The Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Navigator Review

Posted by Elizabeth Johnson in LinkedIn Marketing Insights

We get a lot of questions about this, so let’s answer it once and for all: Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator worth it?

I’ll tell you this upfront: LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the best choice of LinkedIn’s Premium offers for those looking to generate leads and sell – as long as you know how you are going to use it.

That means in order to maximize its usefulness (and the money you spent on it), you need to follow a strategy that will allow you to easily and systematically find the right prospects and start conversations with them. If you have that in place and you want to take your LinkedIn results to the next level, LinkedIn Sales Navigator could be a good choice for you.

The good news is, you can learn the same system we use for our clients to help them get leads on LinkedIn below.

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In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What Sales Navigator really is and how a LinkedIn Premium account could help you
  • All the features included in Sales Navigator and how to determine what you really need
  • Our “grade” on some of the top features and their best use cases
  • And which plan that LinkedIn offers will give you the best value

My hope is that this article will help you make an informed decision about LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. Let’s begin.

What Is Sales Navigator?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a LinkedIn Premium account and is essentially a  shortcut that buys you better access to the prospects you’re trying to reach on LinkedIn. It offers users access to view more prospects than a regular search would AND provides a way to message them even if they’re not connections yet. (More on that in a minute).

For those looking to seriously grow their connection base and serious about building strong relationships with their prospects and contacts it’s a great choice.

Though it is best utilized by people who have a defined process they’ll use to turn their prospects into connections and sales appointments. Without this, you’ll be fumbling around and likely won’t get your money’s worth for all it has to offer.

Let’s take a walk through all of the features, what they do, and how to get the most out of them.

 

Sales Navigator’s Features

Like most other subscriptions with various plans, not all the features are available for each plan. Here is my review of the main features in Sales Navigator:

Advanced Lead and Company Search

When you subscribe to Sales Navigator, you open up a greater search capacity within LinkedIn. This is extremely helpful when searching for prospects and doing outreach. It allows you to get a little deeper in your search. For example, when you use the search bar in Sales Navigator, the results page will show you 1,000 people who matched your search criteria (leads) by default. This will further streamline your 2nd and 3rd-degree connections.

By comparison, LinkedIn’s free account puts stricter limits on the amount of total profiles you can view in a month and the filters you can use to zero in on your BEST prospects.

The additional search filters to find prospects based on company size, job function, seniority, years experience, group membership and more are THE most impactful aspect of Sales Navigator in our experience.

These advanced search filters allow you to spend your time targeting only the best prospects for your business.

You can also directly save a lead, or save a company as an account, and be informed of any updates about that lead on LinkedIn.

Grade: A

Lead Recommendations

Lead Recommendations allow you to quickly discover the right people at your target accounts with suggestions customized for you. It’s a pretty helpful service when you’re looking for contacts within a specific company. These recommendations are based on your sales preferences, search history, and profile interactions (profile views, leads you've already saved, communications, etc.) to help you identify new prospects and further build your lead list.

To use this feature you need to have saved certain leads, or accounts, or just search for a specific company in the search bar. And the “recommended leads” or the “related leads” boxes will appear.

Utilize this function to quickly prospect and find more leads similar to those you’ve already identified as qualifity prospects.

This feature isn’t always a 100% match, but it’s an efficient way to continually prospect and keep your pipeline full without much effort on your end.

Grade: B

CRM Integration (Team & Enterprise only)

The CRM integration is available only to the Team and Enterprise level subscriptions but it’s good to know about because as you grow, this might be a helpful option for you.

Sales Navigator has been built to integrate seamlessly with your team's daily sales and relationship workflow. The nice thing is, it’s available both as a viewable widget within your CRM and can also be actively synced with your CRM to move important information, including leads and accounts, from your CRM into Sales Navigator. The sync can also be enabled to write back select Sales Navigator information to your CRM.

All this makes this function a pretty handy, hands-off tool to help you keep track of leads.

Grade: B

Deals (Team & Enterprise only)

Deals is an exciting feature though it’s currently only available to Sales Navigator users on the Team or Enterprise levels.

After you’ve integrated and synced Sales Navigator with your CRM, you can enable the Deals function. This feature makes it easier for you or your sales reps to manage your sales pipeline within Sales Navigator. It gives you a homepage dashboard that allows you to see all of your current opportunities from your CRM and allows you to easily make edits and keep your CRM up-to-date with any work or outreach you do within LinkedIn.

Deals is currently supported only for Salesforce, but LinkedIn says the integration with Microsoft Dynamics will be available later this year.

This feature is still fairly new and there are a few tweaks to be worked out which is why it’s currently rated at a B-.

But for the right company this feature can certainly help streamline your sales team’s process.

