The following is a Quora post answering the question, “Does LinkedIn Sell Your Info?”
This is likely to fall into a semantics question. If data is employed in the aggregate and your personally identifiable information is not disclosed, then I would argue that your information is not sold. Likewise, if you are presented an ad because your LinkedIn profile conforms with a target audience definition, your data is also not being sold.
I can’t answer for LinkedIn Recruiter, but can answer in the Sales and Marketing context.
LinkedIn offers a sales product called Sales Navigator. Users can view company and contact information on Navigator just as they can on the free service. It even supports viewing this data within third-party SNAP products. However, Navigator and SNAP are view only. Sales reps cannot download your profile or sync it with any of their partner platforms. They also restrict display of your email and phone information to your direct connects as well as other content you flag as restricted.
LinkedIn Marketing sells advertising on LinkedIn and Bing based upon your profile attributes. Advertisers define their target audience across a broad set of firmographic, career, and location variables, but these segments are not provided directly to the marketer. Instead, they are used for advertising display. Thus, your data isn’t sold, just your eyeballs.
LinkedIn treats its member’s data with respect. Microsoft, its parent company, has called for a US version of GDPR, the European data privacy standard. CEO Satya Nadella stated that “privacy is a fundamental human right” on an April 2018 earnings call and said that the firm has implemented an “end-to-end privacy architecture” which is GDPR compliant.
As part of their Q1 2019 release, LinkedIn rolled out a set of new SNAP (Sales Navigator Application Platform) partners including Altify, Drift, G2 Crowd, and Mixmax.
The Drift partnership allows sales reps to “continue website conversations” after a prospect drops off of a Drift chat: “sometimes people leave your conversation abruptly – it happens. But as an SDR, that’s a potential meeting walking out the door. So what do you do? Well now you can send a connection request or follow up message with InMail right from within Drift.”
integration also displays contact and company intelligence including shared
connections while a sales rep is chatting with a prospect visiting her website
(see image on right).
the days of toggling back and forth between LinkedIn and your ongoing sales
conversation,” said Drift Product Marketer Daniel Murphy. “Say goodbye to
awkward lags in conversations. Prospects will never again have to wait for a
response while SDRs search LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Salesforce to determine
if they’re a good fit. Now they can research a prospect’s company, see
mutual connections, and grab other insights and conversation starters – all in
gathers intent data from 24 million technology searchers. Intent data is
collected from G2 profile and category views along with competitor comparisons.
Sales reps are notified when followed accounts are researching on G2
based on contact connections, sales preferences, search histories, and profile
“People don’t buy today as a result of cold calls and emails. The power is in the hands of the buyers doing more research than ever before. As sales teams, we need to focus on accepting the modern buyer journey and connecting to the right buyers at the right time. We’ve always been aligned with LinkedIn on this vision, and this integration helps us make it a reality.”
G2 Chief Revenue Officer Matt Gorniak
SNAP integration supports InMail and Connection requests and profile views from
org-chart software now displays insights and helps users identify key buyers
across an organization.
also noted that it will be available within the Salesforce Winter 2019 release.
Salesforce admins can install the application from the Lightning Setup
Console instead of the AppExchange.
One problem that
has long dogged sales intelligence vendors is ongoing training and product
exploration. To encourage exploration, Sales Navigator added a coaching
feature to extend product knowledge. Sales Navigator Coach is a new
dashboard that “suggests actions for customers to take and links to short
learning videos.” Actions are associated with core workflows. The
videos run thirty to forty seconds.
Finally, GDPR opt-outs are being added to PointDrive presentations. PointDrive recipients will be able to revoke viewer tracking permission, effectively anonymizing their viewing data from sales reps.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator began rolling out its Q1 release two weeks ago. New features include custom list sharing, Sales Navigator Coach, list building exclusion filters, new Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) integrations, and an expanded set of technologies selects.
Sales Solutions VP of Product Management Doug Camplejohn was most excited about
custom list sharing, noting that that “selling is a team sport.”
can share lists with other users on their contracts, share comments, and sort
by “Last Updated” date so sales reps can stay apprised of updated leads and
accounts. Sales Navigator notifies users when lists are being shared with
them. However, lists reside only in LinkedIn and are not downloadable.
