As part of LinkedIn's recent user interface overhaul, the professional social network removed some of the search functionalities and options from their lower paid tiers - most notably, the 'years of experience', 'function', and 'seniority level' search filters, as well as the ability to search within Groups.
These more advanced search tools have been moved up to the more expensive Sales Navigator platform, a change which has upset many power users. The qualifiers are still available, you can still use them if you want, you'll just have to pay a bit more to get them.
How much more?
LinkedIn expert and Social Media Today contributor Melonie Dodaro says the costs will vary depending on your specific options, but you're looking at an increase from around $47.99 per month for a Premium Business Account, to $64.99 per month for Sales Navigator (in US dollars). That's a 35% jump, which is obviously significant - but then again, if you get value from these features it may be worth the price.
To further boost Sales Navigator as an option, LinkedIn has this week announced a new set of search options available within the Premium offering.
First off, they've added in a new option to help identify senior leadership changes within companies.
"Multithreading is critical to ensuring your deals don't go dark. Start by identifying companies where senior leaders have changed roles or joined the organization in the past three months. These could be great indicators that it's time to reach out."
This advanced ability could make it easier to target the right people at the right time, reaching out to them when they're looking to implement new approaches and strategy.
You can also now narrow down your search by department size to help ensure you're focusing your efforts on the most relevant segments.
And in addition to department size, you can also focus by headcount growth:
"...significant headcount growth can be a sign that the company might be more open to your product(s) and be a trigger to prioritize outreach to that company. We've also added filters so you can track growth by either company or specific department."
All of these additions can help marketers add more context to their outreach, saving time and ensuring they're only reaching people at the most relevant times, which has the potential to significantly improve relevance.
LinkedIn's also added a filter for company revenue, enabling users to search for companies within a specific revenue range (currently available for companies in Australia, India, UK and the US).
And the last new addition is headquarters postal code:
"Got a territory? Then you know how critical it is to narrow accounts by territory descriptors like postal code. In Sales Navigator you can now pinpoint accounts by one or more specific postal codes."
These new options offer a range of new opportunities in account targeting, utilizing LinkedIn's vast professional data banks to help optimize and improve your outreach efforts. And as data usage and personalization becomes increasingly commonplace in marketing circles, the need to customize and focus your outreach will becoming ever more important - LinkedIn's well-placed to capitalize on this trend and help give forward-thinking businesses an advantage.
Is it worth paying the extra for? That's really a case-by-case query - if you do a cost analysis of the value you got from those previously available search tools, and add in the potential of these new additions, you'll likely be able to justify whether it's worth paying for Sales Navigator.
But there is clearly value in these new options - and LinkedIn notes that they're adding more new filters and tools all the time.