LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Nonprofits

June 26, 2024

Podcast Episode 59: LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Nonprofits

LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Nonprofits: LinkedIn Live Replay

Welcome to this LinkedIn Live about Sales Navigator for those who are in the business of creating change through relationships. Isn’t that we do as nonprofits? 

This LinkedIn Live is going to hopefully give you some ideas on how to use Sales Navigator to reach out into your larger community ecosystem in a more tailored way to create conversations. 

I’m doing this Live in collaboration with Percent, a global verification company that works with LinkedIn to verify nonprofits as they apply for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Eligible nonprofits get 75% off of Sales Navigator so I would definitely encourage you to check out this link to begin that process. 

Jake Berquist and his team are actually here in the audience today, including Abigail Erwin who is a dedicated person who sits between Percent and LinkedIn to support nonprofits, and just help them get started because sometimes that’s the hardest part right? 

And finally, we do have some dedicated time for Q*A at the end of this Live but definitely, as you have a question, just add it as a comment here so I can see it.

Highlights from the podcast episode: 

My LinkedIn Sales Navigator Story

As you may know, if we’ve been connected for some time, I was a nonprofit executive director and fundraiser before starting my consulting firm. I share more about my nonprofit story in this podcast episode (and how I discovered being Lazy on LinkedIn – or just using the platform once per week worked!) 

I did all kinds of things and wore all kinds of hats – as we are prone to do. The organization I worked for was a nonprofit that supported women and their dependent children who were recovering from the family disease of substance use disorder. 

So whether I was:  

  • Going back into the paper files that pre-dated our electronic records, to look up old grants and funders and corporate sponsors from the 80’s or the 90’s. 
  • Or, I was creating lists of medical organizations and hospitals between LA and San Diego – aka driving distance of where our organization was – to nurture relationships with their case managers so our work was top-of-mind when they had a pregnant patient they needed to refer into care. 
  • Or, maybe we were getting ready to do a building campaign and we had to identify movers and shakers in our local community who were values-aligned, and would be on our side when it came to fighting against the stigma in our community about an addiction treatment center in their backyard. 

The common denominator between all these things is: building trust with the right people with the right resources/reach to move our mission forward.  

But here’s the thing. I’m quite introverted. And so the classic way of going out into the community and meeting these movers and shakers, let’s say at a big Chamber of Commerce networking event, was always uncomfy for me.   

I remember it being hard to go past surface level small talk into the deep conversations required, in a loud restaurant. I didn’t know if I was talking to the right person in the organization who could support the work. And even if I was, all I knew about them was what was on their nametag. 

And so as a nonprofit leader, I was grateful to find LinkedIn as a strategic place to build relationships instead, in a thoughtful, methodical, informed way.  I was able to use it as a 24/7/365 asynchronous event, where the decision makers I wanted to reach were at, they were accessible via an email, and I could see so much information about them – from their volunteer experience, to their interests, affiliations, and who they knew. So, I could tailor my outreach and spark meaningful conversations. And yes, I could do this from a starting place with just plain old normal LinkedIn. But Sales Navigator was a tool that supercharged it. 

What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

It’s a premium version of LinkedIn designed to help you target and engage with your people. Some would say it’s for sales professionals.

But here’s the thing: I know “sales” gets a bad rap and especially with us nonprofit professionals. And I get why. Sales is often seen as a bad word. But when nonprofit leaders are doing their thing, and doing it well, the work isn’t so different from good sales.  

Founders, and executive directors cast a vision for a different world that quote unquote converts people, like board members and volunteers, to join them for the ride.  

Fundraisers get to know potential donors’ quote unquote pain points – and then connect them to investment opportunities whose impact lights them up + solves a societal problem they’re passionate about .  

Let’s just agree to accept it – at least for the purposes of this LinkedIn Live – those of us who are in the business of creating positive change have elements of “sales” in our work. For sure. 

3 Ways LinkedIn Sales Navigator Can Benefit Nonprofits

So what does Sales Navigator do? What does it help us do? In our time together, I want to give you three strategic and specific use cases, so when you open up Sales Navigator, you have some ideas on how to start.  

1. Build a map of relationships within a funding organization

Even when we ARE in relationship with a company, managing the web of relationships within it can feel like a full time job. Our nonprofit worked with a really incredible global company and one of their main giving pillars was funding alcohol abuse prevention. They were HQ’ed in Louisville, Kentucky but had offices all over the world, including here in Southern California. And I had one primary contract who was a local champion for us. She loved our work, had a deep personal connection to it, and championed many connections and local volunteer events, but it was the Head of Global CSR who was the ultimate decision maker about where their dollars would go in any given year, including their more transformative grants. That person was influenced by many other people –  like Head of Marketing as just one example. Maybe the Head of People and Culture as another example. 

So, how could I get in front of the ways this organization made decisions together, by building some level of relationships with all these people? Well, LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers a tool called Relationship Mapping. 

