LinkedIn is now the number two social media platform by usage, advertising spend, ROI and analytics tools. Facebook remains number one. “While LinkedIn is often considered a hub for job hunters and corporate recruiters, the platform has also shifted to position itself as a marketing engine in recent years,” said Jerry Ascierto, executive editor of The Social Shake-Up Show. “The recent updates to its ad platform and UI seem to be encouraging brands to increase spend. As a result, more companies are experiencing better ROI from this network than others considered more popular and ‘fun,’ such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.”
LinkedIn has benefited from a native video feature that was launched last year and was recently extended to company pages.
LinkedIn’s last official member count was 546 million global professional profiles.
Microsoft Chairman John Thompson said that the LinkedIn acquisition has been “wildly successful” and that Microsoft would be “all in” on a similar deal. Of particular interest are firms that would help connect users to the Microsoft cloud.
Thomson was critical of firms that share or sell user data. “Many of them make money off ads and they have used that as kind of a leverage point,” Thomson told Bloomberg. “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.”
While Facebook has taken a series of hits on its sharing of member data, LinkedIn has long protected member data (for example, Sales Navigator does not permit the uploading of member information to CRMs but makes it available for display). What’s more, Microsoft has built GDPR compliance into its product line and set it as a global standard.
LinkedIn celebrated its 15th anniversary last month. “15 years ago, we launched LinkedIn in Reid Hoffman’s living room with the tagline ‘relationships matter’,” said VP of Product Strategy Allen Blue. “I’m proud to say that this mantra still rings true today in both the halls of LinkedIn and on the platform. While the world of work has evolved immensely — be it the tools and products we use, the ways we communicate, and even the jobs themselves — our need to connect with one another to be productive in our careers remains at the core of all we do.”
Sales Engagement vendor SalesLoft acquired B2B SaaS Collaboration tool Noteninja. Durham-based NoteNinja provides meeting intelligence which transcribes, tags, and annotates meeting recordings. The service is managed by an AI bot which recognizes upcoming meetings on the rep’s calendar and attends the meeting.
“I realized our category of software was missing something important,” said SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter. “Neither us nor other engagement solutions were solving an additional problem. Customers told me they need more insights on what’s actually happening during sales meetings. They realize (and Gartner reports) ‘three out of four customers report spending more with a company because of a positive buying experience’. Modern revenue organizations need meeting intelligence software to solve painful problems.”
SalesLoft listed a set of sales challenges that are addressed by meeting intelligence platforms:
Tagging assists with meeting review, helping users search for key moments such as pricing discussions or prospect objections. According to Noteninja, “No longer do you have to click around a meeting aimlessly looking for the right spot. Save time and quickly hone [sic] in on the moments that matter for you and your team.”
Comments can be shared with co-workers or management, providing “game-film for meetings.” These excerpts can also be used for new hire training, objection handling, and learning from top reps.
“I’m incredibly proud for what this means to our customers and the advanced opportunity they will now have to deliver a better selling experience to their customers. With the acquisition of Noteninja, SalesLoft is providing our customers with the first full suite Sales Engagement Platform that combines sales cadences with sales intelligence, serving AEs, SDRs, CSMs, managers, and execs to generate the most revenue.”
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter
Noteninja supports major web conferencing services including GoToMeeting, Zoom, JoinMe, and WebEx. Google Calendar, Exchange, and Office 365 productivity applications are also supported. While a SalesLoft connector already exists, the firm is working on a native integration of NoteNinja capabilities which will be offered as a premium feature set within their product line. SalesLoft is targeting August for native availability.
SalesLoft complies with state privacy laws. “We deploy call recording governance for our current dialer and will be incorporating our technology across the platform as we integrate,” said VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester. “We also work alongside the governance and compliance assets deployed by screen sharing technologies.”
NoteNinja does not automatically join meetings with generic (consumer) emails nor does it join meetings with only internal staff. However, this rule can be overridden by including the Noteninja assistant in the attendees list.
Acquisition terms were not disclosed.
