Last month Sales Navigator began rolling out its Q3 release. Amongst the features are a Pipeline Review and Buyers Circle (discussed last Friday), improved Search, and additional SNAP integrations.
Sales Navigator Account and Lead Search have been redesigned for speed and ease. The Account and Lead Search functions and results (see 1 below) are more prominent, offer streamlined search filters (see 2), and deliver simplified save search and alerting processes. Other enhancements include hover cards (see 3) which display company intelligence when mousing over a company name. Hover cards include a Save as Account button.
LinkedIn originally designed their mobile app to complement the desktop service but is working to make mobile a “full-featured Sales Navigator experience.” Last quarter, they focused on Account enhancements and this quarter they brought the mobile Lead experience to parity with the desktop service.
“We will continue to narrow the gap between our mobile and desktop experiences in upcoming releases, and take advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile as well.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions.
LinkedIn continues to invest in its SNAP partner program. This quarter, Adobe Sign was added as a partner and three partners (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and SalesLoft) took advantage of their version two capabilities. SFDC and MSD now broadly embed LinkedIn intelligence in Lead, Account, and Opportunity pages. Users may also send InMails from within the CRM.
The next generation SNAP integrations are modular, providing greater flexibility around where content is displayed. New modular features include InMail support and the handling of Potential Profile Matches.
LinkedIn has taken a “Switzerland approach” to its partnerships, working with both Microsoft and its competitors.
The firm reiterated its commitment to data security and GDPR compliance. “LinkedIn maintains ISO 27001 & ISO 27018 certifications, as well as a SSAE-18 certification, SOC 2 Type I report,” noted the firm in its briefing to Admins.
Finally, LinkedIn added an Ideas site to its Sales Navigator Community portal where admins can “submit, vote on, comment on and track status of ideas for how to improve Sales Navigator.”
Last month, LinkedIn rolled out its Q3 Sales Navigator release to admins and trainers. Enhancements include a new Deals feature to assist with pipeline reviews, “Buyer Circles,” an updated search user experience, and revised mobile lead pages. Several partner platforms are also rolling out version 2 of their SNAP integrations.
During pipeline reviews, “managers are really trying to find out what are areas of weakness in the pipeline and how they can help. A lot of times, because the information that’s been put into CRM is incomplete, that can be a challenging conversation,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “The problem Deals is ultimately trying to solve is how do you increase the quality of that data that is ultimately stored in the CRM, and by making it much easier for the rep to quickly see missing points of information as well as to add in what one could argue is the most important information—who are all the people that are involved in that buying decision at the target company.”
LinkedIn noted that pipeline review sessions are often frustrating due to incomplete and out of date CRM information resulting in a “20 questions” session in search of deal risks. The new Deal feature pulls deal and contact intelligence from the CRM and streamlines the update process. Instead of jumping between opportunity records, reps can manage their pipeline updates from a single pane of glass. The update table allows reps to quickly enter deal intelligence including deal size, stage, close date, and next steps with information immediately written back to the CRM.
Deals requires that the Salesforce Admin enable CRM synch. Reps will only be able to view and edit fields for which they have been granted permission and only for Opportunities in their name. Managers will only be able to view Deals for their team members.
Deals includes a Buyer’s Circle feature which helps reps quickly fill gaps in their Buying Committee. “The real power comes when you want to add missing role contacts,” Doug Camplejohn, LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP Products wrote to licensors. “Buyer’s Circle makes it easy to select anyone on LinkedIn and drag them to a role, which, again, automatically updates your CRM. And if that contact is not already in your CRM, Deals lets you create a new CRM contact associated with that opportunity in just a few clicks.”
As LinkedIn does not deliver member-specific details to third-parties, Buyers Circle only uploads First and Last Name, Title, and Company. Other buyer details would need to be keyed in by the sales rep or populated by a third-party enrichment vendor.
Deals is available in Salesforce.com with the Q3 release and will be available in Microsoft Dynamics in Q4.
Deals is part of the Team and Enterprise editions and is based on a Heighten capability “rebuilt from the ground up.” Heighten was acquired in 2017.
“B2B selling is more complicated these days where you often have half a dozen people involved, but they’re not all recognized. A sales rep will put a single contact into the system, and if the deal goes sideways it’s hard to figure out who to contact or how to move forward.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions
“I think the Deals module is the most interesting part of this release because it offers the biggest benefit,” said Gartner analyst Todd Berkowitz. “If you are in a market like tech or manufacturing or a complicated services deal, the number of people involved keeps going up including those who can influence the deal or an assassin who can kill it. The more information you can provide about all the people involved in the deal, the better. And the way the Buyers Circle surfaces information on people and brings it forward with one click is a real benefit.”
Part II covering additional features such as new SNAP integrations and mobile Lead profiles will publish on Monday.
LinkedIn continues to grow its global membership base at an impressive clip. The firm reached 500 million members sixteen months ago and has added nearly 15 million members per quarter since then, recently reaching 575 million.
