Quora: Does LinkedIn Sell Your Info?

The following is a Quora post answering the question, “Does LinkedIn Sell Your Info?”


This is likely to fall into a semantics question. If data is employed in the aggregate and your personally identifiable information is not disclosed, then I would argue that your information is not sold. Likewise, if you are presented an ad because your LinkedIn profile conforms with a target audience definition, your data is also not being sold.

I can’t answer for LinkedIn Recruiter, but can answer in the Sales and Marketing context.

LinkedIn offers a sales product called Sales Navigator. Users can view company and contact information on Navigator just as they can on the free service. It even supports viewing this data within third-party SNAP products. However, Navigator and SNAP are view only. Sales reps cannot download your profile or sync it with any of their partner platforms. They also restrict display of your email and phone information to your direct connects as well as other content you flag as restricted.

LinkedIn Marketing sells advertising on LinkedIn and Bing based upon your profile attributes. Advertisers define their target audience across a broad set of firmographic, career, and location variables, but these segments are not provided directly to the marketer. Instead, they are used for advertising display. Thus, your data isn’t sold, just your eyeballs.

LinkedIn treats its member’s data with respect. Microsoft, its parent company, has called for a US version of GDPR, the European data privacy standard. CEO Satya Nadella stated that “privacy is a fundamental human right” on an April 2018 earnings call and said that the firm has implemented an “end-to-end privacy architecture” which is GDPR compliant.

The LinkedIn SNAP AppExchange connector displays LinkedIn content and functionality within Salesforce, but does not sync any company or contact data with SFDC.
The LinkedIn SNAP AppExchange connector displays LinkedIn content and functionality within Salesforce, but does not sync any company or contact data with SFDC.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q1 Release (Part II: SNAP)

The Drift SNAP partnership provides LinkedIn intelligence to sales reps as they chat with prospects on the Drift platform.
The Drift SNAP partnership provides LinkedIn intelligence to sales reps as they chat with prospects on the Drift platform.

As part of their Q1 2019 release, LinkedIn rolled out a set of new SNAP (Sales Navigator Application Platform) partners including Altify, Drift, G2 Crowd, and Mixmax.  

The Drift partnership allows sales reps to “continue website conversations” after a prospect drops off of a Drift chat: “sometimes people leave your conversation abruptly – it happens. But as an SDR, that’s a potential meeting walking out the door. So what do you do? Well now you can send a connection request or follow up message with InMail right from within Drift.”

The Drift integration also displays contact and company intelligence including shared connections while a sales rep is chatting with a prospect visiting her website (see image on right).

“Gone are the days of toggling back and forth between LinkedIn and your ongoing sales conversation,” said Drift Product Marketer Daniel Murphy.  “Say goodbye to awkward lags in conversations. Prospects will never again have to wait for a response while SDRs search LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Salesforce to determine if they’re a good fit.  Now they can research a prospect’s company, see mutual connections, and grab other insights and conversation starters – all in real-time.”

G2 Crowd gathers intent data from 24 million technology searchers.  Intent data is collected from G2 profile and category views along with competitor comparisons.  Sales reps are notified when followed accounts are researching on G2 based on contact connections, sales preferences, search histories, and profile interactions.

“People don’t buy today as a result of cold calls and emails. The power is in the hands of the buyers doing more research than ever before. As sales teams, we need to focus on accepting the modern buyer journey and connecting to the right buyers at the right time. We’ve always been aligned with LinkedIn on this vision, and this integration helps us make it a reality.”


G2 Chief Revenue Officer Matt Gorniak

The Mixmax SNAP integration supports InMail and Connection requests and profile views from Gmail.

Altify’s org-chart software now displays insights and helps users identify key buyers across an organization.

Sales Navigator insights and functionality are displayed alongside Altify’s Relationship Maps.
Sales Navigator insights and functionality are displayed alongside Altify’s Relationship Maps.

LinkedIn also noted that it will be available within the Salesforce Winter 2019 release.  Salesforce admins can install the application from the Lightning Setup Console instead of the AppExchange.

