LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q1 Release


LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its Q1 product, focusing on relationships, personas, and enhanced buyer intent functionality.

The new Relationship Explorer surfaces “hidden allies” and best paths into accounts, helping sales reps avoid cold outreach and “spam cannon techniques.”

“Instead of a blanket approach where you target everyone at an account, you can laser in on the people who are most likely to take a meeting with you based on their persona and what connection they have to you,” explained LinkedIn Senior Director of Product Mitali Pattnaik.  “You can also use it to multi-thread deeper into accounts by finding the next-best person to reach out to.  This creates a more efficient experience for buyers and sellers alike.”

Sales Navigator has long supported introductions and TeamLink (colleague) suggestions, but it has never fully leveraged the value of its economic graph for warm communications.  The Economic Graph supports 900-million-member profiles across 61 million companies, along with current and prior employment, educational background, posts, etc.

Sales Navigator has a second advantage: its profiles are maintained by its members, ensuring that profiles are kept up to date and contain rich data around education, interests, skills, employment history, etc.

“Teams have relied so heavily on cold outreach largely because they’re leveraging sales intelligence tools that are limited in showing how to get a foot in the door of an account.  These tools are chock-full of stale data: everything from incorrect contact info to the wrong person in the wrong role.  With reliance on tools full of stale data, reps end up spamming all potential prospects with a spray-and-pray strategy, leading to an abysmal 1-2% response rate,” argued Pattnaik.  “Looking forward, sellers are going to need to be smarter and reach out with a more personalized approach.”

Relationship Explorer recommends prospects at an account, leveraging the interactions and trends across its professional network “to provide sellers with optimal paths to connect with their target personas at their target accounts.”  As a result, Relationship Explorer saves time prospecting, cross-selling, and upselling at accounts, helping reps find the best contacts at target accounts.

The feature offers up to eight “of the most relevant individuals” based on their target persona and relevant, actionable insights (called spotlights by LinkedIn) based on interactions between members and organizations.  Spotlights highlight both biographic and dynamic information, including recent job changes, LinkedIn postings, and past customers.  As such, they provide timely reasons to reach out and content to include in their outreach.

Relationship Explorer suggests the best contact at an account based on the user-defined persona.

Relationship Explorer is available in all Sales Navigator editions.  However, while it displays a dozen spotlights, not all are available in each edition.  For example, Past Customer spotlights are only available in the Advanced Plus edition.

Personas help users identify their target audience by function, seniority level, geography, and current job title.  They are available on the Homepage, Search, Relationship Explorer, and Account pages.

Users can define up to five personas which act as templates for homing in on ideal prospects.

Persona definitions on the homepage.

Pattnaik suggested several use cases for personas:

  • Creating highly targeted Personas matching target customer profiles.
  • Leveraging Personas in Search, Homepage, or Account Pages to identify the most relevant opportunities.
  • Identifying warm paths and decision-makers at targeted accounts with Relationship Explorer.
  • Using insights from Account Pages, including Persona growth, to prioritize accounts composed of leads matching Personas.

Persona functionality is available to all users.

Over the past few releases, Sales Navigator has built buyer intent into its service.  Its latest intent-based feature is Product Category Buyer Intent, which identifies buyers searching for products in their category.

Product Intent Categories

Previous Sales Navigator intent was based upon research into a vendor.  Product Category Intent identifies prospects researching a product category but may not know a vendor or its offerings.  The two types of intent data can be compared to understand the level of interest in the company versus the interest in the company’s product category, informing sales and marketing strategy.

“Categories are created with AI by combining related keywords into one central category, which is then tied to products using publicly facing product descriptions.  For example, “fintech” and “financial tech” are individual keywords, which the AI model can combine into a single category,” explained Pattnaik.  “Intent is then connected using buyer’s members’ profile as well as recent buying activities on LinkedIn.com to help sellers find the buyers who are likely looking for a solution like theirs.”

LinkedIn is rolling out several new Buyer Activities that will be displayed on Account Pages and the Buyer Intent Account Dashboard.  Additional intent categories are rolling out over the next quarter:

  • LinkedIn Ad Engagement: Clicks and view activity data.  Both of these data points are private, so sellers will only be able to see the general profile of the buyer.
  • InMail Acceptance for a colleague: Displays the public identity of individuals who have accepted InMails from other sellers on the same contract.
  • Company LinkedIn page visits: Clicks on the company page.  Page visits are a private activity, so the buyer is anonymous.
  • LinkedIn profile visits to colleagues and leadership: A new activity that shows sellers when a potential buyer visits the profile of a colleague on the same contract or company leadership.  This is also a private activity.

