It’s easy to find thought leaders on LinkedIn giving tips on using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. But when one of my reps was struggling to book meetings in Q1 this year, I couldn’t find a comprehensive guide to LinkedIn Sales Navigator — so I decided to write it.
Table of contents
- How to set up your Book of Business
- How to use Lead filters
- “Changed jobs in past 90 days” filter
- “Years in current position” filter
- “Following your company” filter
- “Past customer” filter
- “Past colleague”
- “Past company/current company” boolean search
- “Category interest” filter
- Creating a “Persona” filter
- How to use Account filters
- “Funding events in past 12 months” filter
- “Senior leadership changes” filter
- “Company headcount growth” filter
- How to use the Relationship Explorer
- TEMPLATE: Asking for an introduction
- How to use the Sales Nav Account Hub
- How to use Buyer Intent and Buyer Activities data
- How to use Alerts
How this guide helped my SDR
I manage a team of sales development reps, so I’ve seen it all.
When I dug deeper into what one struggling SDR in particular was doing, I realised I needed to help her fully understand every useful feature in Sales Navigator so she could speed up turnaround times.
I researched tips and tricks, investigated the tool, and ran sessions with my rep. Just two weeks later, we started seeing better results. In Q2, she achieved in one month what she achieved in the entire Q1.
Now, this guide can do the same for you.
Related: Answering The Top 5 Questions On How to Use LinkedIn (5 min read)
How to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for prospecting in 2023
1. How to set up your Book of Business in LinkedIn Sales Navigator
First things first. You need to set up your Book of Business (BoB), and you do that in your Sales Nav Home page by choosing what account list you want to consider your BoB.
If Sales Navigator is connected to your CRM: Choose ‘My CRM Accounts.’ The list will be automatically updated/synced as you add or remove accounts to/from your name in your CRM.
If Sales Navigator is not connected to your CRM: You can manually upload a list of accounts by going to ‘Accounts’ >> ‘See account lists’ >> ‘Upload list’. Note that as you make changes on your list on your CRM, those changes won’t be reflected automatically on LinkedIn.
Your Book of Business is now set up! Now, I’ll walk you through different features to help you identify which accounts you should prioritise.
Note: You’ll want to outreach to these priority accounts sooner. They are more likely to respond to you since they are showing some kind of trigger, intent signal, or insight.
Related: The 3-Step Mantra to Modernize Your LinkedIn Lead Generation (6 min read)
2. How to use Sales Navigator Lead filters
LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers two types of searches:
- Lead searches: You’ll find leads/prospects/people
- Account searches: You’ll find accounts/companies.
Let’s have a look at what useful features we have in the Lead Filters search view that can help us identify triggers.
The “Changed Jobs in Past 90 Days” filter
When a new decision-maker joins a business, they typically want to make a quick impact. In many cases they review the current tech stack and are open to evaluating other platforms.
This presents a highly valuable opportunity to you. So you want to know if and when one of your accounts has a new decision-maker.
Here’s how to use this filter:
Select your ‘’Account list’ (either “My CRM Accounts” or your manually uploaded account list). Then select “Changed jobs in last 90 days” to see people in your accounts who changed roles in the past 3 months.
Pro tip: For increased accuracy, you can go to the “Role” filters section and add specific job titles or a function.
Example: We target HR professionals at my company. So I either choose “Human Resources” in the ‘Function’ filter, or add in several keywords in the ‘Current job title’ filter, like “HR,” “people,” “human resources,” or “culture.”
The “Years in Current Position” filter
An alternative is the ‘Years in current position’ filter.
Use this filter, then select “Less than 1 year.” This will show you people who started recently — not just 3 months ago, but 4, 5 or 6 months ago.
These prospects are still interesting in SDR-land, and may be in a better position to buy than prospects who started in the past 90 days.
Often when decision makers first start their role, they take some time to get settled in and analyse the current tech stack. At months 4-6, they may finally be in a position to start conversations with vendors.
Bonus: How I Gained 10,000 LinkedIn Followers in Seven Months (8-minute read)
The “Following Your Company” filter
Prospects who follow your company probably know who you are. They might have heard about your product, used your product before or are just interested in it.
Either way, it’s a good idea to reach out to them.
The “Past Customer” filter
This is one of LinkedIn’s newer features, and it’s a brilliant one. It’s only available to Advanced Plus LinkedIn users, and the data is based on the opportunities in your CRM.