SalesLoft has grown to 277 employees with offices in Atlanta, Durham, and San Francisco. SalesLoft supports over 2,000 companies including Square, MuleSoft, Alteryx and Dell.
SalesLoft is ahead of plan in 2018. Q1 was above a “very aggressive” revenue plan to once again double revenue in 2018. Q2 is tracking 120% of plan.
Approximately one-third of NoteNinja customers are joint licensors of the SalesLoft solution.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator will be rolling out its Q2 release in the coming weeks. New features include a redesigned Leads page, a mobile new Accounts page, additional SNAP partners, and improved message actions in the Inbox.
LinkedIn also announced that its Sales Solutions are fully GDPR compliant with the following changes being implemented later this year:
Notification of data collection to all LinkedIn members using Sales Navigator at onboarding: We’ll continue to provide notifications of how data is used in our Sales Solutions products before user onboarding for mobile and desktop access to Sales Solutions products, and will add the ability for users to track confirmation of these policies in their LinkedIn account.
Export of Sales Navigator data: Exports of user data will be available for entire contracts or on a by-seat basis.
Deletion of Sales Navigator data: Deletion of user data will be available for entire contracts or on a by-seat basis.
Requests from individuals and contract administrators: Users and contract administrators will be able to request export or deletion of their user data via a clearly documented request process.
LinkedIn did caveat its GDPR support noting that “LinkedIn cannot control the specific messages sent by a customer, which ultimately determine the customer’s compliance with relevant laws throughout the world. As such, we advise our customers to seek the advice of their own counsel regarding their specific uses of promotional messaging within LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn collects marketing consent as part of the terms and conditions during account creation and reconfirms it at the email verification stage. Users can also opt out of marketing materials and messages in their privacy settings.
“It’s always been challenging for salespeople to access all the important information about their prospects in one place,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of product management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve Sales Navigator, so we’re pleased to release our redesigned lead page, which will save salespeople valuable time and help them better understand their prospects.”
The Detailed Lead Summary section includes contact intelligence pulled from the CRM..
The redesigned Leads page provides a Show All button for displaying contact information from LinkedIn, CRM contact records, or details entered by the user or her colleagues. The Lead page summary also includes user tags, a CRM badge that provides a direct link to the CRM contact record, and a contact overview.
While the platform remains view only, sales reps can share contact specific details across the Sales Navigator service with colleagues. “You can see additional emails, phone numbers, website URLs, social handles and office addresses pulled from both their LinkedIn profile and your CRM in one place. And if you add, say, a social handle for a person in Sales Navigator, that information is shared with other team members on the same Sales Navigator contract,” said LinkedIn.
A Highlights section calls out common attributes such as Groups, shared companies, schools in common, and connections. Also displayed is the “best path” connection to the individual. The best path could be via TeamLink or personal and professional connections. Highlights also includes a synopsis of recent LinkedIn activity such as posts, likes, and comments.
A Recommended Leads section provides a custom set of additional names at the company based upon search preferences, new contacts at the firm, people with shared connections, and people who have recently viewed the user’s profile.
The Locate Similar Leads section identifies leads at other firms that are similar to the current lead.
The iOS and Android mobile apps support a redesigned Company Summary along with new Saved Leads, Recommended Leads, and Best Path Into modules. News and Updates are also available.
“Our redesigned Mobile Account Page highlights key account details and unique LinkedIn insights about a lead, such as company news like financial milestones or key announcements, basic company info, or recommended prospects,” said Camplejohn. “Ultimately, this will give salespeople access to the information they need, when they need it, wherever they are, so they can act quickly and be more productive.”
If the user hovers over a message in the Sales Navigator Inbox, she will be presented with Archive / Unarchive and Mark Read / Unread toggles.
“By highlighting important information about a prospect such as their job title, contact information, common groups or interests, and CRM activity, salespeople can find natural icebreakers to start a conversation so they can personalize their messages, grow their pipelines, and, ultimately, close more deals,” said Camplejohn.
Sales Navigator users can flag the level of detail passed to Leads when the user views a profile. The lead will see either see the full set of viewer details including name, headline, and location; title and company; or no details (anonymous).
