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LinkedIn contacts export and database design with low-cost approach

Stefan Behrendt

Certified CRM Expert

Expert with 20 years of experience in digital strategy/transformation, digital marketing & sales, and product management

5 min read

written by

Stefan Behrendt

Certified CRM Expert

Few words about the client

Our client is the Director of Global Sales at a company that offers contract research services to pharmaceutical, biotech, start-up, and academic researchers who need faster, smarter, and cost-effective solutions for drug profiling.

Scope of the project

As a regular customer, he approached us for database design to manage his LinkedIn contacts in an easy way.

Duration of the project

The project was implemented within 1 man-day across one week of agile collaboration with the customer over the entire lifecycle of solution design, implementation, and testing.

Effect:  LinkedIn contacts export to Google Sheets integrated with Zapier’s chrome plugin.

Thanks to this implementation, the client can manage the data of his clients much more efficiently. Creating an automated list of people interested in its services helps in faster service and additionally increases the quality of connections. Orderly and systematic activities are essential when building a long-term relationship.

LinkedIn contact export specialist- Stefan Behrendt

Over the course of my career, I have implemented a large number of databases and integrations of databases with external IT systems, especially around CRM and across the customer journey. For SoftwareSupp for example, I completed a data analytics project using Pipedrive and its dashboard capabilities to set up a management sales cockpit for a green energy start-up.

For this project, the following skills were essential

  • Solution design and architecture
  • Database design, data analytics
  • SaaS and social media platform know-how
  • Master data management/CRM knowledge
  • Digital systems integration of various SaaS tools
LinkedIn contacts export specialist
Profile with freelancer skills details

Database of potential clients- LinkedIn contacts export

The initial stage of the project required understanding the client's needs and the expected end-results in combination with the workflows that the client was willing to conduct when operatively filling the database during his daily work.

LinkedIn has been considered as one of the most effective social media for B2B lead generation. According to the information published by Linedlin,  80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn.

During the solution design phase of the project, the following key requirements of the client were elaborated

  • Lay-out of data structure and database fields, based on the CRM system used and the client’s information needs
  • A lean, minimally invasive approach without connecting external systems directly to LinkedIn
  • Full (manual) control of the data-capture process
  • A low-cost approach leveraging existing tools and infrastructure and ideally not relying on expensive additional SaaS tools
  • An open solution that allows the client to modify the solution by himself post-launch (data structure, type of data to be captured, target CRM system)

Based on these requirements, three basic solution-designs were evaluated

  1. Specialised tools connecting to LinkedIn
  2. Use of Zapier, the Zapier Chrome Browser Extension and google sheets/Excel365
  3. Manual approach by using a freelancer to handle the data entry process

We discussed with the client the respective solution designs and mapped these against the client’s requirements and decided for solution 2, a combination of Zapier’s free basic product and a google spreadsheet.

As a general rule, the main project's challenge was the proper identification of the client's needs and direct cooperation. My knowledge and experience allowed me to offer the client three different solutions. During database design, setting the appropriate structure of the uploaded information from the beginning is crucial. Thus, the client can correctly and with ease add consecutive database fields by himself.

Process of LinkedIn contacts export by Zapier to GoogleSheet
LinkedIn contacts export process

By hiring a specialist for Linkedin contacts export, the client saved the whole day of monotonous and manual work. Moreover, the implemented automation will enable the customer to export contacts in the future independently.

Assuming that 1000 contacts were transferred through Zapier automatically, and manual copying of information would take at least 30 sec/contact, it turns out that the client saved over 8 hours of work. This number of hours saved will systematically grow with the transfer of new LinkedIn business contacts.

LinkedIn contacts export by using Zapier’s Chrome plug-in

The implementation of the LinkedIn database consisted of the following steps

  • Setting up accounts in google sheets and Zapier
  • Creating a google sheets document with the customer’s data structure
  • Setting up a „Zap” (= automation) in Zapier that transfers data from Zapier’s Chrome browser plug-in to google sheets
  • Downloading Zapier’s google Chrome extension to start using the solution

The data transfer from the Google Chrome browser to the Google Spreadsheet was implemented as a Zap using Zapier’s Chrome extension which was connected to a google sheets tab containing the data structure of the LinkedIn contacts.

Zapier as a LinkedIn contacts export tool
Zapier used to transfer data automatically

After implementation, the solution was tested with various datasets by the expert and by the client and smaller corrections in the data structure were implemented and tested. Finally, the solution was handed to the client and the client was trained on how to operate and also modify the solution in case additional requirements would come up.

The final result

The developed solution allows the client to capture his LinkedIn contacts from a browser, enrich these with additional data manually and immediately transfer the data into a google sheets database. This database can be further enhanced, sorted, filtered, and then also be uploaded into CRM systems like Pipedrive, Salesforce, or Hubspot to further process the LinkedIn contacts export. The solution design developed in this project has the following advantages

  • a lean approach that does not require any systems integration between LinkedIn, other systems, and the CRM
  • an open solution that works with any CRM leveraging the flexibility of google or alternatively Excel365 spreadsheet
  • a low-cost approach using mostly existing tools like google sheets (or alternatively Excel365) and Zapier and not relying on additional costly SaaS tools to handle the LinkedIn integration
  • Full control for the user when transferring the LinkedIn contacts with the possibility to select contacts and also enrich these with additional data manually


The client for whom this project was carried out already took advantage of SoftwareSupp certified freelancers services before. This article briefly describes the work on integrating Pipedrive with Pandadoc. Customer satisfaction about the first project contributed to re-login at SoftwareSupp after a year to improve subsequent internal processes. SoftwareSupp is a platform where you can hire certified freelancers on-demand, hourly, or complete a project. You can request professional software support depending on your needs.

Software support projects
The client's projects contained in the SoftwareSupp account


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written by

Stefan Behrendt

Certified CRM Expert

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