This filter uncovers people who currently work at one of your target accounts and used to work at a company who is a customer.
Why this is valuable: These leads know your product and have actually used it before! It should be fairly easy to connect with them, and they are definitely more likely to respond.
The “Past Colleague” filter
The ‘Past colleague’ filter shows people that at some point in time worked at a company where you also worked.
This could be your current company, or a past company. This filter is great to find people you might already know, or at least give you some common ground in your outreach.
Bonus: Using the “Current Company / Past Company” filters using a boolean search
This is a nice trick that allows you to find people who currently work at your current company and used to work at one of your accounts, and vice versa.
Why do we care about these people? Because we can get introductions from them!
First: You need to create a Boolean string with all the accounts in your Book of Business. Check out this downloadable template to create it yourself!
Once you have the string, simply copy and paste it in either “Past company” or “Current company” fields, then input your own company name in the other one.
The “Category Interest” filter
This is another new LinkedIn Sales Navigator feature. This feature allows you to find leads/prospects who are showing interest in your product category (not your product itself).
This is similar to ZoomInfo and other similar tools’ intent data — but on LinkedIn it’s on the lead level rather than at account level.
Go into “Category Interest” and look for the types of categories that match your product. Then select your Account list to see who from your accounts might be looking for a solution like yours!
The “Persona” filter
If you frequently use basic filters to narrow down your search, then you can save time by creating a “Persona” instead.
Personas on LinkedIn Sales Navigator are basically a combination of filters. When you select a Persona, your selected filters are automatically applied to narrow down your search to the type of prospects you want to see.
To create a Persona, go to the “Personas” section at the top right corner of the Lead search view. Click “Create a new persona” to choose the right:
- Seniority level
- Current job title
Then, when you’re doing your Lead searches, instead of having to apply several different filters, you can simply select your ‘Persona’ and that’s it!
Related: 10 LinkedIn Profile Tips to Stand Out in 2023 (10 min read)
3. How to use Sales Navigator Account filters
Besides finding interesting leads, you can also use Sales Navigator to find accounts that should be prioritised because they have an interesting trigger.
Here are some options you might find useful:
The “Funding Events in Past 12 Months” filter
In 2023, very few companies are actually raising big funding rounds — but some still are!
Funding is always a great trigger because it means the company will probably be investing in their tech stack and processes — and probably also growing and expanding.
To use this filter, go to the “Account Filters” section in the Sales Navigator search bar to open the Account search view.
Then, select the following filters to see any accounts in your Book of Business / Account list that received funding in the past year:
The “Senior Leadership Changes” filter
Big changes in senior leadership can indicate a company is taking a new direction and embarking on new initiatives — including reviewing their tech stack!
The caveat with this filter is that “senior leadership” could be anyone… meaning a leader from any department within the account.
In order to see these accounts, choose “Senior leadership changes in last 3 months” and your desired account list.
The “Company Headcount Growth” filter
Last but not least for this section, one of the most popular triggers. Growth!
You definitely want to see which accounts from your Book of Business have had growth in the past 12 months.
With growth comes new challenges, new processes and the need to have systems that can scale with the business. Great opportunity for us salespeople to reach out!
In my opinion, setting the minimum value for this filter too high doesn’t really work in 2023. Because let’s face it, many companies are actually doing layoffs — so the amount of companies growing massively has definitely decreased.
My recommendation is to start with something around 25-30%. See how many results this returns and prioritise those first — then go down if you want to see more results.
4. How to use the Sales Navigator Relationship Explorer
This is a functionality available at Account level. This means you can go into any account and the Relationship Explorer is one of the first sections you will see. (Look below “Account History.”)
Why do we care about this? Because that little section flags interesting people to us, such as:
- First degree connections: These are people from the account that you’re directly connected to on LinkedIn. This means you can go ahead and message them directly!
- Second degree connections: People from the account you’re indirectly connected to via another person you’re connected to on LinkedIn. Go ask for that introduction!
- Recently changed jobs: These people were hired or promoted in the past 90 days. Again, a super quick way to identify potentially new decision makers!
- Past colleagues: People who worked at a company where you also worked.
TeamLinks connections: These are people who you are not directly connected to, but someone from your current company is. This should mean asking for that introduction should be even easier since the mutual connection is a current colleague of yours.
