How to Use LinkedIn Premium for Social Selling
Although most people – including those in sales – treat LinkedIn like an online resume, it is much more than that. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for the modern seller and anyone involved in social selling. The value multiplies when they upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account.
In this article, I will describe the benefits of the different tiers of LinkedIn Premium. I will also share whether a Premium account is worth the investment, as well as how modern sales professionals can take full advantage of its features.
Free LinkedIn Account
Salespeople can use LinkedIn to find, engage, and connect with prospects. And then turn those connections into sales conversations.
Starting more sales conversations and expanding existing relationships is what social selling is all about.
Fortunately, a free LinkedIn account enables sales reps to build their online presence and start connecting with prospects, as they build their professional network.
Did you know that 62% of decision-makers look for an informative LinkedIn profile when considering talking with a sales rep?
In our Selling with LinkedIn digital training program, we teach sellers how to leverage their LinkedIn profiles to become more attractive to potential buyers.
Here’s what your sales reps can do to optimize their profiles:
- Add a banner to their profile reflecting their business brand
- Use their 220-character headline to explain how they help their customer
- Add a 10-second audio introduction (this is only available on mobile)
- Write using the language of their buyer
- Add content and media in the Featured section that serves as a resource to their buyers
- Share useful and relevant updates to their target buyers
Once your sales team optimizes their profiles and creates a cadence for sharing valuable content, they can start searching for potential buyers and sending personalized connection requests. No sales pitches, though!
But here’s where the basic LinkedIn account starts to show its limitations for sellers.
LinkedIn sets a limit on monthly searches for free users. If LinkedIn thinks you are searching the platform to recruit or generate leads, you’ll get a message like this:
Note: Usage for free accounts resets at midnight PST on the 1st of each calendar month.
LinkedIn monitors accounts to determine if members are trying to recruit or hire, and not just searching for connections.
A profile will become limited if someone:
- Views lots of profiles who are not 1st-degree connections
- Searches for specific companies
- Searches for employees of a specific company
- Searches outside of their network (3rd-degree people searches)
Of course, LinkedIn is right. Your sales reps are prospecting, and need to pay for it! Upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium account enables sellers to do more searches, among other benefits.
Another limitation with a basic account is that sellers can only directly message LinkedIn members they are connected to. That’s where InMail comes in.
What is InMail from LinkedIn?
Premium account holders have a feature, called InMail. InMail allows members to message people they are not connected to within LinkedIn. It’s like having an email address but bypassing someone’s regular inbox. LinkedIn claims that InMail is 2.6x more effective than emails alone.
Note: InMail messages can only have up to 200 characters in the subject line and no more than 1,900 characters in the body. Unused InMail credits expire after 90 days. However, when someone you messaged through InMail responds, you get your credit back.
In the following video, Mario Martinez Jr., Founder and CEO of Vengreso, shows all the things sellers can do with the free account. He also shares why they should consider upgrading to LinkedIn Premium.
Now, let’s look at LinkedIn Premium in more detail.
LinkedIn Premium Membership Types
There are several versions – or tiers – of LinkedIn Premium:
- Premium Career – $29.99 per month
- Premium Business – $59.99 per month
- Sales Navigator – $79.99 per month
- Recruiter Lite – $119.99 per month
Which is the best version of LinkedIn Premium?
It depends. The real question should be: Which version of LinkedIn Premium is best for you?
What are your goals? Why are you using LinkedIn?
- Are you looking for a job or a career move? Choose Premium Career.
- Are you expanding your business network? Choose Premium Business.
- Are you using LinkedIn for sales prospecting? Choose Sales Navigator.
- Are you hiring salespeople? Choose Recruiting Lite.
Let’s look at the benefits of each tier, and how it relates to sellers. I won’t be discussing Recruiter Lite in this article, but you can find more information in this link.
Benefits of LinkedIn Premium Career
Whether you are a sales leader or a sales rep looking for your next job, LinkedIn Premium Career offers many useful tools for the job seeker.
This includes 3 InMail credits to reach out directly to recruiters and the ability to see who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days. You also receive other insights about job opportunities, salaries, and how you compare to other applicants for particular jobs.
This and the other Premium tiers include access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers a variety of video courses. By the way, Vengreso’s co-founder and chief visibility officer Viveka von Rosen has two courses on LinkedIn Learning: B2B Marketing with LinkedIn and Employer Engagement with LinkedIn.
According to LinkedIn, when you have a Premium account, you get:
- 6x more profile views
- 3x more connection requests
- 2x faster hiring time. When you apply through LinkedIn, you are shown as a top applicant to recruiters, and your application is moved to the top of the pile
Benefits of LinkedIn Premium Business
Premium Business offers unlimited searches on people and 15 InMail messages each month. This is great for your sellers to expand their networks and contact key prospects directly. Below are other features of the LinkedIn Premium Business account.
Trying to decide whether to upgrade from the basic account to Premium Business? Watch the video below to find out.
Is a LinkedIn Premium Account Worth It?
By now you may be wondering if a Premium subscription is worth the cost. Do you – or your sellers – really need all those extra features?
At Vengreso, we believe LinkedIn is a powerful tool to start sales conversations. And the more conversations sales reps have, the greater the chance their pipeline will stay full. And for that to happen, you and your reps may need to go beyond the basic (free) account.
For instance, if a prospect has not responded to a personalized connection request, the seller can use InMail to reach out to them. In the basic account, they can’t use InMail.
Another use case relates to the “Who’s Viewed my Profile” feature. With the basic account, members can only see the last five people who visited their profiles.
In prospecting, sellers must know who they are attracting to their profiles. A profile visit is like a trigger event; it’s an invitation for the seller to reach out and connect. Since the basic account only allows the last five views, reps will be missing many opportunities.
What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator?
If you are serious about social selling and prospecting through LinkedIn, you must get a Sales Navigator account for you and your team. Sales Navigator is only $20 more per month than LinkedIn Premium Business but has many more features.
Each seller receives 20 InMail messages per month; advanced search filters to narrow down prospects by title, company, region, and more; a lead-builder tool to create custom lists; sales insights for details about the leads generated; and lead recommendations, along with the ability to save them.
Do you need to upgrade to Sales Navigator to have success as a modern seller? We answer that question in the following video.
How to Get Started with LinkedIn Premium
Before buying a LinkedIn Premium subscription, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and test-drive all the features first.
Once you and your team have LinkedIn Premium Business or LinkedIn Sales Navigator accounts, you need to learn how to use them effectively. As we like to say at Vengreso, a fool with a tool is still a fool.
Whether you have all the great sales prospecting features of LinkedIn Premium or the basic account, it will do you no good, if you don’t know how to use them.
That’s why we’ve created the digital training program, where you and your team will learn how to leverage LinkedIn.
- Learn how to create a profile that’s “attractive” to buyers and post content that builds your reputation, as well as how to discover the most effective connection-practices that will help you reach the right prospects.
- Every module in our training program is designed to guide sellers to a skill level, where they can create more conversations with prospects in order to win more.
Click on the image below for more information.