Do you really need a premium account on LinkedIn?

Do you really need a premium account on LinkedIn?

So by now you probably have the new LinkedIn user interface—and if you were active on LinkedIn before, are probably really missing the Advanced Search and other great features. Even the old Premium accounts (Business Plus and Jobseeker) no longer have access to Advanced and Saved Searches, tags and notes.

I feel your pain! I upgraded to Sales Navigator on LinkedIn last year and I love it. I think it’s worth every penny—and of course if you want to use the Advanced search features, save your searches, make notes and tags on prospects, keep an eye on your SSI (Social Selling Index score) and more, well, you have to upgrade to Sales Nav. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Sales Nav for FREE

    LinkedIn is offering free trials to Sales Navigator right now so it’s a good time to try it out. However, don’t upgrade to Sales Navigator until you’re ready to try it out at no cost. Ideally you will close enough new business to pay for it for a year, before you have to spend a penny!

  2. Signing up

    To sign-up for Sales Navigator, go to Sales Solutions. Be sure to give yourself an hour. Most people set it up on the fly, skipping over some important steps. Sales Navigator has predictive search, so the more time and energy you put into it the first time, the more you benefit down the line. LinkedIn will walk you through the process:

    • Import your leads and target accounts/companies.
    • Sync with sales force. Next, select your territories and job functions.
    • From the information you provide, LinkedIn will suggest accounts for you to review and save.
    • Import your LinkedIn connections (including Tags and Notes).

    Note: Sales Navigator was created for SalesForce CRM in mind and used for Account Based Marketing (ABM). Fortunately, Sales Navigator now serves individual lead generation too.

  3. Using lead builder

    LinkedIn lead builder screenshot

    LinkedIn’s Lead Search Function has vastly improved. To access it, click on Lead Builder, located to the right of the LinkedIn Sales Navigator search box.

    LinkedIn gives you 22 search filters which are so sophisticated that you no longer need to use Boolean search. For example, when you start adding titles, LinkedIn’s predictive search will suggest similar titles in a dropdown. All you have to do is select the accurate titles. This works in all the sections with the exception of the keyword search. If you choose, you can use Boolean in the keyword search, but I have found that using the other filters make it unnecessary to use Boolean search.

  4. Saving your search

    Once you get your initial search results, you can get more accurate results narrow them down by using additional filters on the left-hand side of the results page.

    When you find results you like, make sure to click on Save Search. Name your search, so you can recreate the search at a later time. To find your saved searches, click inside the LinkedIn search box. Then, scroll down to the search you want.

  5. Search enhancements

    LinkedIn has also added new search enhancement features. These give you more opportunities to filter your search results, as well as to engage. One of these features is Leads that Follow your Company, which you can use if you have a Company page. These leads probably already know about you, which may make it easier to connect and engage on LinkedIn.

    Another option is to find people who have shared experiences with you. This includes groups you both share, skills you both have, and people you both know. This gives you something to talk about when you engage with that person for the first time.

    You can also see who has posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days, which means you can easily comment on and engage with their content. Similarly, it will list who has been mentioned in the news and who has changed jobs, so you can congratulate them.

  6. Save as Lead

    Once you find a good lead, click on Save as Lead. Choose the Company/Account where you want to assign your lead. You may also save the lead without a company.

    After you save a lead, click on your lead’s name to go to their profile in Sales Navigator. This allows you to add tags and notes. LinkedIn will also give you lead recommendations for similar people who work at the same company as your lead.

  7. Search for accounts

    During the initial profile set-up, LinkedIn will suggest accounts. However, you can also search for new accounts by clicking within the search box and scrolling down to (or hovering on the) Search for Accounts link.

    Further refine your search results by keyword (where you can use Boolean search) or by geography, industry, company size, department and department size, and head count growth.

    Save the accounts by clicking in Save as Account in search or the Save as Account button within the account itself. Easily access Save Accounts in the Accounts tab.

    After you find an account you like, click on the Company name. There’s a lot of rich information within this account profile, such as all of the shares and updates from the company.

    LinkedIn will also show you how many leads you currently have at that account and will make more lead recommendations. It will also show how you are connected to individuals at the account and allow you to save them as leads. You can also add tags and notes to accounts.

    When you focus on accounts, it enables you to stay abreast of account and employee activity, as well as develop relationships with gateway people within that account.

  8. Engaging with Sales Navigator

    Sales Navigator’s new user interface, including the search enhancement features, is focused on helping people create and nurture relationships on LinkedIn. This video provides a comprehensive tutorial on how to use Sales Navigator.

    LinkedIn Sales Navigator features
  9. Social Selling Index

    Look on the right hand side of your Sales Navigator home page to access your Social Sales Index (SSI). This will let you know how you are doing on Sales Navigator. Click on the percentage sign to the right of your SSI score to see where you are excelling on Sales Navigator and where you need improvement. You will also see how you compare to people on your team, as well as in your industry and network.

  10. Lead activity

    On the left hand side of your home page you can easily access and sort your account and lead activity. LinkedIn also suggests leads in this section. Sort by Most Important or Most Recent Activity. I recommend filtering by the Most Important Activity of your saved leads.

    You can also sort by people who have changed jobs, leads who are in the news, and leads who are sharing content, accounts in the news and accounts that are sharing content. Each one of these filters gives you an opportunity to reach out to engage with your lead or key account.

    Additionally, you can click on your saved accounts. Click through to the Company page, then, sort by your key accounts activity by lead, news, and shares, as well as by company news and shares.

    Plus, you can click on your saved leads and send a direct message to your first level connections, send a free message to people who have the Open Link logo on their profile, or send an InMail to others.

    Note that you are limited in the InMails you are allowed to share. LinkedIn no longer makes a distinction between InMails and messages.

In conclusion

At first I was frustrated with LinkedIn and the limitations to the free version of the new user interface. However, since I started actively using Sales Navigator, I have become incredibly impressed with the value of the platform. I think it far exceeds the cost.

If you are not ready to invest in Sales Nav, then check out Dux-Soup Chrome Extension for Tagging and Notes (Free). Also check out Nimble for advanced social CRM features (here’s a free video and a link to try it out).

I think Sales Nav is worth its weight in gold. Not only because of these new features, but because many of my competitors won’t bother to upgrade—and that will give me a big edge. If you are in Sales, then Sales Navigator is a no-brainer. If you are in marketing, or own your own business, you might get great benefit from it. Even job seekers might find it worth their investment. And as I already mentioned, if you upgrade for the first month for free, you might have your new job, new clients or new account before you ever spend a cent!

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