It goes without saying that lead acquisition and nurturing are the lifeblood of sales. So, whenever there’s a new way or tool, we’re right there trying it out on ourselves in order to become experts and make recommendations to our clients.
We know, from personal experience, that Linkedin is a powerful tool for developing thought leadership, building trust, and generating demand and leads. We also have answers to two of the most common questions about social selling; how to create effective social nurturing strategies and whether or not an investment in Linkedin Sales Navigator is the way to go. Or, more specifically, is it worth $80/mo?
Truth be told, nurturing your prospects requires an intentional strategy and while you can be successful using the free version of LinkedIn, when Sales Navigator is added to the mix, time and effort required on your part can be significantly reduced. That said, as with most sales and marketing efforts, social media ROI depends on several variables, unique to your organization. For starters, it includes the tools you employ, your social presence, your sharing cadence, the type of content you post and how, when, and why you engage with prospects.
If you're considering augmenting your social selling practices with Sales Navigator, the first question is: do you already have a CRM tool? If so, do you also have the resources to purchase and analyze lists? If you answered yes and yes, you're probably all set without the extra cost of adding Sales Navigator. If your answer is a combination of yes, no, and/or maybe then Sales Navigator, which by the way can be a fraction of the cost of a CRM, might be a good idea. Here's why:
Main benefits of Sales Navigator:
Ability to enter criteria and receive lead suggestions
Linkedin searches are unlimited (search results are restricted in the free version)
InMail can be used to contact users you’re not currently connected with
Prospects can be organized into targeted news feeds by demographic data
Lead generation magic is determined by your strategy
When you subscribe to LinkedIn’s premium plan, you gain the ability to send 20 - 40 InMails per month. This includes messaging people you are not currently connected to on LinkedIn. While this is a nice feature, buyer beware; going over the limit can be costly. And despite the enticing daydream that a prospect list from Sales Navigator equates to closing 20 - 40 deals per month. Most leads whether they come from LinkedIn or another source, are not ready when you first meet.
Good-news-bad-news of InMail
The good news of InMail is users don’t have to deal with as much spam/junk as we do with email. This helps explain why we’re more receptive to checking it. The bad news though is if you’re using Sales Navigator for lead targeting it’s critical to avoid coming across too sales-y, otherwise you risk wasting subscription costs on tactics with no traction.
There is a silver lining however. Prospects found via Sales Navigator are targeted matches to your buyer persona but remember - even a good demographic match, will require some nurturing before they will be receptive to hearing from you. Presentation and messaging are key - especially when using InMail.
Segmenting - the warm-up
Segmenting users by demographic allows you to curate specific prospect news feeds which in turn makes it easy to see and interact with their posts. This feature was originally available with a free LinkedIn account but not anymore. Depending on your situation, this feature alone might make it worth the investment. Sales Navigator makes list segmentation a breeze. Not only does it facilitate better interactions, it effectively turns cold outreaches into warm ones, a cornerstone of social selling, where you add value before reaching out.
Spam - the silent lead generation killer (even on LinkedIn)
Sales Navigator includes the ability to send out a couple dozen “free” InMails to users you’ve never met. Yes, statistically the open rate of InMail is much higher than email, but LinkedIn can still sniff out and put a stop to spammers.
There’s a built-in ranking system based on user behavior that will signal and filter emails based on the perception of whether or not your communication is “spammy.” So, in addition to warming up a lead via interaction, it’s important to approach from an authentic (not canned) position of curiosity and offer valuable information. Try a relevant insight, add more thoughts on one of their posts, or even asking advice. All work well to open conversations.
Ready to give it a shot?
LinkedIn has a free trial which helps when vetting whether or not it’s going to work for your team. The trial period is rather short (14-days) and beware, it’s auto-charged without a refund if you don’t exit before the trial period. Set a calendar reminder if you think you’ll be on the fence about continuing and if you need pointers before taking the leap, contact us. We’re happy to help!
To learn more about social selling best practices on LinkedIn, try our 4-Minute Social Selling Pocket Guide: