LinkedIn announced its Q3 Sales Navigator enhancements which are currently being rolled out to clients. Key features include LinkedIn Elevate integration, improved save a lead functionality, InMail active status, list cloning, and improved customer support.
Elevate is a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions offering which supports employee content promotion. A curator provides thought leadership pieces, press releases, and open web content to corporate employees. About one-third of Elevate content recipients also have Sales Navigator seats. Most clients are midsize or enterprise customers.
is sold based on the number of seats with volume discounts. Enterprise
licensing is also available based on the company size.
Elevate integration delivers curated content to the Navigator home page.
Content may be shared to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Sales reps
may add personal comments with the share.
provides metrics to help firms track increased site traffic, leads, and new
Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn noted that the Elevate
integration resulted in a dramatic increase in both the percentage of sales
reps sharing content and overall content being shared.
to LinkedIn, content that is shared by employees has double the engagement rate
of non-shared content. Furthermore, social enterprises are “58% more
likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them.”
sales reps are also more successful. LinkedIn stated that social sales
reps that regularly share content are 45% more likely to exceed quota.
“Marketers will still be able to control what content they’d like to see employees post. But now Sales Navigator users will have an even easier time boosting their brand and the brand of their company.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions
LinkedIn introduced custom list sharing in Q1 and extended the functionality this quarter. Previously, lists were shared but ownership resided with the list creator. Shared lists may now be copied, providing the copier with full list management capabilities. Other new list management features include shared list removal and bulk saving of all leads or accounts from a shared list.
also improved the lead connection flow. Now, when a connection is
proffered through Sales Navigator, users can check a box to add the contact to
their leads list, even if the connection is ignored or declined. This
allows the rep to track the contact.
Navigator redesigned its Help Center with “more intuitive navigation,” easier
search, article tagging, and tables of content. Click to chat allows
users to chat with support reps. The Sales Navigator community has been
extended to seven European languages. The Learning Center has been
rebranded the Customer Hub.
has been knocked in the past for its lack of subscription service support.
Improved training and support tools along with chat indicate that the
firm now realizes that enterprise subscription services require a higher level
of customer support than free or consumer services.
Sales Navigator included a set of small enhancements including expanded list sorting options, an increase in list size to 2,500 leads or accounts, and an active status indicator from InMail. A user is only shown active if they permit it in their privacy settings.
Compliance and social selling vendor Artesian Solutions announced its best quarter yet with Q1 (April – June) new business bookings up 290% year-over-year. The firm also posted a 95% retention rate and an average net promoter score of +50. The firm benefited from “strong growth” in its ENGAGE sales acceleration service and its ARCH compliance service released in June. ARCH moves onboarding processing to front-line relationship managers with credit risk monitoring and Know Your Customer data sources. ARCH is designed for banks and insurance companies and allows them to build compliance models which reflect institutional policies.
closed on a multi-year ARCH deal with Metro Bank along with several other financial
“We are off
to an incredible start this year,” announced CEO Andrew Yates. “Our
strong Q1 performance is a continuation of the momentum that began a decade ago
when we launched the first iteration of our award-winning insight and
intelligence platform. The growth in new business bookings and high
retention rate of existing customers highlights the exceptional value Artesian
brings to frontline teams, which was boosted further by the launch of ARCH, a
revolution in front-line initial credit and risk decisioning. Building on
these results we will continue to invest in both ENGAGE and ARCH and have some
exciting new enhancements which will soon be announced, extending our product
and feature set and the overall Artesian experience.”
selling platform Artesian ENGAGE is available for the UK and US markets.
Along with company profiles, ENGAGE supports a broad set of high
precision sales triggers and news stories. ENGAGE intelligence is
available through Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, browsers, and the Ready
mobile app for news alerts and meeting planning and notes. While Artesian
continues to sign US clients, its strength is in the UK market.
is English only gathered from global sites. News coverage is particularly
strong for the US, UK, Canada, and Singapore.
“The entire B2B landscape is undergoing a massive shift, where, increasingly, the key point of differentiation between competing brands is how they sell, not what they sell,” said Director of Marketing Stuart Newton. “The companies that understand this and act quickly to change how they approach customer engagement will be the ones that reap the biggest rewards. Potential buyers are spending more and more time conducting research at arm’s length through digital channels and via word of mouth – front line teams have less time to create an impactful first-impression and when buyers do engage, they expect sellers to deliver value at every touchpoint instead of focusing on features and price alone.”
