Congratulations. You've just purchased LinkedIn Sales Navigator. To your right awaits your customer relationship manager, waiting to train you on all the benefits of LinkedIn.
To your left awaits access to a product specialist as well, most likely, who will guide you and coach you on how to send InMails, on how to connect with people online, and how to mark people as leads so you can research them better.
This is a great investment. If you've decided to make the leap, you are part of an elite few organizations on the planet that have decided their sales teams need this tool to sell to the future and to the modern buyer.
Why Buying My iPhone Was Like Buying LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Now, let me walk you through my example. Recently, for Christmas, I purchased an iPhone 7 for my wife. True story.
My wife went to the Apple store and was able to receive expert product training on how to use the phone, the top apps that would make her life easier, and how to take care of her very expensive investment.
But what my wife didn't learn was how to use the phone for effective selling, because that is not Apple’s job.
And similarly, how to use Navigator or LinkedIn in general for selling purposes is not LinkedIn’s job.
Microsoft is a fantastic product company. They now own LinkedIn. Microsoft’s stated purpose is to be the best software company on the planet, but they leave training, implementation, and other deployment tactics to a broad and varied partner ecosystem.
So, why are we talking about this?
Here are some shocking findings from our work with dozens of clients that use Sales Navigator around the world. Although names will not be given, rest assured these are real statistics.
Prospecting Is King, Everything Else Is A Pawn
When it comes to sales, generating activity, i.e. prospecting, is our core focus. Whether you are a net new logo acquirer, or an account manager who’s tasked with furthering relationships with more people in an existing account, you have the same mandate, which is prospecting.
It comes as a shocking surprise when a company makes an investment into Sales Navigator but sales professionals don’t use InMails.
For those of you who don’t know what InMails are, they're LinkedIn’s proprietary messaging platform that allow you to message people with whom you're not connected on the LinkedIn network.
Ideally, these are used to prospect with people that you don’t presently know. So, isn't it amazing to learn that approximately two-thirds of all InMails sent in organizations using Sales Navigator are by less than 5% of the sales team?
In fact, if I can go deeper, the data becomes more horrific. Approximately 76% of sales people with Navigator licenses send zero InMails every month.
To me, this is a surprise, and I hope to you reading this, it's one to you also.
(We’ve attained this data by analyzing thousands of salespeople’s social activity.)
Why Is This Happening?
When we interview salespeople who have access to Sales Navigator and ask them on their usage of the tool, the top responses for lack of usage are the following.
- Number one, I don’t know how to use this tool effectively. I only received a few hours of training.
- Number two, when we asked, don’t you receive ongoing training? The answer is always yes. Yes, we always receive ongoing training, but I don't know how this fits into my world, to my role.
- Number three, this is a great tool, but I don't know how to use it to sell. How do I sell with this tool? How do I open up new doors with new people and create conversations?
- Number four, I was just given this tool. No one asked me if I wanted to use it.
- Number five, can someone tell me how I can use LinkedIn effectively? Because I don't know what Navigator really is.
As you can see from the most common responses we've collected, it's evident that training is the core issue. While this may be surprising for most of you to read, and some of you are likely using Sales Navigator, it doesn't come as any surprise to me, or to us.
Why? It's simple. Because we've seen time and time again that this conversation is not about Sales Navigator. It's about mindset, skillset, toolset.
What that essentially means is that first you have to do a job as an organization to convince your sales professionals that they need to be digital and social in nature.
If you haven’t convinced them of this, there is no amount of Navigator or any other flashy or shiny social or digital tool that can save you, or that can help you.
Now, if you have Navigator, I'm not recommending that you claw back.
Like I said earlier, you are part of an elite club of organizations in the world that has access to the Ferrari of the automotive industry.
Don’t give up. What you need is sales training on how to use Navigator along with the bevy of other social tools that comprise an overall social selling ecosystem to drive pipeline and revenue generation.
If you're having trouble training, don't worry. You're not alone. As many as four out of five companies aren't able to train as many reps on the skills they think they need. While 65% of these companies plan to increase virtual training spend. Sales training doesn't have to be a live event or workshop—you need to choose the right program that fits your needs, budget, and time available per sales rep. In our experience, live events help get people amped up, but are hard to sustain for longer periods of time.
The Bottom Line
Consider your approach as you deploy tools, but more importantly, consider your approach for rolling out effective social selling in your organization.
I'm biased when I talk about social, for obvious reasons, but evidence shows that this increasingly becoming a huge priority for sales organizations. In fact, for one of our clients, one of the largest telecom companies in the world, social is one of their top two sales mandates for 2017 [as mandated by the CEO himself].
So, what's your next step? Consider empowering your sales professionals with the right mindset so that they are convinced that this is the future.
Remember, social selling is not just sending InMails. It has a lot to do with three core principles: Research, collaboration, and communication.
Where most of us fail [yours truly was originally guilty as charged] is we think social selling is just about communication, but it's more. It's a new channel. It requires a new style of thinking and a new style of operation. Are you ready for the challenge?