“Now we’re taking lists up a notch by adding the ability for you to share these custom lists between your team members and have comments shared as well. Sales Development Reps can collaborate with Account Executives on their team and share progress on breaking into new accounts. Relationship Managers and Customer Success Representatives can collaborate around the health of their named accounts throughout the customer lifecycle. And Marketing can easily share lists from events with the teams following up on new leads. The possibilities are endless.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management, LinkedIn Sales Solutions
long described Sales Navigator as a system of engagement that worked with
systems of record (CRM) and communication (email, social). Much of the
initial focus was on lead messaging and SNAP connectors, but the firm is now
placing a greater focus on teamwork. Shared lead lists are “the first
step in a broader strategy to enable collaboration across your selling teams,”
wrote the firm.
Lead lists were released in Q4 and quickly employed by users. 250,000 custom lists were created within the first six weeks of availability. A quarter of active users created custom lists post-launch.
also save Leads and Accounts to custom Lists from partner applications via
their broad set of SNAP partners.
stated that “sharing increases visibility of and fosters collaboration for your
pipeline.” Custom lists help teams organize and plan for key leads and
accounts within lists: “Sharing allows them to collaborate with others as they
research, contact, and advance relationships with those Leads and Accounts.”
track team outreach to prospects, share leads with managers to discuss
strategy, segment by source, and customize follow-on activities.
Other screening enhancements include the expansion of technology selects to 30,000 technologies and the addition of seven categories of exclusion criteria for leads: company, geography, seniority level, title, function, industry and school. Account exclusions are provided for geography and industry. Camplejohn noted that exclusion filters were one of the top user requests.
Part II covers SNAP partners, SFDC Lightning Setup Console integration, and the new Sales Navigator Coach
LinkedIn rolled out its Q4 Sales Navigator release in November, but I failed to blog about it. (Q1 will be covered next week in this blog.) The release contains several nascent initiatives including custom lists and the collection of “Reports To” data to assist with organizational mapping. Other feature sets include three new alerts, an improved accounts center, PointDrive activity logging, and additional SNAP connectors.
beginning to collect data around who reports to whom. As sales reps or
others learn about reporting relationships, they can add them to executive
profiles. The data is then shared across the LinkedIn contract with
co-workers but not more broadly. Following after last quarter’s support
of buying committees, it is evident that LinkedIn is looking to infuse
additional project and reporting relationships within Sales Navigator.
laying the foundation for full-blown org charts by adding a new “Reports To” field
on the Lead Page,” blogged Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions Doug
Camplejohn. “Once you learn who someone’s manager is, you can add that
info to their page by searching for a name or browsing our recommendations. Any
additions you or your colleagues make will only appear to those in your
company’s Sales Navigator contract. So, the next time you or a team member
looks that lead up, you’ll see who they report to, who added that connection,
and a reporting history.”
number of custom lists of accounts or leads may be built within the LinkedIn
desktop or mobile app. Users may post notes on saved leads or accounts and
filter the lists by people who have changed jobs in the last 90 days, people
who have posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, companies who have had senior
leadership changes in the past 3 months, etc.
LinkedIn does not yet support custom list uploading. Custom Sharing is part of the Q1 release.
LinkedIn added three new alerts:
Someone at a saved account viewed your profile
A saved account has just raised funding
A saved lead has engaged with LinkedIn posts from your company
accompany six current alerts:
A saved lead started a position at a new company
A saved lead has a new position within the same company
A saved lead viewed your profile
A potential lead recently joined a saved account
A saved lead has accepted your connection request
A saved lead was mentioned in the news
now included in the main menu bar of both the desktop and mobile editions. Camplejohn
noted that LinkedIn has improved the “signal-to-noise ratio” of its alerts.
our Alerts as a trusted sales advisor tapping you on the shoulder with
information about your saved leads and accounts when it’s most important and
relevant to you,” said Camplejohn.
simplified its admin experience and “made it much easier to do tasks from
assigning users to managing groups.” LinkedIn also unified its
administration module across Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Learning, and LinkedIn
Searching was added to the Sales Navigator mobile app, bringing it to list
building parity with the desktop application. Earlier this year, LinkedIn
enhanced its company and lead profiles, also bringing them to parity with the
“LinkedIn’s recent updates to its Sales Navigator management tool makes it a more robust platform for sales teams. More importantly, the moves to bring more of its desktop features to the mobile app are evidence that LinkedIn finally understands how crucial a mobile experience is when designing a sales tool focused on lead management.”
