How To Use Sales Navigator For Lead Generation: Best Tips and Practices

It should come as no surprise that generating quality leads is the biggest challenge for B2B companies in many industries. In fact, 40% of sales reps consider prospecting to be the most difficult step in the sales process, as per Hubspot

If you too are struggling to find new leads for your business, don’t worry… Because you’re about to discover the perfect solution! 

It’s using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to generate targeted prospects.  

In today’s guide:

You’ll uncover everything you need to know about Sales Navigator and what makes it better than any other lead generation tool. You’ll also learn the best practices to enhance your results and the biggest mistakes to avoid when using this tool.

Let’s get started…

What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

Sales Navigator is a subscription-based platform developed by LinkedIn to help companies find new leads and reach out to them. It’s one of the best lead generation websites today considering the quality of the sales leads it offers and the accuracy of the information provided. 

LinkedIn holds the largest database of business professionals and companies from all industries. It’s one of the most efficient tools that can take your targeting to a new level and help you secure larger deals with prospective clients.

For its core plan, Sales Navigator costs $99.99 a month per user for the monthly plan. Buying a yearly subscription, however, will cost you $79.99 only. Both plans will give you access to many features including the following:

  • Advanced search functionality to find leads that match your ideal client profile
  • 50 InMail messages that you can send directly to your prospects’ inbox 
  • Saved leads tracking that sends you instant alerts for any real-time updates
  • Ability to see who has viewed your profile in the past 90 days
  • Integration with any CRM system or sales tool

What Are the Benefits of Using Sales Navigator for Lead Generation?

There are hundreds of lead generation platforms that you can use in your next sales campaign. Some of them can get you promising results and help you find good quality leads for a reasonable cost.

Other options would be jumping straight into sales outreach. For instance, you can buy lead lists from third-party websites or outsource sales to an external agency that will handle everything for you.

So that makes you wonder…

Why should you use Sales Navigator in your next campaign instead of any other sales tool?

Here are fours reasons why Sales Navigator is the best tool for prospecting:

It’s An Easy Way For Finding New Business Prospects

Sales Navigator was specifically developed to help businesses with lead generation. It’s a tool that makes prospecting way easier as it allows your sales team to find quality leads within your target market.

Although it offers cutting-edge features, the search functionality on this platform is quite easy to learn and master. Anyone can use Sales Navigator to prospect for potential clients in any industry and get good results from their first attempt.

More importantly:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has become the go-to solution for sales experts due to how fast it can get you new leads. If your sales team is well-trained, you can expect to generate hundreds, if not thousands, of high-quality leads each month depending on the size of your target audience.

It Offers Outstanding Prospecting Functionality

As we’ve already mentioned, the state-of-the-art search functionality on Sales Navigator is exceptional. No other lead generation website can ever come close to what this amazing tool has to offer when it comes to search options.

Just to give you an example…

Sales Navigator allows you to use keywords with filters to sort out your search results. For example, you can find new prospects based on a keyword, then filter those results by job title, company size, industry, geographical location, etc.

The final result will be a long list of highly targeted leads that you can attract to your sales funnel and nurture.

Not only is this crucial for personalizing your outreach and messaging, but it’s also a great way to improve your understanding of your target leads. You’ll have better chances of cultivating solid relationships with key prospects if you can provide tailored solutions based on their expressed needs.

When you’re done prospecting, you can save your search results or create a custom list to share with your sales reps. You’ll also be able to download that list as a CSV file and use it however you want later.

It’s a Rich Source For Lead Information

Sales Navigator goes way beyond the basic contact details that all the other lead generation platforms provide. You can learn almost anything — within a business context — about your prospective clients including demographics, company details, job experience, and interests.

For instance:

The keywords you type in your search will be matched to the words companies use in their descriptions. But on top of that, LinkedIn will also look inside personal profiles to get you results that are closer to your target clients.

In addition to that…

You can visit the profiles of your prospects and learn about decades of their professional history on a single page. If they’re actively creating content on the platform and engaging with others, you’ll also be able to learn more about their work lives and the challenges they face every day.

As for businesses:

Sales Navigator allows you to visit company profiles to get an overview of any organization as well as the content they’re sharing and the employees they have. This is crucial for enhancing your outreach efforts as it helps you get past the gatekeepers and stay focused on decision-makers.

It’s an Effective Channel for Sales Outreach

Sales Navigator is also a great tool that can improve your sales outreach results in many ways. It offers you a variety of solutions to engage the prospects you find on the platform and convert them into clients.

To give you an example…

Direct outreach via InMail messages is a straightforward way to initiate conversations with any target prospect on LinkedIn. It’s an effective technique for standing out and avoiding all the competition that you’re likely to face on other sales channels.

Another reason why this tool is essential for outreach is that it provides you with all the contact details you need for outbound sales. On top of email addresses and phone numbers, you can gain crucial insight about your target company, such as which decision-makers you must reach out to.

