What do you like best?
Executive Profiles provide biographical details not available on other platforms (This is available to all users)
Their connections tool, which is the best Who Knows Who Six Degrees tool on the market, is extended to Team Members that opt in (TeamLink). Sales reps can leverage the networks of participating colleagues. The system also suggests shared contacts to assist with warming up introductions.
Lead and Account Tracking allows sales reps to identify and track companies and contacts of interest. It also suggests additional contacts at accounts.
Every sales rep should be using the free LinkedIn service. It is invaluable for pre-call research and account planning. ANY SALES REP THAT FAILS TO USE FREE LINKEDIN IS ENGAGING IN SALES MALPRACTICE.
What do you dislike?
Sales Navigator provides very few emails (you must be connected to the user to view them and they are usually personal emails, not corporate), forcing you to use their InMail service. Furthermore, LinkedIn segregates your LinkedIn customer outreach from your enterprise email service (they recently added Gmail synch). On the plus side, InMails provide an alternate connection method for executives that rarely respond to blind emails or cold calls. Furthermore, LinkedIn has made recent enhancements to InMail including syncing with other platforms, signatures, and attachments.
The SFDC integration for Sales Navigator does not support uploading of LinkedIn biographic or firmographic member intelligence to SFDC to assist with segmentation and reporting. Thus, all LinkedIn prospect lists are view only. Users may add companies and contacts as Accounts and Leads within Navigator, but these lists cannot be downloaded to Excel or uploaded to CRMs. However, they are beginning to synch non-member data such as notes, tags and InMails to CRM.
Company profiles lack family trees and org structure tools for selling deeper into an organization. Furthermore, company profiles are written by the company so are basically web site rehashes.
Except for executive changes, LinkedIn does not provide sales triggers. Instead they provide general news and self-published updates (much of which is created on LinkedIn so has unique value). They also lack company financials, filings, SWOT reports, competitor lists, or viewing of other social media content (e.g. inline tools for company RSS, Twitter, Facebook).
As such, I view Sales Navigator as a strong complement to Sales Intelligence systems such as Avention OneSource or InsideView, not as a replacement to these services.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Consider using the free LinkedIn service alongside other sales intelligence services (InsideView, Avention, Hoover's). When evaluating vs. these other services, look at Alternate SI + Free LinkedIn value vs. Sales Navigator.
Sales Navigator should be viewed more as a social selling platform than a true sales intelligence platform. As such, if budget allows, licensing both Sales Navigator and a full SI service should be considered. While this may be cost prohibitive at SMBs, large enterprises may be able to take a best of breed approach and license both services due to volume discounting.
If you are looking for SFDC integration, go with InsideView or Avention.
For MS Dynamics integration, go with InsideView, Avention, or D&B360.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Sales Navigator is quite good at finding connections and maintaining networks. It provides an alternate network for reaching out to executives who refuse to answer their phones or email (or where direct contact information is not available).. The TeamLink feature allows me to leverage the networks of co-workers who also have Sales Navigator seats and opt-in.
LinkedIn is also vary good at identifying additional contacts at accounts and suggesting references and hooks for warming up communications.
LinkedIn is getting better at tracking communications on their platform and synching with other services. When PointDrive is added to their Sales Navigator platform in 2017 (they acquired it in 2016), they will have a branded email alternative that allows reps to send and track content in a much better UI than email attachments. Each attached item is shown in a box with commentary and improved accessibility. Furthermore, PointDrive tracks views, forwards, and downloads, providing sales reps with invaluable prospect intelligence.