The buying process has changed. According to Harvard Business Review, 90% of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach. And why should they? With changes in technology, we have the ability to narrow in on our decision makers, make personalized offers that specifically benefit the buyer and build mutually beneficial relationships along the way.
This kind of “social selling” is the new way of conducting B2B sales. In fact, social selling has doubled across all industries from 2012 through 2016. Top industries that have benefitted from social selling so far include: Software and Hardware Technology, Professional Services, Media & Entertainment, Financial Services & Insurance, and Oil & Energy.
Although these industries were among the first to adopt social selling, this shift in sales strategy can be beneficial to all types of industries, including YOURS! When you have the right tools, you can make prospecting a piece of cake. And maybe even make cold calling a thing of the past!
Why Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator is a premium search tool within LinkedIn that focuses on helping you find the right prospects to build trusted relationships. With Sales Navigator you have the ability to find and engage with the right B2B buyers via Social Selling. Social Selling is a relatively new phrase, defined by LinkedIn as, “leveraging your network and brand in order to start real conversations with decision makers, while gathering intelligence on the accounts and leads you care about.”
Sales Navigator is Different from your LinkedIn Account
One of the key differences between Sales Navigator and LinkedIn is the ability to increase your pipeline through saving leads and accounts of prospects you are interested in knowing more about. This is different than connecting via LinkedIn, as they are not notified that you have saved them as a lead. Instead of connecting right away and possibly being rejected since they do not know you or your company, you can follow their activity and reach out to them when the timing is appropriate. By also saving their company’s account, you can stay informed of things that are happening within the company as well. This allows you to have a personalized news feed, to stay up to date on job changes, new connections with someone in your network, organizational announcements and published posts that you can leverage to establish a relationship and make a sale.
How Sales Navigator Keeps You on Top of your Contacts
We’ve recognized cold outreach is becoming a thing of the past. Sales Navigator informs you of professional updates in order to gain intelligence and have a strong starting point for a personalized InMail. InMails are messages you can send through the tool that end up directly in the Inbox they have tied to their LinkedIn account. You can also engage with insights using TeamLink, which gives you the ability to leverage connections you already have and allows for warm introductions. That colleague you had in college is also connected with the VP of a company you are targeting? Ask them to introduce you! LinkedIn research found, B2B buyers are 5X more likely to engage with sales professionals via warm introductions rather than cold outreach.
Not only are you able to stay informed about what’s happening to your connections and leads, but by sharing information about your own company, you can stay top-of-mind to your network as well. When your connections see an article you shared or read a published post about your company it establishes rapport and increases your visibility and credibility with your network. LinkedIn research found that nearly 64% of B2B buyers appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business. It makes sense. People like to have an understanding of who they’re buying from. LinkedIn makes it easy to brag about your company and establish trust before ever meeting the buyer face-to-face.
Why Not Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator’s lack of integration with CRM platforms, apart from Salesforce, is one disadvantage in allowing for consistency across various sales platforms. It would be extremely valuable to have your contact lists linked directly to Sales Navigator. Or to have the ability to tie activity you see in LinkedIn back to your book of businesses.
Another negative aspect of the tool is having so much inside knowledge can sometimes make you feel like you know a prospect better than you actually do, or better than they know you. If you met a prospect you had been targeting at a networking event, you wouldn’t try to sell them something that day, would you? The same rules apply to Sales Navigator. You can’t just bombard a prospect with a contract on your first outreach and expect them to sign on the dotted line. Instead, utilize the tool for all of its capabilities. Monitor their activity, like or comment on their recent posts in a non-salesy manner. Let them get to know you too so when you do reach out, they aren’t blind-sided, wondering who this mysterious sales email is coming from and delete it without thought.
The Bottom Line
Despite these drawbacks, Sales Navigator’s ability to keep you engaged and likewise keep others engaged with your professional updates is the future of enlisting trust back into the selling process. Business professionals and companies alike enjoy using LinkedIn because it’s not like Facebook. It’s one social media platform that is tailored to highlight your professional milestones. Users feel safe and proud to update their new job title and include their actual contact information in their profiles. Their time spent in the platform provides value to their business. The more irrelevant content that creeps in, the less CEO’s and Business Owners will find value and cease to use it. So keep it professional, the future of your lead quality depends on it!
Do you believe implementing a Social Selling platform like Sales Navigator would benefit your business? Give us your thoughts in the comments!
Guest Blogger: Briana Nelson