LinkedIn Sales Navigator Pipeline Reviews & Buyers Circle (Q3 2018)

Buyer Circle, a new Sales Navigator feature released in Q3, provides drag-and-drop functionality for defining purchasing roles and players.
Buyer Circle, a new Sales Navigator feature released in Q3, provides drag-and-drop functionality for defining purchasing roles and players.

Last month, LinkedIn rolled out its Q3 Sales Navigator release to admins and trainers.  Enhancements include a new Deals feature to assist with pipeline reviews, “Buyer Circles,” an updated search user experience, and revised mobile lead pages.  Several partner platforms are also rolling out version 2 of their SNAP integrations.

During pipeline reviews, “managers are really trying to find out what are areas of weakness in the pipeline and how they can help. A lot of times, because the information that’s been put into CRM is incomplete, that can be a challenging conversation,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “The problem Deals is ultimately trying to solve is how do you increase the quality of that data that is ultimately stored in the CRM, and by making it much easier for the rep to quickly see missing points of information as well as to add in what one could argue is the most important information—who are all the people that are involved in that buying decision at the target company.”

LinkedIn noted that pipeline review sessions are often frustrating due to incomplete and out of date CRM information resulting in a “20 questions” session in search of deal risks.  The new Deal feature pulls deal and contact intelligence from the CRM and streamlines the update process.  Instead of jumping between opportunity records, reps can manage their pipeline updates from a single pane of glass.  The update table allows reps to quickly enter deal intelligence including deal size, stage, close date, and next steps with information immediately written back to the CRM.

Deals requires that the Salesforce Admin enable CRM synch.  Reps will only be able to view and edit fields for which they have been granted permission and only for Opportunities in their name.  Managers will only be able to view Deals for their team members.

Deals includes a Buyer’s Circle feature which helps reps quickly fill gaps in their Buying Committee.  “The real power comes when you want to add missing role contacts,” Doug Camplejohn, LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP Products wrote to licensors.  “Buyer’s Circle makes it easy to select anyone on LinkedIn and drag them to a role, which, again, automatically updates your CRM. And if that contact is not already in your CRM, Deals lets you create a new CRM contact associated with that opportunity in just a few clicks.”

As LinkedIn does not deliver member-specific details to third-parties, Buyers Circle only uploads First and Last Name, Title, and Company.  Other buyer details would need to be keyed in by the sales rep or populated by a third-party enrichment vendor.

Deals is available in Salesforce.com with the Q3 release and will be available in Microsoft Dynamics in Q4.

The new Deals feature provides a tabular view of opportunities for rapid update and sharing with managers.
The new Deals feature provides a tabular view of opportunities for rapid update and sharing with managers.

Deals is part of the Team and Enterprise editions and is based on a Heighten capability “rebuilt from the ground up.”  Heighten was acquired in 2017.

“B2B selling is more complicated these days where you often have half a dozen people involved, but they’re not all recognized.  A sales rep will put a single contact into the system, and if the deal goes sideways it’s hard to figure out who to contact or how to move forward.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions

“I think the Deals module is the most interesting part of this release because it offers the biggest benefit,” said Gartner analyst Todd Berkowitz. “If you are in a market like tech or manufacturing or a complicated services deal, the number of people involved keeps going up including those who can influence the deal or an assassin who can kill it. The more information you can provide about all the people involved in the deal, the better. And the way the Buyers Circle surfaces information on people and brings it forward with one click is a real benefit.”


Part II covering additional features such as new SNAP integrations and mobile Lead profiles will publish on Monday.

LinkedIn Hits 575 Million Members

LinkedIn Member Counts (August 2018)
LinkedIn Member Counts (August 2018)

LinkedIn continues to grow its global membership base at an impressive clip. The firm reached 500 million members sixteen months ago and has added nearly 15 million members per quarter since then, recently reaching 575 million.

North America continues as their most important market with over 150 million members in the United States, 15 million in Canada, and 12M in Mexico.

AsiaPac is also growing strongly with India recently hitting the 50 million member mark and China poised to soon pass the mark (42 million members). China was slower to develop but has grown rapidly since a localized version was launched a few years ago.

