Social selling on LinkedIn: how to use Sales Navigator

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Sales Navigator: The secret weapon for social selling on LinkedIn



What is social selling

Social selling is a sales approach that relies on the use of social media to build meaningful relationships with potential customers and drive the sales process more effectively.

Unlike traditional sales techniques, social selling focuses on creating value, sharing relevant content and interacting directly with the target audience.
Social platforms therefore become the main means through which to identify, connect and engage prospects.

In this article we will see how to use LinkedIn, the largest professional network in the world, to implement a social selling strategy. We will focus specifically on Sales Navigator, a tool specifically designed to manage this activity in an organized and efficient way.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator: An overview of the platform

With more than 900 million active users, 58.4 million registered companies and a range of tools specifically designed for job posting, job hunting and professional networking, LinkedIn offers a huge audience and allows you to make connections with targeted professionals.

Inside it fits Sales Navigator: a paid tool (it’s a Premium subscription), designed specifically for sales professionals.
Thanks to its advanced features, it is possible to perform very specific searches, divide the results into saved lists and monitor the conversations that are established with the acquired connections.

As highlighted in our previous article, although it is a specific platform for business, LinkedIn is based on exchanges between people and not between companies.
Even Sales Navigator, regardless of the purpose for which you use it, must take into account a human approach.

For this reason, the Sales Navigator account is associated with the personal LinkedIn account and not with a company page: it is the person (who acts on behalf of the company) who dialogues with the interlocutors, not the brand itself.

Goals and targeting on Sales Navigator

The primary objective that drives people to use SN for commercial purposes is lead generation. Unlike Lead Ads campaigns, however, here the work is done by hand, making the selection of contacts even more targeted.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before setting up your social selling strategy.

  • Who is my target?
    You need to have a precise idea of the qualifications covered by your target (purchasing manager? CFO? Marketing Director?), the sector they belong to and all the details that can help filter the search. If you already have a list of prospect companies, enter them in the search filters and select the figures you can interface with.
  • Is my target on LinkedIn?
    Not all professions oversee the platform, therefore it is recommended to do a preliminary research (simulating the creation of an audience in the campaign manager) to check whether it is worth activating the Sales Navigator subscription.
  • Who should I associate the Sales Navigator profile with?
    Is it the CEO of a company who needs to hear from potential salespeople on LinkedIn? Or is it better for someone else to take care of it? The suggestion is to transfer what you are already doing offline to Sales Navigator. Don’t forget, however, that a profile closer to the top management exercises greater authority.
  • Can I do the activity using a newly created profile?
    You can, but it’s not recommended. How do you build professional relationships on LinkedIn without a profile photo or with only 50 connections? The ideal would be to have not only a complete and optimized profile, but also active on the platform in terms of interactions, publications and number of connections.
  • Who will actually run the business?
    The Sales Navigator account is associated with a personal account, but the social selling activity can be carried out by different people (the ideal is a synergistic work between the sales and marketing teams). The advanced plans also allow you to connect third-party tools (Salesforce, Outlook, etc.) to facilitate flow management.

Lead research and management

On Sales Navigator you can search by lead (people) or by account (company). For each category there are special filters, and based on the search setting, a list will be generated from which to start skimming the most interesting contacts.
Searches are saveable and periodically updated with new people (or companies).

Contacts can be saved in one or more lists (e.g. division by country or by sector) and processed at any time.
The flow depends on many factors: sales objectives, reference sector, degree of knowledge of the target.

The first step is to ask for the link to the contacts saved in the list (if you are not already a 1st degree link), accompanying the request with an introductory note.

After the person accepts the connection, you can start with a flow of personalized messages, with the ultimate goal of scheduling a phone call or arranging a meeting.

The best practices for an effective social selling activity are:

  • Personalization of connection requests: why are you interested in connecting with this person? What do you have in common?
  • The use of relevant and valuable content: what can you offer useful to your interlocutor?
  • Active Engagement: In addition to messages, interact with the activities of new connections on LinkedIn. React and comment on their content in a relevant way.
  • Building long-term trusting relationships: patience pays off. It is not possible to build profitable professional relationships with a flow of messages that are not personalized or too short.

Bottom line: the benefits of using Sales Navigator

  1. Ability to perform detailed searches and save them along with contact lists.
  2. Allows you to view contact information beyond the 3rd degree and send direct requests to link to profiles beyond the 2nd degree (actions limited by the basic LinkedIn account).
  3. Can be synchronized with a CRM system, thus ensuring centralized contact management.
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19 June 2023 Valeria Pompili

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