Grade: B-

Notes and Tags

This is another pretty handy feature that allows you to organize your saved accounts and leads directly in your LinkedIn account. With Notes, you’re able to store relevant information and action items on lead and account pages.

For example, you might use the notes feature to regularly track your progress with an account or to document takeaways and next steps after meeting with a particular lead. This is great to do as soon as you have a meeting or any relevant correspondence with a prospect and if your CRM is integrated it can automatically update the contact record there as well.

With tags, you can streamline your workflow by organizing your leads and accounts to quickly find the segments of your contacts that you're looking for. Assigning Sales Navigator tags allows you to group leads and accounts together in a way that works for you.

For example, you can:

  1. Tag leads by geography, the role they play in the decision-making process, or their view on your product or service (positive, negative, or neutral).
  2. Tag accounts by importance and stage in the pipeline.
  3. Update your tags when your relationship with an account or lead changes.

(Keep in mind that notes and tags are only visible to you, and will only be visible in your Sales Navigator account. Sales Navigator notes will not appear on your regular LinkedIn account..)

While this feature certainly can help with your organization, it’s not the feature that most directly will lead to new leads or clients. It certainly is a nice aide, but not the be-all end-all of Sales Navigator features in our opinion.

Grade: B-

Who's Viewed Your Profile

With Sales Navigator you are allowed to see an expanded list of your leads and prospects that have taken a look at your profile in the past 90 days. By itself this information doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it can give you an indication of a particular prospect’s interest or give you insight into the types of people organically coming across your profile and company. Also, it may give you a nice icebreaker or reminder to message the people who visited your profile and start a conversation.

Plus, in Sales Navigator, you have the additional option of saving people found in this section as leads. (Note that what you can see in the Who's Viewed Your Profile section is determined by the member's privacy settings from the LinkedIn.com site.)

Grade: B

InMail Messages

InMail is like LinkedIn’s email service and allows you to contact ANYONE on LinkedIn without an introduction, connection or contact information.

For their Professional plan, you get 20 InMail credits each month, and for the Team and Enterprise, it’s 30 and 50 InMails respectively. This comes in handy when you want to start a conversation with someone that you’ve had a hard time connecting with.

The nice thing about InMail, in my opinion, is that when you get an InMail, it shows in your regular email inbox and almost looks like a regular email. LinkedIn also sends reminders if emails haven’t been answered or looked at.

However, we’ve given InMail a lower grade because across the board response rates tend to be on the lower side when compared to a regular LinkedIn message you’d send to a connection. It’s why we first build up a database of IDEAL prospects as connections before we start messaging with our client campaigns.

An InMail message is marked as an InMail and at the end of the day is a colder message than one sent to a prospect you’ve connected with.

While InMail isn’t something you need to disregard entirely, it’s not a feature or approach that we recommend putting all your stock into.

Grade: C+

PointDrive Presentations (Team & Enterprise only)

PointDrive is an interesting feature that allows you a new way to package and share content with your buyers or prospects.

This means that you can share videos or documents as a PointDrive presentation, customize the messaging for your recipient, and then send it directly to them to view.

The really nice feature here is that LinkedIn allows you to track engagement using PointDrive Insights to gauge buyer intent and follow up more effectively.

Meaning that if you send over a proposal through PointDrive to a prospect and a few days later you still haven’t heard back, you can follow-up with them and say something like, “Hey Greg,

I noticed you hadn’t yet taken a look at the proposal I shot over last week.

Wanted to share the link again to make sure you had it front and center.”

You can also use PointDrive presentations for your team to ensure the right messages are being shared across the organization. You can also create and share various assets with prospects based on where they are on the buyer's journey.

Just know that this is for Team and Enterprise plans only.

Grade: B

TeamLink (Team & Enterprise only)

On the team and enterprise plans, you also get access to TeamLink, allowing you to view and search your team’s connections. This means that you can better leverage the individual networks of all your employees to find qualified leads on LinkedIn and who might be able to make an introduction for you.

We all know that a strong referral or introduction can lead to a much easier sales process. So being able to quickly find opportunities for a warm introduction to an ideal prospect is a great feature within Sales Navigator for those on the Team or Enterprise plan.

Another function of this is TeamLink Groups, which further expands the power of expanded networks and shared contacts by allowing you to connect multiple Sales Navigator TeamLink contracts on one dashboard. You have to get in touch with LinkedIn Support to activate this, but it could be very helpful if you have a team or a network of people across multiple regions or across multiple functions within your company who all have Sales Navigator and are willing to share their contact data.

Both are a great way to instantly expand your pool of prospects with warm introductions.

