LinkedIn is not only a social professional social media network, but also a tool that’s often leveraged by salespeople, marketers, and recruiters. It’s free to use, but it offers a few different tools and upgrades that allow you to access more information, more features, and more opportunities. These include Linkedin Premium, an advanced version of Linkedin, and Linkedin Sales Navigator, a specifically optimized sales tool.
The question is, how are these two paid subscription services different? And which ones is best for your business? Even more fundamentally, are either of these tools worth the cost?
In this article, we’ll break down LinkedIn Sales Navigator vs LinkedIn Premium and compare each one to help you determine which best suits your needs.
What Is Linkedin Sales Navigator?
Linkedin Sales Navigator is a paid tool designed to help you get more out of Linkedin from a sales perspective. It has a number of built-in features designed to help you better understand your target audience, find people who fit your target demographics, collaborate with your team, organize leads, and even generate lead recommendations.
We have a complete guide on how to use Linkedin Sales Navigator here!
Linkedin Sales Navigator Cost & Benefits
There are multiple tiers of pricing for Linkedin Sales Navigator, and at different tiers, there are different available features:
- Professional. The monthly cost is $79.99, or $64.99 if billed annually, and is intended for a single account or small team.
- Team. The monthly cost is $129.99, or $99.99 if billed annually, and is intended for small- to mid-sized teams of sales professionals.
- Enterprise. The monthly cost is quoted by request, and is intended for big organizations.
Here’s a breakdown on the features available at each tier:
Image via Linkedin
All versions of Linkedin Sales Navigator offer you complex search options to find leads who fit a specific profile, automatic lead recommendations, integration with a number of different CRMs, lead management within a team with notes and tags, access to InMail messages (which can be sent to people with whom you don’t currently share a connection), and TeamLink—which helps you find a network of connections through which to engage a new prospect.
What Is Linkedin Premium?
There are actually two different versions of Linkedin Premium—Premium Career and Premium Business. One for people looking for new career options, and one is designed for business. For this article, we’ll be focused on Linkedin Premium for business. How is this different from Linkedin Sales Navigator?
First, let’s talk about pricing.
Linkedin Premium Cost & Benefits
If you’re using LinkedIn Premium as a salesperson, the cost is $47.99 per month, billed annually. With it, you’ll get access to:
- 15 InMail messages per month
- Advanced search features
- Additional data on various companies
- Unlimited access to see who’s viewed your profile
You can think of Linkedin Premium as an upgraded version of your basic Linkedin account. Linkedin Sales Navigator is the next step up, with more robust features and more tools for sales teams.
Linkedin Sales Navigator: Pros and Cons
Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
- Integration with CRMs. A big draw here is a simple one, but it could save you a lot of time. Linkedin Sales Navigator integrates with most popular CRMs, including Salesforce. You can nearly automate your lead generation prospect, adding contacts on Linkedin as prospects in whatever management system you’re used to—and if all your team members are using this consistently, you can greatly expand your network of contacts.
- Highly expanded network reach. Speaking of expanding your network, Sales Navigator has the potential to improve your reach on the platform. Thanks to TeamLink, InMail, and other features, you’ll have access to far more individual profiles and detailed information than you would using the free version of Linkedin by itself. That means your lead pool will be many times bigger.
- TeamLink views. One of the coolest features of Sales Navigator is TeamLink—which allows you to view the possible connections from your team’s current network to potential prospects. It’s an intuitive way to find a path of recommendations to the most appropriate targets, and a way to conceptualize your team’s network of connections. It may take some time to come up with the best strategy for this feature, but there’s a lot of potential here.
- A convenient mobile app. Linkedin already has a mobile app, of course, but the Sales Navigator app is remarkably easy to use. Without any special training or practice, you’ll be able to start using it to improve your sales.
- Built-in lead tracking. With built-in lead tracking in Sales Navigator, you’ll be able to measure and analyze your sales performance, without even consulting the help of other tools (though those additional tools may help you). This is especially important if you’re experimenting with new sales techniques, or with new types of prospects.
