LinkedIn is shoring up its capabilities to further enable sales professionals to track how well they’re performing. The company today launched a new metric within its Sales Navigator offering that provides users with a quantifiable score to help them benchmark their social selling activities on LinkedIn.
Called the Social Selling Index, or SSI, it measures how effective you are based on how you’ve established your professional brand, who you’ve networked with and built relationships with, and engagement with insights. When calculated, it will spit out a score between 1 and 100 that LinkedIn hopes can be used to motivate sales professionals to do better.
In 2014, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator opened up to the public to help connect buyers with salespeople. According to a post by the company’s head of product for its Sales Solutions unit, Jeff Birkeland, the team has spent the past year studying users’ needs and discovered that “if they’re able to measure their performance, then they are able to set clearer goals.”
Determining your score is free, and after it’s calculated, a complete breakdown is displayed that shows you how you stack up against the four criteria LinkedIn measures. There’s also a graph that tracks your weekly progress and rankings to help assess how you measure up against people in your industry and among your network.
You could view the SSI as akin to your Klout score or an influencer metric equivalent, and LinkedIn is likely hoping this tool will boost sales professionals’ engagement with its platform. After all, if you’re in sales, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll want to target specific individuals, and LinkedIn can help you determine who to approach.
Early trials of SSI show promise among Sales Navigator users, according to LinkedIn. Customers like SAP, Microsoft, and the NBA have generated engagement results that are said to be “encouraging.”
Today’s update comes just weeks after LinkedIn acquired predictive sales and marketing firm Fliptop to boost the Sales Solutions offering. At the time, LinkedIn’s vice president of product, David Thacker, said that Fliptop’s technology would help make Sales Navigator “even more effective,” which could suggest that soon this tool will provide connection recommendations and new proactive sales tools for users.
Social selling on LinkedIn is apparently a big deal, according to a study it conducted alongside C9 Inc, which analyzed two years of sales performance and selling behavior data from more than 9,000 sales professionals. The study found that social selling “is positively associated with sales performance” and that “Sales Navigator users achieve 7x more pipeline growth and 11x more revenue growth than if they used LinkedIn.com only.” Recognizing the limitations of its core website, LinkedIn is betting a lot on its Sales Solutions.
In related news, LinkedIn also redesigned its Sales Navigator homepage. Users will find filters that can be used to better control the stream of information, provide better contextual information about how you know someone, improve workflow, and let you share posts with your network without having to leave the site.