Excessive InMails Push Senior Executives Away from LinkedIn
09 Sep 2021

Excessive InMails Push Senior Executives Away from LinkedIn

Every day, senior executives and key decision-makers get bombarded by LinkedIn InMail messages (paid messages sent between LinkedIn users) from a variety of users with diverse propositions – recruiters, sales pitches, investment pitches, wealth management pitches, introductions, job seekers, the list goes on.

C-level executives, SVPs, Heads, and other decision-makers receive at least 4 unsolicited InMails per day, according to a recent study by C-Suite CV Secure among its 8,000 C-Suite users. That’s 120 unsolicited InMails every month. In 2017, the same number stood at less than 1 InMail per day per executive.

Over the years, the easily accessible public LinkedIn profiles, and an ever-easier way to reach otherwise hard-to-contact senior executives transformed the way executive search industry and sales functions operate.

In the case of executive recruiting, if the role is not a Retained Search (read exclusivity), then the same executive gets approached by 2-3 different recruiters for the same role. Multiply it by several times if the executive is in high demand.

Senior executives are not always active on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn cleverly and conveniently is repackaging each InMail into an email that is sent to the user. So, there is no running away from these messages if you check your email.

Five key reasons are causing senior executives to shy away from responding to InMails like before.

1)    Wide-scale adoption of LinkedIn Recruiter Suite and Sales Navigator in recent years

Every month, 240 million unique visitors visit LinkedIn website or mobile app according to SimilarWeb, a traffic tracking website. This number stood at less than 90 million in 2017. 

During this period, the total number of registered (not active) LinkedIn users went up by 22%. Microsoft has been successful in getting more users to use LinkedIn ever since the purchase in 2016. This translates the revenue in 2016 which stood at $3bn to reach $10bn in 2021.

Nearly every Executive Search firm uses LinkedIn Recruiter to identify and approach candidates. That’s on top of their personal network, industry expertise and ability to reach hard-to-find candidates. Retained Executive Search firms follow a systematic approach to market methodologically mapping suitable candidates from target organizations and LinkedIn helps them connect the dots.

The role LinkedIn plays is crucial, which drastically brings down time to complete the Search and sales cycle. For example, if Slack needs a new CFO and prefers candidates from software and internet industries, the talent mapping exercise could be completed in a maximum of 10 business days, not to mention, being heavily reliant on LinkedIn Recruiter platform.

Microsoft recently announced that LinkedIn revenue grew a whopping 46% last year.

2)    Reduction in per InMail pricing for heavy users

Typically, an InMail costs $6 per send. For heavy users such as recruitment agencies, search firms and sales functions, it comes to as low as $1 per InMail message. This reduction in price has removed the barrier to entry for reaching senior executives.

By lowering the price for volume users and the massive adaptation of LinkedIn InMail system has given millions of salespeople and recruiters instant access, who otherwise had to rely on other ways to reach those executives.

3)    800 InMails per month per Premium user to Open Profiles

Someone who has a Premium account pays around $30 per month which gives them only 5 InMail credits that could be used to message anyone. But the user can send up to 800 InMails every 30 days if the other profile also has a Premium account with Open Profile settings. 

LinkedIn wants people to communicate more, even with people whom you are not connected. But this strategy is back-firing in the case of senior executives and is driving them away from the platform.

To cope with the overwhelming surge in InMails (most of them being spam), some executives are completely turning off communications on the platform, while others are removing Open Profile settings from the profile.

4)    Covid-19 drastically reduced cold calling

One of the traditional ways senior executives were reached was through cold calling. With almost no one working from office due to Covid-19, access to office phones got cut-off. LinkedIn InMail enabled anyone to communicate with a senior executive in a much faster way.

5)    Misuse of phone number and email

For lead generation companies, spending $1 - $2 on InMails to acquire contact details of a senior executive is not a bad idea when they can sell it at a much higher price on their platforms. Senior executives are increasingly cautious about whom they reply to on LinkedIn.

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