One problem that has long dogged sales intelligence vendors is ongoing training and product exploration.  To encourage exploration, Sales Navigator added a coaching feature to extend product knowledge.  Sales Navigator Coach is a new dashboard that “suggests actions for customers to take and links to short learning videos.”  Actions are associated with core workflows.  The videos run thirty to forty seconds.

The new Sales Navigator Coach provides short videos and tips on key features.
The new Sales Navigator Coach provides short videos and tips on key features.

Finally, GDPR opt-outs are being added to PointDrive presentations.  PointDrive recipients will be able to revoke viewer tracking permission, effectively anonymizing their viewing data from sales reps.


Part 1 (Shared Custom Lists) posted yesterday.

LinkedIn Q4 Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator now supports custom Account and Lead lists.
Sales Navigator now supports custom Account and Lead lists.

LinkedIn rolled out its Q4 Sales Navigator release in November, but I failed to blog about it.  (Q1 will be covered next week in this blog.) The release contains several nascent initiatives including custom lists and the collection of “Reports To” data to assist with organizational mapping.  Other feature sets include three new alerts, an improved accounts center, PointDrive activity logging, and additional SNAP connectors.

LinkedIn is beginning to collect data around who reports to whom.  As sales reps or others learn about reporting relationships, they can add them to executive profiles.  The data is then shared across the LinkedIn contract with co-workers but not more broadly.  Following after last quarter’s support of buying committees, it is evident that LinkedIn is looking to infuse additional project and reporting relationships within Sales Navigator.

“We’re laying the foundation for full-blown org charts by adding a new “Reports To” field on the Lead Page,” blogged Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions Doug Camplejohn.  “Once you learn who someone’s manager is, you can add that info to their page by searching for a name or browsing our recommendations.  Any additions you or your colleagues make will only appear to those in your company’s Sales Navigator contract. So, the next time you or a team member looks that lead up, you’ll see who they report to, who added that connection, and a reporting history.”

An unlimited number of custom lists of accounts or leads may be built within the LinkedIn desktop or mobile app. Users may post notes on saved leads or accounts and filter the lists by people who have changed jobs in the last 90 days, people who have posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, companies who have had senior leadership changes in the past 3 months, etc.

LinkedIn does not yet support custom list uploading. Custom Sharing is part of the Q1 release.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator added three new alerts
LinkedIn Sales Navigator added three new alerts

LinkedIn added three new alerts:

  1. Someone at a saved account viewed your profile
  2. A saved account has just raised funding
  3. A saved lead has engaged with LinkedIn posts from your company

which accompany six current alerts:

  1. A saved lead started a position at a new company
  2. A saved lead has a new position within the same company
  3. A saved lead viewed your profile
  4. A potential lead recently joined a saved account
  5. A saved lead has accepted your connection request
  6. A saved lead was mentioned in the news

Alerts are now included in the main menu bar of both the desktop and mobile editions.  Camplejohn noted that LinkedIn has improved the “signal-to-noise ratio” of its alerts.

“Think of our Alerts as a trusted sales advisor tapping you on the shoulder with information about your saved leads and accounts when it’s most important and relevant to you,” said Camplejohn.

LinkedIn has simplified its admin experience and “made it much easier to do tasks from assigning users to managing groups.”  LinkedIn also unified its administration module across Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Learning, and LinkedIn Recruiter.

Advanced Searching was added to the Sales Navigator mobile app, bringing it to list building parity with the desktop application.  Earlier this year, LinkedIn enhanced its company and lead profiles, also bringing them to parity with the desktop application.

“LinkedIn’s recent updates to its Sales Navigator management tool makes it a more robust platform for sales teams.  More importantly, the moves to bring more of its desktop features to the mobile app are evidence that LinkedIn finally understands how crucial a mobile experience is when designing a sales tool focused on lead management.”


Amy Gesenhues, MarTech Today

PointDrive, Sales Navigator’s multi-media sharing application, will begin writing activity history back to Microsoft Dynamics.  Salesforce PointDrive sync will come in 2019.  PointDrive presents documents and video to end users as a landing page and tracks views and shares.

