Closing Time

Pro Tips to Master LinkedIn Sales Navigator – Search Filters, List Building, and Lead Gen

Looking to supercharge your outbound sales strategy this year?

With over 810 million users and 4/5 of business decision-makers actively using the platform – there is no better place for sales reps to direct their resources than to Linkedin. 

Whether you’re building your network, positioning yourself as a thought leader, or engaging in relevant conversations, every minute spent on LinkedIn can reap great benefits. However, the real wealth of information lies under the hood in LinkedIn’s relationship-based selling tool, Sales Navigator.

Most sales leaders use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to fuel their outbound sales process – but very few have mastered it.

In this episode of Closing Time, LinkedIn Ambassador and CEO of #samsales Consulting, Sam McKenna, does a deep dive into LinkedIn Sales Navigator to showcase how users are underutilizing the tool and highlight features and tips most sales leaders are either ignoring or don’t know exist.

Watch the video:
Key Moments:
Tips to effectively use LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an invaluable tool for prospecting, offering a range of options to engage effectively with potential leads. To optimize your experience, here are some key tips that Sam shares:

Tips for LinkedIn Sales Navigator

1. Load your book of business: Ensure that all your existing accounts are saved in your Sales Navigator account list. If you have CRM integration, this process becomes even simpler. By doing this, you can maintain a comprehensive overview of your client base.

2. Save top prospects: Identify your most promising prospects and save their profiles in Sales Navigator. This allows you to conveniently track their activities and engagement. For instance, if you wanted to target Val specifically, you would save their profile and include them in relevant lists.

3. Leverage recommended leads: A highly valuable but often overlooked feature of Sales Navigator is the “recommended leads” section. This section provides insights into individuals who have searched for profiles similar to yours. These individuals likely belong to your target audience or could be involved in the decision-making process. Exploring this resource allows you to expand your reach and connect with relevant stakeholders.

4. Utilize privacy settings: Sales Navigator allows you to maintain privacy while exploring profiles. You can choose to be anonymous while still being able to see who has viewed your profile. This feature lets you gather valuable information about potential leads without revealing your identity upfront.

Sam's favorite search criteria

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is renowned for its powerful search capabilities, which can significantly enhance your prospecting strategies. With 25 different search criteria at your disposal, reps can effectively find answers to any question related to their target audience.

One valuable search technique involves identifying individuals who have previously worked for your top clients. By inputting the past company names of your best clients as search criteria (Past Company = who used to work for your top clients) and your current clients as the current company (Current Company = your existing book of business), you can generate a list of professionals who have a history of working with your top clients and are currently part of your target audience. To further refine your search, consider filters such as location, education, job titles, and company size. This approach helps you discover warm leads.

Another useful search is to explore connections with individuals who have previously worked for your former employers (Past Company = your previous employers) and currently work for your book of business (Current Company = your entire book of business). By specifying your past employers as the past company and including your entire book of business as the current company, you can uncover potential connections who share a common work history, establishing a foundation for meaningful conversations.

Additionally, if you have access to TeamLink extend, visit profiles of colleagues or individuals you want to connect with, and use additional search criteria like school or location to identify executives or employees who are connected to the buyers you wish to engage. This allows you to tap into existing relationships within your organization to gain introductions and expand your network effectively.

Tips for building lists and finding internal connections with Sales Navigator

Building targeted lists and leveraging internal connections are powerful techniques in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. At #samsales, one common hack we use is tracking our existing customers’ job changes. By creating a list that saves everyone who has purchased from us or been involved in the procurement or financial process, we can stay updated when they change jobs. This enables us to explore potential business opportunities or refer them to colleagues internally, fostering continued engagement.

Build a list that includes everyone who: 1) Has purchased from you. 2) Used your product. 3) Was a part of the procurement or finance process.

