Quora: What CRMs integrate with LinkedIn messages to help me manage recruiting and sales?

I’m not an expert on the recruitment side, but on the sales side there is an integrated Dynamics / LinkedIn Sales Navigator solution called Relationship Sales. The service displays company and contact intelligence across Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity records. Insight features include icebreakers, TeamLink introductions, Lead Recommendations, and LinkedIn intelligence. Daily synchronization ensures that active accounts and contacts are shared between the services and that Sales Navigator activities (e.g. InMails, messages, notes, tags, and call logs) are uploaded to Dynamics 365.

LinkedIn also offers a set of SNAP connectors which provide view only company and contact profiles integrated into CRM, Sales Engagement, and other platforms. Supported CRMs include HubSpot, Inform, Microsoft, Oracle Sales Cloud, Pega, Salesforce, SAP, SugarCRM, and Zoho.

SNAP requires licensing Sales Navigator Team along with the CRM.

SNAP offers a core set of features for CRM:

  • View LinkedIn profiles within Account, Contact, and Lead profiles
LinkedIn Contact Profile within Salesforce.
  • Icebreakers such as Recent Activity and Shared Connections
LinkedIn Recent Activity and Shared Connections within Salesforce
  • TeamLink connections which leverage co-worker LinkedIn networks.
  • InMails (LinkedIn’s email service which hides the email of the recipient).
  • Recommended Leads
  • Syncing of engagement activity (e.g. InMails, Notes, Messages, Phone Calls) between the CRM and LinkedIn.
  • Download Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity intelligence from the CRM to LinkedIn for Account and Lead List Building.
  • A single-pane pipeline view for maintaining Opportunity data and constructing Buyers Circles (Buying Committee members). An intriguing feature which is only available in Dynamics and Salesforce.
LinkedIn Deals View provides a single pane view for editing Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics Opportunities and Buying Circles.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an excellent offering with one major limitation — member data cannot be synced with the CRM. This means that it is view only within SNAP and must be re-keyed. It also means that there is no ongoing enrichment of accounts, contacts, and leads. As such, a B2B hygiene service should also be evaluated (e.g. D&B Optimizer, RingLead, ReachForce, InsideView, DiscoverOrg / Zoominfo).

LinkedIn Adjusts its Feed Algorithm

The LinkedIn feed algorithm has been adjusted to emphasize conversations of interest over viral content.

LinkedIn recently adjusted its feed algorithm to identify more salient topics instead of viral content.  The goal is to encourage conversations and promote niche conversations over broad topics.  The modifications place a higher premium on member interest signals.

“Our mission is to help people be more productive and successful, and it is what drives us daily,” said Senior Director of Product Management Pete Davies.  “We strongly believe that people need their professional communities to help them along the way, whether that’s current or former colleagues, peers in the same industry, or those that share similar interests or career ambitions.”

LinkedIn prioritizes posts from connections and follows along with their likes, comments, and posts.  Other factors include group posts, followed hashtags, and events “all with the goal of showing you the content and conversations that you care about.”  Prioritization is given to direct interactions; stated interests and experiences; and “explicit signals” such as with whom you’ve worked.

Davies provided the following tips to encourage conversation:

  • Post things that encourage a response. For example, if you’re posting a link, express an opinion with it.
  • Think about using the best type of post for the topic. Despite the rumors, the algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format. We have video, images, multi-images, text and long-form articles. More are on the way.
  • Use @mentions to pull other people you know into a conversation when you think they’ll have something valuable to add. Be thoughtful: only mention people that you think are likely to respond, max five is a good rule of thumb.
  • Engage in the conversation, respond to commenters and encourage back and forth.

Davies also recommended the use of hashtags, but no more than three.  Hashtags should be specific vs. general (#performancemanagement vs. #management).

Finally, Davies emphasized authenticity.  This is a theme that Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft, keeps going back to.

