14 Dec Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator Worth It?
In October, I decided to conduct a lead generation experiment, and I signed up for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Yes, I took advantage of their free 30-day trial. Yes, I extended it by a month and paid $90 for the privilege.
Am I still a member? No.
Would I rejoin? Probably not.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator requires a lot of time, but that’s not the biggest problem. I ran into two major limitations that I don’t see a way around.
Ready for the full story? Let’s go.
Why I decided to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator
This year has been an odd one for me. Three marketing agencies that regularly sent me big juicy projects went radio silent. One long-time client’s steady work slowed to a trickle – and then dried up.
I wasn’t paying attention. I was resting on my laurels.
And I was steadily telling the universe I wanted to play more and work less. Big mistakes. (Dear Universe, I want to work more!)
So anyway, business was slow this fall, and I had to do something.
I put on my big girl business development pants and decided to give LinkedIn Sales Navigator (let’s just call it SN from now on) a try. Just one new client via SN would more than pay for the experiment.
My original marketing goal quickly changed
My original goal was to unlock the identities of the people who were viewing my profile, which SN sends in a weekly report. If they found me, they must be looking for a copywriter, right? I figured I could reach out to anyone who seemed like a potential client and get a conversation going.
And this is when I slammed head first into limitation number one:
Far too many people block their identities.
In my experience, at least 75% of my profile views were useless. I could only see that they worked in a specific industry.
In a “Look Who’s Viewed Your Profile” report I got on October 25, the identities of 51 people who viewed my profile were blocked – out of 65!
Oddly enough, the majority seemed to work at colleges or universities. (Actually, this isn’t so odd. One of my long-time clients is in the higher education space.) A fairly large group of people appeared to be overseas. All of them seemed completely random.
So it was time to change tactics.
I began a campaign for “potential leads”
SN was also sending me a weekly list of “potential leads”.
The people on the first list I got appeared to be chosen based on keywords and location. The people on the second list I got were mostly from technology and IT companies. Curated, but random.
However, SN included a lot of marketers on the list, both marketing professionals within companies and marketing agency owners.
I could reach out to them via InMail.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of spammy InMails. I wanted to make sure my messages were not.
Here’s the message I sent to 24 potential leads we curated (three were first connections):
Hi <first name>,
I am trying out LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and their algorithm said we should be friends (in other words, it said that you are a potential lead for me).
So … I am putting their algorithm to test.
My content marketing agency helps companies of all shapes and sizes generate leads and grow by creating and sharing the content that only you can. Whether we’re writing blogs, emails, website content, social media posts, or marketing copy for lead gen tools like white papers, everything we do is custom to your brand.
If Sales Navigator did a good job and you’d like to work with a fun group of copywriting and marketing experts, let me know and we’ll set up a call.
If not, so sorry to bother you – we can blame the algorithm!
I changed up the message I sent to other marketers by swapping out the long-ish paragraph about our services for two short ones:
My team of copywriters often works with other marketing agencies, because (as you know!) it’s so darn hard to find good copywriters.
Our expertise includes writing blogs, emails, website content, social media posts, or marketing copy for lead gen tools like white papers. Everything we do is custom to our clients’ brands.
What happened next
Of the first batch of InMails I sent out, three people looked at my profile, but no one responded.
I also reached out to some of the people who viewed my profile from the second list I got.
One person messaged me back immediately. He said his company desperately needed help with content marketing and lead generation, so we scheduled a sales call! And then we rescheduled. Twice. And he never showed up. So that was a waste of time.
Nine days after messaging the owner of a digital marketing agency, he responded that he needs our services for some accounts. We scheduled a call and hit it off. I already did a test project for him, so I’m excited to start working with him on a regular basis.
Over two months, I probably sent 60-70 InMails.
And here’s the other limitation: InMails are not regular DMs. They are likely coming from second or third connections, so they are already viewed with suspicion … and ignored.
By now it’s mid-November. I got busy. I stopped sending InMails, and it was time to decide if I wanted to renew for another month. I hemmed and hawed, and I decided to pull the plug.
Should I have stuck with it? Maybe. But for the amount of time I was putting into it, I would rather do much more targeted lead generation (which I am!).
My SN wish list
One, make it more user-friendly. It takes a ton of time to go through recommended leads. Plus, the same recommendations showed up more than once. Why?!
Two, I would like to see more information about who is viewing my profile, such as job title and company name. Yes, I would reverse-stalk them.
Three, it would be SO helpful to curate potential leads from my end. Specifically, I would love to be able to choose categories of who I want to connect with. That would reduce redundancy, exclude useless leads, and speed up review of the “potential leads.”
Have you used SN? I’d love to hear about your experience – what was your goal, what worked, and what didn’t?