LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Social Selling Index and Improved Filters

Sales Navigator Home Page
Sales Navigator Home Page

Several weeks ago, LinkedIn began promoting upgrades to the home page of its Sales Navigator service.  The new features finally hit my user id today.  Enhancements include expanded insights and update filtering, the Social Selling Index, and a recent activity section.

Expanded Insights

Expanded insights help users “get the intelligence you need to engage with your prospects at the right time, including new insights on who to reach out to – and how.”  This is a welcome addition which partially helps address their discoverability problem concerning older posts.  Sales Navigator now displays two member posts along with the ability to scroll through older posts.  However, this broader discoverability is not yet available throughout the product.

Expanded Insights displays the two most recent posts associated with a profile and provides a scroll arrow for additional posts.
Expanded Insights displays the two most recent posts associated with a profile and provides a scroll arrow for additional posts.

Update Filtering

Updated Filtering allows users to “filter your updates by type or by the top accounts you’ve been prospecting recently.” While most of these filters already existed, the quick filtering by top accounts is a welcome enhancement.  Unfortunately, it does not provide a quick means to drill down to your other accounts.  For those, you would need to go to the account profile directly.

Social Selling Index

The Social Selling Index (SSI) helps you “see how your score is trending, and how you rank against your peers in Social Selling.”  The SSI provides a gamification element to Navigator which encourages greater social selling through the service.

Sales Navigator Social Selling Index Score
Sales Navigator Social Selling Index Score

Members are rated by their ability to

  • Establish a Professional Brand
  • Find the Right People
  • Engage with Insights
  • Build Relationships

The SSI section also allows users to share updates, but not long-form posts.  For those, users must toggle over to the standard LinkedIn platform.

Users can drill down to their SSI statistics which provides a six week history of the SSI along with comparison scores vs. your team, industry, and network.

The SSI also includes a pre-canned boast link to promote the SSI to your LinkedIn network.  I also discussed the SSI last week.

Recent Activity

This section consists of Recently Viewed Executives, Keywords, and Companies.  Saved Searches are also displayed.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the eleven vendors I profiled in my just published 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.  In the coming weeks, I will provide mini-profiles of each of these vendors in my blog.  I have already published a few:

InsideView: Social Selling with a Refreshed UI

InsideView Profile of InsideView (old UI)
InsideView Profile of InsideView (old UI)

I have been holding off on writing my mini-profile of InsideView for a few weeks now.  They posted some teaser screenshots on their blog a few weeks ago, but the UI has yet to launch so you’ll get a mix of old and new UI shots in this overview.

InsideView was the first sales intelligence vendor to use the term “social selling” and created the Social Selling University site for training and promoting the use of social media in sales and marketing.

InsideView has been around since 2005 so offers a mature set of sales intelligence features in their InsideView for Sales product offering.  What distinguishes InsideView for Sales is their sales trigger functionality, relationship finder tool, and social media viewing tools.  They also support a broader set of partners than their competitors.  Not only do they offer connectors for the top CRMs, but they also support NetSuite and SugarCRM.  Last September, they launched a full service OpenAPI service and began to OEM their content in other sales and marketing services.  Finally, they have built marketing enrichment and update connectors for Marketo and Eloqua which help marketers match company and contact data from InsideView into their Marketing Automation platforms.

For a few years, their move into APIs and marketing services required them to put less emphasis on InsideView for Sales Intelligence development.  The good news is they are once again investing in their sales product.  Recent enhancements include an expansion of companies and contacts and a new UI for InsideView for Salesforce.

A refreshed InsideView for Sales UI is pending, but they have provided teaser screenshots and a video.

The Company Overview tab shifts from content and feature lists to an emphasis upon key workflows: Research & Qualify, Connect to Key Contacts, and Find the Right Message.

InsideView for Sales Company Profile (New UI)
InsideView for Sales Company Profile (New UI)

The new layout moves from a traditional tab driven design for company profiles to a mobile layout with icons placed on a left-hand toolbar.  The new design also provides a stacked report approach which allows for quick scrolling on touch enabled devices.

The stacked flow format raises in prominence some reports which were buried in the Other Tab of the old design: news, jobs, financials, and industry profile.

The People profile provides a biographic overview, executive news and tweets, and connections between the user and the executive.  Users can also link to the person’s social media profile, email him or her, synch the profile with CRM, and follow the person.  Following adds a company or person to InsideView’s email alerts.

InsideView for Sales People Profile (New UI)
InsideView for Sales People Profile (New UI)

A longstanding strength of InsideView is its social media tools.  A Buzz Tab provides a feed of company Twitter, blogs, and Facebook.  Users may even keyword search the feed.  Other social media tools include People Alerts which alert on Twitter posts; a who knows who relationship finder that imports relationships from LinkedIn and email; and social sharing of news and sales triggers.