Here’s another valuable search strategy: Suppose you work for a larger organization, such as a mid-market or larger company. In that case, you can create a search that alerts you whenever a new executive joins your company. For example, if I were still at LinkedIn, I would set the current company as LinkedIn and specify executive titles like VP, SVP, and senior director. By saving this search, I receive lead alerts whenever a new executive joins. I can then connect with them on LinkedIn and utilize a pro move by clicking on their connections. This allows me to quickly identify individuals within my existing book of business who are connected to the new executive, opening doors for introductions and networking opportunities.

How much times should reps spend in the platform?

When it comes to advising sales reps on using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, the question often arises: how much time should they spend on the platform? In Sam’s view, LinkedIn and Sales Navigator should be an integral part of a sales rep’s daily routine. Personally, Sam recommends starting each day by dedicating time to the platform. Mondays, in particular, are worth blocking out for prospecting. Why? Well, on Mondays, many people tend to be active on LinkedIn. You’ll likely see your top prospects posting updates or engaging with others’ content. Mondays see spikes in user activity and content posting, almost like a weekly New Year’s resolution. It’s an opportune time to engage with prospects and contribute to the conversations happening around their posts.

As part of your LinkedIn routine, it’s beneficial to review the lists you’ve built. For instance, you might have a list of your top 50 prospects—the individuals you’re determined to close deals with. Take the time to check what they’ve posted recently, whether they’ve changed jobs, or if they’re engaging with other people’s content. Look for triggers and opportunities that you can use for meaningful outreach. You might even consider contributing to their content to start building familiarity and rapport.

Ultimately, the amount of time spent on LinkedIn and Sales Navigator will depend on your specific goals and priorities. Incorporating regular engagement with the platform into your routine is key. Dedicate sufficient time to stay informed, build connections, and actively participate in conversations.

Tips for asking for warm introductions

When you discover an internal or external connection to a prospect you’ve been targeting, you should approach the situation strategically. Suppose you receive a Slack message that simply says, “Hey, Sam, can you introduce me to Val?” Without any context or background, it’s challenging to make a meaningful introduction. So, here’s what you should do to ask for warm introductions effectively.

First and foremost, provide context when reaching out to someone for an introduction. Instead of a generic request, try something like, “Hey, Sam, we haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Bob, and I’m on this team. I’ve been trying to connect with Insightly, and I see that Val has a good relationship there. Would you be willing to introduce me? I can even ghostwrite the email for you, so you have all the necessary context without the hassle of crafting it yourself.” By sharing relevant information and offering to assist with the introduction message, you increase your chances of success.

Remember that when someone makes an introduction on your behalf, they are sticking their neck out for you. Treat these referrals and introductions like gold. They are valuable leads handed to you on a silver platter, and you want to make the person who referred you proud. Taking the time to craft a thoughtful and considerate introduction demonstrates professionalism and shows respect for the person making the referral.

In all aspects of sales, we emphasize the importance of standing out and being unique. This strategy allows you to bring emotional intelligence (EQ), polish, and class to the process, making it easier for the person to say yes to making an introduction on your behalf. On the other hand, if you approach someone with a generic and uninspiring request, they will likely have doubts about your ability to handle the conversation effectively, and they may decline to make the introduction.


