LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its Q1 product, focusing on relationships, personas, and enhanced buyer intent functionality.
The new Relationship Explorer surfaces “hidden allies” and best paths into accounts, helping sales reps avoid cold outreach and “spam cannon techniques.”
“Instead of a blanket approach where you target everyone at an account, you can laser in on the people who are most likely to take a meeting with you based on their persona and what connection they have to you,” explained LinkedIn Senior Director of Product Mitali Pattnaik. “You can also use it to multi-thread deeper into accounts by finding the next-best person to reach out to. This creates a more efficient experience for buyers and sellers alike.”
Sales Navigator has long supported introductions and TeamLink (colleague) suggestions, but it has never fully leveraged the value of its economic graph for warm communications. The Economic Graph supports 900-million-member profiles across 61 million companies, along with current and prior employment, educational background, posts, etc.
Sales Navigator has a second advantage: its profiles are maintained by its members, ensuring that profiles are kept up to date and contain rich data around education, interests, skills, employment history, etc.
“Teams have relied so heavily on cold outreach largely because they’re leveraging sales intelligence tools that are limited in showing how to get a foot in the door of an account. These tools are chock-full of stale data: everything from incorrect contact info to the wrong person in the wrong role. With reliance on tools full of stale data, reps end up spamming all potential prospects with a spray-and-pray strategy, leading to an abysmal 1-2% response rate,” argued Pattnaik. “Looking forward, sellers are going to need to be smarter and reach out with a more personalized approach.”
Relationship Explorer recommends prospects at an account, leveraging the interactions and trends across its professional network “to provide sellers with optimal paths to connect with their target personas at their target accounts.” As a result, Relationship Explorer saves time prospecting, cross-selling, and upselling at accounts, helping reps find the best contacts at target accounts.
The feature offers up to eight “of the most relevant individuals” based on their target persona and relevant, actionable insights (called spotlights by LinkedIn) based on interactions between members and organizations. Spotlights highlight both biographic and dynamic information, including recent job changes, LinkedIn postings, and past customers. As such, they provide timely reasons to reach out and content to include in their outreach.
Relationship Explorer is available in all Sales Navigator editions. However, while it displays a dozen spotlights, not all are available in each edition. For example, Past Customer spotlights are only available in the Advanced Plus edition.
Personas help users identify their target audience by function, seniority level, geography, and current job title. They are available on the Homepage, Search, Relationship Explorer, and Account pages.
Users can define up to five personas which act as templates for homing in on ideal prospects.
Pattnaik suggested several use cases for personas:
- Creating highly targeted Personas matching target customer profiles.
- Leveraging Personas in Search, Homepage, or Account Pages to identify the most relevant opportunities.
- Identifying warm paths and decision-makers at targeted accounts with Relationship Explorer.
- Using insights from Account Pages, including Persona growth, to prioritize accounts composed of leads matching Personas.
Persona functionality is available to all users.
Over the past few releases, Sales Navigator has built buyer intent into its service. Its latest intent-based feature is Product Category Buyer Intent, which identifies buyers searching for products in their category.
Previous Sales Navigator intent was based upon research into a vendor. Product Category Intent identifies prospects researching a product category but may not know a vendor or its offerings. The two types of intent data can be compared to understand the level of interest in the company versus the interest in the company’s product category, informing sales and marketing strategy.
“Categories are created with AI by combining related keywords into one central category, which is then tied to products using publicly facing product descriptions. For example, “fintech” and “financial tech” are individual keywords, which the AI model can combine into a single category,” explained Pattnaik. “Intent is then connected using buyer’s members’ profile as well as recent buying activities on LinkedIn.com to help sellers find the buyers who are likely looking for a solution like theirs.”
LinkedIn is rolling out several new Buyer Activities that will be displayed on Account Pages and the Buyer Intent Account Dashboard. Additional intent categories are rolling out over the next quarter:
- LinkedIn Ad Engagement: Clicks and view activity data. Both of these data points are private, so sellers will only be able to see the general profile of the buyer.
- InMail Acceptance for a colleague: Displays the public identity of individuals who have accepted InMails from other sellers on the same contract.
- Company LinkedIn page visits: Clicks on the company page. Page visits are a private activity, so the buyer is anonymous.
- LinkedIn profile visits to colleagues and leadership: A new activity that shows sellers when a potential buyer visits the profile of a colleague on the same contract or company leadership. This is also a private activity.
Buyer Intent is available in the Advanced and Advanced Plus editions of Sales Navigator.
Users can now search against any account list or use an account list as a suppression list. Other new search filters include:
- Past Customer (Advanced Plus only)
- Past Colleague
- Executive TeamLink – leverages the networks of a company’s executives (Advanced and Advanced Plus only).
- Viewed Your Profile
- Product Category Buyer Intent
LinkedIn also enhanced its Sales Insights (LSI) service with the improved matching of companies to CRM accounts and Adjustable Growth Time ranges.
LinkedIn admitted that its previous LSI matching logic may have been inaccurate as it only matched against a few standard CRM fields. LSI now supports CRM custom ingestion that improves match rates with customer-defined match fields. There is also an option to force matches based on LinkedIn Ids or URLs.
Adjustable Growth Time Ranges can be set to 3, 6, 12, and 24-month increments.