“Authenticity is key: all the tips above work out better when members talk about things they truly care about, in a way that’s natural for them. Genuine conversation around real experiences spark better and deeper conversation. Better conversation, in turn, leads to stronger community and connection,” blogged Davies.

Artesian Solutions Tech Sector Sales

UK social selling vendor Artesian Solutions
recognized significant growth in the technology sector in 2018, with tech sector revenue up 255% in 2018.  Artesian attributed the growth to the “vast return on investment that can be achieved by leveraging millions of data points to create new relationships, establish credibility, address individual pain points and wider market challenges, and create new opportunities.”

The Artesian social selling platform provides users with a rich set of sales triggers combined with company intelligence.

“Technology companies are increasingly investing much of their valuable brain power into crafting long-term, powerful relationships from the start of the customer journey,” said CEO Andrew Yates.  “By harnessing technologies such as Artesian they’re uncovering opportunities to act in more contextually aware, empathetic and personalised ways and in turn are seizing opportunities to differentiate in an entirely different way, rather than focusing on features, benefits and brand reputation alone.”

Yates continued describing Artesian’s value proposition to technology sales reps:

“Harnessing the most valuable company information, market data and customer insights means Artesian’s technology customers can build innovative propositions for their products and services, prioritising ideas based on solving actual business challenges in each customer segment they serve.  The sheer pace of change in the technology sector, including new entrant disruption, means enterprise providers can quickly fall behind if they’re not able establish deep, value-based relationships, especially when they may not be able to react as quickly within product development as their smaller competitors.  Artesian’s growth in the sector highlights a shift in focus towards customer experience and value-based selling.  Our technology customers are great examples of how to stay relevant and grow, even in a challenging political and economic environment.”

Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates

Artesian’s technology customers include Oracle, Amazon Web Services, SAP, BT, Infinity Tracking, and Canon.

Artesian Solutions has also shown strength selling to British banks and insurance companies.  Another 2019 object is the infusion of artificial intelligence into financial services onboarding and compliance tools. The firm has 30,000 users located in the United Kingdom and United States.

Linkedin Sales Navigator List Building, Mobile Lead Profiles, & SNAP Integration (Q3 2018)

Last month Sales Navigator began rolling out its Q3 release.  Amongst the features are a Pipeline Review and Buyers Circle (discussed last Friday), improved Search, and additional SNAP integrations.

Sales Navigator Account and Lead Search have been redesigned for speed and ease. The Account and Lead Search functions and results (see 1 below) are more prominent, offer streamlined search filters (see 2), and deliver simplified save search and alerting processes. Other enhancements include hover cards (see 3) which display company intelligence when mousing over a company name. Hover cards include a Save as Account button.

Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).
Improved Searching includes an improved navigation (1), redesigned filters (2), and account hover cards (3).

LinkedIn originally designed their mobile app to complement the desktop service but is working to make mobile a “full-featured Sales Navigator experience.” Last quarter, they focused on Account enhancements and this quarter they brought the mobile Lead experience to parity with the desktop service.

“We will continue to narrow the gap between our mobile and desktop experiences in upcoming releases, and take advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile as well.”

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

LinkedIn continues to invest in its SNAP partner program. This quarter, Adobe Sign was added as a partner and three partners (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and SalesLoft) took advantage of their version two capabilities. SFDC and MSD now broadly embed LinkedIn intelligence in Lead, Account, and Opportunity pages. Users may also send InMails from within the CRM.

SalesLoft has built research, connect, InMail, and messaging features within cadences, providing a robust LinkedIn channel alongside phone and email.

The next generation SNAP integrations are modular, providing greater flexibility around where content is displayed. New modular features include InMail support and the handling of Potential Profile Matches.

New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.
New SNAP modular elements from within Microsoft Dynamics.

LinkedIn has taken a “Switzerland approach” to its partnerships, working with both Microsoft and its competitors.

The firm reiterated its commitment to data security and GDPR compliance. “LinkedIn maintains ISO 27001 & ISO 27018 certifications, as well as a SSAE-18 certification, SOC 2 Type I report,” noted the firm in its briefing to Admins.