North America continues as their most important market with over 150 million members in the United States, 15 million in Canada, and 12M in Mexico.
AsiaPac is also growing strongly with India recently hitting the 50 million member mark and China poised to soon pass the mark (42 million members). China was slower to develop but has grown rapidly since a localized version was launched a few years ago.
In Europe, there are at least 14 countries with one million members or greater. The United Kingdom is the third largest anglophone market with 25 million members. France (16M), Italy (12M), Spain (10M), and Benelux (10M) all represent strong markets.
LinkedIn is relatively underrepresented in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) as it continues to compete against German language professional network XING.
Other Anglophone markets include Australia (9M), South Africa (6M) The Philippines (6M), Nigeria (3M), Singapore (2M), Hong Kong (1M), New Zealand (1M), and Kenya (1M).
LinkedIn has also enjoyed success in Latin America with Brazil long being a significant market (34M). The firm also has a significant presence in Colombia (6M), Argentina (6M), and Chile (4M).
LinkedIn was barred from Russia several years ago.
Monthly active user figures are estimated at around 25% of members.
Membership, segment, and usage statistics for LinkedIn are less available since the firm was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016. Revenue, however, continues to accelerate, growing 37% to $1.464 billion in Q4 2018. Q4 marked the fifth-straight quarter of revenue acceleration.
“This strong engagement is driven by quality of the feed, video, messaging and acceleration of mobile usage, with mobile sessions up more than 55% year-over-year,” said Satya Nadella last month. “We will continue to invest to make LinkedIn the essential platform to connect the world’s professionals and help them achieve more with experiences powered by LinkedIn and Microsoft graphs.”
“We have united the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network and proved that we have an integration model that works, enabling LinkedIn to accelerate growth while retaining its member-first ethos,” continued Nadella.
Sigstr recently announced the launch of its new relationship marketing platform and Sigstr Pulse application. The new cloud offering analyzes email and calendar patterns to determine the strength of relationships between employees and prospects. Instead of determining engagement as clickthroughs and web visits, Sigstr Pulse determines relationship strength based upon employee interactions with prospects. Data is collected passively with sales reps not required to take any action.
According to Sigstr, “Revenue lags relationships. When you understand the quality of relationships, marketers can provide better air coverage and sales can forecast better.”
Sigstr calls out relationships between employees, accounts, contacts, and location; scores the strength of those relationships; assesses relationship strength over time; and helps identify warm introductions. As a relationship marketing platform, Sigstr visualizes the relationships with key accounts and determines “which contacts you know best and which you need to know better.”
Sigstr argues that corporate inboxes and calendars are the best source for measuring relationships. Relationships “live and grow in the inbox,” said Sigstr CEO Bryan Wade.
“Relationships are the lifeblood of every business, and no other system tracks who has relationships with whom better than a corporate email system. Sigstr Pulse allows marketers to effortlessly solve a problem everyone knows they have, making it easy to understand your organization’s complex web of relationships and take action on them. One practical example is in event marketing, as brands can send invitations to potential attendees based on the hierarchy of relationships within an organization,” said Wade. “Our platform is already in the email flow of hundreds of thousands of employees at some of the world’s largest brands, which means they can flip a switch to turn on relationship marketing via Sigstr Pulse. As we’re marketing in the era of GDPR, tapping into coworkers’ existing business relationships means less cold calling and more productive marketing.”
Sigstr provides location-based intelligence to help identify where contacts are located. This intelligence assists with on-site meeting planning, territory assignment, and assessing relationship strength at the location level. Location-based intelligence can also be employed for event planning and marketing.
Sigstr evaluates relationship strength based upon the frequency, recency, and directionality of communications along with the acceptance of calendar invites. Users are able to build targeted lists, identify strong relationships with the company for referrals, and evaluate how relationships are strengthening or atrophying at ABM accounts.
“Sigstr has expanded the opportunity for marketing and sales teams by allowing them to make the person-to-person connections they need through existing relationships within the organization. Email is at the center of nearly every professional’s daily workflow, and now they can use those interactions to build their business beyond just the conversations they’re having.”
Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Sigstr does not yet have the functionality to exclude specific individuals or departments from your relationship data, but there are controls that manage which inboxes are integrated with Sigstr Pulse. Users cannot yet block access to relationships for teams involved in confidential communications such as litigation, M&A, and partnerships. Likewise, individuals cannot opt out if they wish to retain control over their relationships. As this is a V1 release, it is likely that their customers will demand such controls to be added.
Sigstr does have GDPR controls in place to modify or delete specific users, if users wish to remove their personal information.
Sigstr Pulse supports a Chrome Connector which provides on demand company and contact relationship insights while browsing the web.
Sigstr Pulse pricing is based on number of users (logging into the application and downloading the Chrome extension) and email volume.
Sigstr also offers an email signature marketing application which provides custom messaging and banners within employee email signature blocks.
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.