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LinkedIn Burnishes Sales Navigator for the Enterprise

By Richard Adhikari CRM Buyer ECT News Network
Mar 23, 2017 10:27 AM PT

LinkedIn on Tuesday launched an enterprise edition of its Sales Navigator product, with strengthened links to CRM.

LinkedIn Enterprise Edition lets users send 50 emails on LinkedIn a month; adds Single Sign-On and other management features; and introduces TeamLink Extend, a tool that pools the networks of all the Sales Navigator users in an enterprise.

If enterprise staff opt-in their LinkedIn network to their enterprise TeamLink pool, the connection list is "surfaced as a possible introduction path when a rep is looking at a lead," noted Doug Camplejohn, head of products for LinkedIn sales solutions.

"Warm intros are our No. 1 lead source here at LinkedIn," he told CRM Buyer, "and TeamLink Extend helps make sure the rep's asking the best person to help."

The first 1,000 seats of TeamLink extend will be bundled free with every Enterprise Edition contract.

What's Inside

Sales Navigator Enterprise Edition incorporates technology from PointDrive, which lets sales people personalize and deliver content to prospects as a bundle in a mobile or desktop experience.

PointDrive comes with analytics, so the sender can track its consumption. Enterprise Edition customers will get unlimited PointDrive access and additional management reporting capabilities.

Sales Navigator also has a new CRM Sync feature that lets users add notes, LinkedIn InMails, or calls from the Sales Navigator mobile app for iOS or Android to a CRM system.

Initially, CRM Sync will be available in Salesforce. LinkedIn will extend it to other CRM platforms later this year.

LinkedIn also has added CRM widgets to Salesforce, so salespeople can view profile details such as photos, work history, job titles and TeamLink shared connections within Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

Other LinkedIn partners -- Oracle, SAP Hybris, NetSuite, Zoho, HubSpot and SugarCRM will offer widget integration with LinkedIn later this year, Camplejohn said.

"Our goal for Sales Navigator is to be the must-have companion to all leading CRMs, and enable salespeople to get the benefits of Sales Navigator ... whether in our desktop or mobile app, in their email inbox, or in CRM," he remarked.

Pricing for LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise Edition starts at US$1,800 per seat pear year before volume and multiyear discounts.

Deconstructing Sales Navigator EE

LinkedIn Navigator "has good traction with companies focused on B2B sales," said Cindy Zhou, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.

PointDrive "provides one centralized location for prospects to access content, and it's all trackable by sales and marketing," she told CRM Buyer. "This is a bonus for organizations considering the Enterprise Edition and a good bundling strategy."

CRM Sync "is a great feature addition" Zhou said, but even though sales professionals will "welcome receiving expanded access to connections throughout the organization, the challenge is to ensure they don't abuse the privilege."

The introduction of TeamLink is also a potential nexus for problems.

"My concern with TeamLink is [whether] an organization will responsibly handle the opt-in," Zhou said. "Organizations using TeamLink will need to be aware of their responsbility to properly train users to not abuse the access to connections."

LinkedIn and Microsoft

The market was doubtful about the wisdom of Microsoft's purchase of LinkedIn for $26 billion last year.

However, "Navigator's ability to facilitate social sales through third-level connections is one of the primary revenue generators for LinkedIn, and a key driver for the Microsoft acquisition," Zhou pointed out.

"The new Enterprise Edition extends the product's capability and allows it to be more deeply embedded in LinkedIn's large enterprise accounts," she noted.

"LinkedIn is a valuable pool of data that's a great fit for CRM," observed Ian Campbell, CEO of Nucleus Research.

"As long as it doesn't limit or preclude users from using other CRM options," he told CRM Buyer, "this is a good move that will add value."

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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