Amy Gesenhues, MarTech Today
Sales Navigator’s multi-media sharing application, will begin writing activity
history back to Microsoft Dynamics. Salesforce PointDrive sync will come
in 2019. PointDrive presents documents and video to end users as a
landing page and tracks views and shares.
you send that pricing proposal to a prospect in PointDrive and members of the
buying committee engage with it, you’ll be able to see that activity in both
Sales Navigator and your CRM,” blogged Camplejohn.
to expand its SNAP
partnerships, adding Zoom as their first
web conferencing partner. Users can now hover over an attendee name and
view Sales Navigator intelligence including their profile photo, title, and
launched v2 SNAP integrations which provide broader access to Sales Navigator
Salesforce Winter Lightning release, admins will be able to configure Sales
Navigator and add support for Person accounts without having to go to the
This year, Sales Navigator focused on improved functionality and display for accounts, leads, and list building in their mobile and desktop applications; SNAP integrations; GDPR compliance and security; CRM opportunity management and buyers circles; alerting; employment analytics; and PointDrive CRM integration. Details on earlier releases are available in my blog: Q1, Q2, Q3.
Microsoft announced that InsideView Insights, it’s OEM integration for Microsoft Dynamics, will no longer be available as a free service. Current users will continue to receive the integrated sales solution through August 15th at no charge. Customers may continue to use Insights, without disruption, simply by signing a license agreement directly with InsideView. To expedite the contracting process, InsideView is offering early bird pricing as low as $16 per user per month through the end of March. Licensors would then begin paying for the service after the August deadline. New user bundles are initially available for $399 per month for up to ten seats. After March 31, the new user bundle price rises to $499 per month for up to ten seats.
c“Our goal is
to make it easy to switch,” said VP of Global Alliances, Heidi Tucker.
“All they [customers] have to do is make a decision, there’s no need to
reinstall the software.”
Insights is a fully featured sales intelligence service delivered as a native application within Dynamics 365. It is equivalent to InsideView for Sales and available on AppSource. Key features include
Build-a-list Account and Contact
Integrated viewing of Account,
Contact, and Lead records
“Stare and compare” record updates
and “add contact” to CRM
Account profiles with family tree
hierarchies, competitors, SEC filings, and income statements
Alerting and watchlists (daily
Connections (six degrees tool)
VP of Product and Solution Marketing Joe Andrews described the six-year
Microsoft relationship as a “long, fruitful OEM partnership” which resulted in
more than 2,000 joint customers and more than 100,000 users.
actively transitioning customers to a direct relationship and making sure they
have no disruption for their sellers,” said InsideView CMO Tracy Eiler.
“The product experience is the same; this is a licensing change where now
they will contract directly with InsideView. We’re set up to help them with
on-boarding new users and continuing to make current users successful.”
Once customers transition to an InsideView license, they will be assigned a Customer Success Manager and have improved access to training programs. A direct license also improves InsideView’s ability to cross-sell its DaaS and Marketing Services including Apex (ICP/TAM), Refresh (Automated Data Hygiene), Enrich (Real-Time Match & Append), and Target (Prospecting).
InsideView, continuing to license Insights is seamless, with customers simply
needing to sign a contract directly with InsideView “InsideView Insights
looks and acts like the Insights you’re familiar with and comes with
InsideView’s excellent customer support,” wrote the firm in an FAQ. “When
you switch to a direct license, you will not notice any change and all your
data, watchlists, and previous preferences will remain the same.“
deals provide a set of new customers and income, they often leave the OEM partner
disintermediated. The platform maintains the relationship with the end
users and it is more difficult to conduct user research, provide training,
support users, or improve the workflow and user experience.
Insights no longer holding a preferred position within Dynamics, customers must
choose whether to license Insights or transition to competitive offerings from
LinkedIn (a Microsoft subsidiary), Dun & Bradstreet, Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg,
or other partners.
