WHAT IS SALES NAVIGATOR
Sales Navigator is a platform that uses the Linkedin database to identify and contact new customers, distributors or agents. It is a “paid” feature but Linkedin allows a free 30-day trial period.
I have been using Sales Navigator for 5 years and I find it very useful; it is one more “weapon” for the export manager. In the last 2 years without trade fairs and with few trips it has become, for me, an indispensable tool.
HOW SALES NAVIGATOR WORKS
The main function of Sales Navigator is to allow us to find the right people (leads) and potential companies (accounts). This is possible thanks to a more sophisticated filter system than those that the basic version of Linkedin offers.
In addition, Sales Navigator allows you to:
- Save and organize all the contacts in lists and make notes (a bit like a CRM – Customer Relationship Management).
- Stay up to date on saved leads and accounts. In the Sales Navigator home page, alerts will appear relating to: interests, hires, position changes, etc. Useful information because it allows us to study our potential clients and to personalize our first contact with them.
- Finally, the use of messages to contact all the leads found, even if they are not yet connected with us.
The latter is an important feature of this tool, but it must be used with care. I always prefer the personalized request-to-connect rather than a cold contact or message. We are literally bombarded by “junk” sales communications daily so I find a softer initial contact more effective (which is precisely the request for a personalized connection).
On the more general topic of how to find new customers, I refer you to my post How To Find New Customers.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITS OF SALES NAVIGATOR
I’ll describe 3:
- Sales Navigator is not a magic wand. It gives us an edge but, as I just said, it must be used with care. If we abuse it, we risk coming off as stalkers and in the end we burn our contacts.
- In addition, many professionals are not registered on Linkedin. Or they are but they don’t use this virtual square. So if I knock on their door, they don’t answer.
- Finally, this tool doesn’t work when you don’t know how to use it well. It is complex and it takes patience.
HOW TO LEARN TO USE SALES NAVIGATOR
If you are interested, there are many professionals who teach this – myself included.
The issue of selling Italian products abroad is obviously a complex topic with many facets. Using Sales Navigator is one aspect. Small businesses that have limited resources – both human and financial – especially must take the time to investigate these aspects. Finally, if you want to learn more, I have written a guide on these issues that I recommend Exporting in 7 Steps.