Buyer Intent is available in the Advanced and Advanced Plus editions of Sales Navigator.

Users can now search against any account list or use an account list as a suppression list.  Other new search filters include:

  • Past Customer (Advanced Plus only)
  • Past Colleague
  • Executive TeamLink – leverages the networks of a company’s executives (Advanced and Advanced Plus only).
  • Viewed Your Profile
  • Product Category Buyer Intent

LinkedIn also enhanced its Sales Insights (LSI) service with the improved matching of companies to CRM accounts and Adjustable Growth Time ranges.

LinkedIn admitted that its previous LSI matching logic may have been inaccurate as it only matched against a few standard CRM fields.  LSI now supports CRM custom ingestion that improves match rates with customer-defined match fields.  There is also an option to force matches based on LinkedIn Ids or URLs.

LinkedIn Sales Insights Field Mapping

Adjustable Growth Time Ranges can be set to 3, 6, 12, and 24-month increments.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q4 Release

LinkedIn Sales Navigator unveiled its Q4 release this month with new account and relationship intelligence lists, improvements to buyer intent, refined searching, expanded revenue and technology data, and a more streamlined ability to upload a sales rep’s book of business.

The new My Current Accounts homepage prompt lets sales reps load their book of business as a CSV list matched against LinkedIn company profiles.  In addition, LinkedIn offers a quick field mapper to ensure the CSV is properly ingested and matched to the correct LinkedIn company profiles.

Account Lists provide several benefits to sales reps.  Sales Navigator users can

  • Target in-market accounts based on LinkedIn Buyer Intent
  • Review real-time alerts around sales triggers such as funding events, leadership changes, and headcount growth/decline
  • Streamline search and prospecting efforts by spotlighting specific saved searches based a user’s book of business

“Yes, it’s great on its own,” blogged LinkedIn Product Marketing Manager Austin Gray.  “But it reaches a whole new level of capability when you can manage your entire book of business in Sales Navigator – insights surfaced via features like Buyer Intent are more actionable, searching becomes more powerful, and it’s that much easier to stay on top of what’s happening at your most important accounts.”

LinkedIn already aggregated Buyer Intent scores spanning 180 different intent signals, and it added four isolated visible Buyer Intent activities as part of an early beta in Q3.  LinkedIn plans to release additional Buyer Intent activities in future releases.  These specific activities are displayed with the associated account.  Furthermore, when the intent activity is public-facing, the individual completing the activity is also presented to the sales rep.

The four isolated Buyer Intent activities are

  1. Who’s followed a company
  2. Who’s visited your profile
  3. Who’s a new connection to yourself
  4. Who’s filled out a lead gen form
Reps can view LinkedIn buyer intent against their account list and then target accounts with high intent levels.

LinkedIn contends that its intent insights differ from other intent data sets across multiple dimensions, beginning with its identity-based intelligence.  Because LinkedIn users are opted-in, the intent data is tied to the individual conducting research on LinkedIn, not the broader account.  Thus, users know “whether it’s the actual person, groups of people, or if they’re a decision maker.”

Sales Navigator said that it will offer a full-funnel view across the buyers’ journey “from the top of the funnel with ad engagement, to the middle with product page engagement, and to the bottom of the funnel with InMail Engagement.”

Finally, LinkedIn positions activity transparency as a differentiator that goes beyond a signal score to activity detail, which will expand in scope.

Current Account Lists and Buyer Intent are available in Advanced and Advanced Plus (CRM) editions of Sales Navigator.

Buyer Activities capture account and contact-level intent.

LinkedIn did not expand the Buyer Intent categories in Q4 but added two new features: Filtering for Buyer Activities and new Buyer Intent account hover cards.  On Account Pages, sales reps can filter for activities by time range and level of decision-making ability.

Reps can also hover over accounts on Alerts, Lists, and Lead Pages to better evaluate an opportunity and refine account messaging.  The hover popup displays the level of buyer interest, recent news, and decision-makers changes “so sellers can easily double check any account’s level of intent as the work through Sales Navigator, without disrupting the current workflow.”