Finally, LinkedIn added an Ideas site to its Sales Navigator Community portal where admins can “submit, vote on, comment on and track status of ideas for how to improve Sales Navigator.”

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.”

InsideView UI Refresh

InsideView recently rolled out a beta user interface which follows a mobile first navigation structure and includes a redesigned News Feed view for followed companies.  InsideView describes the new UI as “fresh. Modern. And easier to navigate, with more engaging graphics and a common user experience across platforms – within CRM, mobile, and web.” 

The color scheme utilizes a monochrome palate with splashes of red, blue and green for accents (e.g. hyperlinks, highlighted tabs, buttons).  Unfortunately, much of the text is gray against a white background which may cause readability issues in brightly lit locations. 

Navigation is via a left-handed navigation bar.  For companies, the primary tabs are Overview, Company Information, People, and Insights.  Sub-headings under Company Information are Firmographics, Industry Profile, Financials, Family Tree, and Competitors.  Industry Profile has a third level of horizontal tabs, and really should be presented as a top-level navigation item. 

A Search bar provides a type-ahead feature to assist with company and contact searching.  The type-ahead feature begins as a Recently Viewed list of companies and contacts. 

The Insights Tab includes social integration, news filtering by agent, and keyword searching.
The Insights Tab includes social integration, news filtering by agent, and keyword searching.

The Insights Tab is an updated version of the InsideView buzz tab.  Users can view company news, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook in a single feed.  News can be filtered to a subset of their 17 agents and be shared via email, social media, or Yammer.  All four sources are keyword searchable.  Twitter is fully integrated with a Twitter handle summary along with reply, retweet, and favorite.  Facebook supports an integrated stream of posts with commenting support. 

One of the nice features that was carried forward from the old Buzz tab is the ability to switch between company posts and posts from others for Twitter and Facebook. 

In place of a static Home Page, the user is taken to the News Page which presents the user with news stories for followed companies in a grid pattern.  Users may filter the topics by one or multiple Agents (sales triggers) and Watchlists.  Individual articles may be shared with social media, email, or Yammer. 

The News view may be filtered by Watchlist and Agent.
The News view may be filtered by Watchlist and Agent.

The Company view still lacks an export to PDF feature similar to that found in D&B Hoovers and Hoovers classic.

Users will be able to switch between the classic and beta versions through April 27th.

Sales Navigator Q1 18: Revised Account Profiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Doug Camplejohn, Head of Product at LinkedIn Sales Solutions

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

Twitter Supports Verbosity! #HipHipHooray

Twitter had doubled its capacity to 280 character tweets noting that in countries where there is less character cramming (e.g., China, Japan, Korea), there are fewer full-length messages and a higher propensity to tweet.  “Twitter is about brevity,” blogged Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer, Ikuhiro Ihara.  “It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change.”

“Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit. This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending. With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced – that number dropped to only 1% of Tweets running up against the limit.

  • Aliza Rosen, Twitter Product Manager

Twitter noted that during a test, the length of tweets quickly returned to its terse style, but with few tweeters bumping up against the limit.  “We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained,” said Rosen.

So, I guess we’ll all be fine, but what does this mean for the Tweeter-in-Chief and posterity?  Will some future historian performing data analytics pick up on the change in length?

Will Trumpish remain its own special language?  Will Sad! become So Sad! And was cofeveve an acronym he can now spell out for us?

Nimble Prospector

The Nimble Smart Contacts App captures the Name, Email, Mobile Phone, Work Phone, Job Title, Company, Website URL, Physical Address, Facebook URL, Twitter URL, and LinkedIn URL contained within an email signature.
The Nimble Smart Contacts App captures the Name, Email, Mobile Phone, Work Phone, Job Title, Company, Website URL, Physical Address, Facebook URL, Twitter URL, and LinkedIn URL contained within an email signature.

