LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q4 Release Part II

The new Funding Events Spotlight Filter allows reps to focus on accounts with recent private equity or venture capital funding events.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out its Q4 release to end-users and admins over the past few weeks. Yesterday, I covered their new data validation flag and Admin tools. Today, I am discussing the rest of the release including new alerts, list sharing, and SNAP (Sales Navigator Application Partner) enhancements.

Sales Navigator added two more Saved Account Alerts: headcount growth and Senior Leadership Hires.

When sharing lists, owners may now designate them view-only or editable.

“List collaborators with edit permissions will be able to add, remove, and comment on Leads or Accounts within a Shared List, and alerts will be sent to collaborators when Leads or Accounts have been added to or removed from a Custom List or when there are new comments on a Custom List.”

LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn

LinkedIn added SNAP integrations for Tableau and Power BI.  They also extended SNAP integrations to Oracle Sales Cloud Lead and Account pages (Contacts were already supported).

Teams will benefit from improved TeamLink recommendations on “who to reach out to first for a warm introduction, using connection strength scores based on a members’ interactions.”

PointDrive Roadmap

Finally, LinkedIn teased an improved PointDrive service that will be “deeply integrated” into Sales Navigator beginning in early 2020.  PointDrive provides sales reps with a custom landing page for delivering multi-media content with descriptions and company branding.  The multi-quarter release will streamline access to PointDrive functionality.  However, PointDrive will no longer support shared content.

SalesLoft Leveraging Data Validation Flag

SalesLoft is one of the first vendors to take advantage of the Sales Navigator Data Validation process.  SalesLoft uses the Data Validation flag to notify the SDR or sales rep.  SalesLoft automation rules can then trigger workflows based on whether a prospect on the decision-making committee has left or whether an admin or champion at a customer has changed jobs.  These insights help reps evaluate whether an opportunity may be in jeopardy, the likelihood of closing this quarter pushed out, or they need to move quickly to identify new buying committee members or champions.

“Customers leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator Data Validation are now able to use real-time insights to influence critical workflows when their prospects and customers change jobs,” said SalesLoft CMO Sydney Sloan. “Ultimately, this saves time spent reviewing customer data manually, and it will increase the quality of all opportunities as salespeople progress through the buying cycle.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q4 Release

See the source image
LinkedIn now supports a Not at Company Flag.

LinkedIn Sales Solutions has begun rolling out its Q4 release to Sales Navigator subscribers.  New features include a data validation flag for contacts, improved geographic filters, a funding events spotlight, two new alerts, additional SNAP partners, and extended administrative tools.

A new data validation flag warns users that 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 both displayed to the rep and available as a trigger for contact clean-ups and removal from marketing campaigns.

LinkedIn added three new reports which leverage the field:

  • Opportunities at Risk: Proactively identifying when a buyer has left an open opportunity
  • Past Customers at New Companies: Identifying contacts at current customers (potential champions) who have joined new companies
  • Out-of-Date Contacts: All potential contacts that need to be updated

LinkedIn is hemmed in by commitments to its members’ data privacy.  Thus, it cannot append or sync full contact information like other vendors.  The data validation flag simply alerts sales and marketing that a contact is no longer at a firm.  It does not upload information on the member’s new company to the CRM.

The Data Validation flag is available to Enterprise Edition licensors with CRM sync enabled in Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.

LinkedIn redesigned its usage reporting with time-series charts for messaging effectiveness.  Expanded analytics include InMail messages sent, InMail acceptance rates, messages sent, and total unique connections.  The report also includes the top five reps for each category.

Other new administrative tools include

  • Coaching/training levels
  • Chart filtering by custom date ranges, groups, and users.
  • Data Updates – Saved Leads and Accounts

LinkedIn has integrated Bing location data, making prospecting more precise.  The service covers 2.4 million more cities and over 2,000 new states/provinces.

Users may also filter by a new funding events spotlight.  The new filter “brings these updates to the top of your search results within the Spotlight tab, giving you a helpful cue that it’s the right time to check-in,” blogged Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions.


