Bottom line: There are many ways to prospect new business. But for some large and small organizations, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a go-to source for new business leads — I use it and my students do too.
But is it a fit for you? Today I’m presenting three reasons it may not be.
What This Article is About
Sales Navigator has lots of great features. But this article aims to present reasons why you may not want to use it. The title may sound provocative. But my criticism will be constructive.
Sales Navigator will be the right choice for a lot of people — maybe even you. If so, please let me know why in comments.
Many sellers I meet have dropped (not renewed) their accounts. Mostly because they don’t realize tangible value from the investment. Often with good reason. Others use Navigator on an “as needed” basis. Others decided their target market is simply not available on LinkedIn.
Then again, you may feel forced to use Sales Navigator. Due to LinkedIn’s new restrictions on how many “commercial searches” (of its database) you are allowed, this is often the case.
There are a lot of reasons to invest in Sales Navigator. But there are also a few good reasons to consider not investing.
1. You’re not good at starting conversations with words
Email is seen as the means to communicate with prospects on LinkedIn. However, the most productive sellers are using it in combination with cold calling (voicemailing). But the only way to recover a LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator investment is to possess a means to start conversations with buyers.
Reliably. Consistently. At scale, yet personal.
Don’t have confidence in getting responded to from cold? Don’t invest. If you don’t have the tactical ability to use written and spoken (voicemail) words in ways that provoke conversations, don’t invest. Not yet.
Instead, commitment to becoming effective. How effective? You should be receiving a minimum:
- 40 percent email open rate
- 30 percent response rate
If you are not starting conversations with prospects (minimum three out of every 10 cold InMail/call attempts), Sales Navigator may not be a smart investment.
What happens when you do have strength here? It can get exciting. Remember: InMail is not unlimited. You can only buy a maximum of 30 InMail credits (needed to send them) per month.
That is unless you get credits returned to your account — LinkedIn gives your credit back each time a message is responded to, even if it’s a “no.”
Thus, the primary way to recover a LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator investment is to possess a means to start new conversations with buyers — at scale.
2. You/your team is already spamming with it
Most sellers I meet are, in essence, spamming customers with standard email, InMail and other forms of LinkedIn messages. At best, mass-emailing reps pushing everything from marketing content to pre-mature meetings earn a 2 percent response rate.
Are you/your people cutting and pasting marketing prose into InMails and hitting send? Asking for meetings — from cold — using InMail?
You are probably spamming prospects. Time to own up.
“I have received dozens of InMails over the last few years and not a single one as merited more than ‘ignore’ or ‘no thanks not interested’, says Mark Johnston, president at Telementrix. “A lot of education is still required in this area.”
Johnston describes how most InMail messages have not performed any research on the approach. He is clearly not in the market for what is being pushed his way.
“Here’s what I get from social selling: a LinkedIn invitation, acceptance of invitation, and receipt of an email that clearly shows they know nothing about my company, me or my needs. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not accepting very many LinkedIn invitations as they seem to be an invitation to spam me,” says Michael Jones of Centurylink Business.
Are you or your team already using standard email (or LinkedIn InMail) to push spammy messages at customers? Have you already formed the losing habit? Again, most folks who I meet have. I’m not judging, just warning.
3. You place priority on Social Selling Index numbers
To encourage use of its platform and adoption of social selling, LinkedIn offers its Social Selling Index (SSI). This is a scoring system designed to reward what LinkedIn considers to be productive sales behavior using its platform.
But is it encouraging productivity or rewarding noise?
I get criticized as raining on everyone’s parade, but the bottom line is LinkedIn’s SSI is not as helpful as it may be harmful to sellers or those who manage them. I have years of experience coaching sellers. This remains my experience. I’m not alone.
The SSI encourages (rewards, with a number) quantitative use of LinkedIn. This actively discourages qualitative use.
Here’s the rub: Sellers most precious resource is time. Most social selling efforts are, thus, seen as defensive. In other words, sellers feel they are forced: “you must spend time on LinkedIn to reap rewards from it.”
The result is usually ugly: Buyers are being smothered by content being pushed by sellers. What buyers are not getting is context.
Sellers are often not good at, and rewarded for, offering guidance to customers via LinkedIn — in context.