InMail?
As much as it may hurt, your never-ending stream of InMail credits were part of LinkedIn's lack of foresight. If you are considering investing in InMail you're in luck. Learn from this experience. Most B-to-B sellers who invested in LinkedIn Sales Navigator (and InMail) are complaining loudly. Many are resigning accounts.
And they should.
As Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."
Change for the better.
What to Do Next
LinkedIn's InMail policy change is another signal. Another warning. A reason to abandon fairy-tale beliefs like:
- Email prospecting doesn't cost anything when it fails-or under-performs
- It's mostly a numbers game
- Getting response and appointments means sending more emails
Yes, it is a numbers game. Just like cold-calling. But what is the basis of an effective cold-call routine?
An effective communications process. More specifically: A systematic, repeatable, scalable way to turn calls in to leads. I recently described this technique—gave next steps and templates to help make it easy.
If you aren't serious about learning an effective process, you won't experience predictable success.
"Lazy individuals will still be able to send indifferent InMails, but they won't be rewarded for it." says Bruce Johnston of The Practical Social Media blog.
"The new InMail system will reward people with imagination that experiment to get optimal response rates," says Johnston.
Whether you pay cash for LinkedIn InMail credits or send standard emails to prospects ... if it doesn't work, it costs you. Cash or wasted time-time you should have spent doing something productive!
How do you feel about LinkedIn's new InMail policy? What do you intend to do about it, looking forward?