Hover cards provide account intelligence without disrupting research flow.

The New Executives at Saved Accounts List is an auto-generated list based on the saved accounts list.  The list identifies VP and CxO executives hired by tracked accounts.  While the executive view restricts the report to top-level executives, it doesn’t yet support filtering by function, a valuable report extension.

I’ve long extolled the value of identifying new executives at companies.  Fortunately, sales intelligence solutions are doing a better job of leveraging executive change insights in their products:

  • D&B Hoovers supports exec change alerts and triggers by job function.
  • ZoomInfo offers executive tracking of champions to new companies along with backfill contact recommendations at their old employer.
  • LinkedIn identifies new execs at saved accounts.

“We’ve found a lot of success internally being able to see when a new executive comes in,” LinkedIn Sales Solutions Head of Product Marketing Neil Khare explained to GZ Consulting during a briefing.  “They’re generally more willing to think about new vendors or have a mandate to change things up a little bit.  It’s a great time to capitalize on it, and we find that we’ve had some success internally on it, so we wanted to bring this up externally as well.”

LinkedIn also released a Recently Accepted Connections and InMails List highlighting individuals who responded to connection requests or InMails over the past thirty days.

The lists are available online from the list tab or via a weekly email digest.

“These are people that you are going to want to follow up with,” stated Khare.

Users can access two updated filters when building lists: Technology Used and Revenue.  Both filters have been improved with new data licensing agreements from undisclosed data partners. 

Accounts may be filtered by preset revenue ranges (vs. discrete values determined by the end-user).  All revenue data is in US Dollars.

To improve regional screening, users can paste a set of postal codes.

LinkedIn Sales Insights, LinkedIn’s DaaS enrichment service for sales ops, also benefited from expanded revenue data sourced from LinkedIn members, third-party vendors, and AI models.  95% of Fortune 500 and 75% of publicly traded companies display discrete revenue data.  More broadly, 60% of companies have at least a modeled revenue range.

To improve the Sales Insights workflow, LSI added exclusion filters for companies and personas, helping Sales Operations “focus on industries and geographies that are relevant to your business.”

LinkedIn Sales Insights now offers exclusion criteria to improve reporting filters.

LinkedIn “Deep Sales” Positioning

LinkedIn Deep Sales ad (Wall Street Journal)

Coinciding with its Q3 2022 release, LinkedIn is positioning Sales Navigator as a facilitator of Deep Selling.  Deep Sales positions LinkedIn as a new way to sell that addresses many of the current problems faced by sales teams (e.g., The Great Reshuffle, increased deal complexity following COVID, the digitization of communications, and an increase in SPAM).  This new positioning was announced in the Wall Street Journal.

“Too many sales professionals are stuck in what we’ve come to call “shallow selling” – an endless, frustrating loop of contacting more and more potential buyers in ways that no longer work,” posted LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ Marketing VP Gail Moody-Byrd.  “I’ve felt the pain of sales in my professional life.  I’ve consoled colleagues who were at risk of getting fired because they weren’t hitting their numbers or seen them committing “unnatural acts” to get a deal closed.  I’ve been on endless, painful pipeline review calls, looking at leads that will never materialize into a closed/won deal.  And I feel it daily in my personal life, as I try to dodge intrusive emails, texts, and phone calls that keep coming at me to purchase MarTech software.”

Moody-Byrd argued that shallow selling doesn’t work, but reps can employ deep learning software to support “deep sales.”

“Think of deep learning, where software learns from enormous amounts of reliable data to get to a meaningful answer.  Deep sales relies on that kind of data to deeply understand buyers and their context.  It helps sellers approach buyers in the way that is welcomed, at a time in the buying process that makes sense.  It helps develop deep relationships with buyers, based on understanding them – the opposite of shallow spray-and-pray tactics.”

LinkedIn claims that Sales Navigator customers enjoy a 38% increase in pipeline generated, a six percent increase in win rates, and a 47% increase in deal size.  The firm is positioning the combination of Sales Navigator and Sales Insights as its Deep Sales solution set.

“It’s good to see LinkedIn working on new ways to utilize machine learning to sort its various data inputs and provide a better experience,” stated SocialMediaToday Head of Content Andrew Hutchinson.  “Thus far, LinkedIn hasn’t really been able to tap into its unmatched database of professional insights, but maybe, through advanced machine learning on its huge dataset, it’s moving towards the next stage of becoming a critical companion for all HR and business professionals, by facilitating guidance on various fronts that can lead to smarter decisions.”