Nimble partnered with CircleBack to add two contact maintenance features into its social sales and marketing CRM for individuals and teams.  Users can capture email signatures or take a photo of business cards to populate Nimble.  Email signatures are gathered from Gmail, Google Apps, Outlook / Exchange, and Office 365.  Furthermore, CircleBack appends missing fields such as social links, corporate addresses, and URLs which may not always be available.  It then updates the records to ensure they remain accurate.

“CircleBack’s collaboration with Nimble brings tremendous opportunity to leverage and enhance our open API ecosystem, and to enable Nimble to enrich contact information from social data in new and increasingly effective ways.” said Manoj Ramnani, CEO, CircleBack. “What makes Nimble such an incredible Social CRM is its ability to provide instant context to its users, and now through the power of our APIs, we want to empower Nimble to do it with greater precision.”

Nimble browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge allow sales reps to capture and enrich contacts while browsing the web.  Thus, a sales rep could be on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or a corporate website and add the contact record with a single click.  CircleBack then enriches the record with missing details.  What’s more, the sales rep doesn’t need to key information into Nimble or guess at email structures.

Nimble plans include 25 free lookups per user per month.  Additional contacts are priced in bundles between 20 cents (50 credits per month) and 10 cents (1,000 credits per month).  While credits are shared across the team and reasonably priced, they do not rollover.  Thus, the true per record cost is higher.

Nimble Prospector Pricing
Nimble Prospector Pricing

Microsoft Relationship Sales Solution

Microsoft Dynamics - LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team Lead and Contact widget display.
Microsoft Dynamics – LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team Lead and Contact widget display.

Microsoft announced Relationship Sales, a bundled version of MS Dynamics for Sales Enterprise Edition and LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team.  The new bundle will be available for sale on July 1st.  The service is priced at $135, which is “about one-half the cost of competitive solutions in the market,” according to Microsoft EVP, cloud and enterprise group Scott Guthrie.

LinkedIn also announced a set of insight enhancements for its MS Dynamics connector. Insights help sales reps by

  • Leveraging signals across email, CRM and LinkedIn to get contextual recommendations for the next best action within Dynamics 365 for Sales, facilitating introductions directly through the company’s network and sending InMail, messages and customized connection requests.

  • Engaging buyers with tailored content throughout the account lifecycle and getting account and lead updates, including news mentions and job changes.

  • Building strong relationships with existing contacts through access to LinkedIn profile details including photos, current roles and work history.

The new service displays company and contact intelligence across Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity records.  Insight features include icebreakers, TeamLink introductions, Lead Recommendations, and LinkedIn intelligence.  Daily synchronization ensures that active accounts and contacts are shared between the services and that Sales Navigator activities (e.g. InMails, messages, notes, tags, and call logs) are uploaded to Dynamics 365.

“Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365 will dramatically increase the effectiveness of salespeople by tapping into their professional networks and relationships, giving them the ability to improve their pipeline,” said Guthrie.

“Microsoft has been focused on integrating its acquisitions and the LinkedIn to Dynamics 365 [to] Office 365 is the latest [iteration],” said Constellation Research Principal Analyst Ray Wang.  “Customers already use these three products in disparate fashion spending time doing arm chair integration. What they’ve been looking for is the ability to take the data and insights in these three products and put them to work.”

Wang believes that cross-platform functionality can be quite useful.  For example, “How do you find out who knows whom inside a company? Traverse your Office 365 data, your [Dynamics 365] CRM database and your LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and you realize Joe and Abdul have known each other since university days. Let’s put Abdul on the sales call.”

As LinkedIn member content is view only, Relationship Sales does not provide any member content enrichment or data maintenance.  Thus, Relationship Sales would need to be used in conjunction with other services such as Insights Enterprise (InsideView OEM with MS Dynamics) or D&B Hoovers for CRM to obtain a full sales intelligence and data maintenance solution.

Microsoft Dynamics - LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team Account widget display.
Microsoft Dynamics – LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team Account widget display.