Sales Navigator Q1: Revenue Growth and Expanded Partner Network

Sales Navigator Employee Insights
Sales Navigator Employee Insights, a new feature added in Q1.

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,, 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.

The SNAP announcements were part of the Q1 release which included a redesigned Account page, new alerts, seat transfers to enterprise accounts, and Seniority Level preferences.

Sales Navigator Q1 18: Seat Transfers, Additional Alerts, and Seniority Preferences (Oh My!)

SN Seat Transfers
If your firm has an enterprise Sales Navigator team account, you can migrate your standalone account to the enterprise account and let your employer pay your subscription fees.  Just realize that all of your current data (InMails, Messages, Saved Leads and Accounts, etc.) are being uploaded into the corporate account.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator adopted a new quarterly release system for 2018 and has begun rolling out its Q1 release.  Yesterday, I touched upon their redesigned Account profiles.  Today, I’m delving into other new features that are rolling out to clients over the next few weeks.  These include self-service seat transfers to enterprise accounts, expanded alerting, and a Seniority Level preference.

The new self-service seat transfer feature allows sales reps to import their Sales Navigator information into a corporate account. Thereafter, the corporation pays for the license. Migrated content includes Saved Leads, Saved Accounts, Saved Searches, InMail, Messages, InMail Credits, Notes & Tags, and personal Sales Navigator settings. However, when a rep leaves a firm, there is no way to migrate content back to the individual account (their LinkedIn connections are untouched). While activity that took place after the rep merged their account can reasonably be considered company intellectual property, the shared information contributed by the new rep should be returned to the individual’s private account afterwards.

Alerting for the PointDrive service (an enhanced email which directs users to an HTML page containing attachments and multi-media) has been modified to provide real-time email messages when an individual views PointDrive content. Alerts are suppressed for subsequent views by the same individual. The alert’s viewer data includes name, title, company, email, and location. The feature allows reps to reach out to viewers in a timelier manner (perhaps while still viewing the content). PointDrive also provides activity reports and identifies individuals to whom content has been forwarded.

LinkedIn added a new email alert called “Saved Leads Who Viewed My Profile.” According to LinkedIn, the mobile push notification for this event has the highest click through response rate. Sales reps perceive the trigger “as a potential buying signal and want to know ASAP when this happens.” LinkedIn added the near real-time email feature because not everybody has installed the Sales Navigator mobile app. The alert includes quick account and contact details along with account employment details by function for the past six months (if available). To avoid email SPAM, users are only re-notified of visits after seven days.

LinkedIn inserted a new variable for Seniority Level in its Sales Preferences which are employed for recommendations. Sales Navigator also added the option to quickly toggle preferences on and off during Account and Contact Searches. For example, a Boston-based rep for an enterprise Martech Solution can automatically target New England executives, Director or Higher, working in Marketing, IT, Finance, or Purchasing.

Preferences are set during the Sales Navigator onboarding process.
Preferences are set during the Sales Navigator onboarding process.

Sales Navigator Q1 18: Revised Account Profiles

LinkedIn redesigned its Account Page display as part of their Q1 2018 release.
LinkedIn redesigned its Account Profile display as part of their Q1 2018 release.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator formally announced their Q1 release last week. The new functionality, which is rolling out to admins and trainers first, will be unveiled to sales reps over the next few weeks. The release focuses on a redesigned Account page, but also includes self-service seat transfers, new sales email alerts, seniority preferences, and additional SNAP partners.

LinkedIn describes the refreshed Account page as “the most efficient way to get the information you need about your accounts.”