Sales Navigator actionable insights include relationship intelligence, buyer intent, and Account Insights.

Gong Adds LinkedIn Sales Navigator SNAP Integration

SNAP integrations support LinkedIn content display and functionality within partner platforms.

Gong is the latest RevTech company to join LinkedIn’s SNAP program of Sales Navigator integrations.  Joint customers can view LinkedIn Sales Navigator Embedded Profiles directly in Gong.  Functionality includes executive profile display, related leads, icebreakers, and introductions.  Contacts may be viewed or Saved as Leads in Sales Navigator.

“Being a great seller requires two datasets – the quantitative data of when to reach out to whom and the qualitative data of, once you connect with those people, ensuring you have a full view of deal health and that you are employing sales best practices in all your interactions,” argued LinkedIn’s Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins.  “Sales Navigator does a great job of providing the former, and Gong’s Reality Platform, the latter.”

The SNAP integration provides context around key accounts and the demand unit, helping them build broader relationships and leverage TeamLink (colleague) connections.  Furthermore, Sales Navigator within Gong helps reps build credibility, establish rapport, and multithread.

“Integrating Gong’s Reality Platform with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is all about empowering revenue teams with actionable sales intelligence they need to build stronger relationships with prospects more efficiently.  Bringing together these two powerful datasets will give sales reps insights and recommended next steps that result in more closed deals, faster,” commented Gong’s Senior Director of Market Strategy Craig Hanson.  “Successful go-to-market teams understand that contact inspection and validation are paramount to successful deal management.”

The SNAP integration is only available to Gong customers with Sales Navigator Advanced or Advanced Plus licenses.  SNAP integrations are also available across major CRMs and SEPs, including Salesforce, MS Dynamics 365, HubSpot, Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove.

Sales Navigator added M&A Alerts for saved companies.  The alert is displayed on the Homepage and is shared for both acquired and acquiring companies. Another new feature is a Weekly Leads and Accounts List Digest that suggests the most relevant Leads (contacts) and Accounts for outreach.  It highlights accounts showing interest in the rep’s company, recommended leads, past customers at a new company, and opportunities at risk due to headcount changes.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 2022 Release

The new Sales Navigator search UI dynamically updates the results list as soon as a filter is added or removed.

LinkedIn began rolling out its Q2 Sales Navigator release to users earlier this month.  As with previous releases, admins receive the release first, with general users following a few weeks later.  New features include expanded data validation, a new SNAP integration with conversation intelligence leader Gong, and the continued rollout of Sales Navigator’s new Search and Lead Page experiences.

Companies have responded to the pandemic and Great Reshuffle by increasing channel noise, hoping to break through the din, but this strategy is flawed.  Top-performing reps who heavily exceed their quota are “spending less time selling in the traditional sense — smiling-and-dialing and sending out mass outreach,” explained LinkedIn VP of Global Sales Solutions Alyssa Merwin Henderson.  They aren’t increasing the volume but carefully targeting their prospecting and messaging, conducting buyer research, and focusing on skill development.

“In today’s virtual world, where there’s more noise than ever, the recipe for winning is clear – fewer things done better,” concluded Henderson.

LinkedIn Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins highlighted three problems facing sales reps that LinkedIn is working to address:

  1. More virtual selling than ever, leading to more virtual noise than ever, with buyers being overwhelmed by irrelevant and generic outreach.
  2. Job switching continues to be higher than normal, making a mess of CRM data and putting deals at risk.
  3. A plethora of new sales tools have hit the market, many of which don’t integrate with each other, making it more confusing to choose the right tech stack.

Desjardins argued that the solution to these problems comes from real-time data fed into the CRM and “meaningful sales intelligence that helps you connect with and nurture the right buyers at the right time.”

The Great Reshuffle continues to create a “mess” of CRM data, resulting in inaccurate forecasts and irrelevant messaging.  According to LinkedIn’s upcoming “State of Sales” report, 41% of sales reps said their biggest problem was inaccurate, out-of-date CRM data.  To help address this issue, Sales Navigator now flags out-of-date contact and lead records and allows reps to update the CRM from Navigator to address this problem.

Sales Navigator Data Validation displays Update CRM badges and syncs updates to Leads and Contacts.