InsideView described LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a complementary service. Sales Navigator is part of the Relationship Sales bundle for Microsoft Dynamics. InsideView listed the following reasons to license Insights alongside Relationship Sales:
Deeper account research and has broader account coverage
Find and research executives who are not on LinkedIn
Access a broader connections network that includes LinkedIn, email
contacts, partners, alumni, work colleagues, and other social networks all in
Find direct email addresses
Add company and contact data to Dynamics 365
Update your CRM accounts and contacts for higher data quality
Keeps users in CRM to boost usage
Minimizes extra training – fully integrated into Dynamics with an
intuitive user experience
InsideView did not provide a reason for the end of the OEM deal, but it is likely due to Microsoft looking to expand the number of partner solutions it offers including its own LinkedIn SNAP integration. When the OEM deal was originally signed, Dynamics CRM had a smaller market share and fewer partners. Since then, Microsoft has been the second fastest growing CRM behind Salesforce and has added most of the key sales intelligence and B2B DaaS vendors as partners.
Oracle recently acquired DataFox, providing them with access to 2.8 million company profiles, including funding and M&A data. DataFox “gives customers real-time insight to know when a business exhibits noteworthy behaviors.”
“The combination of Oracle and DataFox will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications with an extensive set of trusted company-level data and signals, enabling customers to reach even better decisions and business outcomes,” wrote Oracle’s EVP of Applications Development Steve Miranda to customers and partners.
Oracle provides the following deal shorthand:
Oracle Cloud Applications + DataFox = Even Smarter Decisions
DataFox is growing its database at 1.2 million companies annually. The database will deliver real-time insights into its cloud-based ERP, CX, HCM and SCM platforms.
In a bit of extreme puffery, Oracle described DataFox as the “the most current, precise and expansive set of company-level information and insightful data.” Bureau van Dijk and Dun & Bradstreet have 50X the active company coverage including detailed global linkage, risk models, and multi-year financial data. Bureau van Dijk also offers the Zephyr database, an M&A and funding dataset with over twenty years of closed, pending, and rumored deals. Where DataFox may have an advantage is in their focus on mid-size and emerging companies which have been recently funded, but this is a small subset of the company universe.
DataFox will continue to sell and support its products. However, the DataFox roadmap and product line are fluid:
“Oracle is currently reviewing the existing DataFox product roadmap and will be providing guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle’s standard product communication policies. Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle’s review of DataFox’s product roadmap are at the sole discretion of Oracle. All product roadmap information, whether communicated by DataFox or by Oracle, does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.”
Along with AI insights, Oracle called out the needs for quality data to back data maintenance, artificial intelligence, and business signals.
DataFox has over 275 customers including Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company, Outreach, Live Ramp, and Twilio.
DataFox raised $19 million in funding. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In January 2017, DataFox was valued at $33 million by Pitchbook.
Oracle should study Salesforce’s acquisition of Jigsaw (later renamed Data.com) as a cautionary tale. Software companies struggle in selling data files as company and contact data decays rapidly and it is difficult to push data quality above 90% absent large editorial investments. Furthermore, Jigsaw never represented more than 1% of Salesforce revenue so quickly fell off of the company’s internal radar. The firm is now looking to decommission Data.com and asking its AppExchange partners to fill the sales intelligence and data hygiene gap left in its absence. Coincidentally, DataFox is one of Salesforce’s Lightning Data partners.
On the positive side, LinkedIn hit $1.3 billion last quarter and has thrived under Microsoft’s ownership. However, LinkedIn was a much more mature company at acquisition than DataFox with multiple revenue streams and a unique user generated content model. Microsoft has provided LinkedIn with development capital and allowed it to maintain its independence. It has also looked to leverage LinkedIn and Microsoft strengths when building sales and marketing products, instead of simply copying other vendors. For example, Sales Navigator continues to respect the privacy of its members while using aggregated data to provide hiring and employment insights that other companies cannot deliver. Navigator has also added strong messaging tools (chat, InMail, and PointDrive) which work around its lack of company emails. Other innovations include SNAP workflow connectors, its new Pipeline CRM updating tool, and Buyer’s Circle for identifying the buying committee at large firms.
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.
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.