LinkedIn Launches A Standalone Sales Navigator To Help Users With “Social Selling”

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LinkedIn is fleshing out its tools for salesepople today with a new version of its Sales Navigator. The biggest difference — the Sales Navigator is now a standalone product, rather than an additional set of features on the main LinkedIn site.

Vice President of Sales Solution Mike Derezin and Group Product Manager Sachin Rekhi walked me through the new product last week. The idea, basically, is to give you up-to-date information from LinkedIn about potential leads.

Rekhi argued that the Sales Navigator is part of “the transformation in how you buy and sell products,” particularly when it comes to business-to-business sales. The old system of cold calling is increasingly ineffective, he said: “Buyers are essentially saying, ‘I want you to find me if I’m the right person, I want you to be informed about me, I want you to go in through a warm introduction.’”

He added that social selling consists of four main steps — establishing a presence on social networks, finding the right people, engaging with those people, and building trust.

The Sales Navigator tries to cover all four points. It will recommend the sales leads you should be connecting with on the site, allow you to track updates and news related to important leads and companies (thanks to the recent acquisition of Newsle), and find mutual connections — including other people at your company — who can introduce you.

In the past, we’ve suggested that LinkedIn might become more competitive with Salesforce, but in this case, the familiar phrase about a product being complementary rather than competitive seems to be true. In fact, the Sales Navigator integrates with both Salesforce and (to a lesser extent) Microsoft Dynamics.

You may also have noticed that Rekhi’s outline of social selling doesn’t include, well, actually making a sale. So how do you know if the Sales Navigator is worth the investment?

Well, Rekhi said that according to LinkedIn’s social selling index, salespeople who take this approach are 51 percent more likely to hit their quotas, compared to those who don’t. Plus, he suggested customers can always use their own products and systems to measure the return on investment.

The new Sales Navigator is currently available for desktop and mobile web, and the company has plans to launch mobile apps as well. You can read more in this LinkedIn blog post.

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