Should You Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator For Social Selling?

The stats seem to support the claim that social selling provides a competitive advantage vs. traditional prospecting strategies: LinkedIn reports that companies using social selling have 15% more customer renewals, 31% higher team quota attainment, and 21% more sales reps achieve their quota.

These types of numbers get my attention so I was all ears during LinkedIn’s recent webinar demo of their social selling tool, Sales Navigator.

B2B-buyers-social-selling

Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator worth it? Let’s take a look at its features and find out.

Sales Navigator for lead generation

As a hunter, the Sales Navigator’s Lead Builder tool enables you to generate leads, conduct (warm) outreach, and build rapport and trust with prospects.

Lead Builder allows you create specific buyer profiles by job title, function, industry, location, etc. to target potential decision makers. You can further refine your buyer profile using Boolean search. Sales Navigator allows you to have 3rd degree visibility: it unlocks the full profiles of 3rd degree and up connections.

You can save your searches as well as your list of leads and accounts. One of the more valuable features is Sales Navigator’s lead recommendations: based on your previous searches, Sales Navigator will find you similar prospects.

linkedin-sales-navigator-lead-builder

Sales Navigator for warm outreach

You can conduct warm outreach by leveraging your connections. Sales Navigator shows you all the possible connections you share with a prospect. In addition, the TeamLink tool allows you to see who else at your company is connected to the prospect that can introduce you.

Surveys reveal that you need to talk to about 5 people on average to close a B2B sale. By showing you all possible connections, Sales Navigator allows you to create an org chart of an account’s multi-thread buying committee.

The Sales Navigator homepage also reveals insights and triggers, such as your prospect’s status updates, that you can use to customize your sales message. If you can’t get an introduction to a prospect, Sales Navigator allows you to send an InMail, which LinkedIn claims has a higher response rate than regular email or cold calling.

Sales Navigator for relationship management

As a farmer, the Sales Navigator tool allows you to nurture and grow accounts. On the company account page, as corporate and employees share updates (e.g., a work anniversary, a job change), you’ll know what’s top of mind for them. As well, with LinkedIn’s acquisition of Newsle, you can see what external news sources like the press and other social media are saying about your accounts.

linkedin-sales-navigator-account

Sales Navigator for CRM integration

Sales Navigator integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. But a major limitation is that account data from Sales Navigator is not exportable into your CRM – instead, it sits on an iframe as a widget. So although it helps protect you against stale data because you can see LinkedIn updates in your CRM, you still have to update your CRM data manually.

linkedin-sales-navigator-SFDC- integration

Sales Navigator Pricing

Pricing is volume-based so it’s “customized for everyone.” My colleagues pay $50/month for their Sales Navigator subscriptions.

The bottom line

Should you use Sales Navigator? I say yes as long as your customer base is on LinkedIn.

As a sales prospecting tool for generating leads and nurturing relationships, it seems like a no brainer for saving you time and making you more money.

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based recruitment. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, HR tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min

Comments

  • Dan Mearns

    Definitely a very reliable source for intel, however, the actual application needs some more refining. After using it heavily for a month, it Didn’t meet my UX and UI standards. For now, I’m sticking with Li Permium and Gagein as my social selling resources. Great post Ji -A Min .

    • Thanks for providing an insider perspective and the heads up on Gagein, Dan! It looks like an intriguing tool as well. So many different selling tools and strategies to be knowledgeable about these days!

  • DrRay Charles

    Love the clarity and simplicity of your post. This is my first month after the trial period using Sales Navigator Pro but it seems like the Team Link feature does not work with the Pro version. That was a key feature that drew me to this premium option. Can you shed some light on this before I make a similar decision as Dan.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Dr. Charles!

      I haven’t heard anything about the TeamLink not working with the Pro version so I can’t be of more help unfortunately, except to advise you to contact LinkedIn’s support with your concerns.

    • LinkedIn offers two premium account options: the professional account (with 15 InMail messages) or the team account (with 30 InMail messages). TeamLink and full out-of-network access are available only with the team account.

      • Thanks for that insight, Deniz!

  • Michael Levy

    Nice catch on the view only nature of LinkedIn for CRM. Most reviewers entirely miss that the service is view only and that LinkedIn is never likely to share their member data with a CRM beyond view only. This will become a serious problem for them as competitors already offer integrated prospecting and upload, much richer company profiles, “stare and compare” updates, sales triggers (targeted topics vs. simple news mentions), and batch updates to the CRM. As sales and marketing become more intertwined, LinkedIn’s inability to populate and update records will become a major adoption issue.