I’ve been sitting on a Harvard Business Review article written by Doug Camplejohn since March due to a surfeit of news. I figured that if I couldn’t slip it into my blog in August, I would never get to it. August is when the press releases slow and there is an opportunity to speak about broader topics such as how to write a press release (or not write one).
advice takes a long-run strategic approach to building and nurturing a social
network based upon ongoing engagement, asking for advice during transitions,
and assisting others. As such, his advice dovetails well with real-world
approaches to building relationship networks.
begins by recommending that business professionals build their network with
peers instead of focusing on seniority. A peer-based network grows over
one’s career, creating a network which matures with the professional.
Furthermore, senior-executive response rates are lower than mid-level
managers. Less than one percent of VPs and CxOs respond to cold reach
“People earlier in their careers respond most often to an initial message, while VPs and C-level professionals respond the least to people they don’t already know.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn
Initial messages should be short. Camplejohn recommends three sentences that can be easily read on a mobile device. InMail messages of under 100 words work best with response rates “decreasing significantly” beyond 500 words.
also advises a hook such as an alma mater, joint interest, or a mutual friend.
“According to our research, referencing a mutual connection boosts the
acceptance rate of these messages by 51%, second only to attending the same
school at the same time (53%),” wrote Camplejohn.
notes the value of asking for advice and leveraging transitions. In
fundraising, there is an adage, “If you go seeking advice, you get money; if
you seek money, you get advice.” Likewise, transition periods are an
excellent opportunity to build your network and seek advice.
“If you’re in a transitional period — starting at a new company, switching industries, or moving to a new city — recognize the opportunity to reach out to people, ask for their advice, and absorb their wisdom.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn
recommendation is to pay it forward. Don’t be looking for immediate
benefits or strictly reciprocal opportunities. Social networkers
recognize that they are contributing to the commons, whether helping one person
or adding to the group. Sales reps and others should also continue to
nurture their network, maintaining conversations with colleagues, clients,
partners, and mentors.
“The best way to build a relationship is to help
someone with joy and with no expectation of anything in return. It feels
good, it trains your own sense of generosity, and it informs you of what the
other person values. It also sets the stage for you to ask them something
in the future. You don’t have to offer to help in every circumstance, but
make yourself available as a resource to people, particularly to people who are
just starting out in their careers.”
Camplejohn concludes that online networking should be viewed as an extension of real-world interactions: “Connect with people personally by finding common ground, then build trust and long-term relationships, rather than one-time transactions.”
I’m not an expert on the recruitment side, but on the sales side there is an integrated Dynamics / LinkedIn Sales Navigator solution called Relationship Sales. The service displays company and contact intelligence across Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity records. Insight features include icebreakers, TeamLink introductions, Lead Recommendations, and LinkedIn intelligence. Daily synchronization ensures that active accounts and contacts are shared between the services and that Sales Navigator activities (e.g. InMails, messages, notes, tags, and call logs) are uploaded to Dynamics 365.
LinkedIn also offers a set of SNAP connectors which provide view only company and contact profiles integrated into CRM, Sales Engagement, and other platforms. Supported CRMs include HubSpot, Inform, Microsoft, Oracle Sales Cloud, Pega, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM, and Zoho.
SNAP requires licensing Sales Navigator Team along with the CRM.
SNAP offers a core set of features for CRM:
View LinkedIn profiles within Account, Contact, and Lead profiles
Icebreakers such as Recent Activity and Shared Connections
TeamLink connections which leverage co-worker LinkedIn networks.
InMails (LinkedIn’s email service which hides the email of the recipient).
Syncing of engagement activity (e.g. InMails, Notes, Messages, Phone Calls) between the CRM and LinkedIn.
Download Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity intelligence from the CRM to LinkedIn for Account and Lead List Building.
A single-pane pipeline view for maintaining Opportunity data and constructing Buyers Circles (Buying Committee members). An intriguing feature which is only available in Dynamics and Salesforce.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent offering with one major limitation — member data cannot be synced with the CRM. This means that it is view only within SNAP and must be re-keyed. It also means that there is no ongoing enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads. As such, a B2B hygiene service should also be evaluated (e.g. D&B Optimizer, RingLead, ReachForce, InsideView, DiscoverOrg / Zoominfo).
