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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

So You Just Purchased LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Now What?

Posted by Amar Sheth on Jan 27, 2016 10:55:39 AM

If you or your company has made the strategic decision to implement LinkedIn Sales Navigator, it’s time to start thinking about adoption and usage. After all, your input into the program will determine the outcome or results you’ll ultimately attain.

One of the top 5 questions we’re asked by sales, marketing and enablement leaders about LinkedIn Sales Navigator is: what can I expect or what do I get?

The most accurate answer is speed-to-revenue.While Sales Navigator has a few unique features that the free version of LinkedIn doesn’t have (I’d argue some features sales doesn’t even use), it mostly helps sales professionals perform certain actions with breathtaking speed.

This time gain is a massive advantage in keeping sales professionals productive and laser focused.

Setting Your Success Metrics

Some of our clients make the strategic decision to have their sales professionals learn and master the fundamentals of LinkedIn before investing into any premium products. They set benchmarks for their sales teams to help justify any further investment.

You the reader will make the ultimate decision on whether this approach is pragmatic and wise for your organization but for many orgs, this is the reality. Everything must happen in stages and ROI milestones must be met.

For these companies, they’re looking to achieve growth across one or more of the following metrics:

setting-success-metrics-social-selling-01

Once their metrics for success are met in defined timelines, they’ll use this data to fuel further internal discussion on additional investment into tools.

Not Going All The Way

Some commonly held misconceptions and myths from those that have Sales Navigator are:

  • Having LinkedIn Sales Navigator alone makes my team “social sellers” and this is all they need.
  • Training from LinkedIn around usage of Sales Navigator equates to Social Selling training.

We remind leaders that no tool, or training on that tool, can claim mastery of an overall subject.

Remember, Sales Navigator is a great tool that can help your salespeople sell socially. However, it’s not the only tool or contributing factor to an overall Social Selling program.

The False Choice

Social Selling training has the ability to intermix tried, tested and well-known sales concepts with the unique properties of the social media landscape. Therefore, the choice to abandon formal Social Selling training because of an investment in Navigator, is a false choice.

It’s not about Sales Navigator or Social Selling training – it’s both.

We’ve talked to many organizations who had LinkedIn Sales Navigator, didn’t see the uptick in adoption, or saw less-than-stellar results, and subsequently removed it from their sales toolkit completely. The most common reasons for this were:

  • Lack of understanding on how to sell with Navigator.
  • Poor results in InMail response rates.
  • They learned that the free version of LinkedIn could help their sales team generate pipeline and revenue.
  • They had a misconception that product training would equate to real sales training with their tool.

All of these reasons, at their core, tie in to the need to help sales professionals build the necessary skillset to become more social and digital in nature.

As soon as a proper grounding in Social Selling was learned, through training & reinforcement, companies saw successful gains in key success metrics which justified investment into Sales Navigator again. This scenario is more common than most leaders may realize.

Forrester Research’s report entitled Break Through The Hype Of Social Selling says, “>It is tempting to jump straight into choosing technologies that will help sort out your social selling processes, but advanced marketers tell us this is a fatal mistake. Before you can launch a structured social selling program, you need to craft a long-term strategy and get buy-in from key stakeholders.”

But, I’m Doing Really Well With Navigator

For many companies with Sales Navigator, there may exist pockets of success. Sales professionals may already be using these tools to generate more sales meetings and pipeline. And this very well may be the case, but I invite you to look at this holistically.

1. The results with proper Social Selling mastery would likely be significantly better as ongoing reinforcement would be central in roll-out.

2. Growth from pockets of success to broad-based adoption are two very different realities.

Case in point, the biggest impact an organization can have on pipeline is moving the largest group of learners forward. See this visual as a case in point. Converting these core performers into high achievers will drive broad-based pipeline and revenue growth.

sales-performance-laggards-to-high-achievers

The Bottom Line

If your organization has LinkedIn Sales Navigator, consider training to round out the skillset and toolset together. There is ample evidence that learning can be the differentiating factor in growing pipeline and revenue.

In short, I’d encourage you to look at Social Selling as a whole – an ecosystem, if you will – one that’s encompassing and bigger than any tool. Getting on grasp on this is the key and will impact your pipeline and revenue targets.

Do you have Sales Navigator? Share your thoughts with me @AmarSheth and connect with me on LinkedIn

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Amar Sheth

About the Author

Amar Sheth has trained thousands of people worldwide on the topic of Social Selling, through a style that’s part storytelling and part motivational.