Continue to Part II

Enhanced usage reporting includes a set of messaging effectiveness charts.

LinkedIn Restates Its Members-First Principles

LinkedIn Logo

In a blog titled, “Maintaining the Trust of our Members,” LinkedIn recommitted itself to a members-first approach.  The Microsoft subsidiary frames its decision-making with the question, “Is this the right thing to do for our members?”

Along with a members-first policy, LinkedIn employs four principles to frame decisions:

  • Members maintain clarity, consistency, and control over their data. This goal is manifested in a broad set of privacy settings, observing the stated wishes of each member, and protecting their data.  Microsoft employs a global GDPR standard and does not transfer member data to other companies.  For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator limits data access to member-data view-only access, which displays profiles within CRMs and other partner applications but does not transfer data to those platforms.
  • LinkedIn will remain a safe, trusted, and professional platform.  The firm removes content which violates their Professional Community Policies and removes fake profiles, jobs, and companies.
  • LinkedIn is committed to removing unfair bias from its platform so that individuals with equal talent have equal access to opportunity.  “To achieve this goal, we are committed to building a product with no unfair bias that provides opportunity to all of our members.  There is a lot of work still to do, but we are focused on working across our company, with our members and customers, and across the industry to close the network gap.”
  • As a global platform, they are committed to respecting the laws that apply to them and “contributing to the dialogue” about legal frameworks.

LinkedIn Advertising is subject to an initial review.  LinkedIn vets ads to ensure they are non-discriminatory:

“Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote, or contain discriminatory hiring practices or denial of education, housing, or economic opportunity based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual preference.  Ads that promote the denial or restriction of fair and equal access to education, housing, or credit or career opportunities are prohibited.”

Blake Lawit, LinkedIn General Counsel

The statement of principles comes at a time when other social media firms are struggling to develop rules and policies around political advertising. LinkedIn does not carry political advertising and also restricts adult content, illegal, health, gaming, weapons, multi-level marketing, alcohol, tobacco, and financial (payday loans, cryptocurrency) products.  

LinkedIn continues to grow its customer base with 660 million members across 200 countries and 30 million companies.  The top countries are the United States (165M members), India (62M), China (48M), Brazil (40M), and the UK (27M).

LinkedIn maintains offices in nine US cities and 24 international locations. The platform supports 24 languages.

LinkedIn Q3 2019 Sales Navigator Release

Elevate provides a curated feed of content to company employees for social media distribution. The curated content is now fed into Sales Navigator for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook sharing
Elevate provides a curated feed of content to company employees for social media distribution. The curated content is now fed into Sales Navigator for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook sharing

LinkedIn announced its Q3 Sales Navigator enhancements which are currently being rolled out to clients.  Key features include LinkedIn Elevate integration, improved save a lead functionality, InMail active status, list cloning, and improved customer support.

Elevate is a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions offering which supports employee content promotion.  A curator provides thought leadership pieces, press releases, and open web content to corporate employees.  About one-third of Elevate content recipients also have Sales Navigator seats.  Most clients are midsize or enterprise customers.

Elevate is sold based on the number of seats with volume discounts.  Enterprise licensing is also available based on the company size.

The Elevate integration delivers curated content to the Navigator home page.  Content may be shared to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.  Sales reps may add personal comments with the share.

Elevate provides metrics to help firms track increased site traffic, leads, and new hires.

LinkedIn Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn noted that the Elevate integration resulted in a dramatic increase in both the percentage of sales reps sharing content and overall content being shared.  

According to LinkedIn, content that is shared by employees has double the engagement rate of non-shared content.  Furthermore, social enterprises are “58% more likely to attract top talent and 20% more likely to retain them.”

Social sales reps are also more successful.  LinkedIn stated that social sales reps that regularly share content are 45% more likely to exceed quota.

“Marketers will still be able to control what content they’d like to see employees post.   But now Sales Navigator users will have an even easier time boosting their brand and the brand of their company.”


Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions

LinkedIn introduced custom list sharing in Q1 and extended the functionality this quarter.  Previously, lists were shared but ownership resided with the list creator.  Shared lists may now be copied, providing the copier with full list management capabilities.  Other new list management features include shared list removal and bulk saving of all leads or accounts from a shared list.

LinkedIn also improved the lead connection flow.  Now, when a connection is proffered through Sales Navigator, users can check a box to add the contact to their leads list, even if the connection is ignored or declined.  This allows the rep to track the contact.

Sales Navigator redesigned its Help Center with “more intuitive navigation,” easier search, article tagging, and tables of content.  Click to chat allows users to chat with support reps.  The Sales Navigator community has been extended to seven European languages.  The Learning Center has been rebranded the Customer Hub.

LinkedIn has been knocked in the past for its lack of subscription service support.  Improved training and support tools along with chat indicate that the firm now realizes that enterprise subscription services require a higher level of customer support than free or consumer services.

Sales Navigator included a set of small enhancements including expanded list sorting options, an increase in list size to 2,500 leads or accounts, and an active status indicator from InMail.  A user is only shown active if they permit it in their privacy settings.

LinkedIn Network Building

I’ve been sitting on a Harvard Business Review article written by Doug Camplejohn since March due to a surfeit of news.  I figured that if I couldn’t slip it into my blog in August, I would never get to it.  August is when the press releases slow and there is an opportunity to speak about broader topics such as how to write a press release (or not write one).

The piece, titled “The Best Ways to Use Social Media to Expand Your Network” provides a set of social networking recommendations to business professionals.  Camplejohn is VP of Product Management at LinkedIn and heads up development on LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Source: LinkedIn and HBR

Camplejohn’s advice takes a long-run strategic approach to building and nurturing a social network based upon ongoing engagement, asking for advice during transitions, and assisting others.  As such, his advice dovetails well with real-world approaches to building relationship networks.

Camplejohn begins by recommending that business professionals build their network with peers instead of focusing on seniority.  A peer-based network grows over one’s career, creating a network which matures with the professional.  Furthermore, senior-executive response rates are lower than mid-level managers.  Less than one percent of VPs and CxOs respond to cold reach out.

“People earlier in their careers respond most often to an initial message, while VPs and C-level professionals respond the least to people they don’t already know.”

Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn

Initial messages should be short.  Camplejohn recommends three sentences that can be easily read on a mobile device.  InMail messages of under 100 words work best with response rates “decreasing significantly” beyond 500 words.

Camplejohn also advises a hook such as an alma mater, joint interest, or a mutual friend.  “According to our research, referencing a mutual connection boosts the acceptance rate of these messages by 51%, second only to attending the same school at the same time (53%),” wrote Camplejohn.

Camplejohn notes the value of asking for advice and leveraging transitions.  In fundraising, there is an adage, “If you go seeking advice, you get money; if you seek money, you get advice.”  Likewise, transition periods are an excellent opportunity to build your network and seek advice.

“If you’re in a transitional period — starting at a new company, switching industries, or moving to a new city — recognize the opportunity to reach out to people, ask for their advice, and absorb their wisdom.”

Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn

Another recommendation is to pay it forward.  Don’t be looking for immediate benefits or strictly reciprocal opportunities.  Social networkers recognize that they are contributing to the commons, whether helping one person or adding to the group.  Sales reps and others should also continue to nurture their network, maintaining conversations with colleagues, clients, partners, and mentors.

“The best way to build a relationship is to help someone with joy and with no expectation of anything in return.  It feels good, it trains your own sense of generosity, and it informs you of what the other person values.  It also sets the stage for you to ask them something in the future.  You don’t have to offer to help in every circumstance, but make yourself available as a resource to people, particularly to people who are just starting out in their careers.”

Camplejohn concludes that online networking should be viewed as an extension of real-world interactions: “Connect with people personally by finding common ground, then build trust and long-term relationships, rather than one-time transactions.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 2019 (Part III) – Org Charts & Lists

The new org chart SNAP connector for MS Dynamics provides rich biographic information for executives.
The new org chart SNAP connector for MS Dynamics provides rich biographic information for executives.