In Europe, there are at least 14 countries with one million members or greater. The United Kingdom is the third largest anglophone market with 25 million members. France (16M), Italy (12M), Spain (10M), and Benelux (10M) all represent strong markets.

LinkedIn is relatively underrepresented in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) as it continues to compete against German language professional network XING.

Other Anglophone markets include Australia (9M), South Africa (6M) The Philippines (6M), Nigeria (3M), Singapore (2M), Hong Kong (1M), New Zealand (1M), and Kenya (1M).

LinkedIn has also enjoyed success in Latin America with Brazil long being a significant market (34M). The firm also has a significant presence in Colombia (6M), Argentina (6M), and Chile (4M).

LinkedIn was barred from Russia several years ago.

Monthly active user figures are estimated at around 25% of members.

Membership, segment, and usage statistics for LinkedIn are less available since the firm was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016. Revenue, however, continues to accelerate, growing 37% to $1.464 billion in Q4 2018. Q4 marked the fifth-straight quarter of revenue acceleration.

“This strong engagement is driven by quality of the feed, video, messaging and acceleration of mobile usage, with mobile sessions up more than 55% year-over-year,” said Satya Nadella last month. “We will continue to invest to make LinkedIn the essential platform to connect the world’s professionals and help them achieve more with experiences powered by LinkedIn and Microsoft graphs.”

“We have united the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network and proved that we have an integration model that works, enabling LinkedIn to accelerate growth while retaining its member-first ethos,” continued Nadella.

 

Outreach & Drift Make LinkedIn Top Startups

LI Top StartupsCongratulations to Outreach (#15) and Drift (#22) for making the LinkedIn Top 25 U.S. Startups list.  To be eligible for Top Startups, companies must be 7 years old or younger, have at least 50 employees, be privately held, and headquartered in the U.S.  Selection is based upon employment growth, engagement, job interest, and attraction of top talent between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018

Coincidentally, I just began covering Drift in my subscription newsletter.  They will be covered here in two weeks following my standard embargo.  I’ve been covering Outreach for several years.

Outreach is a sales engagement platform that helps sales reps manage their multi-channel communications with customers and prospects.  Along with templates and cadence tools, Outreach offers call recording and coaching, analytics, a partner ecosystem, and meeting management.  The firm has 285 employees and is looking to double its headcount over the next year following a $65 million funding round.  LinkedIn noted that they have 2,400 customers.

Outreach Employee Count
Seattle-based Outreach said in April that it plans to double its headcount over the next year. (Chart Source: LinkedIn)

Conversational marketing firm Drift landed a $60 million Series C round earlier this year.  The funds will be used to quadruple its office space with an expanded presence in Boston and new space in San Francisco.  As one-third of their clients are outside of the United States, they plan to open international offices later this year.

The Drift platform removes webforms and offers chatbots for conversational discovery and qualification.  “A sale doesn’t get made until a conversation happens. So, with Conversational Marketing, we created a new way of doing marketing and sales that removed the roadblocks and hurdles that can get in the way of someone talking to your business. This creates a better customer experience, makes it easier for people to buy, and ultimately creates a faster path to revenue,” said CEO David Cancel.

Drift supports email sequencing, revenue reporting, visitor id, chatbots, playbooks (templates), reporting, email reply management, and meeting scheduling.  A new Conversational Advertising capability provides conversational landing pages instead of webforms.

Drift’s goal is to be the Amazon for Business.  “Amazon revolutionized how people buy with the one-click buying experience, and that’s what we all expect online today,” said Cancel. “But when it comes to B2B, the buying process is painful. Companies force buyers to fill out forms and jump through so many hoops just to talk to them, despite the fact that most buying decisions have already been made by the time someone comes to your website. We’re on a mission to build the most customer-centric company in the world and make B2B buying as easy as buying from Amazon.”

