LinkedIn bought PointDrive in the summer of 2016 with plans to integrate the content and presentation-sharing app with its Sales Navigator software for sales people.
Now those plans have come to fruition with today’s announcement that PointDrive is part of Sales Navigator. LinkedIn also announced improvements to the way Sales Navigator integrates with customer relationship management systems such as Salesforce.com, making it vastly easier for salespeople to bring their Sales Navigator activities into their CRM platform.
The announcements build on LinkedIn’s goal of making Sales Navigator a system of engagement that leverages traditional CRM systems that function as the system of record.
“CRM is great for forecasts and seeing what the sales team is doing, but we don’t see a real focus on making sales reps more productive,” Doug Camplejohn, head of products for LinkedIn’s sales solutions, told eWEEK. “The system of engagement takes the drudgery out of logging your activities every day.” It does that by pulling information from email and CRM systems from Oracle, NetSuite, Sugar CRM, Salesforce and others.
Now LinkedIn has added an Enterprise Edition of Sales Navigator with PointDrive and enhanced integration to CRM systems. The new addition offers improved manageability including single sign-on and a new feature called TeamLink Extend that makes it easier to connect to leads in LinkedIn.
Before the introduction of TeamLink Extend, reps had the ability to search their personal LinkedIn connections or use the standard TeamLink feature which pools the networks of all the Sales Navigator seat holders in their company.
But at big companies it’s unlikely all employees are connected on LinkedIn and they aren’t all licensed users of Sales Navigator. TeamLink Extend lets anyone in the organization connect their LinkedIn network to the TeamLink pool.
This bigger network makes it easier to find out of if anyone in your company is connected to a prospect and can help with a personal introduction. LinkedIn said the first 1,000 seats of TeamLink Extend will be bundled free with every Enterprise Edition contract.
PointDrive, which has been offered separately for $15 to $25 per user, is now being bundled with Sales Navigator Team and Enterprise Editions at no additional charge. Camplejohn said LinkedIn bought the company after the app became something of a viral hit within LinkedIn.
PointDrive is pitched as a more effective alternative to using email to send data sheets, customer videos and presentations because the process of clicking through attachments and links is cumbersome.
In addition, PointDrive formats materials for mobile and desktop viewing. It can also track when and what materials in the package of content have been read (with the recipient’s consent). “You get a high level of information on how the content is used and whether people are looking at it,” said Camplejohn.
“LinkedIn is taking a CRM-agnostic position —and more important—they are looking to make the Navigator platform ubiquitous across the sales organization,” Forrester Research analyst Mary Shea told eWEEK in an email.
“In the past, many companies would only buy a few Navigator licenses to help their inside sales reps or account executives with prospecting," Shea observed. By adding more capabilities that add value to sellers of all types—including account managers and others—as well capabilities that enhance buyers' experience, LinkedIn is well-poised to increase licenses and user-ship across the board.”
“The PointDrive acquisition is a great example of this strategy; it helps all types of sellers deliver a better experience to their buyers by allowing them to share cleanly packaged and branded content that is easy to consume,” Shea wrote.
As for tighter integration, until now logging Sales Navigator activities into your CRM has been a manual and time consuming process. But a new Sales Navigator feature called
CRM Sync includes writeback functionality to automate that process.
With CRM Sync you can take notes, send InMails or place calls from the Sales Navigator mobile app for iOS and Android. A simple click of the mouse records them as activities in a sales representative's CRM app. CRM Sync is currently available for Salesforce and it will be available on other CRM platforms this year, according to LinkedeIn.