What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator and why combine it with your CRM system?
LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals looking to connect based on their area of expertise. The synergy of 500 Million professionals in every facet of the business world has created a social media platform with tremendous capabilities. Countless job and joint venture opportunities have been created, due to cross profession networking. Through self-promotion and professional networking, LinkedIn has become the B2B prospecting tool. While having coffee with Catherine Palin-Brinkworth, a well-respected leadership mentor and professional coach, she mentioned that LinkedIn was very helpful in prospecting new clients for her successful professional coaching business.
Since LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft, many changes and updates have been introduced that have enhanced the use of CRM systems. Specifically, the paid subscription versions provide more focus on integrating to CRM systems through the Sales Navigator system and the reviews have been positive. The LinkedIn subscription price has inflated because of the Sales Navigator tool, so you want to carefully consider your purchasing decision - Is LinkedIn right for you? - and take advantage of everything that is offered.
Sales Navigator is an amazing tool that allows you to monitor prospects easily and identify the prime customers that will enhance your business. Focusing in on customers that fit your target audience helps you to start meaningful conversations that lead to sales conversion and in some cases lasting business relationships.
To begin with Sales Navigator, you first search and identify prospects you think will best respond to your message. This builds a list of leads in an order that puts the strongest leads in front. As you follow your leads on LinkedIn you can track the most recent updates and news articles related to your prospects. These updates and news articles provide insight to the prospect and give you valuable talking points as well as strategies when you engage in conversion with the customer.
Like most professional business tools, the cost is not cheap. Starting at about $100 per month per user, it helps to be prepared when using this product. As with most new systems and tools, there will be trial and error, as you learn how to develop your customer base in the system struggle. Patience is required, as often the sales cycle for B2B can be months and for a corporate prospect can take up to 1 ½ years.
While LinkedIn Sales Navigator is about digital networking, it operates off the same principles of networking, at industry events or conferences. If you're not the type of person who can easily connect with high quality prospects at an event or convention, this tool can provide an edge. You can introduce yourself through messaging which gives you the ability to tailor your introduction. Without the follow through provided by a good CRM program, the results will be the same as any low-grade marketing program with disappointed customers and lost revenue. My first tip is making sure that you have a good sales process that works.
Understanding your Sale Process
Any effective sales process considers the selling model you employ. In the book “Zero To One.” by Peter Thiel, co-founder of eBay sites three selling tiered models are involved in the transaction.
According to Thiel, multi-million-dollar contracts are sold at the CEO or executive level using Business Development Managers to open conversations with prospects and develop connections. Contracts of this nature are not considered high volume transactions. Often there is great consideration, legal review and third-party interaction before a deal can come to fruition. Much time, energy and money has been spent prior to anyone signing a deal of this nature. When the final deal is culminated, an executive level representative is often required either through company policy or just good customer care. A mistake in this type of transaction is often costly and requires legal work to rectify.
Transactions between $5,000 and $500,000, although requiring a personal touch, happen more frequently (also called personal selling). Should something go wrong in this type of transaction, the company often has the where-withal to fix the problem or make the customer whole. Examples of this type of selling are financial markets, mortgage advising and real estate transactions.
Transactions below $200 happen in high volume. They may include impulse buys where customers are easily guided by suggestions solely in the marketing campaign. These transactions include telemarketing, most website sales or mail order, in which low cost selling methods are employed rather than having an actual salesperson or sales team do the transactions.
The essential feature with Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator provides an essential capability in its data matching process. Something important to remember, however, is that the Team version of Sales Navigator is the only version with CRM integration and Teamlink, a powerful tool. There is an individual level that does not offer CRM integration, so choose wisely. The Team version costs more so as previously stated it pays to be prepared.
It is important to build rapport and trust among your customer base. The most efficient way to do this is to use referrals through data matching. Data matching takes your existing LinkedIn contact list and joins it with your CRM database. Once we integrate the two systems together, we find actionable insight. You can examine your customers’ links and compare them to your prospect lists in LinkedIn. This allows you to request an introduction to a prospect from a current customer which is the best form of introduction in the sales world.. That's the reason why Sales Navigator really works.
Furthermore, it helps enhance your existing customer relationship, since a referral requires your customer to think of you in a positive light, prior to making the introduction. Your customers’ contact list can be an excellent source of lead and real potential revenue. It opens another audience of potential prospects.
Two tips before Jumping into Sales Navigator:
- Ensure you have a sale’s process that is working. Without a sale’s process in place, accessing a top-quality lead, will result in mishandled relationships and poor customer service, not to mention loss in revenue.
- Know your target prospect by industry; company size; purchase decisions; habits; strategies; and company policy. The more you know, the better.