There are many strategies that work for new sales people using LinkedIn, one of my favorite is active lead gen.
For high ticket sales, new hires do well to talk to the sales manager about who the company's best clients are. Armed with this knowledge, the sales person can profile the common traits of the company's best clients, and use LinkedIn's powerful search engine to find more people and companies that fit the demographic.
Once good targets are found, there are several ways to reach out. My favorite is to find groups that the person is active in. Search the group for the person's name, and from the search results, click on "see activity". This will tell you what activity this person has contributed to the group in the form of discussions and comments.
The next step is to find a conversation you feel you could contribute to intelligently. You might even message the member (prospect) and start a personal conversation on the topic that they showed an interest in. This is where the relationship of common interest begins.
I've used this technique very effectively to locate people who I wanted to do business with, people I wanted to engage...
What if you need a larger quantity of people because you don't have a high ticket item, or your quota requires filling your funnel with more prospects?
Use the demographic you have created (see above) to find groups that you'll find existing clients or people like them. Use the group member search with keywords to find people to send messages - not hard sales messages because no one likes to be sold. The best results come from softer messages offering a service to solve a specific pain point, asking for referrals within their network or who to speak with at their company about what you offer, etc.
Both methods are effective when approached with the mindset that you are operating in a networking environment. People don't want to be sold, but they love to be the hero in finding a solution for their company's problems.
You can't really fully automate LinkedIn. The platform would lose much of its power and their environment of trust if you could. However, once a viable demographic and target is found, a practical solution is to assign an inside rep or sales assistant to the task to generate leads for the account executives.
To find more solutions for your sales answers, you can register for free online on-demand training at http://RockLinkedIn.com or reach out to me via LinkedIn and I'll direct you to the most appropriate resource.
Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva
CEO, Integrated Alliances
LinkedIn Training for Sales, Business Development, Marketing and Executives.