Looking to supercharge your outbound sales strategy? We’re talking all about LinkedIn Sales. Navigator on this episode of Closing Time. Welcome to Closing Time, the show for go-to-market Leaders. I’m Val Riley, head of content marketing at Insightly. I’m joined today by Sam McKenna. She is CEO of #samsales Consulting, an award winning sales leader, and a brand ambassador for LinkedIn. Hi, Sam. How are you? Hey, Val, I’m good. Thanks.. How are you? I’m well. I’m so glad you’re here and you’re the perfect person to talk about this because of your relationship with LinkedIn. But like the stats coming out of LinkedIn, just they continue to amaze me. 810 million people on the platform, four out of five business decision makers are on LinkedIn. As a sales professional, this has got to be the key platform for you. Is that correct? It is the key platform for you. And I feel like even though it’s been around for so long, no one has really realized the true value, and what it could do. I feel like I’m sitting on a little secret and I can’t wait for everybody to find out about it. So my first question is, can can sales reps use LinkedIn without LinkedIn sales navigator? Because I know a lot of times they’re they’ll say, oh, I already use that. And I say, I don’t think you do. You absolutely can. So you can use LinkedIn to its full capability on the free platform,, you can have your profile there, you can connect with people, you can engage, you can do searches. There’s so much that you can do. Then you can even get premium, which does a little bit more. But I would say skirt premium, and just think about navigator as a separate, totally awesome platform that can do so much for you. But as a starter, yes, you can absolutely use to be a great seller and to get ahead. OK, so you’re on Sales Navigator and it’s really just a goldmine for prospecting. Can you talk us through how a rep would effectively use Sales Navigator? So I think when you get in the platform, there’s all these options you have. You can look at profiles, you can save them, you can mark yourself to be private while still looking at who looks at your profile. But, here’s a few key things. I think are really effective. So number one, make sure that your book of business is loaded into your account list. If you have a CRM integration, you can do that really easily, but make sure you’ve got all of your accounts saved. Then start to save out your top prospects. So Val, if I wanted to make sure I sold to you I would save you in my profile. I would make sure to save you in lists. I would also look at recommended leads. This is one of the most lovely untapped resources at LinkedIn Sales Navigator because it tells me who else searches for you and when they search for you in clusters. So I can imagine that these are probably people that are in your buying circles but that also might report to you or might be part of the decision making process for whatever you buy. Now, let’s talk about a couple of things. LinkedIn Navigator is known for two other things. It’s lists and it’s searches, which I love. And your searches are so powerful because you have 25 different search criteria and there that you can use to basically answer any question. Let me give you two of my favorites. Number one, I love to say, hey, LinkedIn, tell me if there’s anybody who used to work for our top clients. So think of their top 50, 20 whatever clients that have worked with you guys for years, who have purchased with you over and over, who are in your client advisory board giving you customer testimonials, who are your best clients. Put those companies in for past company in a search and then for current company put your existing book of business. And then what you’re going to get is search results of anybody who has previously worked for your best clients and currently works for your book of business. That’ll probably be a lot of results, so start to narrow it down. Do they live in my area? Have they gone to my school? What’s the title that I’m looking at? What size company specifically do. I want to make sure I’m targeting now? There’s so many different filters that you can use to find those warm leads. The other thing that I love to know is who has previously worked for my previous employers that currently works for my book of business? So do a quick search put your previous employers as past company, current company put your entire book of business and go from there. And I’ll give you one bonus one that I absolutely love. TeamLink extend. If you are lucky enough to have this, you can go on look at anyone in your company’s profile or anyone that you’re looking to get in front of and then figure out through TeamLink extend and a few other search criteria like school or location, who your executives are or who your employees are that you work with, that know the buyers you want to get in front of. It’s so powerful. Now, the other thing that I love to do is list building. So one of the most common hacks that we use at #samsales is tracking all of our existing customers and when they change jobs. So I might build a list that saves out every single person that has purchased from us, that has used our products. That was part of the procurement process. Financial process, et cetera. And I saved them into a list of our current clients. Every single time somebody changes a job,. I can go in there and see and I can see where they went and I can hopefully close additional business with them or refer them to a colleague internally. I’m going to give you one more search, and then I promise I will stop enthusiastically talking about this. Let’s say that you work for a larger organization, perhaps a mid-market company or bigger. I love to create a