Drift, which has quickly established itself as a leader in the chatbot space, is upping the ante by integrating video and chat. Users will be able to share and record videos via a Chrome extension or mobile app. Recorded videos can then be dropped into emails and sent to customers or prospects.
are “private and secure” with single sign-on functionality from Okta, OneLogin,
and Microsoft Azure. Users can restrict viewing to a specific email or
email list and “everyone else will have to request permission, just like you
would with a Google Doc.”
suggests three sales use cases for video: as a conversation starter, as a
second chance to refine a message after a call, and as a group selling tool
Video provides real-time desktop and mobile notifications when viewed. Users
can immediately start a conversation while somebody is viewing their video “so
you can reach out and say hello or follow-up at the perfect time.”
is the immediate notification element which Drift claims to be its product
“There are a few good software products out there that make it easy to capture and share videos. But we took a look around the market and noticed one big thing missing: none of those products create a better buying experience because they don’t actually help you start conversations with potential customers. You still have to make a video, send an email, and hope to get a response. But with Drift Video, you can get a notification in real-time while someone is watching your video and then hop right in and say hello.”
starting Drift, we’ve said there are two mega-trends that would shape the
future of B2B sales and marketing: messaging and video,” said CEO David Cancel.
“Over the last few years we’ve built an industry-leading messaging
platform used by over 150,000 businesses, and now we’re expanding our
Conversational Marketing platform by adding video.”
is driving global IP demand. According to Cisco, one million minutes of
video will be crossing the Internet every second by 2020 and 82% of all
Internet traffic will be video by 2021.
video is available today as part of the Drift offering. There is no
surcharge for video functionality for up to ten videos per month with a chat
option embedded into the video. For $12 per seat per month or $120 per
annum, reps are provided with a Pro license which includes unlimited HD quality
video sharing and storage. Only the Pro version restricts video sharing.
features include Team Analytics, Book Meetings from Video, and integrations
with Salesforce, Pardot, and Marketo.
spent the last year working on Drift Video and it was one of the main reasons
for raising our Series C in April 2018,” stated Cancel. “In looking at
the market over that time, we saw that while there are many products that make
it easy to create and share videos, none of them were built to help to start
conversations and create a better buying experience. After a private beta
with some great early customers, that’s what we’re bringing to market today
with Drift Video.”
has integrated video in its own sales process with 50% of Drift revenue
“influenced by video in the selling process.”
is the greatest conversation starter in B2B buying,” said Alexa Nguyen in a
Drift video. “In a world of faceless phone calls and emails, video has
helped us build trust, and video has helped us close more deals.”
Video is another way for salespeople to engage with their prospects outside of the norm. Prospects are constantly bombarded with emails and phone calls asking for their attention. But it’s hard to cut through that noise because they don’t trust easily. In order to build that trust, you need to build a personal connection. And all personal connections start with a conversation. Video allows people to be personal, show that they’re human, and help build that connection that might be lost through text in an email.
Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager
to research from Forrester and Boston Consulting Group, 75% of B2B transactions
have little or no sales interaction. Thus, video offers a valuable
channel through which sales reps can avoid being disintermediated. However,
sales reps could push this functionality too far. While chat
functionality sounds like the next step for video, reps should be careful not
to step over the line from personable to creepy.
prospects view an email, most understand that the act of opening an email
triggers a notification to the sender, but they don’t expect that the viewing
of a video will be treated as a real-time permission for a call or chat. Immediately
reaching out to customers and prospects may be viewed as a non-permissioned
extension of an asynchronous communication into synchronous. Drift does
not discuss GDPR in the announcement, but this seems to cross the boundary into
non-permissioned communications and the release of personally identifiable
is viewing your video. Call immediately”). The video privacy
permissions are focused on the seller (ensuring they aren’t shared with
others), but there does not seem to be any functionality to limit the “call me
back” immediacy of the service. If anything, the immediate messaging will
drive down the open rate of all embedded video and kill its efficacy.
I raised this concern to Drift, they offered a best practice to address this
issue. Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager, suggested that sales
reps could either wait for the contact to initiate the chat or use a message
such as “Thanks for watching my video! I’m here if you have any
questions.” This approach makes sense. By utilizing a generic
message that sounds automated, it feels less invasive. This may be a
situation where a generic message may be welcome as it serves as an invitation
to chat while a personalized message may be off-putting.
The user can take one of two roads — proactively engage with the video viewer while they’re watching via the chat functionality OR not engage at all and allow the video viewer to chat with them at their own discretion…Other customers have gone the route of not messaging and just offering the viewer another channel to engage with them outside of email or a phone call. Buyers have all of the power. And the ultimate goal is to meet them where they are…and to always be available to help.