TEMPLATE: Asking for an introduction using LinkedIn Sales Navigator TeamLinks + LinkedIn
I’ve created the following short and sweet templates you can use when asking for an intro!
- People who work at your current company / Current colleagues:
Hey [COLLEAGUE NAME], can see you’re connected to [PROSPECT NAME] on LinkedIn. I’m working the account currently so wanted to check if you’d be willing to make an intro?
- Any other LinkedIn connections / not current colleagues:
Hey [MUTUAL CONNECTION NAME], hope you’re well!
As part of my role I am trying to connect with the team at [ACCOUNT NAME] and I’ve noticed you’re connected to [PROSPECT NAME] who is their [JOB TITLE], here on LinkedIn.
I would love to connect with this person as I’ve noticed [INSIGHT ON THE ACCOUNT], and would love to discuss our P[RODUCT CATEGORY] solution with them.
Would you be open to introducing me to her/him/them?
5. How to use the Sales Navigator Account Hub
If you’re on the Home page, you will see an “Accounts” button at the top (blue) main menu.
That takes you to the recently upgraded “Account Hub” where you can see an overview of triggers and alerts for accounts in your selected Account list.
This is especially useful because SDRs/BDRs can upload lists of their AEs’ accounts (if your AEs own accounts as well). Then, your SDRs can look for triggers not only on their own accounts, but also on their AEs’ accounts.
First things first. Go into this little “+ Category intent” button on the top right corner of your Account Hub and choose the product categories related to your product.
Once you select that, a new column (beta status as of July 2023) will be added to your Account Hub, called “Category intent.”
So now your Account Hub should look like this:
What do we see here that’s interesting for SDRs?
- Opportunity date: This is mainly to see if you have an open opportunity (synced with your CRM) with this account. (This feature is aimed more at AEs rather than SDRs.)
- Connection paths: This shows how many people from the account you’re connected to, via First Degree Connections, Second Degree Connections or TeamLinks Connections.
- Buyer intent: This shows the level of interest (Negative, Moderate or High) that prospects from this account are showing in your specific product or company.
- Pro tip: if you click on the link to “X activities,” you’ll get a pop-up with a summary of the activities that generated that level of intent. (e.g., engagement with ads or engagement with your company page.)
- Category intent: This shows the number of prospects from this account who are showing interest in your product category. Remember, category interest is measured at Lead level, so you can actually click on the “X employees” link and see exactly who it is!
- Latest Account Alerts: Alerts related to growth in headcount.
6. How to use Sales Navigator Buyer Intent & Buyer Activities data
After you’ve identified accounts with moderate or high buyer intent, it’s a good idea to dig a bit deeper into that data.
Go into your chosen account and scroll down until you reach the “Account Buyer Intent” section.
This will show you LinkedIn’s predicted interest from that account into your company. You can first see a summary of the key factors impacting the score:
Then, you can also see a breakdown of prospects’ activities!
Simply scroll down to see a list of all the recent activities, including ads engagement, website visits, company page visits, and more.
7. How to use Sales Navigator Alerts functionality to stay up to date with your accounts
Besides your Account Hub, you also have another way of staying up to date with your accounts: alerts.
To make sure you don’t miss out on any important triggers, simply go to your Home page and see the “All Alerts” section.
This section will show you a feed (which you can sort by “Latest” or “Relevance”) of updates from your saved accounts.
(Tip: You might want to check your saved accounts and unsave any that you’re no longer working. Otherwise you’ll get irrelevant updates.)
Once you’re on the All Alerts section, click on “Accounts” and then “Filter account alerts” to select only the type of updates you’re interested in.
Same for leads: You can select only the kind of alerts you would like to see in your feed regarding your saved leads/prospects.
In my opinion, it’s a good idea to check this “All Alerts” section daily. Provided you have the right accounts saved, your updates are extremely valuable for helping you identify a good time to reach out to that account or lead.
The ultimate LinkedIn prospecting checklist
I know what you’re thinking: “This is a lot!”
Don’t think you can remember all the filters/tricks to identify which accounts and prospects to prioritise?
It includes all my filters and tricks – make sure you save all the searches!.
What tricks did I miss? Any filters or features that you SDRs and Sales Development Managers use frequently to identify good accounts that are not mentioned here?
Let me know in the comments and let’s improve this guide together!