    • Hi Michael, thanks for sharing your observations! What would you recommend using instead?

      • Michael Levy

        I would go with the free version of LinkedIn (all sales reps should be using it) along with InsideView or Avention for SFDC. In MS Dynamics, I would go with InsideView, Avention, or D&B360.

        • Awesome, thanks for the advice!

          • Jeremy Charles

            Ji-A, try Found.ly as a sales prospecting alternative. I’ll write my full review on this article shortly but the tool is an absolute win and bypasses Linkedin ‘limitations’ completely.

            It’s currently in beta last time I looked by try and get an account.

          • Intriguing, thanks for the heads up, Jeremy!

  • Jeremy Charles

    Hi Ji-A, I’ve commented further below but wanted to give my full review of the Linkedin Sales Navigator and an alternative which does not have the limitation.

    We’ve been sales prospecting (within our sales team of 14) for a number of years and in that time have implemented various processes for growing our outbound prospecting.

    Key to us is delivering a scalable and predictable prospecting process to grow our outbound activity in an organised way.

    We use a sales prospecting alternative called Found.ly. I’m very serious when I say I’ve tried ALOT of outbound (online) prospecting technologies and for me, Found.ly has provided a per user solution which enables my team to find and build their own targeted lead lists including email addresses and social records.

    It’s a real win for our team and integrates well within our CRM.

    • Hey Jeremy, thanks for the suggestion. We are currently using SalesLoft products to help with prospecting. Have you tried their tools? Too bad Found.ly is in beta, makes it difficult to try out.

      • Jeremy Charles

        Hey Shaun, am familiar with salesloft and we’re lucky to be using Found.ly (opened up an account in January). The main differentiator for us whilst product is generally the same was price points – $99 pm.

        I’ve just jumped on the site and looks like it is limited but they’re accepting invitation requests.

        We use it in conjunction with another cool app (which I’d highly recommend) called Streak – very impressed with this app and only recently implemented with the team.

    • PMostert

      Hi Jeremy, I can’t say my experience was as positive.

      I decided to use Found but was disappointed. My application was to build a list that I could import into my CRM. Found is not designed that way. Their service scrapes the results from a LinkedIn search and puts it into their portal. They then take the data and apply their algorithms to it to find email addresses, URL’s, and phone numbers. What they want you to do is buy their monthly service and use their prospecting methods using the data in the portal.

      Their prospecting methods did not align with what we wanted to do. I needed a list with good data. The LinkedIn search gave the contact names that I wanted but the results that their algorithms gave me were just wrong. They give you a weighting % but I had to manually fix the vast majority of them.

      I got up to about 100 entries and decided “the juice was not worth the squeeze”. I decided to ask for a refund. They asked if I would attend their 3 seminars first. I did that and still had the same request. They really did try to help by offering a reduced price on the beta version but for me it was not the price but the cost of my time.

      What really disappointed me was that they refused to refund my purchase. They let me know that in their T&C’s they were not obligated to refund the money. This to me is petty. They are a startup and good reviews and positive customer relations have to be important… one would think. So much for the “trial”.

      • Oleg Kova

        I subscribe to try for a month. Did not use it at all. They charge for a whole year £650. I can not do refund now. Avoid this traps.

  • Kei Reyes

    Great Post Ji. for $79/month, I think it is a really good tool as it reduces the social media noise of linkedIn and gives you lot of insights about a person and a company. One of the best feature of it is, you can see all the people working a company as this is “gold dust”!

    BTW, have you heard of tools like AeroLeads ? they work with linkedIn sales navigator and help you making your prospecting faster and efficient.

    • Thanks, Kei! And thanks for the heads up about AeroLeads – I’ll pass it along to the sales team.

  • Oleg Kova

    I would not use it after my experience with them. Do not attempt to try they will charge you for a whole year after trial expires. And they would not do refund!!!!!!

  • Stanley Thomas

    Just recently, I started using Leadferret to search millions of b2b contacts with emails and social links for free!

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  • JON WEINSTEIN

    The REAL issue here is how you are going to USE the contact info, role definitions, etc. that you get from SN. With only 15 InMails per month, you have to drill down and MAKE LIVE CALLS, etc. and use more aggressive ” Interruption strategies”. If you are going to use SN simply through sending emails, you become part of that 90% figure of cold calls going nowhere.