- Dynamic recommendations. If you have a firm idea of the types of leads you’re looking for, you can manually search to find them. But you may wish to employ the help of Sales Navigator’s dynamic recommendations. These are convenient, automatically suggested leads that can direct your sales strategy in the future.
- Segregated inboxes. Though it’s useful to have a separate app for Sales Navigator, your inboxes are going to be kept separate. This can make it difficult to manage your conversations, and keep track of all your messaging.
- Limited InMail. InMail has a higher response rate than typical cold emails, making it an attractive feature. However, in some tiers of membership, your number of InMail messages is limited. This doesn’t seem necessary, considering the price, and could be a sticking point for you.
- High costs. While it’s certainly possible to get the full value out of a Sales Navigator package, the price is steep compared to other tools in the field. For half the cost, you can get many different lead generation and prospect research tools—though they might not have quite the reach that Linkedin does.
- Unsatisfactory search. The Sales Navigator search feature is useful, with all its parameters and its potential reach, but in practice, the tool feels clunky. It’s not as fast or intuitive as other search features, so we’ll need to consider it a weakness more than a strength.
Linkedin Premium: Pros and Cons
Linkedin Premium by itself also has some important pros and cons to consider, though it shares many of the strengths and weaknesses of its close cousin, Linkedin Sales Navigator.
- Profile views. Like Sales Navigator, Linkedin Premium allows you to see who has viewed your profile recently—and because it applies retroactively, you can view many weeks of past activity. If you’re wondering who’s viewed your profile, this is a great way to capture that information—even if you don’t continue your subscription.
- Prospect analysis for small operations. Linkedin Premium is better for an individual than it is for a team. If you need deeper prospect analysis for your solo or small operation, it’s highly useful. In terms of raw data, Sales Navigator doesn’t provide you with much more.
- Flexibility. There are multiple versions of Linkedin Premium. If you’re looking for a job, or if you’re a recruiter looking for candidates, there are specialized options for your needs.
- Fewer features overall. Premium has fewer features than Sales Navigator, even at the same price point. You won’t get as many InMail messages. You won’t be able to collaborate with your team. You won’t have TeamLink or as many integration features. It’s a step up from vanilla Linkedin, naturally, but Sales Navigator is a more robust overall tool.
- Less sustainability. I can imagine that lots of people use Linkedin Premium for short-term needs; they’re looking for someone specific, or they need a boost for their lead generation campaign. Overall, Sales Navigator is more sustainable, especially in the context of a team. If you’re trying to rebuild your lead generation or sales strategy from the ground up with a suite of tools, Premium may not be the best option.
Linkedin Sales Navigator vs Linkedin Premium: Is Either Worth It?
Now let’s get down to brass tacks; which of these is a better bang for your buck, and are either of these Linkedin tools worth it? In the question of Linkedin Sales Navigator vs Linkedin Premium, which is better?
Here’s a handy table that compares the features of Linkedin free vs Linkedin Sales Navigator vs Linkedin Premium:
Image via Linkedin
Put simply, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a better bang for your buck. You get everything from Linkedin Premium and a lot more for just $17/month more.
However, LinkedIn Premium is a simpler, more streamlined option that might be preferable to some people, because it simply unlocks more features or restrictions from your existing Linkedin account, whereas Linkedin Sales Navigator gives you a new module and interface to work within. If you’re still on the fence, check out our whole post breaking down the benefits of Linkedin Premium: Is Linkedin Premium Worth It?
If the majority of your leads come from Linkedin, or if they could be found on Linkedin, either of these premium tools could enhance both your productivity and your eventual close rates. And if you’re working with a full-time sales team, $80 per month isn’t really that much.
However, there are a lot of other tools meant to help you find more leads and close more sales, and many of them are less expensive. For example, you could try one of our top B2B lead generation tools.
If you’re operating on a tight budget, or if Linkedin hasn’t historically been a source of strong leads in the past, you may be better off saving your money for something else.
If you’re interested in exploring other sales prospecting tools and techniques, make sure to check out our comprehensive guide! And for more Linkedin tips and tricks, and see our blog post covering Linkedin summary examples you can use for inspiration to write your own.
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before exiting it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics, and co-host of the podcast The Entrepreneur Cast.