The Build a List feature supports a broad set of variables including sales triggers, email presence, and social media link presence.  Both company and contact lists are supported.  Users may download records to Excel or upload them to their CRM.

While the service offers a set of eighteen high precision sales triggers (called Agents by InsideView), they are only available for thirty days.  The agents are displayed within company profiles, daily email alerts, and a filterable Activity Stream report.

InsideView Active Stream (Old UI)
InsideView Active Stream (Old UI)

InsideView aggregates its news and contacts from multiple vendors including Equifax, S&P Capital IQ, and Reuters.  Coverage spans 12 million global companies and 16 million people.  While these counts are below those of their competitors, they have doubled coverage this year and intend to add additional international profiles in 2016.

InsideView for Sales is reasonably priced at $99 per user per month or $999 per user per year.  Volume discounts are available for larger purchasers.  This price includes CRM connectors and mobile apps.  There are additional charges for their marketing data hygiene services.

LinkedIn: Social Selling Index Hones Social Selling Skills

SSILinkedIn officially released its Social Selling Index (SSI) a few weeks ago.  The metric provides a four part dashboard score within Sales Navigator which indicates how well sales reps are using LinkedIn for social selling.  The SSI, like other LinkedIn usage promotion tools, employs gamification techniques to promote increased usage of the service.  There is even a boast link for sharing your SSI.

Members are rated by their ability to

  • Establish a Professional Brand
  • Find the Right People
  • Engage with Insights
  • Build Relationships

They are also told how their SSI ranks versus their industry and versus their network.

Each of the sub-topics is scored on a 0 to 25 score so the full SSI value is 0 to 100.  LinkedIn also offers an SSI graph so you can see how your SSI has changed over the past six weeks.

LinkedIn conducted a study with C9 which analyzed two years of sales data across 9,000 sales professionals.  According to the study, social selling “is positively associated with sales performance” and “Sales Navigator users achieve 7x more pipeline growth and 11x more revenue growth than if they used LinkedIn.com only.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the eleven vendors I profiled in my just published 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.  In the coming weeks, I will provide mini-profiles of each of these vendors in my blog.  I have already published a few:

Infofree: SMB Prospecting, Credit Scores, SFA, and Mobile App

Infofree mobile creditIn the past two weeks, SMB Sales Intelligence vendor Infofree has added 16 million US emails and light credit report information to its service.  Infofree provides low cost access to business and consumer databases for the SMB market (they also serve some enterprise clients, but their sweet spot is SMB).

The service has a number of similarities to Infogroup’s Salesgenie service, so prospects would be well advised to evaluate both offerings before signing up for a contract.

Key features include business and consumer prospecting; light sales force automation (SFA) features such reminders, tagging, and note taking; business trade credit profiles; events databases (e.g. New Businesses, New Movers); and a mobile app.

Infofree is not a candidate for strategic sales teams.  Profiles and screening are thinner than found in enterprise sales intelligence vendors.  You also won’t find sales triggers, public company financials, company news, or industry research.  Instead, the product should be viewed as an SMB service designed for industries that sell to both businesses and consumers (e.g. office supplies, insurance agencies, communications services, food services).

Infofree also includes a light SFA service called CRM101 which serves as a contact and list manager.  Users can store notes, set up reminders, and assign tags within CRM101.  Furthermore, CRM101 is available through their mobile app, allowing for quick note taking after field sales calls.

Other Android and iOS mobile features include mobile prospect lists, map viewing of prospect lists, click-to-call, click-to-email, driving directions, and company and credit profiles.

Infofree.com is priced at $79.95 monthly or $799 annually. The annual subscription includes up to 10,000 downloaded records per year with additional records available for five cents each.  Volume discounts apply for multiple seats.

Infofree is one of the eleven vendors I profiled in my just published 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.  In the coming weeks, I will provide mini-profiles of each of these vendors in my blog.  I have already published a few:

2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors Now Available

2015 Field Guide CoverI am pleased to announce availability of my 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors which provides detailed profiles of eleven Sales Intelligence vendors.  Readers will also find a thirty page overview which covers usage cases, evaluation tips, and implementation recommendations.  The guide is available for single decision makers or buying committee group licenses.  Please contact me concerning licensing the report.

I received strong support from the vendors during my data collection phase.  In most cases I worked with a Product Director or higher when assembling the profiles.  Most of the vendors also provided details on product configurations, pricing, content, feature functionality, and future developments.

In the coming weeks, I will provide mini-profiles of the vendors in my blog.  I have already published a few:

DiscoverOrg: Continued Growth in the Tech Sales Intelligence Space

DO for SFDCIt has been a busy year for technology sales intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg.  Along with acquiring iProfile and processing their technology profiles through editorial review, they have launched European and Finance department datasets.  Earlier this year, they announced plans to double their staff to 250 employees by the end of 2015.  Editorial growth increased their capacity, permitting them to build out multiple databases simultaneously.