The new company profile page is laid out in a series of sections:

  • Company Summary – a company overview with employee count, industry, revenue, short description, URL, location, and contact information. The section also supports Add Tags, Add Notes, and Save Account functionality.
  • People Tab – three categories of people intelligence: saved leads, recommended leads, and connections into the account. The saved leads section is displayed in a list format with headshot, title, connections, geography, and recent activity. Recommended leads may be filtered by spotlights such as job changes, mentioned in the news, recent LinkedIn posts, shared experiences, and company followers. Recommended leads highlights job changes, news mentions, recent LinkedIn posts, shared experiences, and company followers. Connections are broken into three strata: first degree connections, TeamLink (co-workers) connections, and alumni connections based on the user’s college or university.
  • News & Insights Tab – company insights related to news mentions, LinkedIn posts, and executive hires. The section also includes recent headcount growth by department.
  • Head Count Growth – the headcount growth data has been available to premium users in core LinkedIn for over a year, but finally made it into Sales Navigator (see image on right). Employee estimates found in sales intelligence vendors are often difficult to obtain or out of date. LinkedIn has access to probably the most reliable employee analytics on the market. Not only can they provide current headcount data, but they also include this data by eight job functions (Art & Design, Business Development, Engineering, HR, IT, Operations, Program & Project Management, an Sales) and the change at the departmental and corporate level over the past six months, year, and two years. This data is invaluable to sales reps as they can determine the mix of employees by function at the firm, whether hiring has accelerated or decelerated over the past few months, and even which departments are hiring. Not only does this data provide talking points, but an acceleration or deceleration in hiring is a valuable signal in assessing whether a pipeline deal is likely to move forward or stall.Sales reps should be careful about taking LinkedIn employee counts as gospel. While the data is more accurate than other sources, it is likely to lag M&A activity and layoffs as members update their profiles. Thus, hiring (except for embargoed executive changes awaiting press release) will be more quickly reflected than layoffs. Employees of acquired firms may be slow to update their profiles, particularly if their subsidiary retains its brand. As such, the trend data is probably more important than the displayed employee count.For private investors and competitive intelligence professionals, the head count data can be invaluable for comparing peers and evaluating growth and hiring patterns across a segment.

    Unfortunately, Sales Navigator does not yet display all of the employment analytics found in the LinkedIn service so sales reps may still wish to toggle between the core LinkedIn service and Sales Navigator to review New Hires data, Notable Company Alumni, and the Total Job Openings analysis.

  • Recent Senior Management Hires – The Recent Hires section lists Directors and higher that recently joined the firm. Both current and previous roles are displayed along with tenure in the current position. New hires may be saved as Leads without leaving the page.
  • People Also Viewed – This section lists similar companies which were viewed after the current account. While the firms may be in the same industry, this section could include partners, companies from which the firm has hired key execs, vendors, etc. Each company includes a logo, employee range, industry, and location. The companies may be saved as Accounts without leaving the page.

New content includes an expanded set of revenue estimates, headcount growth data, the Saved Leads module, Spotlights and Insights in the Recommended Leads module, alumni in the Connections module, and recent senior management hires. Previously, only public companies had revenue data, but LinkedIn is beginning to build out revenue estimates for private companies with at least $1 billion in revenue. LinkedIn plans on building down these estimates to smaller companies.

“Our redesigned account page experience streamlines the process of landing new accounts or building relationships within existing accounts, by giving you the information you need, when you need it.  Now you can better understand whether the account is a good match, who you should be targeting, and how you can get a warm introduction.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

This is the first in a series of blogs discussing the Q1 2018 Sales Navigator release.  Part two discusses additional enhancements.

Boardroom Insiders Adds List Building

Boardroom Insiders can now build lists of C-level Executives.
Boardroom Insiders can now build lists of C-level Executives.

Boardroom Insiders, an editorially driven executive profile company, added build a list prospecting to its subscription service. The new feature supports firmographic and biographic selections against their 15,000 executive profiles. Users can download one or multiple executives from the list as a PDF.

“After a decade of researching C-Level executives, we have built an extremely robust repository of executive insight—both personal and business-related.  Our new search tool unlocks the power of that insight in a very significant way.  Subscribers can now easily execute these very specific searches in seconds. You simply will not find this capability anywhere else—and to replicate this type of research from scratch on your own would be both cost- and time-prohibitive.”

