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How to use Sales Navigator: a quick guide for better prospecting

The online sales evolution is already reaching a state where connecting, engaging, and having personalized conversations with prospects on social networks is a rule of thumb for every successful sales rep.

With over 180 million users on LinkedIn and counting, and 76% of buyers ready to have sales conversations on social media, social selling is (and should be) a core component of every successful SDR team. According to LinkedIn's own data, reps with a high SSI score (Social Selling Index) are 51% more likely to hit quota and outsell non-social sellers by 78%.

Introducing LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator is the natural extension to leveraging the scope of LinkedIn’s B2B social selling opportunity and is a superb way for sellers to find key prospects, conduct personalized outreach, and develop and maintain relationships over time.

The tool acts as a professional search engine where you can use filters to laser-target, discover, and engage contacts in any country, industry, company, department, or role. Combining these filters with InMail then presents a very successful way of customizing messaging for connections and achieving higher response rates.

With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, then, SDRs can be more intentional with messaging and be highly targeted on who they are reaching out to. Here are the main benefits:

  • Search Filters save valuable time, effort and cost identifying new prospects. As well as finding and engaging with existing ones from other channels.

  • Saved Searches and Alerts allow reps to save their current filtered search and receive notifications each time new prospects fitting your search criteria pop up. This means having a continuous automated and streamlined flow of new prospects.

  • InMail and Smart Links enable SDRs to send messages with trackable links, or relevant downloadable pieces of sales content for the prospect. Click and open metrics on these trackable messages are a superb way for reps to implement basic testing to enhance their overall outreach strategy.

  • Lists and CRM Embedded Profile provide the opportunity to record and update contact information via lists or directly through CRM, enhancing SDR workflow and upgrading records with more relevant, personalized prospect information.

Understanding the importance of social selling and how to leverage Sales Navigator in this is only one part of the equation, however. Even before this, it is extremely important to first define your ICP for the most effective route to finding success with prospects.

Who should you target?

You should not be setting up filters or embarking on building a prospect database without defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) first. If you already have a clear idea of your ICP feel free to skip this part. If not, this is likely a key step you’re missing for more success with Sales Navigator.

Your ICP is made up of attributes that define the type of business that is most likely in need of your solution, actively looking and ready to buy. In the context of using Sales Navigator effectively, you can map and define these attributes by industry, firmographics, and positions.

Spend some time thinking about these two key aspects that will help you produce the desired insights:

Internal company strengths:
  • The company strengths come from the industry positioning – are you serving clients left and right, are you serving specific industries or departments, or are you serving extremely niche groups of clients? Depending on this, you can get an idea of who their ideal client is.

  • Focus on the benefits your solution provides, rather than product features. This is a much more effective way of pointing you towards prospects that are in need of such benefits.

  • Speak to your company’s existing customers or gather intelligence on this internally. Finding commonality and continuously updating this understating will give you a solid indication on who your ideal customer is.

Market opportunity:
  • Examine which vertical and industry segments are relevant to your solution.

  • Check the competition. Which segments are targeted by competitors and do there appear to be emerging segments that you will need to update your strategy on?

After researching and combining these insights to understand the commonalities, as well as shortlisting a few high-potential targets, you will be in a better position to set Sales Navigator filters.

The Sales Navigator filters every sales rep should know

Did you know that Sales Navigator offers 44 filters for uncovering potential prospects? These filters are divided between looking up companies (accounts) and contacts (leads).

Armed with the research that defines your ideal customer, you now have a basis for defining your Sales Navigator filter set and targeting specific prospects within those sorts of companies.

From that, you can then decide whether to engage the segment, or continue fine-tuning, and adding more filters.

But should you search by leads or by accounts?

Account Search

Start with account search to get a handle on the list size of all the relevant companies that fit your criteria. You can also review each company, and if they are relevant, qualify and save each lead individually.

Before you begin chipping away at your list though with the number of filters on offer, here are three fundamental ones to start with:

  1. Geographic location

  2. Industry

  3. Company size (number of employees)

For example, let’s say you are selling online training courses to actors. Your ICP research might point you towards selling to small companies (less than 50 employees) based in California, US, working in the Entertainment industry.

Your fundamental account filters in this example would then look something like this:

You can then gauge the number of accounts you can potentially sell to and decide how to break the list down further into segments than can be associated with relevant messaging.

Lead Search

Lead search provides significantly more filter parameters and allows you to drill into a list of prospects and discover suitable decision makers. Combine filters to narrow your list to a meaningful size for outreach, such as by job function and job title.

Following our example with actor courses, if we apply the same filters for leads, with the addition of “Actor”, “Entertainer” and “Professional Actor” in the title filter – the SDR team will gain an overview of all available actors in California, US, working in the entertainment industry, in companies with up to 50 employees.

Now, we can consider which actors to target for the courses, as not all actors need these courses equally. For example, actors that have multiple years of experience are less likely to buy a training course, than, let’s say the actors that are just starting out. This issue can be solved by adjusting the filters and targeting the actors with less than a year of experience, or 1 to 2 years, for example.

This way, we’ll be presented with a list of leads consisting of actors somewhat inexperienced that could be successfully sold to.

Boolean Search

A powerful way to refine targeting is by using Boolean search, which is essentially a way of combining keywords as modifiers in a string to either group together or exclude.

Let’s get back to our actors search example. If you are looking to target prospects with similar titles, then you can use the following Boolean search: "actor" OR "professional actor" OR "voice over artist" OR "entertainer" OR "performer" OR “voice actor”.

In the case of targeting a position with a very specific set of terms, you can use something like: "Actor" AND "Entertainer".

Lastly, if you are eager to look specifically for one title (actors) and no other, you could input: "actor" NOT "professional actor" NOT "voice over artist" NOT "entertainer" NOT "performer" NOT "voice actor".

You can easily adapt these searches according to your ideal prospect once you grasp the logic behind it. Don’t let the Boolean search scare you, go ahead, give it a try. That’s the best way to get effective and efficient lead search results.

What are you waiting for?

Leveraging the largest professional B2B networking platform, LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides the best opportunity for you to research, identify, engage, and ultimately sell, to targeted prospects.

The ability to define accounts according to your ICP and the ability to segment these into prospecting lists according to specific qualification criteria also provides the perfect basis for personalizing subsequent outreach according to these segments.

Engagement metrics can be significantly improved just by following this simple approach, leaving you with a more coherent framework to spend time on crafting personalized messages that convert.