Data Validation displays an Update CRM badge on Sales Navigator member pages who have recently changed jobs, titles, or locations.  After clicking on the badge, reps are shown the new title, account, location, contact owner, and most recent opportunity.  Updates are made to matched Lead and Contact records, with the user controlling which fields are to be updated.  Reps are also shown which open opportunities are linked to the executive, allowing them to quickly remove departed execs from live opportunities.

“Clearly, this will save you time.  Instead of having to toggle back and forth between your CRM and Sales Navigator, you can do it all in our platform,” blogged Product Marketing Manager Austin Gray.  “More importantly, because updating your CRM is now easier to do, you’ll have more accurate data within it.  LinkedIn’s real-time first-party data means that you can have confidence that your CRM will have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information available.”

Data Validation is available for Sales Navigator Advanced Plus and supports record updates in Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.  The functionality was released to customers with fewer than 15 seats this week and will be rolled out to large customers on June 22.

The New Search and Lead Page Experiences were rolled out to accounts with fewer than fifty seats last quarter.  The largest accounts will receive the updates this quarter.

The search feature has been streamlined to improve the time to “successful results.”  In addition, the search includes a “larger collapsible, intuitive grouped view of filters” that improves search filter discovery.  New and updated filters include TeamLink Connections of, Saved Leads, Saved Accounts, Previously Viewed, Current Company, Past Company, and Company Headquarter.

The search interface updates dynamically, providing results as each filter is added or removed.

The updated Sales Navigator Leads (Contact) Page

The new Lead Page (contacts) is designed for rapid lead qualification with “the most important info front and center,” including the most recent touchpoint, current role, and description.  Other features include a sticky action bar, conversation starters, and introduction paths.

The Conversation Starter section displays recent posts for comments and commonalities.

The Get Introduced section has been redesigned and expanded.

The TeamLink section is now organized by seniority level so that reps can find “their best path in.”  In addition, the section supports a pre-populated InMail to save reps time writing messages.

Sales Navigator is also adding a new Lead Panel for researching contacts in a prospecting list without having to open multiple windows.

“Prospecting in Sales Navigator often means using our powerful search to find your target buyer,” wrote Desjardins.”  Once you’ve found that list of potential buyers, we’re betting you then open a tab for each individual, which can mean a lot of open tabs and a lot of switching back and forth.  The new Lead Panel streamlines this process and keeps you on the same page the entire time.”

The new Lead Panel streamlines qualification and messaging from lead (contact) prospect lists.

The Lead Panel displays job title, job description, and conversation starters to assist with quick qualification and messaging.

The Lead Panel will be rolling out to accounts with fewer than fifty seats this quarter and enterprise accounts next quarter.


LinkedIn also added a Gong SNAP integration for viewing LinkedIn intelligence within Gong’s conversational intelligence platform.

LinkedIn Q4 Sales Navigator Release (Part II)

LinkedIn also addressed the lack of sharing of Sales Navigator Account Maps in its Q4 release.  The value of maps is much greater if they can be shared across the sales and customer success teams.  Sales reps will skip activities that do not have a clear return on investment (i.e., they expedite the sales process, increase the odds of a win, reduce bureaucratic steps, etc.)  Sharing account maps across the team dramatically increases their value and encourages reps to invest the necessary time mapping out the account.  Sharing also assists with account handoffs between SDRs to Account Reps and later to Customer Success teams.

“Selling is a team sport, and we know that team members need to be in the loop and connected on key accounts, especially as changes to the buying committee may be greater and more frequent right now,” wrote Senior Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions Mitali Pattnaik.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Account Maps

Account Maps are available to Team and Enterprise licensors.  However, Account Maps may only be shared with co-workers on the same Sales Navigator contract; thus, partners or co-workers with separate Sales Navigator agreements still lack map sharing. 

When others update a shared Account Map, everybody is notified of the update.

Those with CRM sync turned on (Advanced + CRM in January) will enjoy additional CRM features.  Users will be able to create new leads or contacts “in more places within Sales Navigator to better match up with their workflows” and display additional context.  New features include

  • New CRM Cards within Sales Navigator Lead Pages
  • New CRM Badges that notify reps when an account or lead is matched against the CRM
  • Clicking on the CRM Badge provides additional context on Sales Navigator Leads and Accounts from the matched CRM record. For Sales Navigator Leads not found in CRM, a user can create a CRM Contact or Lead.
  • CRM Badges are now displayed in the InMail and Messaging Flow.

LinkedIn will be rolling out Q4 enhancements to customers in the coming weeks, as with other quarterly releases.

LinkedIn also announced updates to LinkedIn Sales Intelligence (LSI), its data service for Sales Operations.  LSI leverages the power of LinkedIn data to “help sales target the right companies and accelerate revenue.”  Launched earlier this year, LSI supports report building, account recommendations, and Account data enrichment.

Sales Operations now has access to industry codes aligned with the NAICS industry taxonomy used in the US, Canada, and Mexico.  Other enhancements include a new welcome flow and access to saved reports on the home page.

LinkedIn Sales Intelligence Report Builder

To assist with report building, a set of LSI Tool-Tips assist with defining Sources, Personas, Market Insights, and Exports.

LinkedIn Q4 Sales Navigator Release

The new Sales Navigator home page.

LinkedIn began rolling out its Q4 Sales Navigator release last month.  New functionality includes a reimagined home page, Priority Accounts, and Account Map sharing.  According to LinkedIn, the revised home page helps address the “moving target” that is buying team discovery during The Great Reshuffle.

“We’re in the middle of The Great Reshuffle, and 80% of salespeople have delayed or lost a deal because of a job change within an account. Selling right now is a moving target. This means, maybe more than ever, that quality data is non-negotiable, real-time alerts are critical, and knowing your buyers and what’s important to them is essential.”

Mitali Pattnaik, Senior Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions

Not only are buying committees becoming larger, but the movement of professionals increases the likelihood that key members of the demand unit depart during the sales cycle.  Reps that are blind to such changes are likely to have lost or delayed deals.

Furthermore, buyers have been inundated with messages, making it more challenging to rise above the din.  According to LinkedIn Associate Product Marketing Manager Angel Gonzalez, reps need to personalize their outreach as there is a 30% decline in buyer response rates compared to pre-COVID.

“Our new Sales Navigator home page showcases customized insights for key accounts that you need to focus on right now,” posted LinkedIn Senior Director for Product Mitali Pattnaik.   “Alongside a new look and feel for the home page, the refreshed Alerts Feed helps you filter to the most relevant, timely, and accurate updates, pinpointing alerts that need immediate action. And, for those updates you want to keep an eye on, a newly created ‘Bookmarked Alerts’ tab allows you to save alerts so you can revisit at any time.”

The new home page was redesigned to present “what’s most important to each individual seller at that moment,” including intelligence on priority accounts, direct access to Account Maps, and better alert filters.

Other new features include upgraded typeahead searching and alert bookmarking.

A few features have been downgraded in scope or removed, including Sales Navigator Coach and Recommended Leads and Accounts.

The new home page is available to all users.

Reps can flag priority accounts with recent engagement and growth metrics on the home page.

Priority Accounts allows sellers with large books of business such as territory or industry reps to flag their key accounts, helping ensure critical accounts receive greater attention.  Users simply “star” accounts in their saved account list for priority display.  Account activity is then displayed in a new home page section labeled Priority Accounts that summarizes headcount growth, employee count, open opportunities, and Buyer Intent.  Users can also click directly to Account Maps.


Continue to Part II which discusses Sales Navigator Account Map sharing and LinkedIn Sales Intelligence enhancements.

Linked Sales Navigator Repackaged SKUs

LinkedIn will be repackaging its Sales Navigator SKUs in late January.  The service has already begun notifying customers of the change.  Unlike product releases which they roll out over multiple weeks, the new packaging will be implemented across all customers simultaneously.

Sales Navigator retains its original SKUs from its early days, so repackaging was in order.  Before making any changes, LinkedIn interviewed or surveyed over 2,000 customers, discussed customer requirements with sales reps, and analyzed product usage.

LinkedIn Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins discussed a number of her team’s learnings with GZ Consulting:

  • Users want to increase their productivity with an integrated sales stack that avoids data silos and app switching.  “Our customers believe that in order to effectively meet this need, it is critical to seamlessly integrate sales workflows both within and beyond Sales Navigator (e.g., sales stack, CRM).”
  • CRM integrations are a priority for customers.  To prioritize customer value delivery, the future Sales Navigator lineup has CRM integrations as the only top differentiator.  This will “massively clarify” lineup positioning and deliver more value to customers.

