These days, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a must-have tool for any sales tech stack.
We’ll start off by explaining why that is the case. Then, you’ll get 7 actionable, helpful tips for prospecting on LinkedIn. By the end of this, you’ll walk away with a big-picture understanding of Sales Nav’s importance and a tactical grasp of using it.
Quick history lesson. Knowing the backstory puts it all into perspective.
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by a fellow named Reid Hoffman. Within a year, he enlisted a founding core and raised capital from a little VC you may have heard of called Sequoia Capital
Fast forward 8 years. It’s 2011, and LinkedIn now has millions of users and goes public.
By 2013, at the age of 10, LinkedIn has 225 million users.
A few short years later, Microsoft announces the acquistion of LinkedIn for the modest price of 26.2 billion dollars.
Now, it the network has over 660 million members across the world.
Of those 660 million, about half of them log in at least once a month.
And of the ~300 million active monthly users, half of them are logging in once a week.
Can you think of a B2B database with more users?
Didn’t think so.
Here’s the takeaway: We discussed the ramifications of data decay in Face the Facts: Data Degradation is Killing Your Pipeline. While static databases degrade by 30% or more every year, LinkedIn is a “living database.” Meaning, it has users that keep the profiles up to date. While it’s not perfect data, it’s virtually unmatched by anyone else.
This fact is why prospecting on LinkedIn is a go-to solution for so many sales professionals.
7 Tips for Prospecting on LinkedIn
Now, we’ll review the finer points of how you can squeeze the value out of their functionality.
Disclaimer: Again, LinkedIn isn’t perfect, but it’s the best bet for most companies as a data source. Keep in mind that if you sell to a vertical that has low LinkedIn user activity, you’re not going to see the same benefit as a highly engaged segment like Computer Software or Internet.
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#1: LinkedIn Offers Effective Lead AND Account Search Query Options
Let’s start with the basics if you’re new.
So in the Sales Nav interface, it’s simple & intuitive to either build a search query for leads or accounts.
For leads (contacts), there are a number of options to choose from. Titles, keywords, geographies, and industries are used the most by everyday Sales Nav users.
To dig deeper, you can also use fields like “past company” which can help you find former clients. Segmenting by “years at current company” might also help you find stakeholders that hold more weight at their company.
And for accounts, you have the ability to leverage all types of filters. You can find more about account searches in How to Build a Target Account List with LinkedIn.
You can also build out what are referred to as “boolean” searches to tighten segmentation even further.
This means you can use:
- Quotes [“”]
- Parentheses [()]
This allows you to hone your search results with queries like (Director AND Sales) NOT (area OR regional). It’s always easier to tighten the search query than sift thru bad results.
#2: Organizing Lists of Leads and Accounts is Easy
Searching helps you find your targets. Lists helps you organize them.
For both contacts and accounts, you can leverage lists as a container for those records.
You might want to track a tiered lists of your target accounts, high value prospects, and so forth.
In particular, account-list building is especially powerful.
The reason for this is because you can create a list of accounts, and then search within those accounts.
You might be asking, “so what?”
The thing is, there’s one issue with lead searches on their own. Sometimes, it’s not perfect. You might get prospects that just simply don’t match up with your intentions.
But, if you search for leads within a saved account list, you can ensure you’re only seeing the prospects associated with the accounts you care about.
It’s actually pretty nifty.
#3: Tracking Triggers is Automated
We talk about triggers all the time. The reason we believe in triggers is because it gives sales reps a way to start meaningful, customer-centric conversations in outbound efforts.
However, without LinkedIn, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole searching online for triggers and newsworthy topics.
With LinkedIn, you get hours of your life back because they’re all compiled for you!
For both account and lead searches, things like new hires, funding, and key news articles are automatically tracked. This makes it incredibly easy to speed up the research phase of your outbound process.
#4: Tags Can Boost Segmentation & Productivity
Tagging is likely one of the more underused features of LinkedIn.
They’re helpful because they serve as customizable identifiers to enable you categorize accounts and leads.
In practice, let’s say an account that’s listed as “Computer Software” but is actually a services company, then you might tag them as Provider Type: Services.
That way, you can exclude those types of companies from cluttering your search results in the future.
The same logic can be applied in other ways to customer accounts, unqualified accounts, etc.
#5: LinkedIn Offers Predictive Suggestions
There’s the “people also viewed,” recommendations that you’re bound to see.
Also keep in mind that you can find accounts similar to your successful customers by clicking the actions icon and then selecting, “Show Similar.” It’s not perfect, but it just might help you find the kinds of accounts you need to target.
#6: There are Limits to Invitations and Connecting
According to LinkedIn, you can have 30,000 first degree connections.
Most users, even sales reps, won’t hit that limit in a short time.
Still, you should also know that you can get blocked by LinkedIn for sending too many invitations or for getting a large amount of invitations ignored.
It’s their version of “spam protection.”
Keep yourself under the connection invitation limit by revoking invitations. You can rescind by going here. Since you can only have up to 200 out there at a time, it’s important to prune the number back if it gets too high.
#7: LinkedIn Does Not Allow for Export 😞
This is the one shortfall of LinkedIn (at least for salespeople).
With all this great data, there’s no easy way to:
- Get contact email addresses
- Export information.
- Validate data accuracy
This is where Lead Generation tools like DataScout come into play.
With DataScout and LinkedIn together, reps can easily harness and compile records into Lists within the FoxBound platform.
Here’s where data degradation can be actually handled.
As contacts are added, a data validation algorithm runs in the background.
In turn, emails are generated and categorized based on the results.
- Valid: these email addresses return a positive ping to our servers, which indicates the prospect can receive messages
- Catch-All: these are emails that cannot be validated for certain by any verifier. That’s because no matter what email you try to verify for that domain, the server will return a positive response.
- Invalid: The record’s email either can’t be. found, it bounced previously, or it’s just not accurate
Remember, it’s far better for you and your organization to only import valid data into your CRM and sales campaigns. Refer back to #4 here if you need to see the impacts of using bad data.
Takeaway: Tools like this pick up where LinkedIn leads off and gives you a way to make the data actionable.
If you use, or plan to use, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, then Lead Generation tools come with the territory.
It’s like pasta & sauce.. one with without the other won’t do much for you!
You can learn more about these solutions and what to look for in our Lead Generation Buyer’s Guide.
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