Business social network LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, took a major step into the customer relationship management (CRM) sector today with the announcement that it would be adding a new enterprise edition to its Sales Navigator service. The new version of the software adds several features designed to help salespeople use LinkedIn as a social selling platform to generate sales leads.

That includes the ability to send up to 50 messages through the platform’s InMail system, improved manageability features, such as Single Sign-On, and something the company is calling TeamLink Extend, which aims to make it easier for LinkedIn members to search for contacts within their organizations that could introduce them to prospects at potential client companies.

Social Selling

"Until now, if you were looking for a warm introduction to a lead, you could go through your personal LinkedIn connections, or use TeamLink, which pools the networks of all the Sales Navigator seat holders in your company," Doug Camplejohn, LinkedIn sales solutions head of product, wrote in a blog post. "But we know your reps are probably not connected on LinkedIn to the vast majority of employees at your company, and not every employee in your company needs a seat of Sales Navigator (as much as we’d like that)."

Camplejohn said TeamLink Extend solves that problem by allowing anyone in an organization to connect their own network of contacts to their company’s TeamLink pool. "That means, if you’re trying to reach a prospect, you can quickly see if anyone in your company has a connection with that person, and reach out to your colleague to ask for a warm introduction," Camplejohn said. The Enterprise Edition license will include 1000 seats for TeamLink Extend, the company added.

LinkedIn is also integrating its PointDrive service into the new edition. The company acquired PointDrive, which allows salespeople to share sales content such as presentation and other documents with prospective clients, last year. PointDrive will now come bundled with both the Enterprise and Team editions of Sales Navigator, the company said.

Integrating CRM

But PointDrive is not the only thing LinkedIn is integrating into Sales Navigator. It is also increasing integration between the service and CRM systems. Sales Navigator will now include writeback functionality, allowing users to automatically sync their Sales Navigator activities with their CRM systems without having to enter the data in manually.

"As you take notes, send InMails or even place calls from the Sales Navigator mobile app for iOS and Android, you can now write them as activities to your CRM with a simple mouse click," Camplejohn said. "For Sales and Operations leaders that want their reps' Sales Navigator activity recorded in the CRM, they now have an easy, authorized way to do it."

CRM Sync will be available for use with the Salesforce CRM platform at launch, while LinkedIn said it will be adding additional CRM platforms in the future.