Sales leaders are always asking what’s the ROI and cost-per-lead of LinkedIn. To answer the question simply, my personal business development ROI with LinkedIn is unmatched by other sales mediums. That’s right – I personally (not including what our sales team accomplished) created $350,000 in new opportunities in 6 months, using LinkedIn Executive ($100/month account).

Cold calling, email campaigns, webinars, tradeshows, PR – none were as effective at producing this kind of ROI.

I’ve chosen to isolate my LinkedIn metrics to only the last 6 months, as its when my business Shanks Group merged with Sales for Life. Since then, we truly began maximizing our LinkedIn efforts and documenting strategies.

My Personal LinkedIn ROI metrics

  • # of Opportunities Created = 34
  • Total Opportunity Value = $350,000
  • Cost-per-Opportunity = $600 (LinkedIn Premium) / 34 Leads = $20
  • ROI-per-Opportunity = $350,000 / $600 = $583 : $1

Let’s focus on these last two metrics and think about this in comparison to your business development costs:

Cost-per-Lead (Opportunity) of $20

That means we spend a quick lunch for 2 people, to enter into a proposal opportunity in a deal worth thousands of dollars. This is fractions of the cost of “Smile & Dial” Outsourced Cold Calling.


$583 : $1 Ratio, this is like the ProLine bet on the 2012 Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Cheifs, all to win in a shootout. Except, our potential $583 has the odds to win of last years 2011 SuperBowl Champion New York Giants. This is the easiest bet in the world – I give you $1, and I have a really good chance to make $583.

ROE (Return-on-Effort) LinkedIn metrics

ROE is vital to understand with LinkedIn. Once people see our success and our client’s success on LinkedIn, the common objection is “My sales reps don’t have time to spend all day on LinkedIn”. Please understand that I spend less than 6 hours a week on LinkedIn!!! This should be a huge wake-up call to sales leaders that long-term commitment to Social Selling is the common denominator. As a business owner, I’m being pulled in 10 directions at once, and many times concentrating on client’s business development before our own. That’s why we’ve developed a system on LinkedIn (that we teach) to maximize time-to-$ ratio.

In all honesty, I spend approximately 6 hours a week on LinkedIn (each day for 1 hour, minus Saturdays)

  • Total Time on LinkedIn = 6 hours x 24 weeks = 144 hours
  • Opportunities Created-per-Hour = 34 Ops / 144 hours = every 4 hours (1.5 a week)
  • Potential Revenue-per-Hour = $350,000 / 144 = $2,341/hour

Let’s review these last two metrics –

Opportunity Created-per-Hour

Looking at the math, by Wednesday after distributing great content using Hootsuite, Answering a few questions, reviewing my Triggers in LinkedIn Signal and sending LinkedIn InMails – I have an Opportunity with a software company worth $10,000+. The process was fun and it’s building long-term brand value, and I’m able to put myself in a proposal opportunity all during my lunch breaks.

Potential Revenue-per-Hour

We obviously don’t win every Opportunity, but I can tell you that at least I have a shot at $2,341 for 1 hours work on LinkedIn – that is absolutely time well spend.

All of this ROI was not generated in my first few weeks of LinkedIn business development, nor was your pipeline created from your first few phone calls. This is an investment of time and effort, but an investment that has everlasting brand power for you and your sales acumen.

If you don’t want to be left behind the 8 ball – you need to start to take action. The following dozen blog posts on utilizing social selling strategies and LinkedIn can help you start. If you are looking for some hidden gems on how you can attract a very specific prospect, I recommend you check out – How-to-Guide: Making $$$ with Social Selling.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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