Ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls of the B2B business world, it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. LinkedIn Basic, Business Premium, and Sales Navigator are fighting it out to win our affections. Let’s get ready to rum-m-m-b-b-ble!

I’ll get straight to the point. If your LinkedIn marketing and PR campaigns are limited to your own personal profile, it’s time to pull your socks up. LinkedIn a one-stop shop for the world’s professionals; an omnirelevant database of who’s hot and who’s not in the business world.

The days of LinkedIn being just another social network are behind us. Here and now, if you are looking to hire generational talent, find and nurture leads, or simply build your online business profile, then LinkedIn is the tool to do it with. But, with so many subscription options and so much functionality, it can be difficult to know which plan best suits your B2B business.

No more smack talk, please. The pre-match formalities are over. Strap yourselves in, business fans, this one is going right to the final bell.

THE WEIGH-IN

LinkedIn Basic

LinkedIn Basic is exactly what you expect it to be. It’s the starting point of your journey up the LinkedIn ladder. Like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social networks out there, it was built on the premise of connecting friends, posting updates, and sharing and liking content. The thing that sets LinkedIn apart is that it is made for business people.

Now, instead of sending a friend request we make ‘business connections’. We don’t post statuses, we offer valuable content. For your average Joe, LinkedIn is a virtual CV and a database of white collar job vacancies to land a dream career. For B2B businesses, it’s a landing page for potential customers, a place to flaunt industry expertise, and a bottomless well of potential customers and employees.

Every B2B business needs a LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Premium Business

Family, friends, sunsets - some of the best things in life are free. But if all the best things in life were free, we would all be skint. LinkedIn Premium Business is a paid-for tier of LinkedIn. It’s aimed towards business professionals who simply want to get more out of LinkedIn; offering less restricted access to LinkedIn’s business community. It helps users to grow and nurture their network.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator is another paid-for tier of LinkedIn. It’s basically LinkedIn Premium Business Premium. It is built specifically for businesses to have more power when discovering leads; a sales management tool that allows reps to tap into their expansive network of connections and land better deals. It’s built to help you and your sales team sell more, and at the end of the working day... that’s all that matters.

ROUND 1: FEATURES

LinkedIn Basic

  • Social
  • Platform
  • Jobs

Basic offers access to a lot of useful tools to kick off with.

Basic gives users the social media aspect of LinkedIn. For both business and personal profiles, you’ll find a newsfeed, a profile, the chance to connect to your old mates; your mum, and your dad, and you can even message your connections. For the job seekers amongst us, and for those who are constantly trying to further themselves, the job board gives a database of the hottest white-collar jobs in any industry.

For your business, your profile is the most important aspect of your LinkedIn adventure. It should be coherent and professional, because it needs to shine the brightest light it can possibly shine on your products and services. It’s a gateway for all those hundreds of millions of professionals to enter your business domain. It should be brimming with information.

LinkedIn Business Premium

  • Insights
  • Growth
  • Access

Business Premium comes with a slew of different features on top of those that come with Basic.

It allows users unlimited browsing ‘up to the third degree’, which means you can view any profile and all of its information if it’s within three degrees of your existing connections. Premium users can set their profile to ‘open’ so that anybody on LinkedIn can view it, no matter if they have a premium membership or not. After they’ve visited, you’ll be able to see exactly who has visited your page in the last 90 days.

Business Premium users receive unabated access to tools for growth; LinkedIn Learning is a database of tens of thousands of online courses, written by industry experts. Furthermore, you’ll have an edge over your competition with valuable insights that offer complete access to competitor data, industry news, and analytics. With this, you’ll be able to visualise trends in your industry and stay one step ahead.

InMail is a nifty tool for reaching out to users who you aren’t connected with. With Business Premium, you receive 15 InMail credits per month. According to LinkedIn research, InMail is 2.6 times more effective than cold emails and cold calling. Worth it.

But, maybe they’re biased. We believe in the power of cold emails.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

  • Leads
  • Integration
  • Recommendations

Sales Navigator was built for the sales teams of the world.

First of all, there are a few features that coincide with the Business Premium plan. You receive access to LinkedIn Learning, you have the opportunity to see who’s visited your profile in the past 90 days, and can browse as many profiles as you flipping-well please. Furthermore you’ll receive 20 shiny InMail credits every month to help you reach out.  

What really sets Sales Navigator apart is that it’s a fantastic lead generation and enrichment resource to have. Navigatorers receive regularly updated lead recommendations, gain access to more comprehensive search filters, and, after searching, results provide more profile data for a better overview of potential leads. You can save up to 1,500 leads and accounts that have tickled your fancy and might need actioning later. With Sales Navigator, it rains leads.

There are two subscription plans for Sales Navigator. A Sales Navigator Team subscription gives users a feature called TeamLink, giving all the members of a team access to each other’s networks, no matter whether they are connected or not.

Phew. That’s a lot of features to find a lot of leads… if only there was somewhere to store those leads?

We’ve gone back-to-basics with our CRM, and the LinkedIn integration is no different. All you need to do is click an icon to pull a lead’s information straight from their LinkedIn and into your existing NetHunt CRM system. Don’t have an existing NetHunt CRM system? What are you waiting for, sign up for the 14-day free trial.

ROUND 2: PRICE

Here are the current prices of all of the subscription plans we have mentioned.

LinkedIn Basic

Free

Business Premium

$59.99/month
$575.88/year

1 month free trial

Sales Navigator

Standard
$79.99/month
$779.88/year

Team Account
$134.99/month
1 month free trial

It’s clear that the amount of functions a plan has directly correlates to how much it costs. I know a lot, but I don’t know what the accounts of your business look like. It’s down to your or your manager to decide which plan best fits your budget, operations, and ambition.

ROUND 3: WHO GAINS THE MOST?

LinkedIn Basic

LinkedIn Basic is exactly that… basic. At best, it helps LinkedIn members learn about your business, your brand, and any job opportunities that you may have. The Basic account is for businesses at the start of their journey, the ones trying to build an online presence and make a name for themselves on congested markets. They can use it to spy on how the big boys of their industry do it, and unearth some talent that could take them to the big leagues.

LinkedIn Business Premium

Business Premium is the middle sibling of our three heavyweights. It is a fantastic tool for non-sales professionals to grow their business with unparalleled insights and tools, providing comprehensive overviews of the connections around them. Business Premium should be used by established businesses who are looking to grow further, especially locally. This plan is geared towards making connections with local vendors, customers, and talent.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator is the big boy plan. It’s best for B2B salespeople who are looking to target customers, engage them, and close the deal. The whole process can even take place on LinkedIn if it needs to. Prospectors will feel the results of their hours, days, and months spent looking for prospects. It’s a sharpened spear for hunting down leads and capturing them; a real powerhouse.

… and the crowd goes wild!

For most users, LinkedIn Premium is a solid investment because of the tools and insights it offers; you’ve got to spend money to make money. Besides, if your premium escapade fails, and they don’t live up to everything promised in this article, you’ll get a nice shiny, gold badge on your profile to say… at least you tried.

After all the blood, sweat, and tears, who won? That one’s up to you.

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