The first and most powerful professional networking site online has just launched a new sales research platform, and it’s an incredible resource for sales teams that want to take a deep dive into getting to know their prospects.
LinkedIn® is a business-oriented social networking site founded in 2002 that today has evolved far beyond a static résumé site to an active professional community that has 400 million users worldwide.
In recent years, LinkedIn has become known for its incredible ability to leverage sales leads through its vast database of professionals. Harnessing this power, LinkedIn developed a new user platform called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The program provides a customized sales experience for the user, from syncing customer relationship management systems to lead capture. Most importantly, it creates an opportunity for taking social selling to the next level. If you’re wondering how to get more out of your LinkedIn efforts or need a boost to your social selling initiatives, here’s a closer look at what you need to know.
Social Selling Is Important
Business to business (B2B) buyers have expanded their networks, and statistics show that an average of 5.4 people are involved in the B2B purchase decisions within a company. In addition to primary decision makers, sales people can now look to other roles like key influencers and stakeholders to close a deal. In order to make an efficient sale, a sales rep must develop relationships with each touchpoint within a company.
Social selling is not just about social media; it’s about strengthening relationships. Social media is just the platform that serves as the tool for leveraging these relationships and making initial connections. B2B buyers are now using the internet to research products just like business to consumer (B2C) methods, and they are usually more than halfway through the buying process by the time they even reach out to sales.
Social channels can also be used to understand who the decision makers are within a company and what topics are trending on their radars. What are their pain points? What questions are they asking, and what answers are they looking for? Studying this information will help you establish thought leadership and the social proof most B2B buyer teams are looking for before making a decision.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a multifaceted tool that provides a variety of functions for the B2B sales representative. Not only can it help you locate the right decision makers within a prospective audience but it also allows you to gather intelligence and gain insight on potential customers. It also serves as a means to build authentic relationships that can lead to closing the deal successfully.
A separate experience than LinkedIn itself, Sales Navigator is specifically designed for sales representatives looking to make more direct and meaningful connections and is a valuable part of any individual rep’s tech toolkit. The following are a few examples of the many ways in which you can apply the software:
- Advanced, sales-specific search engine
- Lead recommendations
- Learning center
- Dedicated mobile app
- User-friendly dashboard
- Extended network access to LinkedIn
- Territory preferences
- LinkedIn-specific e-mailing (known as InMails)
The features above are available in the Professional Edition and the Team Edition. The Team Edition has additional features, however, that include some of the following:
- Usage reporting
- Dedicated relationship liaison
- Importing and syncing from Salesforce
- Volume discounts
The program can be used in a variety of ways but, like any other platform, there are certain tips and tricks to get the most out of the system. In part 2, we’ll explore five features that can help you get started researching prospects and connecting with leads.