New SNAP partners include Clari (Business Intelligence), SAP Hybris and Pegasystems (CRM), Oracle Eloqua (Marketing Automation), and Groove (Sales Acceleration).
Beginning last quarter, Sales Navigator adoped a more formalized quarterly release process. The Q2 release will be available to Sales Admins on May 21st with the enhancements being rolled out to users in the subsequent weeks.
Five years ago, there were several options for editorially researched org charts. These included DiscoverOrg, RainKing, SalesQuest Crush reports, and iProfile. But DiscoverOrg acquired both RainKing and iProfile and SalesQuest was acquired by OneSource which was later acquired by Dun & Bradstreet and bundled into the D&B Hoovers technology premium. Thus, the options for org chart intelligence narrowed significantly. However, Bowman Marketing Services (BMS), a company profile research firm based in Austin, TX, now offers OrgChartCity as both single profiles and a subscription service.
OrgChartCity intelligence includes both organizational structures and notes concerning budget data and responsibilities. Licensees receive both a PDF org chart and an Excel CSV containing first and last name, department, email, phone, and title.
CEO David Bowman, describes the OrgChartCity value proposition as “contacts in context” which provides org charts “handcrafted by business experts, not some nested database of contacts that a computer nerd put together.”
Information is collected through both primary and secondary research along with automated checks. Each data source is assessed by recency, context, and source type with records included only if they meet a 90% confidence threshold. If a company has not been updated in the prior 90 days, the licensee is provided with the current profile and a refreshed profile within a couple of days.
The firm focuses on the Fortune 500 and Global 2000. Coverage currently spans 500 companies with the firm adding dozens of org charts each quarter. Overall, the firm has around 35,000 active, profiled executives.
Individual profiles may be purchased by credit card on the OrgChartCity website for $125. An annual subscription to the full database is priced at $10,000 and includes alerts and full access to updates.
While Bowman Marketing Services is initially focusing on org charts, the firm performs detailed custom research for its clients and plans to market additional datasets in the future.
Custom research topics include company overviews, competition, segments, budgets and departments, social media presence, sustainability, news (specific to the client), technology platforms (specific to the clients), awards and recognition, financial outlook (summarized for sales reps), and 2018 initiatives. Custom report pricing runs between $1,000 and $5,000 per company based upon the number of topics covered and the size of the company.
BMS has been providing custom research since 2005. The custom business is profitable and OrgChartCity is nearing breakeven. The firm maintains a staff of 20 to 25 researchers.
SalesLoft is quite pleased with its previously announced LinkedIn Sales Navigator partnership. SalesLoft VP of Product Strategy Sean Kester noted that SalesLoft “worked extremely closely with their team” and that SalesLoft has the highest widget use amongst all of LinkedIn’s SNAP partners. The Sales Navigator app supports real-time news, account information, introductions, ice breakers, connections, and recommended leads. LinkedIn intelligence is delivered within SalesLoft’s Persona and Company Smart Panels.
“Our organization and thousands of others like us depend on LinkedIn daily for prospecting, insights, social selling, and the tools to build real, authentic relationships with your prospects and customers,” said SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter. “In many ways, SalesLoft’s technology has been built to be extremely complementary with that of LinkedIn.”
SalesLoft recently launched a meeting tool which integrates with Outlook and Gmail. The new service provides calendar links to customers and prospects so they can quickly book time on the rep’s calendar. Booked meetings are visible within both SalesLoft and Salesforce. A booked meeting can trigger automation rules such as changing a cadence stage, marking as success, or moving to a cadence such as setting follow up meetings or kicking off a meeting prep cadence.
Calendar settings include default meeting length, daily meeting windows, time zone, and standard message. Users may continue to use Calendly and Chili Piper for setting meetings.
Another new feature is live website tracking which captures who visited a corporate website and which pages were visited. Initially, the functionality is cookie based, but SalesLoft will support IP tracking in the future. Sales reps can use the tracking to leverage past activity (e.g. suggesting additional resources related to past research history) or calling prospects while they are live on a corporate site.
