Screenshot 2015-03-24 11.27.36LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the top of the mountain with LinkedIn and sales activity. This product rolled out in 2014 with a major revision late in the year. It is now being widely adopted by large companies as well as companies that sell to large companies.

Sales Navigator helps you discover Leads within Accounts in a way that mimics CRM systems like Salesforce.com. It manages communications with a dedicated Inbox that is stocked full of InMails. It even pulls together the activity feeds of your Accounts and Leads so you can engage them on what’s most important to them.

Implementing Sales Navigator also means you must make some changes to your social media policy or maybe even start one. It may even be a legal issue for some.

Data retention is one of the most important things in business today. Lost emails are just the tip of the iceberg. Many companies and industries have data retention policies today and, in many cases, they are legally bound to do so. Many others guard their customer data like a hawk, having been burned by customer data leaving the firm as employees take a new position elsewhere.

Many LinkedIn Sales Navigator users may be frightened to learn that the product may run contrary to this need. It may differ from prevailing best practices and even run a fowl of government requirements for record keeping.

The problem…

Most employers pay for the LinkedIn Sales Navigator licenses of their employees, mostly sales team members and managers. It’s a nifty feature. The company retains the Sales Navigator license once a user leaves, much like with Salesforce.com and other popular SaaS tools.

The difference is that, while Salesforce.com actually retains the data when a user leaves the firm, Sales Navigator does not. The important Leads, Accounts and even the Inbox communications are destroyed and an empty shell of a license is returned to the company ready for re-issuance to another user. This customer data is simply GONE.

Most firms that have adopted Sales Navigator are unaware of this as are those considering it. Someday they will find out and something might hit the fan.

The solution…

Until LinkedIn fixes this problem (and it may never happen), the solution relies in the social media policy of the firm. An employees LinkedIn Sales Navigator data is only temporary yet the need for it is almost permanent.

This calls for a method of getting the data out of Navigator and into a system like Salesforce.com. It comes down to judgment calls and a series of copy/paste routines. It also means that a policy is needed to incent and enforce employee behavior.

Accounts can be copied down from Salesforce.com to Sales Navigator. Our exhaustive testing is showing that Leads and Contacts do not come down, although the LinkedIn sales literature seems to indicate differently.

While the term Sync is used by LinkedIn in describing the connection between Salesforce.com and Sales Navigator, there is no actual data flow TO Salesforce.com, it is only one way (down) and in a very limited fashion. The term copy or download would actually be more accurate in this instance.

Sales Navigator users take action now….

If you already have a social media policy, please make some revisions to it so you do not run into legal issues and don’t see critical customer data and correspondence disappear with no way to get it back.

If you don’t have a social media policy yet, please consider implementing one. This is really but a small reason to do so. The major reason is to ensure that users know what is OK and what is not and what the consequences of crossing the line are.

Integrated Alliances has been consulting sales management and teaching sales teams how to get the most benefit out of LinkedIn since 2006. LinkedIn Sales Navigator consulting and training are an integral part of our programs.

If you would like to discuss your team and how they can close more deals using LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Social Selling, sign up for a free 30-minute call at www.ScheduleWithMike.com.

Mike O’Neil is the world’s first LinkedIn trainer and Integrated Alliances is the world’s first Social Media consulting firm. This tenure is unmatched and the insight it brings to the table is equally unmatched anywhere in the world.

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