Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to generate leads

What LinkedIn is for varies wildly depending on who you ask. Some people see it as a 21st-century replacement for the CV, some use it as a digital billboard. Whether “non-work” content belongs there is contentious; spend any time looking at your feed and “This isn’t Facebook” will definitely appear.

Beyond the basic, free-to-use version, LinkedIn Premium has specific setups for different professional uses. Alongside Recruiter and Learning, Sales Navigator is designed for generating leads. If you’ve not tried this incredibly powerful tool, here are 6 key advantages it holds over the standard version.

6 Reasons to generate leads with Sales Navigator

1. 30 days free trial

Who doesn’t love a free tool? If you’re not sure whether Sales Navigator is for you, LinkedIn will happily give you a free month of use to test the waters. Be aware that you’ll need to enter payment details to access the trial, but you will only be billed once the 30 days have elapsed.

2. 22 filters

We bang on about personas like there’s no tomorrow, and Sales Navigator has everything you need to tailor searches to your exact personas. If you’re after Marketing Directors called Nicki, with 7 years’ experience working at a Retail company with 54 employees, based in Leeds, you can find them. I’ve had a look and there’s only 1, but the point still stands.

3. Save searches and notifications

Rather than remembering your criteria and starting from scratch every time, Sales Navigator lets you save your searches. Set 2 or 3 that you will always use, such as one for Marketing Managers, and one for Marketing Directors. Then break those down further using whichever filter best suits you. Just like with email list segmentation, these saved searches will come in handy when promoting seminars you’re hosting or expos you’re attending.

LinkedIn can also notify you when a new person matches the criteria. If you’ve not been able to win over a specific Marketing Director, it’s good to know when they move on. You might have more luck speaking to their replacement.

4. Notes

I know, we go on and on about how absolutely everything should be stored in CRM. But if you set a chunk of time aside to prospect on LinkedIn, the notes feature can be a godsend. Use notes to highlight leads who you contacted on LinkedIn, but aren’t interested, or don’t respond.

5. InMails

In LinkedIn Standard, you can only send messages to your connections. It’s painfully common to accept a connection request, then be immediately get hit with a sales pitch. In Sales Navigator, you can reach beyond your network using InMails.

Sales Navigator gives you between 20 and 50 InMails per month. What’s more, if one of your InMails is replied to within 90 days, you get the credit back. This system encourages you not to squander your allocation. InMails have a three times higher response rate than normal emails, so aim at leads who aren’t engaging with your emails.

6. Social Selling Index

Social Selling Index, or SSI, is a measure of how effectively you’re using Sales Navigator. It is composed of 4 elements, worth up to 25 points each. “Establish your professional brand” is based on how complete your profile is, from basics like a photo, to whether you have endorsements and media elements. “Find the right people” rates your search activity, and how many leads you save into your lists. “Build relationships” looks not just at how many connections you have, but how many are VP level and what percentage of your connection requests get accepted. “Engage with insights” separates the people who have created a profile then left from those who are regularly interacting with content, and posting content that others respond to.

Having your activity broken down in this way is unique to social media platforms. If you aren’t getting the results you want, you can see why. Maybe you’re great at putting out engaging content, but your network simply doesn’t have the right people in. Or you’re building good lists, but the invites you send to connections aren’t hitting the mark.

Even better, you can compare your SSI to your colleagues. Not great at writing content? Check who you know with a high score and get their help!

Start Navigating LinkedIn

LinkedIn are quite coy about how many users Sales Navigator has, but most estimates put the number at about 500,000, with roughly 40% active on a monthly basis. From these figures, it’s clear that by using these tips, even as a complete beginner, you’re playing on a much less crowded field than the inbox. Put these strategies into action and start raking in leads!


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