“Now when you send that pricing proposal to a prospect in PointDrive and members of the buying committee engage with it, you’ll be able to see that activity in both Sales Navigator and your CRM,” blogged Camplejohn.

LinkedIn continues to expand its SNAP partnerships, adding Zoom as their first web conferencing partner.  Users can now hover over an attendee name and view Sales Navigator intelligence including their profile photo, title, and common connections.  

The Zoom LinkedIn SNAP integration provides meeting attendee insights and connections from within Zoom.
The Zoom LinkedIn SNAP integration provides meeting attendee insights and connections from within Zoom.

Four vendors launched v2 SNAP integrations which provide broader access to Sales Navigator actions:

  1. Yesware (Email Engagement)
  2. Leadfeeder (Visitor ID Analytics)
  3. Groove (Sales Engagement)
  4. Outreach (Sales Engagement)

SalesLoft, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics previously released V2 SNAP integrations.

In the Salesforce Winter Lightning release, admins will be able to configure Sales Navigator and add support for Person accounts without having to go to the AppExchange.

This year, Sales Navigator focused on improved functionality and display for accounts, leads, and list building in their mobile and desktop applications; SNAP integrations; GDPR compliance and security; CRM opportunity management and buyers circles; alerting; employment analytics; and PointDrive CRM integration.  Details on earlier releases are available in my blog: Q1, Q2, Q3.

Linkedin Sales Navigator List Building, Mobile Lead Profiles, & SNAP Integration (Q3 2018)

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.

Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).
Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).

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.

SalesLoft has built research, connect, InMail, and messaging features within cadences, providing a robust LinkedIn channel alongside phone and email.

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.

New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.
New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.

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.”

SalesLoft LinkedIn SNAP Enhancements

InMails are now available within SalesLoft and Salesforce.
InMails are now available within SalesLoft and Salesforce.

SalesLoft added enhanced LinkedIn SNAP messaging tools to its sales engagement services.  Sales reps can now send InMails, request connections, submit introduction requests, and conduct research from within SalesLoft and Salesforce.  These steps can be built into SalesLoft cadences.

“According to our data science team’s research on derived cadences, more than half of all steps outside of email and phone in SalesLoft cadences are already LinkedIn actions,” blogged SalesLoft Product Marketing Manager Sunshine Levin. “The ability to incorporate LinkedIn Sales Navigator social selling steps from within SalesLoft is important to you, and we listened!”

At SalesLoft’s 2018 Rainmaker event, Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, cited LinkedIn research concerning InMail efficacy.  While emails have only a 3% response rate, InMails average a 15% response rate.  Even more impressive, the best sales reps can achieve greater than a thirty percent response rate.

“LinkedIn-specific steps help salespeople stay focused, do less application switching, and deliver a better sales experience,” said Levin. “The TOPO 2017 Sales Development Touch Report states that more than 80% of sales professionals are leveraging the triple-touch approach of email, phone, and LinkedIn in their sales cadences. Furthermore, over 50% of touches outside of email and phone are through LinkedIn.”

Reps must have active Team or Enterprise Sales Navigator accounts in order to take advantage of this new feature set.

Also new to SalesLoft is a Zipwhip app which allows reps to insert text messaging steps into their cadences.  Texts can also be sent and received from a business phone from within SalesLoft.  Inbound and outbound messages are grouped into conversations and displayed as part of the contact’s activity feed.

SalesLoft Zipwhip text messaging app
SalesLoft Zipwhip text messaging app

New SalesLoft Capabilities (Rainmaker Part II)

The Sales Navigator Side Panel supports key functionality with SalesLoft including icebreakers, introductions, connections, and profiles.
The Sales Navigator Side Panel supports key functionality with SalesLoft including icebreakers, introductions, connections, and profiles.

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.”

  • SalesLoft Product Marketing Manager Sunshine Levin

SalesLoft has a single-price user model of $139 per month.  The subscription provides full platform capabilities with some dialer minute limits.  Volume discounts are available.

Part I of this article covered SalesLoft’s new App Directory.