  • Boardroom Insiders CEO Sharon Gillenwater

Boardroom Insiders provides very rich executive profiles that go beyond those found in other executive sources such as LinkedIn. “Our forte is in providing deep insight on a relatively small group of C-level executives to support very important opportunities, CXO meetings, events, and large account ABM efforts,” said Gillenwater. Profiles may run a few thousand words and include an Executive Summary, Personal Attributes and Interests, Current Focus, Biographical Highlights, Other Boards and Organizations. Users also have access to a headshot, social media links, and contact information.

All of the bios are maintained by editors with a minimum of ten years of business journalism or management consulting experience. If a bio has not been updated in the past six months, a user can request a refresh. Boardroom Insiders also maintains bios for executives in transition and then updates them when executives land at new organizations.

While LinkedIn is often seen as the go to source of biographies, a DiscoverOrg survey found that 25% of top-level executives do not maintain LinkedIn bios. “LinkedIn is an essential tool, but the profiles are unpredictable, limited in strategic insight, and biased,” said Gillenwater. “Boardroom Insiders is rich with strategic insight, unbiased, and provides the full professional story of the key decision maker you are calling on.”

LinkedIn Product Announcements

LinkedIn Marketing Campaign Analytics assist with bid decisions.
LinkedIn Marketing Campaign Analytics assist with bid decisions.

LinkedIn recently began supporting video uploads which begin playing silently when they appear in members’ feeds.  Videos may run up to ten minutes, though LinkedIn recommends lengths of fewer than five minutes.  As with LinkedIn posts, members will also receive analytics on views, likes, shares, and top viewing markets.  The new feature provides B2B marketers with a business focused platform on which they can post corporate announcements, executive thought leadership pieces, and corporate event videos.

Business Insider found that LinkedIn is considered the most trustworthy of the social media platforms with people deeming it best at protecting privacy (55%), least likely to display deceptive content (55%), and safest network for posts and participation (43%).

LinkedIn will also be passing along viewer details such as employer and title for the top viewers.

“Analytics about where video viewers work and what they do present substantial opportunities for networking, recruiting, generating sales leads, and so on. For example, executives can announce a new product or service and then dive into their audience analytics to build up a list of prospects; opinion leaders discussing a pressing trend will have more tools for growing their followers; job-seekers can post videos with an eye on courting recruiters or a company’s attention, or vice versa. All these scenarios pave the way for LinkedIn to upgrade free members onto premium tiers, where more advanced customer relationship management (CRM) tools are available.”

  • Robert Elder, Business Insider, “LinkedIn Video Sharing Could Be a Revelation”

Video should help address user engagement issues.  As of Q3 2016 (their last public quarter), only 23% of users engaged with the platform each month, resulting in an average daily engagement of only two minutes.  Consumer platforms have much higher daily engagement rates with Snapchat at thirty minutes and Facebook at fifty.

In other news, LinkedIn released a Windows 10 live alerts app which displays new messages, trending stories, profile views, and other LinkedIn-related alerts.  The service supports 22 languages.

LinkedIn also released a set of enhancements to its Advertising platform including expanded demographic data, campaign recommendations, and additional metrics.  The Campaign Manager now displays LinkedIn accounts which responded to campaigns.  Website Demographics tracks website visitors via a lightweight JavaScript tag.  Brands can segment website visitors and create campaigns via job title, industry, job seniority, job function, company, company size, location, and country.

Thus, firms can identify unexpected visitor segments.  “With these insights, you can craft new marketing content designed to better resonate with that audience,” LinkedIn stated.

Campaign insights are also displayed as new hover cards which provide budget and performance data for other advertisers and recommends how to boost performance.

New metrics include Sponsored Content shared by members, details on social actions, and better file export and data options.

“The three new advertiser data tools optimize your use of LinkedIn ads, making sure you have maximized social ROI,” observed Francis Rey in SocialBarrel.   “Sponsored Content continues to drive most of the company’s ad revenue. With more than 500 million professional members on the platform, LinkedIn already filters a unique audience for your business. You only need to tap into it and take advantage.”

