LinkedIn has updated its Sales Navigator service with a number of new features, including one called Deals that’s designed to address what the company believes is a fundamental change in how deals and sales are made.
“B2B selling is more complicated these days where you often have half a dozen people involved, but they’re not all recognized,” Doug Camplejohn, vice president of product management and sales strategies at LinkedIn, told eWEEK. “A sales rep will put a single contact into the system, and if the deal goes sideways it’s hard to figure out who to contact or how to move forward.”
That’s because sales reps don’t want to spend the time required to get more information into the customer relationship management (CRM) system and often only include the one required contact. But Camplejohn said the buyer may have a purchasing department contact, product evaluator and other people in the sales pipeline who should be included.
The Deals feature makes it easy to do that by pulling contact data from your CRM and displaying it in a simple-to-use web interface. The single page view lets users edit or add contact and other information such as the deal size, the stage it’s in, the close date and the next steps, and any changes are automatically written back to the CRM. LinkedIn said Deals reduces a process that could take hours jumping back and forth between opportunity screens in the CRM to mere minutes.
A key feature of Deals called Buyers Circle goes a step further in helping to find the right people to add by pulling in the relevant decision maker, evaluator, influencer and other titles from the CRM. But it also will identify any relevant people from LinkedIn and drag their information into the appropriate Buyer’s Circle role. For anyone not already in the CRM, you can create a new CRM contact for them with just a few clicks that’s related to the sales opportunity.
“I think the Deals module is the most interesting part of this release because it offers the biggest benefit,” Gartner analyst Todd Berkowitz told eWEEK. “If you are in a market like tech or manufacturing or a complicated services deal, the number of people involved keeps going up including those who can influence the deal or an assassin who can kill it. The more information you can provide about all the people involved in the deal, the better. And the way the Buyers Circle surfaces information on people and brings it forward with one click is a real benefit.”
LinkedIn plans to release Deals first for Salesforce, with Microsoft Dynamics to follow. Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016 for $26 billion.
“We’ve been very open that we’ve taken a Switzerland approach with Sales Navigator providing support for Salesforce and Dynamics, and we have partnerships with Oracle, SugarCRM, Zoho, HubSpot and others and we have lighter-weight integrations,” said Camplejohn.
Improvements to Sales Navigator
LinkedIn also announced specific updates to Sales Navigator, including tighter integration with Office 365. A user logged in to Office 365 and Sales Navigator can mouse over any email address and view profile information, save it as a lead, send a LinkedIn connection request or view TeamLink connections. Sales Navigator will also let you see so-called “icebreakers,” or things you have in common, to help you personalize a message.
The search feature and results page in Sales Navigator have been redesigned to make them faster and easier to use. This includes making Account Search more prominent and making it easier to save searches and get alerts any time a person or company on LinkedIn matches your search criteria.
LinkedIn has also redesigned its mobile app to offer more of the same features as the desktop or web app. Up until now, the mobile app lacked a number of features in the desktop version. The company said it plans to continue to narrow the gap between the two versions in upcoming releases and offer some uniquely mobile features as well.
Berkowitz said Sales Navigator “is, in some respects, the only game in town,” even though Salesforce dominates CRM. He noted the unique advantage of having access to 500 million LinkedIn members and the “relationship intelligence” the company offers through its InMail. “It’s very common for our clients to have both Salesforce and intelligence tools like Sales Navigator,” said Berkowitz.