    Currently, Sales Navigator only offers full integrations and data synchronization with Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.
  • Customers are looking to increasingly leverage the data stored in their CRM and expect applications to bisynchronously share data.
  • Buyer intent is “hot in the market” as customers are looking to leverage intelligent signals in a real-time manner.  Sales reps want to “know when to act.”

The new Sales Navigator SKUs are based on a pair of packaging design principles: Customers can use all of the features in the licensed package, and it should be clear which package best meets the needs of each customer.

According to Desjardins, the new packaging enables positioning that is “clear and easy to understand” and aligns to value. In addition, the new packaging will help customers and sales reps  “easily identify the offering that best suits their needs.”

“What I’ve been preaching is that SN is not just one product – it’s an integrated approach to the daily sales process.”

LinkedIn Customer

The legacy SKUs followed a Good / Better / Best packaging structure, but the new SKUs support a Good / Best / Best with CRM packaging with the top tier similar to the mid-tier but containing all of the CRM connector and data sharing functionality. The new packages consist of a “foundational use case, the best of Sales Navigator for non-CRM integrated customers, and the best of Sales Navigator for CRM.”

“Customers will be able to use all of the features they have purchased: CRM features will be the only differentiators for the top tier.  Additionally, we have planned investments to further expand and deepen our CRM capabilities.”

The Core offering is designed for quota-carrying sales reps and supports targeting, lead and account tracking, and communications.  Features include

  • 50 InMails per month (this allotment is the same across all three SKUs).
  • Advanced Search
  • Account and Lead (contact) List Building
  • Guided in-product best practices
  • Account Map, a tool for mapping out the buying committee
  • Up to 10,000 Saved Leads and Accounts

The Core edition is designed for quota-carrying individuals with limited tech stacks.  Core helps sales reps “target the right buyers, understand who they are, and reach out in an informed way,” said Desjardins.

The Advanced tier supports sales teams with administrative and reporting functions, including usage reports.  Product differentiators include

  • CSV Account uploads for tracking key customers and prospects
  • Smart Links (customer-specific landing pages with attachments and multi-media links).  Smart Links may be shared by email, InMail, chat, etc.  Smart Links Analytics tracks who has viewed and downloaded which content. Sales Navigator also tracks Smart Link forwards, providing deeper insights into the Buying Team.  Sales reps are alerted when content has been viewed or forwarded.
  • Team collaboration tools such as shared lists, shared searches, TeamLink (leveraging co-workers’ networks), and collaboration alerts based upon shared features.
  • Buyer engagement alerts and buyer intent.  “Buyer interest is a predictive score based on LinkedIn data from employees at this company,” states the firm.  “This score is an indication of an account’s interest in buying from your company.  It considers key factors like employee interaction, InMail acceptance, ads engagement, company page engagement, and more.”
  • SNAP integrations such as embedded profiles, BI integrations, and a CRM widget.  SNAP integrations are available for CRMs (Salesforce, MSD 365, HubSpot, SAP, Oracle, SugarCRM, and Pega), SEPs (Outreach, Salesloft, Groove, XANT/InsideSales, YesWare, MixMax), and ABX Platforms (Demandbase).

    SNAP integrations do not share data, but they support profile viewing and limited Sales Navigator functionality.  For example, the HubSpot connector provides sales reps with profile viewing, InMails, Icebreakers, Introduction Requests, Related Leads for companies and contacts, and Connections.

The Advanced edition helps teams “forge deeper relationships through real-time sales intelligence and seamless collaboration,” said Desjardins.  “Advanced is the best Sales Navigator for businesses if you’re not integrating with CRM.”

The Advanced Plus edition adds full CRM functionality, including

  • Auto-saving Sales Navigator Leads and Accounts from CRM
  • CRM information in Lists such as Opportunities and past customers who have moved to new companies
  • CRM-powered Lead Recommendations
  • The ability to include or exclude matched CRM leads in Sales Navigator searches
  • CRM Activity writeback (e.g., InMail, Notes, Messages, Smart Links)
  • Create CRM Leads and Contacts directly from Sales Navigator.  These are limited information records (e.g., Company Name, Contact First and Last Names, and Title) as LinkedIn does not share member data.  Contact and Lead Creation also upload fields entered by reps such as email, phone number, and opportunity role.
  • The Data Validation flag warns users when a contact is no longer at a company listed in the CRM.  If the company differs between LinkedIn and the CRM, a “Not at Company Flag” is written to the CRM.  The flag is displayed to the rep and available as a trigger for contact clean-ups and removal from marketing campaigns.