search that says,. Tell me any time a new executive joins my company. For instance, let’s say I still worked at LinkedIn. I would put current company LinkedIn,. I’d put the executive titles, let’s say VP, SVP, maybe senior director and above, and I would save that search. Any time a new executive joins my company,. I’m going to get a lead alert about it. I’m going to go connect with them on LinkedIn. And then I’m going to do this bonus pro move and they click on their 500 connections and I’m going to immediately be able to see who they know in my existing book of business, and hopefully use them for more introductions. Even when I got to LinkedIn,. I had one person, one person in the entire company who used this move on me and she got an immediate meeting out of it. So this is so powerful. I mean, the timing couldn’t be better for that feature. Due to the great resignation, I mean, people are moving from job to job so much. I imagine that those alerts are just popping up all over the time. Exactly. And even think about it when people are joining your company, but also when they’re getting promoted, do they now have that, you know, additional responsibility, additional budget? I mean, there’s so many great searches and list that you can create. You just need to know how to use it and what queries to ask to be successful. So when you advise people or sales reps on using sales navigator, is there a certain portion of their day number of logins per week? How much time should they be spending in that platform? I always get this question of how much time I spend in LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, and I’m like, I don’t think I can even disclose it with any kind of dignity. To me, this is a place where you start every day, and to me this is especially where I spend a lot of time on Mondays. I try to block out Mondays for prospecting. Why? Because a lot of people tend to post on Mondays, so I might see my top prospects posting which means I can engage with them, or I might see them commenting on other people’s content on a Monday. Mondays are interesting in terms of the user spikes and also the content posting spikes. Monday tends to be kind of a New Year’s resolution of every week where people wake up and they’re like,. Today is the day I’m going to post on LinkedIn. So you get a lot of content there and you can go and engage with your prospects. I also love to go through some of the lists that I’ve built, like let’s say a top 50 list of prospects. I might have 50 people that at the end of the earth that I want to make sure that I close business with that year. I’ll go and look to see what have they posted, have they change jobs, are they commenting on other people’s content? Do they perhaps follow my company all of a sudden? I’m looking for all these triggers that I can use in meaningful outreach or to contribute to their content so they start to get to know me and who I am. So I’m using one of your tips. I found someone internally who’s connected to like a hot prospect that I’ve been going after. What do I do next? So this is one thing that happened to me all the time across organizations. I would get a Slack message that would say, you know, Hey, Sam, it’s Bob. Can you introduce me to Val? And I’m like, No, who are you? So we want to make sure we do when we find an internal or even external connection to one of our buyers, we want to make sure to give context first and foremost. So if somebody instead said, Hey, Sam, we’ve yet to be properly introduced. I’m Bob, I’m on this team. I’ve been trying to get into Insightly. I see that, you know, Val, here’s some history of me trying to crack into that account. Would you have a good enough relationship with Val that you could provide an introduction for me? Also,. I’m happy to ghostwrite that email for you just to make sure that you’ve got context and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So we want to make sure that we handle these correctly. Keep in mind also that if I make an introduction to that person, to you Val,. I also want to make sure that that person knows. I’m sticking my neck out for them. So just thinking about conversations that we’ve had around referrals, it’s really, really important that we treat those referrals and kind of those introductions like gold. These are our leads handed to us on a silver platter, and we want to do the person that’s referring us to our buyer, proud. I mean, that’s night and day, the two approaches that you just shared. So I can see how one would be much more successful than the other. It’s such an easy way to be different. You know, in everything that we train on, whether it’s social selling or sales or whatever, we talk about the art of being different all the time, just be different. Think of how to stand out. And this is a great way to just bring in some EQ, to bring in a little polish and a little class and make it easy for that person to say yes to making an introduction on your behalf. Because if you’re coming to me and saying, Hey, it’s Bob, can you introduce me to Val? I have no faith that you’re going to do a good job talking to Val, and I’ll probably say no. Great stuff, Sam.. I really enjoyed speaking with you. Thanks again for joining us. Thank you so much, Val.. Great to be here. That’s going to do it for this episode of Closing Time, the show for go-to-market leaders. Remember subscribe, like, hit that bell for notifications so you don’t miss a thing. We’ll see you on the next episode of Closing Time.

You may also like:

See all episodes
Ghosting in Sales: How to Follow Up When Prospects Disappear
LinkedIn Profile Tips for B2B Salespeople and Marketers
Sell More & Discount Less with These B2B Sales Negotiation Tips