LinkedIn Updates Sales Navigator for Quicker Contact Access

LinkedIn today announced enhancements to its Sales Navigator product, including tighter integrations with Salesforce.com and Gmail accounts as well as improved mobile functionality. According to Mike Derezin, vice president of sales solutions at LinkedIn, the upgrades will give sales professionals convenient access to contact information in the environments in which they spend most of their working time.  

Launched in 2014, LinkedIn's Sales Navigator is designed help sellers find their most promising leads and assemble a strong list of prospects, as it leverages an algorithm to surface recommendations based on the criteria each user specifies. The tool also works to keep users informed regarding customer data updates such as job changes or news mentions, with the goal of making cold calling easier and ultimately enabling them to foster long-term relationships.

Prior to the announcement, users who wished to transfer specific accounts from their Salesforce CRM systems had to do so manually, by sifting through records and hand-picking those accounts, Derezin explains. The synchronization with Salesforce.com reduces the legwork, as Sales Navigator can now identify and import the most important active leads stored within a CRM system.

The extension of the product to Gmail enables users to access Sales Navigator from within their inboxes. From their email accounts, users can view the various details recipients have shared on their LinkedIn profile pages—including their social media handles and company affiliations, for instance—and save them as new contacts on Sales Navigator. Reps can also access  features such as Icebreakers and TeamLink, which aim to help users initiate text-based conversations by emphasizing common schools, groups, or connections. "That's a big deal because it can really bring that extra level of information that helps a salesperson connect better and engage with that individual that they're selling to," Derezin says.

According to LinkedIn's data, 25 percent of Sales Navigator's end users access the platform exclusively on mobile devices. And, Derezin says, "a lot of [these users] want leads or recommendations for new people to talk to or accounts they should be reaching out to." The company has addressed this demand by adding Discovery features on mobile apps, which aim to simplify the act of finding new accounts on smartphones and tablets. A tab can generate up to 10 daily prospect recommendations according to the preferences each sales representative outlines.

"What's most valuable here is the move towards more automation," Chris Kieff, security and sales operations director at Sprinklr (one of the CRM sync's 20 beta testers), said in a statement. "The fact that all my teams' leads and accounts are automatically updated helps make them more productive and keep their accounts even more relevant."

"Salesforce is our first CRM sync; however, we intend to do it with other CRM [vendors] over time," Derezin states. Among these vendors is Microsoft, which acquired LinkedIn last month for $27 billion.  

Derezin says that LinkedIn will continue to build the product to align with its three core value propositions: helping users search for and target the right buyers, understand those buyers, and engage them.

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