Lacey Berrien, Drift’s PR Senior Manager
appears to be a Gresham’s
Law of MarTech (“Bad money drives out good”); an effective channel or
marketing tool quickly becomes overused or misused, resulting in lowered
efficacy. Embedded video could quickly convert a golden channel into
chaff through overuse and perceived creepiness. What makes embedded video
so compelling today is its ability to personalize and deliver a relevant
message on a 1:1 basis. If embedded video overwhelms prospects or is seen
as inviting immediate, unwanted contact, it will kill the golden goose. A
softer touch is likely the best practice. If viewers maintain the control
and opt into contact, then it will enhance the value of a video by providing a
Call to Action that the prospect controls.
The Greek orator Demosthenes was said to have treated his speech impediment by talking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting above the roar of the ocean waves.
In high school, Larry Bird would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.
When I started my professional sales career in 2004, I wrote out every opening, iteration, objection handle, and closing approach. I then recorded myself speaking them until I was comfortable. I iterated on each talk track 20+ times until it was authentic and the language flowed naturally. Then I ditched the scripts and went to work.
What can you do outside of your day to day operations to be exceptional at your craft?
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter (LinkedIn Post)
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter is a strong advocate for authenticity. Simply knowing your pitch is insufficient. Sales reps have to master their craft and infuse it with authenticity. This means developing a deep understanding of how to sell your product and service but then combining what is unique about your story (both personal and corporate) with passion for the product or service you sell.
It also means that you cannot be giving a robotic pitch or a one-size-fits-all spiel. Great salespeople adjust their message and approach to the prospect. This adjustment is across many dimensions:
Job Function – What is their department and role within the department?
Job Level – How high in the organization are they?
Industry – What is your value proposition with respect to the purchaser’s industry? How do they benefit?
Buyer Role – As part of a purchasing committee, are they the economic buyer, technical buyer, influencer, etc.?
Prospect Knowledge about Your Offering – You need to understand how knowledgeable they are about your offering and those of your competitors and then speak to that level.
Concerns – The larger the value or strategic importance of a B2B purchase, the greater the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). FUD is also higher if the total cost of ownership or switching costs are high. If you are inauthentic, you can raise the level of FUD. If you can connect authentically with the buyer, you build trust and drive down the level of FUD.
Individual – What are the individual concerns of the buyer? What is the buyer’s communication style?
Scripts work well for novice reps and those learning a new product category or vertical, but they should be viewed as building blocks towards a polished, authentic sales voice.
One should also avoid focusing on features. A feature-focused monologue says to buyers, “you figure out whether my product / service will help you because I don’t understand that myself.” The focus should always be on benefits and value with features only used to justify your value proposition or to address concerns of technical buyers.
And the conversation needs to be interactive. Meeting intelligence analytics display who is talking during a call. A sales rep can visually review whether he / she controlled the conversation or it was a true conversation.
Sales trainers have begun emphasizing the value of storytelling as a way to connect with the emotional buyer. Marketers long approached consumer sales as an emotional pitch and B2B as a rationale pitch, but are now arguing that rational B2B pitches ignore the inherent FUD involved when making strategic purchases.
As sales reps begin to be coached by sales engagement analytics (directly and via feedback from managers and trainers), they should shift away from controlling conversations and become more interactive, present, and empathetic.
I’ve been covering Q2 enhancements to LinkedIn Sales Navigator this week. On Monday, I discussed their Sales Coach enhancements and on Wednesday their Alerting enhancements. There were also a set of communications enhancements to Sales Navigator (an area of strength vs. other Sales Intelligence offerings). Communication enhancements include conversation histories, improved filtering, more visible icebreakers, and InMail credit status.
searching speed has been improved and a guided search experience helps the user
expand or narrow the search term (see image on left).
save and bulk remove accounts and contacts from lists.
Lead to Account – As not all leads (people) are attached to accounts, the match
feature allows users to assign leads to any company for alerting purposes.
A live org chart integration is being introduced For Microsoft Dynamics which supports saved accounts. The functionality is being delivered through LinkedIn SNAP.
chart displays LinkedIn member profile photos and additional profile details which
provide additional insights into the account.
Q2, Lucidchart also became a SNAP partner. Lucidchart users can now view
lead recommendations, save leads to Sales Navigator, view contact profiles and
updates, request introductions, and send InMails from within Lucidchart.
