While LinkedIn surpassed the 500 million member milestone last month, the company continues to serve business professionals in numerous ways. As part of the Microsoft family, LinkedIn is now being integrated into Dynamics 365 in order to help salespeople deliver better outcomes using insights from LinkedIn Sales Navigator. To get more insight into this trend, we asked our SMEs at Avanade how LinkedIn is helping to make sellers more effective in today’s digital world.
LinkedIn helps you maintain the network of contacts you’ve been developing during your career. Responding to updates they post makes you a cheerleader for their career. It lets you easily reach all your contacts about the great things you or your company are doing. When you need to tap a contact for something specific, like a sales opportunity, it makes it seem much less of a “cold call,” even if you haven’t physically seen them in a number of years. And it makes it much easier to develop rapport with new contacts. If you’re calling on someone you don’t know, their LinkedIn profile can help you find things in common – maybe you went to the same university or worked for the same company or know someone in common.
LinkedIn has a come a long way from the “social network for business” or the “resume site” most know it as. Hard working sales professionals learned long ago to prep for meetings by learning more about the backgrounds of the people they were pitching. Many figured out how to leverage their networks to identify who they meet at a prospect and how to get an introduction to them. A dedicated few hunted and pecked their way through advanced searches seeking every potential angle to open up opportunities. Now, smart sales people are increasingly recognizing the value of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. With AI-driven lead recommendations and surfacing of content relevant, not just to your network, but to the leads you’re tracking, LinkedIn gives the sales professional a daily dose of guidance and advice. Whether you actively sell through social channels (you should) or leverage the content to spur conversations offline or through other digital sales channels, LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you speak to your prospects in their language, about their interests. And, through integration with leading CRM platforms (including expanded Dynamics 365 integration), Sales Navigator becomes part your standard tools.
With the integration of Dynamics 365 for Sales with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, personal profiles and company information can be displayed on every Dynamics lead, contact, account and opportunity page. This will increase the effectiveness of salespeople by tapping into their professional networks and relationships.
A career in sales can be rewarding but it can also be frustrating when things aren’t going your way. Regardless of whether your product or service is the best in the world, if your sales team don’t have the right relationships and can’t seize the opportunity to sell, then you could be in for a hard slog. For many, the default thought is to fix things by going out to market for a ‘better’ salesperson. However, often organisations need to look at the tools they’re providing their sales teams and ask themselves if they’re really equipping them for success. These days there is plenty of information about potential clients; the challenge is turning that information into relevant, timely and ultimately valuable insights on which your sales team can make more informed and effective sales decisions. Adding LinkedIn Sales Navigator to your sales team’s workplace tools is a great way of filtering through all that data to provide a salesperson with the relevant information and insights they need to make the right connections, build better relationships and identify opportunities as they happen. And now, taking that one step further by integrating LinkedIn with Dynamics 365, your sales team can have those insights embedded in their familiar sales processes and activities. Enabling your sales team rather than replacing them can be a far more effective strategy!
Sales professionals benefit greatly from the precise targeting of LinkedIn’s massive network to identify potential customers based on geography, industry, title, seniority level, company size, etc. What’s exciting is that LinkedIn contact information will soon be available as a data layer that can be distributed across technology platforms and serve up profile information seamlessly and easily to the sales team. And with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, the tool is more powerful than ever as it recently unveiled a new feature that allows companies to “add a network” to their existing community expanding their universe of contacts, which was not possible before. So if a salesperson works with a strategic partner or group of key colleagues outside of their organization, they can now add them via email addresses and tap into their network of contacts to build more powerful prospect lists.
Selling has always been a science with a high degree of craftsmanship. Building personal relationships has always been key and being informed of what goes on an industry, client or market is a must for building trust which in the end will help drive sales. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is definitely a tool that facilitates the process, helping sellers understand the customer’s organization, their strategy and biggest issues they are facing so they can make better informed pitches to customers. It will also help them understand who they need to target inside the customers’ organization for each specific pursuit and keep them updated on contacts taking new roles or changing the companies they work for, so they can either chase new opportunities at their new employer, or switch their contact person within the current customer. For me it is a really valuable tool that will help not only on the opportunity management but also son the planning process and account planning. Definitely a must-have for any organization.