If you make sports a part of your social life, then you know all about the sweet spot. On a bat, a club or a racket, it’s that area right in the center of the hitting surface where minimal effort delivers maximum impact. Overpower it, and you lose control of the shot. Miss the sweet spot, and you waste your strength. It takes a combination of the right skill with the right tool to hit it out of the park, sink a hole in one or drop a three-pointer.

For Social Selling, LinkedIn is an excellent tool, but you need to find the sweet spot. LinkedIn Sales Navigator can be a powerful addition to your game, but you’ve got to know when to use it. Until you perfect your balance and your swing, overpowering the ball isn’t going to deliver success with anything like precision. In the same way, Social Selling success requires that you nail down the people and the process before you start deploying the technology.

Who Should Be Using Navigator?

Statista reported last May that 81 percent of LinkedIn users were using the free basic account. For many social sellers, the free account will provide all the business development data that they need to succeed. The other side of this coin is that your team really won’t get value out of LinkedIn Navigator unless they’re pressing up against the limits of the free account regularly.

Big companies can afford to green light Navigator for the entire team, then train sales up to the proficiency. For smaller companies, it’s smarter to allocate funding for training first, then gradually grant Navigator access to the best and the brightest.

Your sales team needs a foundation with the right training to shift their mindset into Social Selling mode. Next comes practicing skill sets for maximum effectiveness. That’s the point when an expanded tool set will be valuable in accelerating their success. Get your balance and practice your swing.

If you’ve already invested in LinkedIn Navigator, don’t sweat it. Now’s the time to commit to the Social Selling training your team needs to deliver ROI. Find out which Navigator tools your team needs most and build a road map to get there.

Getting Your Priorities Straight

Harvard Business Review reported last year that buyers rank “direct interactions” as the most influential factor in their buying decisions. Navigator will help your sales teams get in contact with more potential buyers, but only adequate social sales training will help them have more successful direct interactions.

Similarly, in Gartner’s 2015 special report “Focus ‘Social Selling’ for B2B Sales on Preparation and Engagement,” the analysts concluded that sales leaders need to concentrate on three areas:

  • Train sellers on social “etiquette” and how to focus on preparation using social to improve their understanding of target accounts and contacts within their accounts, not just as a sales outreach tool.
  • Curate content from the provider and other sources that sellers can use to effectively participate in conversations on social networks.
  • Build systems and processes to make social preparation and engagement an integral part of the sales approach and metrics.

The End Game

All of the above stats and research lead to one simple truth: The best tools in the world won’t transform your team into better sales professionals. However, the better your team gets, the more they will need high-performance tools to hit the sweet spot consistently. LinkedIn Sales Navigator can possibly be in your future, but it may or may not belong in your present, based on your Social Selling adoption. Train your sales teams on building a strong foundation, support them in daily improvements and invest in the sales enablement technology that lets them become all-stars. Simply balance, swing and hit the sweet spot with the right tools for the sport.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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