I’ve been covering Q2 enhancements to LinkedIn Sales Navigator this week. On Monday, I discussed their Sales Coach enhancements and on Wednesday their Alerting enhancements. There were also a set of communications enhancements to Sales Navigator (an area of strength vs. other Sales Intelligence offerings). Communication enhancements include conversation histories, improved filtering, more visible icebreakers, and InMail credit status.

Improved Sales Navigator Keyword Searching

Keyword searching speed has been improved and a guided search experience helps the user expand or narrow the search term (see image on left).

Sales Navigator custom lists were introduced last year and nearly one million have been created.  More than half of saved leads have been added to custom lists.  

Two new list features were added in Q2:

  • Bulk save and bulk remove accounts and contacts from lists.
  • Match Lead to Account – As not all leads (people) are attached to accounts, the match feature allows users to assign leads to any company for alerting purposes.

A live org chart integration is being introduced For Microsoft Dynamics which supports saved accounts.  The functionality is being delivered through LinkedIn SNAP.

The chart displays LinkedIn member profile photos and additional profile details which provide additional insights into the account.

During Q2, Lucidchart also became a SNAP partner.  Lucidchart users can now view lead recommendations, save leads to Sales Navigator, view contact profiles and updates, request introductions, and send InMails from within Lucidchart.

“Sales teams work faster and smarter when they work visually.  Bringing the power of the world’s largest professional online network into Lucidchart in a more seamless way underscores our ongoing commitment to enhance the sales experience.”

Lucidchart CEO Karl Sun

Note: This is the final chapter on the Q2 2019 LinkedIn Sales Navigator release. Part 1 | Part II

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 2019 (Part II) – Alerts

Last month, LinkedIn Sales Navigator rolled out a set of alert enhancements as part of its Q2 release. Alerts are intended to deliver “timely, relevant, and actionable insights” which allow reps to shift from researching to selling and building relationships.  As with other recommendation engines, Navigator alerts call out the “Next Best Action” with an “instant snapshot of the things that matter most about your prospects along with recommended action step for each.”

“At LinkedIn, our goal is to arm you with timely, relevant, and actionable insights so you spend less time sifting through information and more time focused on what matters: building relationships and closing deals,” stated the firm in its release notes.  “Alerts on the homepage gives you all the functionality of Newsfeed in a compressed, easy-to-use dashboard.  Don’t worry about missing anything — all of your favorite items from the old Newsfeed live on as alerts.  We’ve also added some new types of alerts as well!”

New alerts are highlighted in blue at the top of the feed.  Each alert contains an action step (e.g. Message, See Article, See List).  Alerts may be filtered by type and individual alerts may be deleted or turned off.

Three new alert categories were released

  1. An account has had a funding event
  2. A colleague shared a custom list
  3. Pending actions in Sales Navigator Coach

LinkedIn recommends that Navigator Alerts be reviewed once or twice a day.

“Every sales professional faces the challenge of how to best spend their time, maximize their productivity and close more deals,” said Camplejohn.  “That’s why Sales Navigator is now centered around alerts — making it easier for salespeople to identify important changes and prioritize the best next steps to take.”


On Monday, I covered enhancements to the Sales Navigator Sales Coach. On Friday, I will discuss other Q2 2019 enhancements.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Q2 2019 (Part I)

The new Sales Navigator Coach encourages reps to explore Sales Navigator. It is located on the redesigned home page.
The new LinkedIn Sales Navigator Coach encourages reps to explore Sales Navigator. It is located on the redesigned home page.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has been rolling out its Q2 release to customers over the past few weeks.  The new functionality includes a redesigned home page, improved keyword searching, custom list enhancements, and additional Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) connectors.

The homepage emphasizes alerts and the new Sales Navigator Coach.  The Coach is a training tool with a gamification feature – a progress meter which shows your level of product mastery, from Beginner to Expert.  Reps are shown three recommended actions.  They can either try a recommended action or watch a short training video.