“Sales teams work faster and smarter when they work visually. Bringing the power of the world’s largest professional online network into Lucidchart in a more seamless way underscores our ongoing commitment to enhance the sales experience.”
Lucidchart CEO Karl Sun
Note: This is the final chapter on the Q2 2019 LinkedIn Sales Navigator release. Part 1 | Part II
Last month, LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out a set of alert enhancements as part of its Q2 release. Alerts are intended to deliver “timely, relevant, and actionable insights” which allow reps to shift from researching to selling and building relationships. As with other recommendation engines, Navigator alerts call out the “Next Best Action” with an “instant snapshot of the things that matter most about your prospects along with recommended action step for each.”
LinkedIn, our goal is to arm you with timely, relevant, and actionable insights
so you spend less time sifting through information and more time focused on
what matters: building relationships and closing deals,” stated the firm in its
release notes. “Alerts on the homepage gives you all the functionality of
Newsfeed in a compressed, easy-to-use dashboard. Don’t worry about missing
anything — all of your favorite items from the old Newsfeed live on as alerts.
We’ve also added some new types of alerts as well!”
alerts are highlighted in blue at the top of the feed. Each alert
contains an action step (e.g. Message, See Article, See List). Alerts may
be filtered by type and individual alerts may be deleted or turned off.
new alert categories were released
An account has had a funding event
A colleague shared a custom list
Pending actions in Sales Navigator Coach
recommends that Navigator Alerts be reviewed once or twice a day.
“Every sales professional faces the challenge of how to best spend their time, maximize their productivity and close more deals,” said Camplejohn. “That’s why Sales Navigator is now centered around alerts — making it easier for salespeople to identify important changes and prioritize the best next steps to take.”
LinkedIn Sales Navigator has been rolling out its Q2 release to customers over the past few weeks. The new functionality includes a redesigned home page, improved keyword searching, custom list enhancements, and additional Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) connectors.
The homepage emphasizes alerts and the new Sales Navigator Coach. The Coach is a training tool with a gamification feature – a progress meter which shows your level of product mastery, from Beginner to Expert. Reps are shown three recommended actions. They can either try a recommended action or watch a short training video.
All of the Coach features, with the exception of PointDrive, may be executed from a mobile device.
“This is just the beginning for Sales Navigator Coach, and we can’t wait to bring more personalized education to all our Sales Navigator customers. We’re also excited to bring Sales Navigator Coach to usage reporting later this year.”
Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn.
Several features on the homepage have been moved. The SSI (Social Selling Index) tool is available via a drop down and the newsfeed has been replaced with an alert feed.
Note: This is part one of my profile of the Q2 2019 release. Tomorrow I will be covering enhanced alert functionality.
LinkedIn recently adjusted its feed algorithm to identify more salient topics instead of viral content. The goal is to encourage conversations and promote niche conversations over broad topics. The modifications place a higher premium on member interest signals.
“Our mission is to help people be more productive and
successful, and it is what drives us daily,” said Senior Director of Product
Management Pete Davies. “We strongly
believe that people need their professional communities to help them along the
way, whether that’s current or former colleagues, peers in the same industry,
or those that share similar interests or career ambitions.”
LinkedIn prioritizes posts from connections and follows along with their likes, comments, and posts. Other factors include group posts, followed hashtags, and events “all with the goal of showing you the content and conversations that you care about.” Prioritization is given to direct interactions; stated interests and experiences; and “explicit signals” such as with whom you’ve worked.
Davies provided the following tips to encourage conversation:
Post things that encourage a response. For example, if you’re posting a link, express an opinion with it.
Think about using the best type of post for the topic. Despite the rumors, the algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format. We have video, images, multi-images, text and long-form articles. More are on the way.
Use @mentions to pull other people you know into a conversation when you think they’ll have something valuable to add. Be thoughtful: only mention people that you think are likely to respond, max five is a good rule of thumb.
Engage in the conversation, respond to commenters and encourage back and forth.
Davies also recommended the use of hashtags, but no more than
three. Hashtags should be specific vs. general
(#performancemanagement vs. #management).
Finally, Davies emphasized authenticity. This is a theme that Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft, keeps going back to.
“Authenticity is key: all the tips above work out better when members talk about things they truly care about, in a way that’s natural for them. Genuine conversation around real experiences spark better and deeper conversation. Better conversation, in turn, leads to stronger community and connection,” blogged Davies.