LinkedIn Networking with Sales Navigator

By Perry van Beek

Social selling is about making connections with people first. The idea is that over time, you will build up enough of a network of potential sales through your use of social media that an increase in sales is the natural result of these efforts. People want to buy from people they like. And people begin to like other people when they get to know them first.

Sales Navigator is a great tool to grow your network, and it has a number of helpful options to facilitate that growth. The “social” part is up to you, though. You have to be social to succeed in social selling, and how else are you going to be social if you don’t engage with the leads you collect in Sales Navigator?

In the context of social networking, engaging can mean a few different things. You can use one of the provided buttons to “like” or otherwise show your appreciation for a person’s content, you can share others’ content using one of the network’s methods, or you can take the time to write a comment. There is a time and a place for each of those options.

A good rule of thumb is that the more time you spend engaging with a lead by using a social network’s option, the better your chances for catching that lead’s attention. In other words, taking the time to write a thoughtful comment holds more weight than clicking the “thumbs up” button.

Interacting with top LinkedIn updates

When you first log into Sales Navigator, you are taken to the updates feed on the home page, which, coincidently, is where you have your first opportunity to engage with your leads. The updates feed lists the top updates from your saved leads and accounts.

Sales Navigator selects which top updates to show you based on your activity within the platform. For example, if you’ve been performing a lot of account searches within a particular industry, Sales Navigator shows you more updates from those companies, including information such as whether those companies are experiencing high headcount growth in the past year.

If there’s a post from a lead in your feed, you can click the “You and <Name>” link at the bottom of that update to see any connections or commonalities between you and that person.

When a lead’s update or updates appear in your feed, you’re given the option to “like” the update, comment on it, or both. You should do both and here’s why: Clicking the “like” button on a person’s update is mindless. You technically don’t even have to had read the update to do so. It takes virtually zero effort, though it does show a tiny bit of acknowledgement to the person making the post.

When you both “like” the update and leave a comment, you’re still showing that appreciation, but you’re also taking it a step further by taking the time to write a comment pertaining to the update. Just make sure the comment is actually related to the update. Nothing screams “lazy” like someone who simply adds a “thanks!” or a “nice story!” comment to an update.

Take the time to add details, such as mentioning why you liked the article or a short personal anecdote related to the topic. People love to know that you’ve actually put time and effort into engaging with their updates.

When a person shares more than one update within a 24-hour period, the last two updates appear in the feed. This is helpful for a couple of different reasons. First, you know that the individual is active on LinkedIn, so he or she is more likely to receive any messages you send within a reasonable amount of time. Second, what that person posts may give you insight into what’s important in his or her life and/or career at the moment. The double-update box contains information about how you and that person are connected.

If a person hasn’t posted an update on LinkedIn in over 30 days, chances are good he or she just doesn’t sign into the site all that often. I recommend moving your attention elsewhere.

Interacting with recent LinkedIn updates

The default view for the updates feed is to show the most important updates. You can, however, filter the results to show only the most recent updates by clicking the “Most recent” link in the Filter Your Updates box that appears in the left column of the home page. Once you do that, all the updates you see will be in chronological order with the newest on top. While this a good way to get up to date quickly on the latest updates from your network, you may have to do a lot of scrolling if you’re looking for anything in particular.

What’s helpful about sorting your results like this is that the most recent updates are grouped together by account, with any saved leads who work at that company below the company’s updates. This is useful because you have company news front and center. If you decide to reach out to your lead regarding the company update (and you are, right?), you don’t have to search high and low for it. You simply click the “Message” button that appears to the right of the lead’s name and you can contact the lead right then and there. You can, of course, “like” and comment on these updates as well.