What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator? How to use it? Is it worth it?

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What is the LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

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LinkedIn offers a proprietary tool called LinkedIn Sales Navigator that - for a fee, of course - allows the user to apply advanced filtering to LinkedIn's data set. In this tutorial, I will briefly walk you through it so that you can see for yourself what it is and decide if you want to expend your once-in-a-lifetime free trial on it or maybe even subscribe.

How do you use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

When you log into LinkedIn Sales Navigator for the first time, you're invited to add a couple of leads, which will then ensure your first search screen isn't empty. Let's clear all that away and start from scratch so that we can build up a query from the beginning. Our screen looks like this (focused is the tab for searching for a person, or a "lead," and behind it is the tab for searching for a company, or an "account"):

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Search Screen

You can get back here at any time by performing a search - any search at all - and then clearing it out. And speaking of search, Sales Navigator remembers the searches you've made while logged into your regular user experience, so you can easily redo them if you like.

If you click "See all filters" in the lower left-hand corner, the panel will double in width. Let's go ahead and do that and then take a look at a few filters to see what options are available. Since this isn't a guide on generating interesting leads, these options were chosen somewhat at random to demonstrate the functionality available.

Filtering on LinkedIn Sales Navigator - find Software Engineers from Stripe with >=6 years experience

In this example, we're looking at a subset of current Stripe employees with the job title Software Engineer and at least six years of experience. We're also excluding everyone from the San Francisco Bay Area - maybe your recruiters already tried reaching out to all potential local candidates, and you'll now look elsewhere for candidates who might be open to relocation (really, I wanted to demonstrate that you're able to negate certain things).

You can't negate all fields; for example, "First name," "Last name," and "Profile language" are all only include-or-empty. But when you can exclude, the interface looks like this:

Exclusion filter in LinkedIn Sales Navigator

You can also flip between include & exclude on a field you've already added by hovering it if you're trying to exhaustively filter through a large list of potential candidates and reach out to each one manually because you don't have access to an API to help you send automated outreach emails.

Once you have made a search and found interesting people or accounts, you can now create some lists. Click the "Save" button and then optionally pick which list you want. You can also save searches and share them with your colleagues, which is one of the most powerful parts of this tool; when you look at your saved searches list, you'll see two tabs again, one for people and one for companies. From this view, you can see how many changes there have been since the last time, so you never have to bother looking at lists that contain only stale data.

What if you wanted to automate this?

Does this product sound helpful to you? Are you a developer (or do you have one on staff)? You might be interested in the product that Proxycurl offers: An API for LinkedIn. To make it clear, we're not an official API, but what we do is legal, and we give you a set of RESTful endpoints that you can use to do a lot of what LinkedIn Sales Navigator does without the addition of yet another UI to your life.

At the time of publication of this post, our most recent launch is our Search API, and we're super excited about it. Check out our launch announcement to learn more, and reach out to [email protected] if you have any questions.

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