Grade: A-

Extended LinkedIn Network Access

As mentioned earlier this might be the best reason to opt-in for Sales Navigator because when you’re searching for prospects, you immediately have a greater search reach including:

  • 100-mile maximum search radius from within a postal code
  • 1000 profiles shown per search
  • Unlimited number of searches and up to 15 saved searches
  • 15 saved search alerts per week
  • Unlimited number of saved accounts
  • Unlimited number of lead recommendations
  • Access to the Sales Navigator app
  • Access to Advanced search filters

Targeting the right prospect is extremely important if you want to succeed in getting the right leads and clients. Expanding your search and your network access gives you more options and more flexibility.

Grade: A

LinkedIn Learning and Premium Career

Your subscription to Sales Navigator also includes access to Lynda (the LinkedIn learning platform the LinkedIn recently acquired) as well as the Premium Career Subscription.

The LinkedIn Learning subscription gives you a chance to develop your skills, get recommendations for courses based on your interests, and add completed courses to your LinkedIn profile – all of which can contribute to helping you run a better business and enable you to prove your expertise to your prospects.

If you’re a business owner, the Premium Career Subscription might not apply to your interests, but it’s good to know about. It gives you premium tools to help you find job offers, position your as a featured applicant, and more.

Grade: B-

Plan Options

Sales Navigator has three different plans: Professional, Team, and Enterprise. Obviously, the option that’s best for you will really depend on the needs you have (how big your sales team is), and how aggressive you intend to be with your LinkedIn lead generation.

Here are the details on those options:

Professional ($64.99/month)

The Professional subscription is what we’d recommend for our most of our clients.  If you want the advanced search features, extended LinkedIn Network Access, and don’t have a large sales team this plan would be perfect for you.

Professional features include:

  • 20 InMail messages per month
  • 1,500 saved leads
  • Who's viewed your profile
  • Extended LinkedIn network access
  • Advanced lead and company search
  • Lead and account recommendations
  • Custom Lists
  • Territory preferences
  • Lead and Account Alerts
  • Email integrations (Gmail, Outlook Web)
  • Notes and tags
  • Sales Navigator Learning Center
  • Includes LinkedIn Learning and Premium Career**
  • Sales Navigator Mobile App

Team ($99.99/month)

The Team plan is a good choice if you have a sales team, and especially if you want to harness the power of combining your sales rep’s networks using TeamLink. Unlike Professional, you can also integrate your CRM with Sales Navigator, which could prove useful as you fill your pipeline with leads.

Team features include all features from Professional, plus:

  • +10 additional InMail messages per month (30 total)
  • +3,500 additional saved leads (5,000 total)
  • Team network warm introductions with TeamLink
  • 10 PointDrive presentations per month
  • Organic Marketing Alerts
  • CRM integrations
  • Deals**
  • Sharing Custom Lists
  • 25 Out-of-network unlocks per month
  • Basic seat management
  • Usage reporting
  • Volume and multi-year discounts
  • Invoicing***
  • Dedicated relationship manager

Enterprise (must contact LinkedIn for pricing)

The Enterprise plan is designed specifically for large sales team who want to expand their networks and combine data using TeamLink capabilities.

Enterprise features include all features from Team, plus:

  • +20 additional InMail messages per month (50 total)
  • +5,000 additional saved leads (10,000 total)
  • Company network warm introductions with TeamLink Extend
  • Unlimited PointDrive presentations per month
  • Sponsored Marketing Alerts
  • Single-sign-on integrations
  • Enterprise-grade seat management

Where is the best value?

The options that will give you the best value really depends on what you intend to use Sales navigator for. Other factors to consider are also based on what level your company is at. For many the professional plan is plenty. If you have a team that you plan on purchasing premium accounts for or if you use Salesforce, or other CRM’s – the Team or Enterprise might be better for you. Those plans will allow you to sync your work on LinkedIn with your CRM so you have everything in one place.

However, remember that like all team things, you will need to sell your sales team on the process and how to use it so you get buy-in and so that your sales team actually uses Sales Navigator and gets the most out of it.

How to Get the Most of Out Sales Navigator

Like I mentioned at the beginning, your success with Sales Navigator, no matter which plan you choose, will ultimately depend on how you use it and to really get the most out of it, you need a systematic way to prospect, build targeted connections, and start real business conversations that results in appointments. You need a process that encompasses each of those things and that builds momentum so you can capitalize on each step.

If you do not currently follow a process, or if you would like to learn a new process (or optimize what you’re currently doing), register to learn the process we’ve used to help our clients generate new leads and close over $1 billion in sales for our clients over the last decade!

Click below to learn the system that helps you get sales appointments with better, harder-to-reach prospects every single month without overly complicated funnels.