Boston-based Drift has had rapid employee growth over the past two years (Source: LinkedIn)
Boston-based Drift has had rapid employee growth over the past two years. (Chart Source: LinkedIn)

 

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

LinkedIn the #2 Social Media Platform across Multiple Metrics

LinkedIn is now the number two social media platform by usage, advertising spend, ROI and analytics tools.  Facebook remains number one.  “While LinkedIn is often considered a hub for job hunters and corporate recruiters, the platform has also shifted to position itself as a marketing engine in recent years,” said Jerry Ascierto, executive editor of The Social Shake-Up Show. “The recent updates to its ad platform and UI seem to be encouraging brands to increase spend. As a result, more companies are experiencing better ROI from this network than others considered more popular and ‘fun,’ such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.”

Source: Social Shake-Up.
Source: Social Shake-Up.

LinkedIn has benefited from a native video feature that was launched last year and was recently extended to company pages.

LinkedIn’s last official member count was 546 million global professional profiles.

Microsoft Chairman John Thompson said that the LinkedIn acquisition has been “wildly successful” and that Microsoft would be “all in” on a similar deal.  Of particular interest are firms that would help connect users to the Microsoft cloud.

Thomson was critical of firms that share or sell user data.  “Many of them make money off ads and they have used that as kind of a leverage point,” Thomson told Bloomberg.  “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.”

While Facebook has taken a series of hits on its sharing of member data, LinkedIn has long protected member data (for example, Sales Navigator does not permit the uploading of member information to CRMs but makes it available for display).  What’s more, Microsoft has built GDPR compliance into its product line and set it as a global standard.

LinkedIn celebrated its 15th anniversary last month.  “15 years ago, we launched LinkedIn in Reid Hoffman’s living room with the tagline ‘relationships matter’,”  said VP of Product Strategy Allen Blue.  “I’m proud to say that this mantra still rings true today in both the halls of LinkedIn and on the platform. While the world of work has evolved immensely — be it the tools and products we use, the ways we communicate, and even the jobs themselves — our need to connect with one another to be productive in our careers remains at the core of all we do.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 Release

LinkedIn Sales Navigator will be rolling out its Q2 release in the coming weeks. New features include a redesigned Leads page, a mobile new Accounts page, additional SNAP partners, and improved message actions in the Inbox.

LinkedIn also announced that its Sales Solutions are fully GDPR compliant with the following changes being implemented later this year: 

  • Notification of data collection to all LinkedIn members using Sales Navigator at onboarding: We’ll continue to provide notifications of how data is used in our Sales Solutions products before user onboarding for mobile and desktop access to Sales Solutions products, and will add the ability for users to track confirmation of these policies in their LinkedIn account.
  • Export of Sales Navigator data: Exports of user data will be available for entire contracts or on a by-seat basis.
  • Deletion of Sales Navigator data: Deletion of user data will be available for entire contracts or on a by-seat basis.
  •  Requests from individuals and contract administrators: Users and contract administrators will be able to request export or deletion of their user data via a clearly documented request process.

 LinkedIn did caveat its GDPR support noting that “LinkedIn cannot control the specific messages sent by a customer, which ultimately determine the customer’s compliance with relevant laws throughout the world. As such, we advise our customers to seek the advice of their own counsel regarding their specific uses of promotional messaging within LinkedIn.” 

LinkedIn collects marketing consent as part of the terms and conditions during account creation and reconfirms it at the email verification stage.  Users can also opt out of marketing materials and messages in their privacy settings. 

“It’s always been challenging for salespeople to access all the important information about their prospects in one place,” says Doug Camplejohn, VP of product management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve Sales Navigator, so we’re pleased to release our redesigned lead page, which will save salespeople valuable time and help them better understand their prospects.” 

The Detailed Lead Summary section includes contact intelligence pulled from the CRM..
The Detailed Lead Summary section includes contact intelligence pulled from the CRM..

The redesigned Leads page provides a Show All button for displaying contact information from LinkedIn, CRM contact records, or details entered by the user or her colleagues.  The Lead page summary also includes user tags, a CRM badge that provides a direct link to the CRM contact record, and a contact overview.

While the platform remains view only, sales reps can share contact specific details across the Sales Navigator service with colleagues.  “You can see additional emails, phone numbers, website URLs, social handles and office addresses pulled from both their LinkedIn profile and your CRM in one place. And if you add, say, a social handle for a person in Sales Navigator, that information is shared with other team members on the same Sales Navigator contract,” said LinkedIn.

