We in the sales community need to learn how to separate skills and tools.
- Does having a phone make you a great cold caller?
- Does having CRM make you a better salesperson?
- And similarly, does having LinkedIn Sales Navigator make you a social seller?
Having LinkedIn Sales Navigator alone doesn’t make anyone a social seller. Sales Navigator is a fantastic tool – it helps speed up some tasks that take longer using the free version of LinkedIn. But, questions still persist.
Here is a snapshot of some of the most common ones we encounter in the marketplace on a regular basis.
1. Can I use the free version of LinkedIn to generate pipeline and revenue?
Absolutely. There are plenty of sales professionals that are using the free version of LinkedIn for business development efforts. In fact, approximately 16 to 18% of LinkedIn users are paid users. Ask yourself if they’re the only ones generating positive returns on their sales efforts.
2. When should I get LinkedIn Sales Navigator?
This really depends on the maturity and sales readiness of your organization. If you are an enterprise global company, you may have the bandwidth and investment resources to give your Social Selling program a boost from the start. Meaning, you may decide to invest in Sales Navigator right away but realize the necessity of training to help accelerate your investment further.
If you’re a smaller or mid-sized organization, you may not have the internal resources required to maintain a full-blown Social Selling program. In this case, starting with Social Selling training and then layering on software tools like Sales Navigator may make sense.
Again, each scenario is different. But the commonality across all companies is that Social Selling requires a mindset shift first, which leads to effective skill set causing impact on pipeline, which can be used with implementing a toolset that accelerates validated results. In fact, LinkedIn themselves cites that education is a critical component of Social Selling success (watch the first minute of the video here).
3. I’ve already invested in LinkedIn Sales Navigator – was my purchase not worth it?
Only you can determine this and there’s really only one measure of success – what’s the adoption rate of Sales Navigator and can you measurably show pipeline and revenue impact with it?
If not, not all is lost. You should evaluate training your sales professionals on how to become more well-rounded and effective social sellers. Once sales professionals learn how Social Selling can help generate more pipeline and revenue, they jump on board. We’ve seen this time and again.
4. How much training do my sales professionals need?
This is a great question. Training on Social Selling needs to be encompassing of what’s in the total social ecosystem. LinkedIn is just one component of it. Don’t forget Twitter, other social vertical networks (like Spiceworks), the social platforms that are popular in places like France, Germany, etc.
We believe training shouldn’t be a one-day or two-day workshop. It should train on the fundamentals and help tie these into a daily Social Selling routine that’s right for your organization (one that embodies the values of your corporate and cultural objectives).
Behavior change and adoption should form the focus of your efforts – not just knowledge transfer or a classic sales training data dump.
5. By using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, will sales professionals understand all areas of Social Selling?
No, unfortunately. Social Selling is bigger than any one tool.
At the peak of his career, Tiger Woods recalled how his ego was overinflated and then immediately level-set when he remembered the words of his father: no person is bigger than the game of golf.
Similarly, no one tool is bigger than Social Selling.
6. I have LinkedIn Sales Navigator for my Team but adoption could be better. What do I do?
If you’ve made the plunge and invested into Navigator, you now need to layer a training & reinforcement mechanism on top. Otherwise, your investment may not be fully validated. We’ve talked to many organizations who have purchased Navigator and without a plan to support Social Selling, they haven’t seen ideal results.
The Ecosystem of Social Selling
Social Selling is – more than anything – a mindset shift. It requires us to acknowledge the shift in buyer behavior. Without this, we may as well continue to sell traditionally.
If you’re in Europe, for instance, there are other social platforms in countries like France and Germany. In Asia, Facebook is popular in B2B selling circles. Then of course, let’s not forget the power of Twitter, vertical social networks (like Spiceworks), education tools, and more.
In short, while LinkedIn is a key and central component of Social Selling, it’s not the only one.
You Need a Social Program, Not Just Social Tools
In addition to the ecosystem, it’s equally as important to know how to weave all of these different tools, processes, practices and platforms together.
Whether you’re using the free version of LinkedIn or paid subscriptions like Premium or Sales Navigator, it's how you integrate them into your sales process that matters.
MHI Research reports that “the unique nature of Social Selling will require organizations to treat it [Social Selling] as a core sales competency and create standardized guidelines and enablement programs in order to realize all the benefits Social Selling has to offer."
And Forrester adds that "Training develops social capabilities. Training is mandatory to develop your sales team’s social media capabilities, but it must be ongoing and include frequent check-ins.”
The Bottom Line
In summary, if you’re wondering whether you need LinkedIn Sales Navigator, the answer lies somewhere between “yes” and “not right now” (and this largely has to do with your internal resource availability and capabilities).
Note that any software program is just a tool. If your sales professionals don’t understand the value of what they’re doing – and the mindset shift behind this is something you must bring about – then no tool can help in causing a broad-based organizational change. It is just one piece of the Social Selling equation, check out this eBook to see what the other key components are beyond LinkedIn.