LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration with Salesforce: Expectations vs. Reality

• Date: May 2021 •
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Marketing Automation Expert,
Head of Marketing at Twistellar
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LinkedIn Sales Navigator has proven to significantly boost social selling by generating 34% of total B2B sales leads. Integrating Sales Navigator with an existing CRM creates an even more powerful tool that shortens the way to a client through automated search, account management, and messaging.

As the result of such a promising prospect, a few clients turned to Twistellar to set up the LinkedIn integration with Salesforce CRM.
Let's delve into the pros and cons encountered along the way to decide if the outcomes live up to the expectations.

The benefits of syncing Sales Navigator with Salesforce CRM

So what exactly are the possible opportunities of this integration?
  • Manage your Sales Navigator search settings in the appliance with the contacts from your CRM to find the best-fit audience for further interactions
  • Accounts and Contacts related to Open Opportunities are synchronized with the Opportunity Owner. It means that the owner receives timely notifications on the contacts leaving their company or changing a position. Thus, he is always aware of the latest changes and can accordingly adapt his sales strategy
  1. Stay abreast of company's news
  2. Approach the right audience
  3. Keep track of the latest activities of your contacts to personalize outreach
  • Access the necessary contact information quicker as the data from the CRM is shown on Sales Navigator Lead pages
Data Mapping Salesforce CRM - LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • Redirect your sent InMails, notes, and PointDrive views from the Sales Navigator to the CRM
  • Create customized ROI reports that present how Sales Navigator usage has influenced opportunities in the CRM
  1. Direct records from CRM to Sales Navigator
  2. Pull necessary contact info from CRM
  3. Main activities are directed to CRM (InMails, notes & phone calls)
  1. The data is customizable to each seller
  2. Combine data from both systems to ensure better search results
  3. Changes to your opportunity are synced with the CRM
Technically, there are two possible ways of integration: through API sync or using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Salesforce app. We will focus on the first option in this article as the application does not support all CRM sync features.

4 things to consider before integrating LinkedIn Sales Navigator with Salesforce CRM

There are several ways to integrate LinkedIn with Salesforce. You can use one of the independent Browser Extensions, or the official LinkedIn Sales Navigator app, discussed later in this post.
One of the Chrome Extensions is the totally free Assistlead, which can create Leads and Contacts in Salesforce from a LinkedIn Profile. While creating records using Assistlead works great, it can't edit existing records, nor can it create Salesforce Accounts.

Another Chrome Extension is Salesbolt, which has both a free and paid version. As well as creating Leads and Contacts from Profiles, it also creates Salesforce Accounts. Salesbolt can further save you time by surfacing existing Salesforce data, so you don't accidentally create duplicate records. Salesbolt also works with custom fields and multiple page layouts, something the official app doesn't yet support.

Salesbolt works with the standard LinkedIn experience, as well as the paid LinkedIn editions such as LinkedIn Recruiter, Recruiter Lite and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Before you jump at this chance of a better sales perspective with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, make sure to meet the following prerequisites:
The Professional Sales Navigator edition doesn't allow syncing, so you have to choose between Team or Enterprise. From the Salesforce side, you need to have one of the following versions: Enterprise, Unlimited, Developer, Performance, or Professional
API access enabled in your Salesforce org
An available Sales Navigator admin account and Salesforce admin account
JavaScript enabled browser with the ability to log in/configure in a cookie-clear environment. These can be Chrome Incognito, Firefox Private Browsing, and others

Twistellar's case: expectations vs. reality

After checking that you meet all the requirements, you are ready to move to the next stage - implementation. Let's review the case of one of our clients who expected to achieve the following results of the integration:
Accepting InMails and attaching them to the Account/Contact
Writing InMails from Salesforce interface
Generating Leads in Salesforce from LinkedIn
As mentioned before, saving leads from LinkedIn in your CRM creates a lot of opportunities for further analysis and customer nurturing. The integration makes it possible to redirect not only the information on your LinkedIn leads but also some more important data:
Phone calls initiated via Sales Navigator Mobile App
Notes captured against Accounts or Leads in Sales Navigator
LinkedIn messages that are written to 1st-degree connections
InMail messages written to non-connections
If you want to contact potential leads, redirected to the CRM from LinkedIn, the functionality allows doing it from the Salesforce interface. The two first goals, thereby, are configured with ease.
The key problem lies in carrying on the conversation. Even though you can send InMails and messages to your prospects directly from Salesforce, there is no way to receive their answers there, as they will appear on Linkedin only. In the end, you would still need some double entry to save messages from your contacts in the CRM.
There are two more not self-evident factors that we have come across during implementation: budget and Sandbox sync configuration.
It's necessary to have both paid licenses in Salesforce and Sales Navigator to set up and test the integration. Make sure to plan this period of testing properly to minimize the time when the integration will only cause expenses rather than profit.
As for the Sandbox, be ready to perform testing on real orgs and data, as Sales Navigator isn't supported on Sandbox. You will perform testing from the real LinkedIn account. And if you're an end-user, the odds are good that you have all the direct access. It can be a problem if you are a consulting partner helping to set up integrations with other companies.
The bright side is that Sales Navigator tech support was helpful and led us through all the issues that came up during the project. It's important to mention that we had a paid Enterprise package, and communication was held through the built-in chat.

Pros & Cons

After all, the integration does serve its purpose to affect the efficiency of sales with the help of analytical insights on your customers. As a result of better data management and reporting, it becomes easier to find gaps in the current sales pipeline and adapt your strategy accordingly.
The main process of customer nurturing, however, mainly takes place on LinkedIn. It gives reason to consider Salesforce users to be caught in a less favorable position than those who mostly use LinkedIn.
Testing to be performed on real orgs and data
Requirements to have both paid licenses, expenses during the test period
LinkedIn rests the key platform for further customer contact as you can't receive messages in Salesforce
Opportunities to create a more personalized outreach
Audience analytics, reporting,
and lead ranking
Targeted search
for potential leads
At the end of the day, if you plan on setting up the integration, consider all the pros and cons with a focus on the budget and main sales tool used by your team. Salesforce users can have better opportunities to find suitable leads, and Sales Navigator users will take the advantage of the reports and analytics on the customers performed in the CRM.
The main limitation of the integration is that main sales processes will be directed to the LinkedIn platform. If you plan to work with LinkedIn from the Salesforce interface, you won't be able to achieve that. You'll still have to nurture your leads on Linkedin having restricted data captured in Salesforce.
It's very important to understand all limitations of app packages and APIs for the most efficient use of any integrations. For this reason, referring to a professional Salesforce consulting company can help you form data-driven and experience-based expectations to find the best solutions for your optimization goals.

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