Building relationship maps for the organizations you’re closely working with will give you lots of intel and inform your next steps. Also, decision makers leave. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can keep your CRM up to date, and you can reach out and stay in relationship with folks as they move on to other companies. 

Also, people do cool things and end up in the news. Unless you have a Google Alert set for every organization you work with, you’re not always going to see these updates. Or maybe they recently posted a LinkedIn update about their staff retreat or something about their professional life. This tool will help you just stay on top of what the entire network of people at your key funder organization is doing, to build closer and closer relationships. It helps you not only build reach into these organizations, but deeper resonance (which I talk about more in this prior podcast episode about Resonance vs. Reach in Thought Leadership.) 

Nonprofit leaders get busy. This is a tool that prompts you so you can keep your fingers on the pulse and reach out with personalized messages. A well timed congrats can open all kinds of doors, right?  

2. Add your current book-of business into LinkedIn Sales Navigator 

At the program I worked with, we served women pilots. In case you’re not familiar, drinking has long been associated with aviation. There are a lot of professionals who are dedicated to supporting pilots and aviation crews with their recovery. From FAA’s Drug Abatement Division, to Air Line Pilots labor unions, to EAPs at all the major airlines, and so on. There are therapists and interventionists and treatment programs who specialize in supporting aviation professionals. 

What we did, is upload our existing, current book of business as it related to aviation referrals into Sales Navigator. And by the way – when I say quote unquote book of business it’s just: your peeps. It might be your list of corporate sponsors, it might be a list of current major gift donors. It might be people who refer to your nonprofit business, whether you have an educational nonprofit or something in the mental health space. Maybe it’s a list of your alumni givers. It’s just a specific list of people who support you in some way. When you upload your book of business into Sales Navigator, you get visibility into what’s actually  happening with these key people – in real time. 

You might be saying at this point, well, I already have these people in my CRM – I’m already keeping track of stuff there.  Well, it’s valuable to bring them over here, because in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you get insights on when they post, or it’ll flag if you two went to the same school or worked at the same organization, so you can spot the best time to reach out, and then communicate in a more informed way. It cuts out a lot of manual research and work. 

Also, because LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers CRM sync with certain platforms, they can talk to each other. I do want to be super candid here – as I mentioned, eligible nonprofits get 75% off of core Sales Navigator and this is an add-on, more premium level of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. But to be honest, we’ve all probably dealt with the absolute annoyance at best and just utter despair at worst of an out of date CRM. When you integrate your CRM with Sales Navigator, you can add new contacts to your CRM directly from LinkedIn and also keep those contacts up to date using Data Validation. That might be enough to warrant using Sales Navigator, just on its own. But I should say: right now,there’s only an integration with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and HubSpot. At our nonprofit, we used Salesforce. I know a lot of folks probably use Raiser’s Edge or another fundraising CRM, but hey, if you want this, you can always let the folks at Percent know!  They’re happy to have a no obligation conversation about integrating tech and apps across your organization as it relates to LinkedIn.

To summarize, we’ve now talked about using Sales Navigator to map the decision-makers within one funding organization.  We’ve talked about adding your book of business so you can keep track of what’s going on with key accounts in a more effective way. What else?

3. Find new values-aligned partners 

You can look for prospective donors or volunteers, using the search feature. Think of keywords that have to do with your mission – in my previous case it would be “addiction recovery” or “women’s mental health”. Think about keywords that would be likely to show up on someone’s LinkedIn profile, perhaps in their experience section or their previous volunteer experience. Use those keywords as a place to start with your searches, and filter it down based on specific criteria, whether it’s having the title of CEO or they work in a specific industry. 

Yes, you can also do this on just normal LinkedIn however Sales Navigator has additional filters you can use to get even more relevant and specific.  LinkedIn Basic Search has 18 filters you can choose from. But LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers 36 filters when searching for leads. Some of those specific ones to Sales Nav include things like: company headcount, company headquarters location. Both of which are really important for nonprofits with a robust corporate giving strategy.  Also, you can filter by what LinkedIn groups they’re in — which can tell you a lot about someone’s interests or values. You can check out “Buyer Intent” – which pulls data such as they already follow your company, or they viewed your profile recently.  It just takes the basic search feature and gives you a lot more tools to customize your searches more specifically. You can also filter out people, which gives you more precise lists and you can save those lists, too so you can better keep track of these prospects for your nonprofit. 

And of course, with Sales Navigator you have 50 InMails a month, so you can send 50 messages to anybody, even if you are not connected with them yet. It was pretty amazing to see how decision-makers were gatekept when I tried to email them or call them – by executive assistants whose job it was to hold this boundary – but how these same people would respond on LinkedIn because they still managed their own LinkedIn and the messages on there. It may have taken weeks or even months sometimes to hear back, but that’s OK. Because relationship building is a long-term activity.  

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