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 to grow revenue. The value multiplies when one upgrades to a LinkedIn Premium account.
In this article, I will describe the benefits of the different tiers of being a LinkedIn Premium member. I will also share whether a LinkedIn premium plan 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 search to find, engage, and connect with quality and qualified prospects. And then turn those connections into potential business conversations.
Starting more conversations and expanding existing relationships is what social selling is all about.
Fortunately, a free LinkedIn account enables professionals to build their online presence and start connecting with prospects, as they build their professional network.Learn whether a #Linkedin #Premium Plan is worth the investment and how this #upgrade can benefit you! 🤑in this article by @M_3Jr #linkedinpremium Click To Tweet
Did you know that 75% of decision-makers look for an informative LinkedIn profile when considering talking with a sales rep?
In our Modern Sales Mastery digital training program, we teach sellers how to leverage their LinkedIn profiles to become more attractive to potential buyers. In the online on demand course you will learn how to boost your visibility, engage more successfully, build TOMA and subject matter expertise and be more successful with LinkedIn. But here’s a quick strategy to boost your visibility -use LinkedIn Kudos.
Ok – let’s look at other ways for LinkedIn profile optimization – for free!
Optimizing Your Profile on a Free LinkedIn Account
Here’s what your reps can do to optimize their profiles:
- Add a LinkedIn banner to their profile reflecting their business brand
- Use their 220-character LinkedIn headline to explain how they help their customer
- Add a 10-second LinkedIn audio introduction (this is only available on mobile)
- Add a 30-second LinkedIn profile video, instead of your LinkedIn photo, explaining how they help their customer (this is only available on mobile)
- Add a hyperlinked Call to Action under their headline. (Only available at this time to people who have Creator Mode turned on)
- Write using the language of their buyer and focused on them by creating a buyer-centric profile.
- Add content and media in the Featured section that serves as a resource to their buyers
- Optimize the About section utilizing a CTR (call to Read) and all 2600 characters in your LinkedIn Summary.
- Share useful and relevant updates to their target buyers
Once your sales team optimizes their LinkedIn 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 free account starts to show its limitations for sellers, entrepreneurs and business owners, and where they might consider the premium features available with the premium membership. Is LinkedIn premium worth it? Let’s see…
Is LinkedIn Premium Worth it?
LinkedIn sets a limit on monthly searches for free users. If LinkedIn thinks you are searching the platform to recruit or to do lead generation, 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 a LinkedIn user is 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. If your sales reps are prospecting (and hopefully they are!) then they need to pay for it! Upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium account enables users 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.There are several versions of the #linkedinpremum membership. Which is the best level for you? It depends! Learn more in this article by @M_3Jr #linkedintips #linkedin Click To Tweet
What is InMail from LinkedIn?
LinkedIn Premium subscribers have an additional feature called LinkedIn 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. The type of Premium membership you have will determine the number of InMail messages per month you will get.
Note: an InMail message can only have up to 200 characters in the subject line and no more up to 8000 characters in the body depending on the plan. Unused InMail credit expires after 90 days. However, when someone you messaged through an InMail responds, you get your credit back.
Now, let’s look at LinkedIn Premium in more detail.
LinkedIn Premium Cost and Membership Types
How much does LinkedIn Premium cost? There are several versions of the Premium membership:
- LinkedIn Premium Career – $29.99 per month
- LinkedIn Premium Business – $59.99 per month
- Sales Navigator – $79.99 per month
- LinkedIn Recruiter Lite – $119.99 per month
Should You Pay for LinkedIn Premium?
Which is the best LinkedIn membership level? 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 in a job search or in a new career plan? Choose LinkedIn Premium Career.
- Are you expanding your business network? Choose LinkedIn Premium Business.
- Are you using LinkedIn for sales prospecting? Choose Sales Navigator.
- Are you hiring salespeople? Choose Recruiting Lite.
LinkedIn Premium Career Benefits
Whether you are a sales leader or a sales rep looking for your next job, LinkedIn Premium Career offers many useful tools for job seekers.
Premium Career also 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.
Premium Career and the other LinkedIn 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 Career 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
LinkedIn Premium Business Features
Premium Business offers unlimited searches on people and you get 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 how.Do you know about #Linkedin Premium´s #business features? & do you know about the career benefits? Then check this #article out now by @M_3Jr and learn more! #linkedinpremium Click To Tweet
So, is LinkedIn Premium 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 may need more than 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, a LinkedIn member can only see the last five people who visited their open profile.
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.
If you are serious about using social media for selling and prospecting through LinkedIn, you must get a LinkedIn Sales Navigator Professional account for you and your team. Sales Nav 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 Nav to have success as a modern seller? We answer that question in the following video.
LinkedIn Sales Nav is arguably one of the most powerful social selling tools available – but most teams are underutilizing it. We are seeing only about 20-30% adoption, on average, in our clients, and even many of the power users are not maximizing the incredible potential LinkedIn Sales Nav offers.
LinkedIn Sales Nav is a big investment with big expectations that the ROI will be significant. And, when the right program is in place, the ROI can far exceed even those high expectations. It’s up to the leadership to ensure that their team is not lost in random acts of social, but is armed with a daily sales activity plan and templates that align with your KPIs.
Sales Nav has many features to help sellers prospect and keep track of their interactions with clients. Here are the most relevant features:
Advanced Lead and Company Search
This lead generation feature allows sellers to find the right people and companies with a search experience that delivers the most relevant prospects.
Beyond searching for their own prospects, Sales Navigator platform provides sellers with customized suggestions of people at their target accounts.
You can automatically save leads and accounts and log Sales Navigator activity to your CRM with a single click.
Real-time Sales Updates
This is a great feature that provides updates on your accounts and leads, including job changes.
Notes and Lists
Sellers can organize their leads and accounts with lists and take notes that can be synced back to CRM.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile
Sales Navigator includes an expanded account list of who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile in the last 90 days.
LinkedIn InMail Messages
As mentioned previously, an InMail message allows you to message members on LinkedIn not connected to you, which is a great way to do personalized outreach to the potential lead.
Smart Links Presentations
With Smart Links, you can share sales content from within LinkedIn. Your recipients can see the content without downloading, and you can track who has viewed what.
This feature lets you connect with every potential prospect through your company’s combined network.
Investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator for your salespeople isn’t enough. There, I said it.
It’s an all too familiar story among sales managers that purchase Sales Navigator. They expect their team to hit the floor running but only provide product training from LinkedIn®.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s in-house training covers the features of the product, but the strategy for getting results with the platform isn’t included. If you want your salespeople to be effective social sellers and use Sales Navigator to its fullest potential, they need social selling training.
How to Get Started with LinkedIn Premium
Before you pay for LinkedIn premium, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and test-drive all the benefits first, so you can know if you like any LinkedIn premium feature.
Once you and your team have LinkedIn Premium Career, 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 this link for more information.