“Live Website Tracking brings a brand new prospect readiness cue to the surface by exposing live and historical website activity to SalesLoft. When you combine the unspoken signal of website activity with the more explicit signal of email interaction and direct response, you move closer than ever to understanding what the prospect needs and where they are in their buying journey.”
InsideView recently rolled out a beta user interface which follows a mobile first navigation structure and includes a redesigned News Feed view for followed companies. InsideView describes the new UI as “fresh. Modern. And easier to navigate, with more engaging graphics and a common user experience across platforms – within CRM, mobile, and web.”
The color scheme utilizes a monochrome palate with splashes of red, blue and green for accents (e.g. hyperlinks, highlighted tabs, buttons). Unfortunately, much of the text is gray against a white background which may cause readability issues in brightly lit locations.
Navigation is via a left-handed navigation bar. For companies, the primary tabs are Overview, Company Information, People, and Insights. Sub-headings under Company Information are Firmographics, Industry Profile, Financials, Family Tree, and Competitors. Industry Profile has a third level of horizontal tabs, and really should be presented as a top-level navigation item.
A Search bar provides a type-ahead feature to assist with company and contact searching. The type-ahead feature begins as a Recently Viewed list of companies and contacts.
The Insights Tab is an updated version of the InsideView buzz tab. Users can view company news, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook in a single feed. News can be filtered to a subset of their 17 agents and be shared via email, social media, or Yammer. All four sources are keyword searchable. Twitter is fully integrated with a Twitter handle summary along with reply, retweet, and favorite. Facebook supports an integrated stream of posts with commenting support.
One of the nice features that was carried forward from the old Buzz tab is the ability to switch between company posts and posts from others for Twitter and Facebook.
In place of a static Home Page, the user is taken to the News Page which presents the user with news stories for followed companies in a grid pattern. Users may filter the topics by one or multiple Agents (sales triggers) and Watchlists. Individual articles may be shared with social media, email, or Yammer.
The Company view still lacks an export to PDF feature similar to that found in D&B Hoovers and Hoovers classic.
Users will be able to switch between the classic and beta versions through April 27th.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator had another strong year of growth in-line with its historical Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR). Extrapolating from data published prior to its Microsoft acquisition, LinkedIn Sales Navigator has global revenues between $300 and $350 million. This would make LinkedIn the largest vendor of sales intelligence solutions with revenue roughly double that of Dun & Bradstreet (Hoovers, D&B Hoovers, Data.com, D&B360) and triple that of DiscoverOrg.
Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions, described the service as “one of the fastest growing SaaS B2B products in history.”
LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its first quarterly release on February 7th. Quarterly releases help LinkedIn manage its communications and ensure that admins and trainers are prepared for the changes. Enhancements will roll out first to this group before becoming available to general users in subsequent weeks.
“In the early days of Sales Navigator, we chose to act like a startup and launch products as soon as they were ready, without much warning or pre-release training for our customers. We also acted independently, only integrating with a couple of systems, instead of opening up the platform to the dozens of types of sales applications a rep uses throughout their work week. Starting today, we will release Sales Navigator product updates on a quarterly cycle to provide advanced communications and training for administrators and users so they have adequate time to familiarize themselves with new features and take advantage of them properly.”
Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions
The product is maturing as it develops connectors with other services and formalizes its releases and communications. “Sales Navigator is growing up and learning how to play with others,” said Camplejohn.
As part of this development, LinkedIn announced four new members of its Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) partners. SNAP is a broad partner program that spans business intelligence, CRM, eSignature, MAP, Sales Acceleration, and Web Conferencing. A year ago, LinkedIn only supported Salesforce and MS Dynamics.
The new Oracle Sales Cloud integration displays LinkedIn prospect and contact data within the Oracle CRM.
A SugarCRM integration displays a LinkedIn dashboard within Sugar Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts, and Leads.
Implemented partnerships were also announced with Demandbase and InsideSales’ Predictive Playbooks. LinkedIn lists 11 future partners including Tableau, Adobe Sign, BlueJeans, Microsoft BI, Eloqua (Oracle Marketing), and SAP Hybris.