SalesTechStar Interview with Mitali Pattnaik, Sr Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions
Mitali Pattnaik, Sr Director of Product for LinkedIn Sales Solutions chats about some of LinkedIn’s newest Sales solution features while commenting on the modern-day state of sales in this short Q&A with SalesTechStar:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat, Mitali, tell us about yourself and more about your time and role at LinkedIn…
I’m the Senior Director of Product Management for our Sales Solutions business, overseeing product strategy and development for LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Sales Insights. Of my 20+ years in product, I’ve spent six at LinkedIn, and worked on many member products before joining the B2B side. Our members come to LinkedIn to connect, learn, find jobs, research companies they are interested in and so much more, and it’s exciting to be able to create new features that help drive opportunity for the global workforce.
One project I am working on that blends both my member and customer hats at LinkedIn is Products on Profile, a new feature that allows members to add the products they work on and support to the Experience section of their profile. For many members in client-facing roles, we know that it’s important for them to meet customers where they are at and Products on Profile is an exciting way to signal to their profile visitors how they may be able to help.
We’d love to hear about some of LinkedIn newest sales features and how its enabling sales teams to pursue their goals…
This is a really unique time in the world of work and especially in sales. The pandemic, which changed nearly every aspect of how we work, quickly followed by the Great Reshuffle where talent was on-the-go – perhaps more than ever before – revealed a massive opportunity to evolve how B2B sales works.
Interestingly, our 2022 State of Sales report found that top performers spend 10% less time selling than average performers. While that seems counterintuitive, especially given current economic uncertainty, it shows that top performers are investing more time upfront in a sales cycle to truly understand their buyers, find warm paths into accounts, and reach out when the time is right. And we are building new features in our Sales Navigator tool to help more sellers do just that.
Underpinned by LinkedIn’s first-party data, we’re able to deliver insights to sellers to help them identify the right accounts to prioritize, the key people at those accounts, and the ideal time to reach out with the help of intent signals. We just launched a number of new features to make buyer intent information part of the day-to-day workflow, including an Account Dashboard that not only displays intent data for saved leads, but also helps sellers discover new accounts showing high intent to buy. We also introduced a buyer intent filter in the Search experience so sellers can more easily prioritize accounts showing interest. These are just some early developments and we’re excited to introduce more features in the coming months and years.
A few best practices to share/highlight that you don’t feel enough sales people optimize when using LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a platform?
Sales Navigator reduces manual data entry, which we know is a drain of sellers’ resources. We’ve been in a prolonged period of uncertainty, resulting in a record number of decision makers changing roles, moving companies and even relocating to new areas. And for a long time, sellers have had to track these updates and manually add to their CRM. Sales Navigator can sync directly with a CRM and alert sellers when a contact’s information doesn’t match what’s on their LinkedIn profile. This not only saves time for sellers, but also ensures they can confidently take action knowing that they have the most up-to-date, accurate information available. We believe that CRM and Sales Navigator are both core to a successful sales tech stack, and we will continue to invest in this functionality so sellers can have the best intelligence at their fingertips.
How do you feel solutions such as this will further impact B2B sales on the whole?
Buyer preferences are continuously evolving and sellers are struggling to keep up. Many sales teams still rely on generic, mass outreach, which we think of as “shallow selling.” It’s simply not effective. In fact, 68% of organizations reported that they missed their sales targets in July 2022. Sellers must prioritize targeted engagement with the buyers who actually want to hear from them at the right time in the buying journey, and this requires real-time data and insights.
We believe the combination of account insights, relationship intelligence, and buyer intent data – which we can uniquely bring to sellers via Sales Navigator – is what will enable sellers to meaningfully connect with buyers and close bigger deals faster. It’s what we’re calling “deep sales.” And it will enable every seller to perform like a top seller and shift the performance curve of the entire sales org.
A few thoughts on the future of the B2B sales market?
After the past few years of what has felt like constant change, I believe that we are undergoing a major inflection point within the B2B sales world. While buyers and sellers have gotten used to developing relationships through digital channels, there is still tremendous opportunity for sellers to put more emphasis on the relationships – before, during and after a deal closes. Just think, a previous customer may be a seller’s biggest champion at their next account, providing a “foot in the door” to engage more of the buying committee. With data and insights in Sales Navigator, we see that technology can help sellers focus more on the human side. They can dedicate more time to learning about buyers instead of searching for information in many different places.
And finally, a few views on salestech as a segment and how you feel this space will shape up over the next few years?
Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of new sales tools, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to success. Forrester recently found that only 53% of sales reps say the sales technology stack aids productivity and positively impacts results. Technology is also becoming more of a focus on the talent side. We’ve heard from many sales leaders that new team members are not always finding success because they are not sure how to use all of the disparate tools in their tech stack without a clear roadmap. As the industry continues to adapt to the impacts of the pandemic, the Great Reshuffle and ongoing economic uncertainty, I believe sales leaders will take a magnifying glass to their tech stacks to ensure all their tools are adding value and not hindering or causing a bottleneck in their processes. And as leaders look for opportunities to streamline, they will prioritize the tools that help them shift their ways of working to focus on quality of outreach over quantity.
Additionally, across the globe, regulatory bodies are doubling down on policies that protect consumer information, focusing on data privacy. These changes, when they happen, will be swift and have far-reaching effects on GTM technologies. So, revenue leaders must also be evaluating their technology stacks through the lens of compliance with emerging regulations, as well as existing standards like GDPR.
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