The sales cycle is complex, so to make it work as effectively as it should, sales and marketing teams need strategies and platforms that can tie their respective systems together and simplify each process.
LinkedIn is today’s preeminent social platform for business professionals. According to a recent study by Hootsuite, 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn to help make a purchasing decision. Therefore, when updates are made that enhance or add functionality to the site, marketers should take early note and evaluate those changes relative to the ways they market their businesses and / or clients.
Earlier this month, LinkedIn implemented updates to its Sales Navigator tool. These updates were made in an effort to enable sales and marketing teams to work more efficiently and collaboratively. As a result, we’re happy to report that Sales Navigator is now more powerful than ever. Below, we briefly explain the specifics behind each update and provide context to help you understand how they may impact your sales and marketing efforts on LinkedIn.
Update #1: Integration
What happened: LinkedIn has integrated its Sales Navigator tool with LinkedIn Campaign Manager. This enables marketers to target accounts and leads that their sales team is pursuing. As a result, there will be two new ad groups within LinkedIn Campaign Manager: Sales Navigator Leads and Sales Navigator Accounts.
Why it’s important to you: Marketers can still control the creative, budget and go-live/end dates, but now, they’ll be able to market to leads and companies that their sales reps are following on LinkedIn.
This system works in reverse as well. Sales reps will be able to see how their prospects are interacting with their marketing campaigns, and they can receive alerts when any of their accounts have engaged with their company’s sponsored content.
I also recommend using LinkedIn’s lookalike modeling to find audiences who are similar to your prospects and customers. This is a really effective way to expand your reach.
Update #2: Enhancements to the Sales Navigator Application Platform
What happened: The platform now integrates with HubSpot CRM, Infor CRM, and Zoho CRM (it’s already integrated with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics). Last year, LinkedIn launched integration with Gmail, and in 2018, that functionality will come to Microsoft Outlook. The folks at LinkedIn are also bringing the platform to your sales stack by opening up integration powered by two application program interfaces (APIs) for display and analytics.
Why it’s important to you: Now, you will be able to access LinkedIn data from many of the technology platforms you are using on a regular basis, be it email, CRM or mobile apps. You can use advanced reporting from the platform to set goals, analyze results and see real-time updates from your team.
Update #3: Keep Your Data Clean with LinkedIn Data Validation
What happened: In 2018, LinkedIn will offer Enterprise Edition customers a program to enhance their CRM data quality and get actionable insights. There will be a “No longer at company” flag to alert users when a lead or contact has left the company that they are mapped to in your CRM.
Why it’s important to you: You and your sales team will have real-time insight into contact updates, giving you the chance to reach out to a different contact at that organization. It also opens up the door for a conversation with the contact that left to discuss their needs at their new employer.
Update #4: Manage Your Pipeline with Dealbook
What happened: LinkedIn acquired a company called Heighten, who has built several sales productivity enhancing tools. They will be integrating a feature called Dealbook into Sales Navigator, whereby sales reps and managers can view deals, identify the buying cycle and edit deal information right in Sales Navigator. These updates will automatically be synced back to your CRM, and you will be alerted when updates occur that could influence deals you have in the works.
Why it’s important to you: Managers don’t always have the information they need to know where their team’s progress is in the pipeline. This tends to make that task a guessing game. They may be wasting valuable time gathering information when they should be strategizing to improve their win rate. Thanks to pipeline management via Dealbook, that doesn’t have to happen anymore.
Update #5: Redesigned Global Navigation Results in Improved Leads
What happened: LinkedIn officials have listened to user feedback and redesigned their search and navigation bar to make it easier to find qualified prospects. This includes features like Saved Searches, Company Search and the new Discover tab, which will proactively suggest people and companies that fit your ideal buyer persona.
Why it’s important to you: Your sales game starts with finding qualified leads. What better way to do this than with a new, smarter search function that will help deliver results that mirror your ideal client or prospect?
Update #6: Better Mobile Experience
What happened: LinkedIn redesigned the application’s home page to help users understand the next action they should be taking, and notifying them of important updates. This includes a new feature called Mobile Briefings that integrates with your calendar and provides meeting prep documents for that day (including profiles, icebreakers and company info).
Why it’s important to you: These mobile advancements are designed to help you prepare better for your meetings while you’re on the go. This can help you build rapport with your prospect/client, and ultimately gain new business.
These integrations are available to pilot customers now, and will be available to all customers starting in 2018.
With these updates, LinkedIn took its own name to heart by “linking” sales and marketing more effectively than ever. Given the necessary, but sometimes uneasy, relationship between sales and marketing; LinkedIn has provided a better way forward. Now, you as a marketing professional can utilize the LinkedIn marketing platform to view your sales team’s target prospects. You can also view the status of each target. With that information in hand, you’ll be much better equipped to tailor messages that resonate with those prospects.