All of the Coach features, with the exception of PointDrive, may be executed from a mobile device.

“This is just the beginning for Sales Navigator Coach, and we can’t wait to bring more personalized education to all our Sales Navigator customers. We’re also excited to bring Sales Navigator Coach to usage reporting later this year.”

Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn.

Several features on the homepage have been moved.  The SSI (Social Selling Index) tool is available via a drop down and the newsfeed has been replaced with an alert feed.


Note: This is part one of my profile of the Q2 2019 release. Tomorrow I will be covering enhanced alert functionality.

Quora: Once your ideal client profile is established, how do you find the company’s decision maker and how to reach out to that person?

Your ideal customer profile (ICP) defines who are your best customers and prospects. It is defined by firmographics, intent data, technographics, business signals, etc. ICPs are focused on Accounts.

Your question implies that the firm has a single decision maker. But that is generally only the case at small firms. Generally, B2B mid-sized and larger procurement decisions are made by a buying team which can consist of multiple individuals at different levels and functions / departments. For these, you should define a set of personas that cover economic decision makers, users, influencers, reviewers (e.g. technology gatekeepers).

Many of the ICP vendors support contact searching for ABM accounts. Once the ABM list is defined, they allow users to prospect for contacts by persona (job function/level/title) at ABM accounts.

I discussed this process broadly on DealSignal’s blog and on my blog.

Products which support both ICP definition and persona searching against ABM lists include (alphabetical list):

  1. Cognism
  2. D&B Datavision
  3. DealSignal Total Audience Platform
  4. DiscoverOrg AccountView
  5. InsideView Apex
  6. SparkLane Predict (UK and France)
  7. Zoominfo Growth Acceleration Platform

These vendors include emails and direct dials for contacts along with company profiles, sales triggers, financials, technographics, family trees, filings, etc.

While LinkedIn Sales Navigator does not offer an ICP tool, it includes a Buyer’s Circle which allow sales reps to quickly identify potential contacts at accounts and drag and drop them into their role. They can then review all open opportunities, including buying committees, via a single-pane Deal report which combines LinkedIn intelligence with Salesforce or MS Dynamics.

Sales Navigator Buyer's Circle supports dragging executives to their function within the buying committee.
Sales Navigator Buyer’s Circle supports dragging executives to their function within the buying committee.

Preferred B2B Communication Channels

While Sales Engagement vendors continue to expand their supported channels, email and phone remain the preferred B2B channels.  Preliminary results from a VanillaSoft survey of 2,000 executives indicated that email is the preferred communication channel.  SMS and Social Media were not listed as preferred channels with social media peaking at 24% during the need stage and falling to 15% during the evaluation stage

“We often read and hear about the rise and role of social selling at various points in the sales engagement process,” said VanillaSoft CEO David Hood, “However, as these initial findings show, more traditional channels – from email to phone to simple word-of-mouth – are actually preferred by B2B buyers.”


VanillaSoft Survey of 2,000 Executives.

Phone contact grows in importance from 39% in the Need stage to 54% in the Evaluation phase.

Social Media remains low, but it is a broad category and likely perceived as more of a consumer channel.  Even young professionals (25 to 34) had little interest in social as a sales contact channel with only 18% looking favorably upon social as a desirable sales communications channel.  41% of young professionals favored the telephone.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has had significant success as a third channel with messaging, InMail, and PointDrive.  Had LinkedIn been broken out as a distinct category, it likely would have scored higher.  SNAP connectors are now available from Outreach, SalesLoft, InsideSales, and Yesware.  VanillaSoft is in the middle of its certification process.  SalesLoft has indicated that Sales Navigator is their top ecosystem partner.

Also omitted were video meetings (e.g. WebEx, JoinMe, BlueJeans, Zoom) which are commonly used within organizations and work quite well for establishing trust with prospects, demoing a product, and walking through documents.

“Understanding these types of reality-based findings will allow smart sales professionals to align their activities to their customers’ wants and desires,” said Hood.