Sales Navigator – is it worth it?

As the name indicates, the Sales Navigator account is aimed at Sales Professionals and Sales Teams and is one of the many Premium level accounts that LinkedIn offers along with its general Business, Jobseeker and Recruiter streams.

It is more than just a few extra bells and whistles on the normal account and so the first thing you will note when opening Sales Navigator is that the interface that you are faced with is totally different – Sales Navigator essentially acts as an additional layer on top of the main site, the area that LinkedIn refers to as Linkedin.com, which is designed to help sales, business development, channel and account managers to identify, manage and communicate with their prospective clients or partners.

Key Difference

There is a core underlying difference between LinkedIn.com and Sales Navigator which underpins all of the activity on it and is key to where our effort needs to be focused if we are to get the best from it.

The premise of LinkedIn.com is essentially to build networks – you connect with people and engage with them.

The premise of the Sales Navigator conversely is to build lists and to identify either people (‘Leads’ in Sales Navigator terminology) or companies (‘Accounts’ in SN) that we wish to talk to and ultimately work with. It also helps to identify the best routes to achieve that and areas of common interest we may have with the relevant people.

The system then encourages the use of Inmails associated with the account to communicate with them. Connecting, in this instance, is considered secondary … at least by the system.

This is quite a fundamental difference in approach although clearly the functionality of each part does exist in the other. It’s also quite a mindset shift particularly for those new to Sales Navigator but who have been using the main system. There’s still the need to connect but this almost seems secondary in how the system has been put together.

What are the key differences and benefits

As you can imagine there are a number of aspects that you are paying for in Sales Navigator in all of its versions. There are in fact 3 levels ranging from Profesional, through to Team and then the top version which is called Enterprise. Each have the following functions, through the numbers differ, but the Team and Enterprise versions have CRM connectivity, PointDrive, Admin licence functionalty etc.

1. Lists

The list building capability is being enhanced at each product release – Custom Lists were introduced in the latter half of 2018, the ability to share them (if you have SN Team or above) at the start of 2019 and facility to save multiple names within the interface. You still cannot export these lists (at least with the LinkedIn system) and the 3rd party tools which do give access to extra functionality along these line have been getting more and more attention from LinkedIn as they try to reduce the risk from automation on the system.

Creating your target lists are key to being able to tap into the right people in the right way and allows you to segment your prospecting activity in whatever way works for your company or team. Sharing these lists is also possible in Team version and above as there are likely to be multiple people working on (or interested in) the accounts being focused on.

2. Listening through Alerts

The homepage is dedicated to Alerts which are the Sales Navigator equivalent of the Notifications that we have in the main system. The key aspect here is of course, they are specifically about and from the people that we are most interested in from a sales perspective (rather than our often more random connections) giving us the capability of keeping up to date with their news, identifying sales triggers, movements within accounts, areas of commonality when speaking to them etc.

The Alerts that form part of the system are:

As with much of Sales Navigator functionality, a lot of this information sits elsewhere within the system but needs digging out. Here, it is presented automatically allowing the sales person to do what they do best which is getting on with using it effectively in their communications with prospects and clients whatever medium they choose.

3. People Search functionality – extra filters

In LinkedIn’s Lead search – effectively the people search on LinkedIn.com – there are also some additional filters that we can apply which give us more control over the characteristics of the people that we are looking to find.

They appear in two places – in the main search filters, we have some additional filters allowing us to:

  • identify size of company that we are interested in
  • see how long the person has been in the role or at the company
  • identify their location using a point on the map and then a radius around it
  • see who is in certain groups or has published articles containing certain key words

The second place is in the spotlight filters that appear at the top of any of the LinkedIn search results pages – here you can see who has been active on LinkedIn recently, moved jobs in a shorter time frame and also following your company page. All useful options that can be applied for differing reasons in your search strategy. (Full post on Spotlights to follow.)

4. Company Search options

Being able to search through the organisations that are represented on LinkedIn is something that was removed from LinkedIn.com a number of years back now – that function is, however, alive and well (and enhanced) in Sales Navigator and forms a potentially crucial additional layer.

I work with many companies who pay for lists of organisations that fit a certain set of criteria whether that is related to their size, where they are based, the industry they work in etc. Alongside this, LinkedIn can work as a very powerful ally giving us the chance to filter organisations using those very metrics and to take it further and look (albeit using LinkedIn’s data) at departments and also changes in personnel at both a company and departmental level.

It also allows filtering by size – and changes in size – both at a company and departmental level. This may help us identify companies reducing the size of a marketing department which may be a sign of potential outsourcing plans, for example, in which case that may present an opportunity. LinkedIn are also building in new filters such as ‘Technologies used’ which should provide even greater benefit going forward.

5. Company and Personal Profile Pages

It sounds potentially inconsequential, but the change in the format and display of the relevant Personal Profile and Company pages does in fact have a significant effect on the way that we might use the page from a business perspective.

The focus here is very much from a sales perspective, as you would expect, demonstrating the engagement opportunities (in the case of the Personal Profile) and the approach routes available (in the case of the Company Pages) that we might like to use.

There are of course a host of features as you would expect where the interface is totally different to what we have become accustomed to. However, the elements mentioned above are the ones that perhaps will offer the greatest differences in terms of opportunity should you decide to make the move from the Free or Business Premium account to the sales specific Sales Navigator.

For more information on Sales Navigator
or if you would like training on Sales Navigator for your Sales team,
then you can contact me on 020 3633 0230

Mark White, LinkedIn trainer

Mark White, LinkedIn trainer

My passion is helping companies and individuals to use and APPLY LinkedIn more effectively - that is to use it to develop new business, find a new role, to market yourself, your company and products ... whatever your reason for using LinkedIn is! I run internal workshops for companies looking to bring their key people or teams up to speed and run public courses around the UK.
Mark White, LinkedIn trainer
Mark White, LinkedIn trainer
Mark White, LinkedIn trainer

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Mark White, LinkedIn trainer
Upcoming courses are: LinkedIn for Business Success London (17th October) Birmingham (9th October) Manchester (28th October) Bristol (22nd October) Northampton (31st October)

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