My First LinkedIn Sales Navigator Experience
I have been a long time user of the paid version of LinkedIn which was known as Sales Professional. I had noticed some time back there was a new product available called LinkedIn Sales Navigator, but frankly had a hard time understanding the difference in the two products. I did see it was more expensive than what I was paying and did seem to give you a little more, however the difference was not enough for me to change. After noticing my current subscription was no longer offered, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would be moved to the new LinkedIn Sales Navigator whether I liked it or not. That time came and because of my loyalty to the LinkedIn brand, I was offered a free conversion at no additional monthly cost! I guess it was time for a LinkedIn Sales Navigator test drive.
The Initial Set-up
If you do not understand LinkedIn’s concept for Sales Navigator, I suggest you do that before signing up. If not, the questions asked during the set-up will not make much sense. Obviously, I did not really understand the product (as I usually don’t with test drives) and just answered “yes” to everything… It was not a total disaster, but did require some cleanup. There is also a Salesforce.com integration you can activate that allows LinkedIn to identify Accounts and Leads based on Accounts and Contacts you have in Salesforce. You can turn this on and off as well. There is no actual transfer of data but rather an assumption that if they are in Salesforce, you must be interested in selling to them.
So what is the new concept? With LinkedIn trying to solidify their business model as a prospecting tool, they now allow you to identify Accounts that you may be interested in doing business with and define the criteria for the People within those Accounts who are best suited to hear your message. For example, if your sales pitch is best directed to CXO and VP level individuals, you can specify that in the setup criteria. That allows LinkedIn to scour their database offering suggestions for People you may be interested in speaking or connecting with. You can save all of these People in your profile as Leads. Of course you can change your criteria at any time.
With your Accounts and Leads identified, you will receive notifications every time there is an update to their profile. It is similar to the feed you may get from your groups and connections, however these updates are intended to give you information that could create a business opportunity.
Does It Work?
Interestingly enough, I received my first Account update notice and it just happened to have an update that was relevant to my business. I did reach out to the person at the company who posted the message and was able to schedule a meeting! This has happened many times since. Not every update has been a good indication of business opportunity, but it does not take many to make it worth the current monthly price.
I think LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent prospecting tool for any organization needing to identify companies and key decision makers within those companies to do business. Since LinkedIn data is probably the most accurate business database on the planet, it is a pretty good place to start. You will still need other tools such as SalesLoft in your sales stack to fully utilize the power of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, but that will be a review for another day.