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Social Selling with LinkedIn Sales Navigator

A better understanding of LinkedIn Sales Navigator

We live in the age of social selling, a time that’s totally unique insofar as customers already know a lot about a brand before they speak to your company, let alone make a purchase. Social media and by extension, social selling, has the ability to warm clients to the idea of a brand, making it feel more familiar and less suspect. As a result, social sellers are 51% more likely to crush their quota, as compared to traditional sellers.

This evolution is one of the reasons LinkedIn has developed and launched its new Sales Navigator, which builds and improves on their previous SaaS product to enhance and nurture the sales professional’s relationship with new and existing customers.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling simply refers to the act of selling your brand via a social platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of the many avenues.
According to LinkedIn Group Product Manager, Sachin Rekhi, social selling is comprised of four key components:

  1. Establishing a presence on social networks
  2. Seeking out the right people
  3. Successfully engaging with those people
  4. Building and establishing trust

The New LinkedIn Sales Navigator: A Social Selling Phenomenon or…?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator embraces a data-driven approach to optimize the relationship between the seller and the buyer to attempt to bring all four of those key social selling points together. They source their member network (which stands at 313 million strong) and use the data to help sales professionals stay up-to-date with relevant trends and connected with the right people; all this while also establishing solid relationships – but it goes even further.

It stands alone to bring it together….

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator was built as a stand-alone product meant to tailor to the day-to-day needs of the sales professional. Whereas users of the inaugural LinkedIn Sales Navigator used this resource through their existing membership, the new experience is conducted through a totally distinct account, with a separate login. This makes the LinkedIn sales experience easier not only because it is totally distinct and therefore easier to manage, but also because it is comprehensive in its scope.

The Death of the Cold Call

The idea behind the LinkedIn Sales Navigator is to streamline the searching process and eliminate cold calls by delivering relevant information to the sales professional. This will save them almost countless (and costly) hours spent sifting through crippling amounts of content to find pertinent information and contacts on their own. It will also allow them to access potential customers within the same network groups, thereby taking cold calling to warm calling. According to LinkedIn, companies like PayPal, ADP, Autodesk, Hootsuite, Juniper Networks and Swiss Re are just some of the customers who jumped on the Sales Navigator pilot project and have reported a positive experience.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Phenomenon or Pain in the Butt?

All this sounds well and good, but doesn’t one run the risk of seriously peeving off potential customers by inundating them with introductions – even if you are, for instance, a colleague of a friend?

After all, the new program certainly makes the possibility easy enough to imagine. The new LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets sales pros import existing contacts that have been collected on sites like Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics, thereby allowing them to source extra intel about those contacts and glean more insight into people who might be interested in what they’re selling.

However, the head of sales for Sales Navigator, Mike Derezin, assures us LinkedIn is aware of and sensitive to these concerns about alienating members with over-zealous sales. Up to this point, Derezin says there have been no indications of member upheaval or even mild upset. What’s more, LinkedIn is doing a little pre-emptive damage control by only allowing a max of 25 targeted emails (aka. InMails) for Sales Navigator users to send to potential prospects per month.

So, is the new LinkedIn Sales Navigator for you?

Let’s take a tally. Features include:

  • Account and lead recommendations
  • Notification of news mentions of key contacts via Newsle integration – a product that seeks out blogs and articles that mention you or relevant contacts, be it employers, colleagues, industry leaders, or whatnot. As soon as these news mentions are published, you’re notified.
  • Status notifications regarding job changes and common connections
  • Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration
  • Advanced leads search
  • 25 Monthly InMails

The Cost

Compared to LinkedIn’s Recruiter offering, which comes in at $8,500/year, their Sales Navigator offering is a steal at $1,200/year. However, this doesn’t mean it’s for you. While it is a refined, targeted and potentially lucrative tool for any sales professional, it has to be used wisely to yield a profitable – and thereby worthwhile – outcome.

Whether or not it can do that depends largely on you.

How much experience do you have with social selling? Are you comfortable with the platform? You may be a sales pro when it comes to print marketing or even SEO best practices, but that does not necessarily mean the LinkedIn Sales Navigator will be a solid investment; or at least a solid investment right now. This highly-targeted tool works best in the hands of highly-skilled social sellers, so if you aren’t 100% confident in this platform, it may not be worth it.

This said, we all have to start somewhere – which leads us to another possibility. Those who are not social selling savvy but who still want to get in on this new enterprise can always recruit someone who is experienced and get this person to manage the Sales Navigator for you and teach you the ropes along the way. Of course, this would be an additional expense, but if you have the resources and want your brand to have a vantage point in every new horizon of the social revolution, then it is not only a viable option, but an advisable one as well.

We’re here to help you work out your best options. Feel free to contact us to talk with our social marketing experts.

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