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Social Selling Tools: The Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Navigator and a Cheaper Alternative

If you're not using social selling, you're falling behind. Is there a tool that can help you sell?

by Sasha Kinch in Sales, Social Media, The Marketing Lab

Sales, Social Media, The Marketing Lab

Social selling is essentially advanced CRM. That being said, it is hard to define this space. So what we set out to do was look at the tools that help you find and manage leads, via social channels. We quickly found that while there are few tools on the market, there are really only two key players; LinkedIn Navigator and Nimble.

Other tools included Prospect IO, but we couldn’t get a trial. You’ll discover that some platforms insist on having consultations.

LinkedIn Navigator

It is a sales prospecting tool that leverages LinkedIn’s user profile, LinkedIn’s company profile and Yahoo news data. It was very straightforward, and in a matter of minutes, we were able to build a real-time feed of prospects, or leads as LinkedIn calls them. Companies are called accounts.

You can see the newsfeed of your prospects, and you can like and comment on that person’s post, which is a lovely way to make the first contact.Having insights from prospects caters for creating customised messages when approaching prospects via LinkedIn messages. For example, if a prospect got recently promoted one has a great opportunity to congratulate that prospect when contacting. This is one of many examples how users can be more informed by Sales Nav insights when reaching out to potential leads. A key selling point is that people don’t know you are looking at them on LinkedIn

Key Features

  • InMails
  • Unlimited and unrestricted searching
  • The ability to see and engage with your prospects LinkedIn upgrades
  • The ability to see changes and news about your prospect
  • Google Alert type feature (Bing) alerting you when your targeted company is mentioned online
  • The ability to create lots of searches with automated alerts
  • Team link – if more than three of you – you can see each other’s connections, and means you can see what each of your team is doing, and this makes it easy to share prospects.

Another key feature was the automated lead suggestions, somewhat like a lead generation machine. You also have saved searches, so that if you are searching for a particular persona, you can use that search again, saving time. If you have a basic account, you have limited searches.

What’s great

We loved the lead suggestions and saved searches

What’s not great

It can be pricey. Note that most users do not use it to its full potential. Its interface can be a little confusing.

What information does it provide?

Full LinkedIn profile, the ability to see LinkedIn updates, an ability to send a private Linkedin message (InMail)
Title, tenure, activity on LinkedIn, location, education, interests, skills, endorsements,


It appears to integrate with SalesForce.

Who is it for?

It is mainly B2B, one-on-one sales prospecting tool that allows to find and reach relevant decision makers in trusted LinkedIn environment. Make sure your LinkedIn profile looks professional and your messages are tailored to ensure the maximum use of LinkedIn Navigator.


LinkedIn Navigator Professional Edition starts from €73.79/month, paying in advance for 1 year €59.03. Free trial for 1 month available

With 1.5 million accounts in Ireland. This is an excellent tool to allow you to access and communicate with Ireland’s biggest business database. Anyone responsible for sales or lead generation can benefit from this. It’s features if used right should increase productivity and save you time.That said coast can be a put off – Technically you can do most things on the free account if you know a few workarounds and are prepared to put in a bit more time.


The principle of Nimble is to leverage your existing network and contacts across a few social networks to allow you to pull them into a single view, where you can manage and engage with them in a single interface. Nimble is great for prospecting and relationship building, and best suited for teams up to 5 people.

It has a very straightforward setup, with great ability to control what gets pulled in and what doesn’t. Importing did seem to be a little glitchy and missed some key contacts. Troubleshooting by yourself is hard, but they do have excellent customer service. If you get very stuck, there are plenty of videos to help you, not comprehensive, but still very helpful.

Nimble pulls in your contacts and data from Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. The Gmail integration is excellent as you can pull in your full contacts from Gmail. Be warned, though, you may not want to involve your personal contacts with your work contacts!

When you do import your contact list from Gmail, you can view your contacts in Nimble and see every email you’ve had with your contacts, which creates an excellent feed. With the LinkedIn Navigator contact integration, it doesn’t always give historic posts or data (which Nimble does show), so you can only get a current snapshot of the person, but not their past history (job roles etc.). This is, therefore, a little limited.

Key Features

  • Easy import contact lists
  • Free 14-day trial – no credit card required
  • Nimble toolbar widget
  • Synchronised social updates from your network about you (Signals

The coolest features of Nimble is Signals, which marks people as important, and they will keep popping up in your feed, so you can stay on top of things and build relationships.

One of the new features with Nimble is the ability to import Twitter lists, matching a Twitter profile to a company, and it will scan the company information and pull it in.Then you can use the Nimble email template builder to send out emails from Nimble, that look like they are coming from your personal email as opposed to a marketing address. But use this with care, as you must have an opt out to comply with Data Protection laws.

What’s great

1. Ability to import Twitter lists and add them to your contacts
2. Integration with email client means you can use both interchangeably.
3. Ease of use and speed
4. Pricing: $25 per user per month (for everything)
5. Customer support is good, you’ll hear back within 24 hours

What’s not great

Nimble is not great on reporting, so if you’re in need of sales reports for a team, it’s not the tool for you.
The rolled-up view of a contact is not as complete as it could/should be.
Exporting to Mailchimp is a bit basic in terms of the fields (name and Email) but a good way around that is to use Piesync for synchronisation.

Who is it for?

Individuals or businesses up to 5 people, it’s perfect for someone starting out.

Does it generate leads?

In theory, signals should do this, but it’s pretty basic notifications of whether a contact is mentioning you. This feature could be better.


Signals is a key feature, but doesn’t seem to work well on mobile. The mobile app is a bit week. There should be more customisation options.


Free trial for 14 days and $25 per month thereafter

In summary, Nimble is quite different to LinkedIn Navigator, you have one place where you can have a full view, and it’s much more integrated with other platforms. It’s just so good for prompting you for engagement opportunities, better than LinkedIn Navigator. Also, Nimble tracks existing connections, whereas LinkedIn Navigator finds you new leads.

That being said, if your audience is on LinkedIn, use Navigator!

The Testers

Felicity McCarthy, Founder of

Laurynas Binderis, E-commerce Manager at Online Office Supplies Retailer

Greg Fry, Social Media Strategist, Content Plan

Sasha Kinch, Digital Campaigns Executive, Independent News and Media, read her blog here.

Maryrose Lyons, Founder of Social Media Agency Dublin Brightspark

A special thanks goes to Mike McKenna from Smartcloud for his expert input on Nimble.  

SmartCloud delivers practical business solutions that enable organisations to streamline internal and external business processes and to build stronger relationships with staff, suppliers, prospects and customers.

‘Sweet spot’ clients are businesses with 5 to 50 employees; primarily in the web, high tech, financial services, media and distribution sectors.

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