With the Advanced Plus edition, users will be able to “surface actionable intelligence on your books of business, improve productivity by automating key processes, and leverage data to update stale information and make better decisions,” said Desjardins.

At renewal, customers will be offered one of five customer service packages that are “set by the size and scope of your program.”

“We know that onboarding is a critical stage for customer success, so we’re investing in hands-on, human-led onboarding for new customers and existing customers when they grow by a significant amount to accelerate their time-to-value,” stated a LinkedIn FAQ on the new service plans.  “Our customers have different needs and expectations for training, so we’ve invested in world-class resources: on-demand training for all customers at every stage of the customer journey in seven languages. Training is created and led by specialists who are experts in best practices and our product.”

Programs with a minimum of 50 licenses will have a Customer Success Manager that supports periodic Program Health Checks, a tailored Customer Success Plan, Strategic Value Reviews, and ongoing Success Coaching.

LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021 (Part II)

Continuing from yesterday’s discussion of LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2021

LinkedIn State of Sales 2021 Trends

Sales managers are looking to diversify their hiring across two dimensions: geographic and cultural.  With work from home proving itself over the past year, managers are now confident that they can hire the best talent, regardless of location.

Likewise, sales professionals believe that their firms have succeeded in their efforts in opening up sales teams by gender, race, etc.  35% of sales professionals believe their sales organizations have “exceeded goals around diversity hiring initiatives,” while another 45% say their sales organization has “met” their diversity hiring goal.

On the buying side, 83% of purchasers said that all things being equal, they would give a preference to more diverse teams.

LinkedIn argues that Sales Intelligence is a crucial tool for building trust in the absence of face-to-face meetings.  LinkedIn broadly uses the term to include Conversational Intelligence tools such as Gong and Chorus, which help understand the prospect’s state of mind, and sales intelligence solutions such as Sales Navigator.

“With in-person meetings limited, sales technology provides a key pathway to gaining insight and understanding into potential customers. It’s no surprise, then, that our survey indicates that both usage of and investment in sales technology are increasing,” stated LinkedIn.

73% of respondents employ a sales intelligence solution weekly, and 23% use one daily.  54% said SalesTech helps reps build stronger relationships, and an equal percent said it helps them close more deals.  The top three categories for closing deals were CRM (70%), sales intelligence (69%), and sales enablement (69%).

Both usage and investment in SalesTech will increase in 2021, with CRM (49%), Sales Intelligence (43%), and Sales Planning (42%) seeing increased usage.  On the investment side, the top categories are CRM (41%), sales intelligence (40%), and sales engagement (40%).  Nearly seven in ten sales professionals anticipate greater SalesTech investment this year.

Data continues to be seen as critical, with 47% of sales organizations using it for account targeting, 44% for industry targeting, 43% for performance assessment, 41% for geographic targeting, and 39% for defining the buying committee.

While LinkedIn did not delve further into buying committee discovery, this is a nascent development area with multiple approaches, including conversational intelligence (meetings, emails) and machine learning.

Understanding the demand unit is critical for sales teams.  85% of reps reported that at least one opportunity was lost or delayed due to the departure of a client stakeholder.

Sales Navigator usage continues to be robust, with a 400% increase in self-bought Sales Navigator licenses over the past two years, “a surge that indicates sales professionals are investing in their own growth and have a willingness to use sales tech even if not prescribed by their company.”

59% of the Forbes Global 500 companies and 64% of the Forbes fastest-growing companies have Sales Navigator users.

Finally, message quality trumps quantity.  Simply sending high volumes of email or sharing many content pieces does not move the revenue needle.  The key is quality outreach that generates engagement and message acceptance.  “This is a strong indication that salespersons ought to be mindful of the value to the customer before sharing content or sending an InMail.”

InMails should be “short, personalized, and conversational.”  Messages with fewer than 400 characters are the most effective, with a sharp drop-off in response rates for long-in-the-tooth messages.

LinkedIn surveyed 400 sales and 400 US and Canadian purchasing professionals in January 2021.  Separate surveys were conducted for other geographies but have yet to be published. [Original Report]