I understand why organizations are jumping on-board with the new LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I completely agree that sales teams need to invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator as:

  • LinkedIn is steadily restricting functionality (that sales leaders need) from the free version. For example, with the free version, you get a limited view of prospects inside targeted companies. You do not see everyone that you should be connecting with and engaging with them. So LinkedIn Sales Navigator is helping with buyer identification and prospect research.
  • Sales Navigator can help sales and marketing leaders engage with decision markers more effectively as it provides real “insights” on what their prospects care about. It even provides real-time alerts for engagement opportunities. This is important because reach without engagement means nothing (no matter what other social media companies may tell you.) You even get news about the company so you can create messaging around trigger events. For example, for one of our clients, we took advantage of JetBlue’s IT outage to try to engage in sales conversation with tech leaders who want to learn about a new approach and a rising technology to keep it from happening again.
  • Sales Navigator is not just a prospecting tool, it’s also an account management tool as it allows you see exactly what’s happening with key decision makers in targeted accounts. Because of LinkedIn Sales Navigators “insights” capabilities, LinkedIn becomes a powerful CRM tool especially when you integrate it with Salesforce or other CRM tools.
  • LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator helps you focus on the right prospects – It even provides you with customized lead suggestions based on the accounts in your CRM and your previous searches.

But LinkedIn Sales Navigator Alone is Not the Answer

Unfortunately, too many organizations think that LinkedIn Sales Navigator alone, will lead their sales and marketing teams toward more leads, sales conversations and revenues. In fact, one of the world’s largest software companies called LinkedIn Sales Navigator and the training they provide their “social selling strategy.”

But, all the “lead suggestions” and insights won’t help if you don’t have the right messages, the right content and the right approach to enable sales using LinkedIn. If you don’t have a customer development strategy or process – then you can’t have revenue performance management where you optimize your LinkedIn marketing and social selling efforts to meet sales opportunity and revenue objectives.

You see, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great platform that’s worth the investment because it can make your sales and marketing teams more effective. But it’s still just a tool (one piece of the puzzle.)  You cannot just give your sales team LinkedIn Sales Navigator (and the training they provide) and expect to get anything more than just reach.

You Need to Focus on the Right People…

Now, I know you’re thinking – “I already know we need the right people – that is management 101.” Not only do you need the right people, but you need them in the right roles. There needs to be defined roles in the LinkedIn marketing and social selling program to create a sales enablement environment where prospects are easily transitioned through the different phases of the buying cycle. This is the only way you’ll move from lead to revenue using what we call a “social product/solution marketing program.”

You Need to Focus on the Right Product/Solution Value…

Many times, organizations and their sales and marketing leaders assume that prospects will view their product the same way they do – and see the same value. But quite often, as my clients have seen it first hand, this is not the case. For example, a data integration company was focusing their content and messaging on “XX% more sales leads” – a promise that is being discussed by other data integration companies as well as lead generation companies. It’s a message that was becoming unbelievable to prospects.

By focusing on how their solutions can help sales leaders become more customer-centric and engage with B2B buyers in a different way throughout the sales process, my client was able to make more connections, build a LinkedIn community that’s filled with Fortune 1000 sales and marketing leaders from companies like Cisco, HP, Dell, Staples, Iron Mountain, Comcast and get more sales conversations.

If your sales and marketing team’s profiles do not communicate their business value which is relevant to prospects and your solutions value the right way, your social selling success will be limited no matter how much you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Most Importantly You Need to Focus on the Process – Your LinkedIn Marketing and Social Selling Strategy

Jay Baer from ConvinceandConvert.com says that many sales and marketing executives are falling into the trap of thinking about LinkedIn (and social media in general) through a tactical prism instead of a strategic one. He’s alarmed at the number of B2B organizations and agencies that are jumping into social media platforms like LinkedIn and investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator to take “advantage” of audience acquisition and engagement without having an actual strategy. This is why they’re not generating many leads using LinkedIn – and the ones they’re getting are cold.

Strategy is the biggest difference between a B2B sales and marketing team that drives demand and enjoys consistent sales leads and revenue opportunities and one that just has a presence and lots of connections. And, I’m sorry to say – but I’ve also found that most sales and marketing leaders on LinkedIn do not have a strategy. They have a shopping list of tactics that need to be completed. But, there’s no cohesive strategy and that’s why most sales and marketing leaders that we talk to say that have lots of connections but very few sales opportunities.

To effectively drive demand and generate leads on LinkedIn, you need a LinkedIn presence strategy, a thought leadership strategy, a content strategy, an intelligent prospecting strategy, a community building and community engagement strategy, a lead generation strategy, a lead engagement strategy and a strategy for how you’ll integrate LinkedIn with other sales and marketing initiatives. You can read this post to see how you should be taking a more strategic approach on LinkedIn.

What are your thoughts about LinkedIn Sales Navigator? Comment below and keep in mind, while LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool, it’s just a tool. You need to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together if you want to find, attract, engage and convert “connections” to revenue opportunities.