The staff investments combined with their iProfile acquisition allowed them to double their editorially gathered coverage to 50,000 companies and 700,000 decision makers.  Most of this coverage growth has been outside of the United States.  They also built out datasets covering finance and marketing executives realizing that cloud software purchasing decisions have been shifting away from the CIO to other C-level executives, particularly the CMO.

Additional product and content announcements are coming soon.

While most vendors have gone to automated processes to collect significant percentages of their content, DiscoverOrg is proudly old school in its editorial policies employing traditional data collection methods tied to ninety day review cycles. This process limits the number of companies they can cover (currently around 50,000 organizations with 400 or more employees), but ensures high degrees of data accuracy, fill rates, and currency. Along with company profiles, the firm collects IT contacts, platforms, organization charts, and plans.

DiscoverOrg has gained significant market traction and is now in the pole position amongst the technology focused sales intelligence vendors. DiscoverOrg is a five time Inc. 5000 list winner, an indication of its success in selling services to sales and marketing departments at technology firms (they also target IT staffing).

“Our trusted solution and our team’s commitment to revolutionizing how today’s B2B sales teams prospect are the key factors in our success,” said CEO Henry Schuck. “We’re excited to celebrate our achievements, but we’re always focused on finding new ways to keep growing and providing additional value for our clients.”

RainKing: $67M in Equity $$ Just Rained Down on Them (Breaking News)

RainKing Solutions announced that they received a $67 million equity investment from Boston based Spectrum Equity.  RainKing is one of the top sales intelligence solutions for the technology space and provides deep company and contact profiles including org charts, InsideScoops (1,200 daily sales opportunities), and technology profiles spanning 50,000 companies and 500,000 contacts.  While the majority of these profiles are for US firms, they have been building out coverage internationally and provide 12,000 European company profiles and a smaller set for AsiaPac, Latin America, and Africa.

The firm differentiates itself through direct research and customer service (they are Ritz Carlton certified and provide round the clock support).  Within reason, users can pose research questions to the team or request additional data at no additional charge.  As part of the data license, clients are assigned a Client Success Rep who provides consultation and proactively monitors the account, drives usage, and recommends best practices.  The Success Rep also assists with data cleansing initiatives and integration with CRM and Marketing Automation Platforms.

Data is collected through direct interviews which gathers contact information (99% fill rate for emails and 93% for direct dial phones), executive responsibilities, org chart position, current projects, and deep platform intelligence.  While they focus on the IT function, they also gather decision makers in the Marketing and Finance Departments.  Their editorial team consists of 300 editors that update profiles on a sixty day basis.

RainKing IT Exec Profile
Bios include email, direct dial, responsibilities, org chart location, education history, and work history. When shown in lists, execs are given an org chart score indicating their relative position in the org chart.

According to the firm, they have over 1,000 clients and 15,000 users.

The company did not indicate where the money will be spent, but they are in a head-to-head competition with DiscoverOrg to internationalize their dataset, extend into marketing services, and expand data collection to additional departments.

Along with the investment, Spectrum Equity placed John Stanfill in the CEO position and placed three members on RainKing’s Board: Principal Mike Farrell, Principal Jeff Haywood, and Managing Director Chris Mitchell.

Stanfill is immediately assuming the CEO position.  He most recently served as the SVP of Sales & Customer Support at CoStar Group which grew from $2 million in revenue in 1995 to nearly $600 million in revenue in 2014 when he departed.  John managed a global sales and support team of 425.

“RainKing has been on the leading edge of providing outstanding sales intelligence information since 2008 and with the investment and support of Spectrum Equity, we will accelerate the development and delivery of our robust product and data pipeline,” said Stanfill. “We look forward to supporting our clients, which include the tech industry’s largest and fastest growing companies, by providing them with the most accurate, comprehensive and verified information on IT, marketing and finance professionals available in the market today.”

RainKing made last year’s Inc. 5000 list based on a three year growth rate of 150%.

RainKing Inc 5000 (2014)
RainKing Solutions landed at 2494 in the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of US private companies with 150% growth over three years.

“We’ve had the opportunity to get to know both John and the rest of the RainKing team over a multiyear period and are thrilled to be partnering with a world class management team as we help to support their continued growth,” said Farrell. “Sales and marketing professionals are overwhelmed with data today. RainKing’s proprietary, highly accurate data accumulated over a nearly 10-year period allows customers to find the best prospects, target the most likely buyer within an organization and know what to say when they reach them. This ability to cut through the noise is incredibly valuable to any vendor selling into the IT market today.”

RainKing is one of the vendors I profile in my 2015 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors which is publishing next week.