Rey also noted that “While Facebook is still beyond reach in social ads, the social network caters to all audiences. Meanwhile, LinkedIn focuses on professionals, with an entirely different purpose.”

Quora: How do I do marketing using LinkedIn?

Here is how I answered the following question on Quora: “How do I do marketing using LinkedIn?”

I would use LinkedIn in the following ways to promote my company:

  • LinkedIn has a set of marketing services which allow you to build targeted campaigns by both firmographic (size, industry, location) and biographic variables. This is probably the most granular B2B advertising tool out there. The Campaign Manager also provides a set of analytics around viewing and impressions. Pricing is either CPC or CPM (impressions or clicks). Here is a quick description of their advertising formats: 
LinkedIn Marketing Formats
LinkedIn Marketing Formats
  • LinkedIn can be used to promote your own content as posts, whether it be white papers, product descriptions, case studies, blogs, or articles. If you mention a partner or customer, make sure to link to them and have their marketing departments like the content. Where possible, include some copy from the content or description of the content along with a visual (LinkedIn will grab a visual from the source if there is one available).

    Do not overly self-promote. Your content should lean towards thought leadership not corporate promotion. Of course, if you launch a new product, write about it. But LinkedIn is not the place for deep feature dives or long discussions of your value proposition. And please, not another What does [this character from Game of Thrones] teach us about [some aspect of business]. This type of coattail riding is generally full of clichés and stretched analogies. Originality, Professionalism, and Readability are key on LinkedIn (a good graphic and headline don’t hurt).

  • LinkedIn supports its own set of articles, but I’ve had more luck blogging on my site and then writing posts that link to my blog. You should test both approaches to determine whether LinkedIn articles work for your company.

  • Have your employees like content so that it is seen by your prospects and customers in their feed. 
  • Fill out your company profile. Many vendors rehash their website and Facebook profiles, but I would try to differentiate the copy between these three sites. For B2B companies, the website should be corporate, Facebook a bit cheeky, and LinkedIn professional, but lighter than your website. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is used by both prospective employees and customers so you want to be speaking to multiple readers. 
  • Evaluate Sales Navigator for your sales reps. This service does not allow you to download lists of companies and contacts, but it allows you to build and maintain lists of accounts and leads which are stored in Navigator (these lists can be built individually, via prospecting, or via CRM downloads). Sales Navigator also supports CRM viewing of company and contact profiles, InMails (direct messages with prospects outside of your current connections) and PointDrive, a custom website link that allows sales reps to forward attachments (collateral, price documents, videos, PowerPoints) as embedded content with descriptions. PointDrive provides analytics on what content has been consumed and tracks whether the document has been forwarded to others. 

Keep in mind that LinkedIn’s audience skews older and more professional than Twitter and Facebook.


LinkedIn Sales Navigator in Hubspot CRM

Sales Navigator contact intelligence and functions within Hubspot CRM
Sales Navigator contact intelligence and functions within Hubspot CRM

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is now delivering company and contact intelligence within Hubspot CRM. Along with firmographic and biographic information, Sales Navigator for Hubspot CRM displays related leads, mutual connections, and common interests.

LinkedIn intelligence is displayed within left-hand sidebar squares. By clicking on the contact square, users have access to a richer profile along with three tabs (see image above):

  • Icebreakers: shared connections, experiences, and interests, plus a link to the lead’s recent activity stream.
  • Get Introduced: quickly ask a mutual connection for an introduction.
  • Related Leads: find other leads at the same company, and quickly save them to your Sales Navigator leads list.

Company profile tabs also support three functions:

  • Recommended Leads: Identifies those in the organization that share connections or interests
  • Connections: Current and potential connections
  • News: Recent news and posts

Hubspot customers must separately license Sales Navigator to receive LinkedIn intelligence. LinkedIn content is view only within Hubspot. Users cannot upload content to Hubspot CRM.

LinkedIn rolled out an extended version of Sales Navigator for Microsoft Dynamics called the Microsoft Relationship Sales Solution on July 1st.