A Highlights section calls out common attributes such as Groups, shared companies, schools in common, and connections.  Also displayed is the “best path” connection to the individual.  The best path could be via TeamLink or personal and professional connections.  Highlights also includes a synopsis of recent LinkedIn activity such as posts, likes, and comments.

Highlights cover commonalities, best introduction path, and recent lead activity.
Highlights cover commonalities, best introduction path, and recent lead activity.

A Recommended Leads section provides a custom set of additional names at the company based upon search preferences, new contacts at the firm, people with shared connections, and people who have recently viewed the user’s profile.  

The Locate Similar Leads section identifies leads at other firms that are similar to the current lead. 

The iOS and Android mobile apps support a redesigned Company Summary along with new Saved Leads, Recommended Leads, and Best Path Into modules.  News and Updates are also available.

“Our redesigned Mobile Account Page highlights key account details and unique LinkedIn insights about a lead, such as company news like financial milestones or key announcements, basic company info, or recommended prospects,” said Camplejohn.  “Ultimately, this will give salespeople access to the information they need, when they need it, wherever they are, so they can act quickly and be more productive.”

If the user hovers over a message in the Sales Navigator Inbox, she will be presented with Archive / Unarchive and Mark Read / Unread toggles. 

“By highlighting important information about a prospect such as their job title, contact information, common groups or interests, and CRM activity, salespeople can find natural icebreakers to start a conversation so they can personalize their messages, grow their pipelines, and, ultimately, close more deals,” said Camplejohn.

Sales Navigator users can flag the level of detail passed to Leads when the user views a profile.  The lead will see either see the full set of viewer details including name, headline, and location; title and company; or no details (anonymous).

New SNAP partners include Clari (Business Intelligence),  SAP Hybris and Pegasystems (CRM), Oracle Eloqua (Marketing Automation), and Groove (Sales Acceleration).

Beginning last quarter, Sales Navigator adoped a more formalized quarterly release process.  The Q2 release will be available to Sales Admins on May 21st with the enhancements being rolled out to users in the subsequent weeks.

SalesLoft $50M Series C

SalesLoft supports email templates and cadences for managing multi-channel communications.
SalesLoft supports email templates and cadences for managing multi-channel communications.

Atlanta sales engagement vendor SalesLoft received $50 million in Series C funding this week, bringing their total funding to $75 million. Insight Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Emergence Capital, which had participated in previous rounds, and LinkedIn. Funds will be deployed to add another 200 employees in Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, and Europe.

While the market value was not disclosed, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported the valuation at more that $200 million.

“Things have gotten very noisy for buyers these days. They are bombarded with sales activity via phone, email, social, and many other channels,” said CEO Kyle Porter. “When buyers are able to peel away from those distractions, they still have problems to solve — and an overwhelming range of solutions to sift through. Now more than ever, buyers really need sellers who can rise above all this noise and provide them with a better sales experience — through our product innovation and our people, it’s our mission to help sellers do just that.”

SalesLoft will soon be releasing its SalesLoft Assist artificial intelligence module “which is informed by more than 500 million sales interactions, providing users with dynamic and real-time suggestions.” The firm is also looking to expand its development and partner network.  The recently launched app partner directory already supports thirty partner solutions.

“SalesLoft is one of the most innovative companies in the sales engagement category and a leading provider on the Sales Navigator Application Platform.  SalesLoft has integrated Sales Navigator into their application in a way that provides great user value while protecting LinkedIn member data. We look forward to working with SalesLoft to create even more value for our joint customers in the future.”

  • Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn

“We didn’t create the sales engagement category; our customers did,” noted Porter. “They weren’t satisfied with the tools their teams had to connect and engage buyers. They made their needs clear, and we listened. As a result, sales engagement has evolved from a point solution to the system of record for sales organizations. Users are spending more time within SalesLoft than any other technology, including their CRM. Our customers are leading the way in this exciting new category, which is really just a reflection of their efforts to serve their customers in new, authentic ways.