LinkedIn: PointDrive-Sales Navigator Integration

LinkedIn is planning to integrate the recently acquired PointDrive sales engagement solution into Sales Navigator in Q1 2017.  PointDrive, which was acquired in July, helps sales reps package, share, and track sales presentations which are distributed via the PointDrive web app or an email link.  The platform then gathers viewing analytics.  Content includes images, video, embedded maps, and documents which are mobile optimized for presentation.

Bill Burnett, Director of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, said that PointDrive is designed to solve two email problems:  attachment laden emails lack “control over narrative” as emails provide little flow, story, and “experience for the buyer.”  Also, they provide no visibility into who is viewing the email.  Thus, post-demo messaging is haphazard as emails don’t communicate a story very well.

PointDrive Embedded Contact Profile
PointDrive Embedded Contact Profile

According to LinkedIn, there are 5.4 decision makers involved in the buying decision which means that there is a high probability that sales emails with rich media attachments are being forwarded to others.

Burnett stated that the goal of PointDrive is to “turn this [email] exchange into a truly more engaging experience” which provides real-time sales signals about what content decision makers are viewing.  Instead of sending long emails, buyers are directed to a PointDrive landing page which allows the sales rep to control brand, content, and commentary.  PointDrive was designed as a “mobile first” interface with landing pages supporting both traditional and mobile browsers.

Brand and product information are “now presented in a way that truly differentiates and engages the buyer” through personalization and organization.  PointDrive also provides easy access to sales rep bios and contact information (see image on left).  Each attachment is displayed in a framed box with sales rep narratives and document descriptions alongside the marketing piece.  PointDrive supports embedded collateral, pricing sheets, presentation decks, multimedia, and images which are all displayed within the PointDrive landing page.  Users do not need to download content or window out to other documents.

PointDrive is customized to the seller allowing firms to convey their brand identity.  Burnett claims that creating a PointDrive is “as simple as creating an email.”  Users upload content and grab links, videos, and Google Maps.  “We’ll lay your brand and identity on top of it for you so that when you are ready to share with your leads [and] share with your connections,” said Burnett.

Sales reps have control over actions taken on PointDrive embedded content.  They can block downloads, password protect the element, set expiration dates, and track forwards.

An embedded User Guide is displayed within a PointDrive page.  Commentary is provided by sales reps.
An embedded User Guide is displayed within a PointDrive page.  Commentary is provided by sales reps.

Real-time alerting metrics are provided for each document view.  Thus, PDF analytics indicate who viewed the document, when viewed, how much total time buyers or influencers spent viewing the document, total pages viewed, and how much time was spent on each page.  It even captures the viewing browser and location of the viewer.  This intelligence is available for both the original recipients and any forwarded viewers.

Burnett calls this a “new way for sellers within Sales Navigator to engage with customers and prospects much deeper into the sales funnel.”  The service also provides “tremendous value for account managers or anybody inside of your organization that’s communicating on a regular basis” with customers and prospects.

The firm plans on rolling PointDrive into core Sales Navigator Team functionality at no additional cost.  LinkedIn sales reps are already using PointDrive with their customers and prospects.

“The new Sales Navigator features are to enhance the overall customer experience of Sales Navigator, and to integrate it into daily workflows to get people the information they need as easily as possible,” said LinkedIn Senior Marketing Manager Derek Pando.

LinkedIn’s System of Engagement ties together email, CRM, and LinkedIn workflows. (Source: LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016)
LinkedIn’s System of Engagement ties together email, CRM, and LinkedIn workflows. (Source: LinkedIn Sales Connect 2016)

LinkedIn Head of Products Doug Camplejohn noted that sales reps live in three applications: their email, CRM, and LinkedIn.  LinkedIn’s objective is to become the “System of Engagement” that manages the workflow of sales reps.  Expanded functionality such as PointDrive, connectors, and InMail 2.0 (see below) will sit between the system of communication (email) and the system of record (CRM).  Thus, InMail, PointDrive, CRM uploads (InMail, Notes, Tags), email and Chrome integrations, and the CRM partnerships should be viewed as part of LinkedIn’s broader workflow strategy.

Sales messaging and analytics tools are becoming much more prevalent in sales intelligence, sales acceleration, and ABSD platforms.  That will be discussed tomorrow.

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