Most importantly:

Sales Navigator bridges the gap between prospecting and outreach by helping you take personalization to another level. As you find out more about your leads, you’ll be able to craft highly-engaging messages that get you positive responses.

linkedin sales navigator

Generating Leads With Sales Navigator: Expert-Driven Tips to Find Quality Prospects on LinkedIn

The basic search function of Sales Navigator allows you to find thousands of prospects within seconds. But the quality of the results you’ll get mainly depends on how effective your targeting is.


Even though LinkedIn is the best source for B2B leads online, understanding how to use advanced search functions is crucial for finding quality leads.

Six expert-driven tips to enhance your sales results using Sales Navigator:

1. Narrow Down Your Targeting

For each keyword you type in Sales Navigator, you’ll get thousands of potential leads that might be interested in your offers.


It’s always better to focus on a short list of highly-targeted prospects than to be generic in your approach. Because the closer you get to your ideal customer profile (ICP), the better your sales performance will be at the end.

Depending on whether you’re searching for companies or individuals, there are a lot of advanced search filters that you can use. For example, you can sort out your results by job title, seniority, location, company size, company revenue, and more.

These parameters are key to narrowing down your search results.


If you plan on reaching out to new leads via LinkedIn, there are a couple of filters that you might want to look into:

Spotlights is a parameter that helps you find accounts that have been active in the past 90 days — either by changing jobs, being mentioned in the news, sharing content on LinkedIn, etc.

This attribute is also excellent for improving personalization in your sales outreach. By learning more about each lead, you’ll be able to show genuine interest and start any conversation smoothly.

Past Lead Activity is a filter that hides any prospects that you’ve already interacted with or saved into a list. This is essential because it saves your sales team a lot of time and embarrassment from reaching out to the same leads in the long haul.

2. Leverage The Power of Keywords

Keywords are a great way to find highly-relevant prospects in any industry. And since Sales Navigator allows you to generate a list of prospects based on any keyword, you should take advantage of this feature to improve your lead generation. 

So the real question is…

Which keywords should you focus on to find the best leads on LinkedIn?

You want to go for industry-specific terms that your target clients are likely to use on the platform. Sales Navigator will scan everything on its database from the contact information that users provide to the language they use when publishing content.

If you’re not sure about which terms you should use, a quick Google search might help. You’ll find a lot of online guides for recommended keywords that your target leads use on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. 

For example:

IT project managers might use the following words on their LinkedIn profiles:

  • Agile Methodologies
  • Data Analysis
  • Project lifecycle

All you need to do now is search for such keywords and match the rest of the parameters to get closer to your target leads.

Now listen:

You don’t want to use rare keywords that only a few potential leads are including in their profiles. You’ll miss out on many quality prospects just because you’ve narrowed down your list by too much.

But on the other hand…

You should avoid generic keywords that everyone is using on LinkedIn. For example, if you want to go after decision-makers, it’s better to only search for relevant skills, duties, and qualifications that they might include in their profiles.

3. Take Advantage of Boolean Search Operators

Boolean search operators are strings that help you execute advanced searches on LinkedIn. There are five modifiers you can use with Sales Navigator to improve the accuracy of your results, which are:

  • AND: to find profiles that have all the search terms you’re looking for 
  • OR: to look for results that include at least one keyword from your list
  • NOT: can be used to exclude specific keywords from your search
  • Quotation marks: allow you to search for exact-match terms such as job titles or industry-related terms
  • Parentheses: are essential for organizing your search when using multiple Boolean operators

Aside from the Search keywords field, Boolean operators can also be used with names, job titles, and company names.

Let’s look at a quick example..

If you’re looking for a senior executive in finance, your search phrase should look something like this:

  • “project manager” AND Finance
  • “Finance” AND (executive OR director)
  • Project Manager NOT assistant

4. Turn On Sales Navigator Alerts

The Alerts feature on Sales Navigator sends you regular notifications about your saved leads and accounts. It’s a great way to stay updated with potential clients and track their activity on the platform.

Want to hear the best part? 

It doesn’t take any additional time or effort on your part. All you have to do is set up alerts for specific searches or lists and you’ll be able to closely monitor their progress.  


There are many types of alerts that you can use in your tracking — some of the most popular ones are:

  • Account News (includes mentions in articles or LinkedIn publications)
  • Account Updates (any shared updates on LinkedIn, including images, videos, and written content)  
  • Lead Career Change (when a prospect changes roles or moves to a new company)
  • New Decision Makers (new director-level executives at your target company)
  • Suggested leads (new lead recommendations based on your search history and saved lists

5. Reach Out Via InMails

On top of being one of the best online prospecting tools, LinkedIn is also one of the most popular sales outreach channels today. It’s an effective way for salespeople to strike up conversations with potential buyers and convert them with ease.

An InMail is a private message you can send to any lead you find on LinkedIn — whether through their profile or using Sales Navigator. As we’ve already mentioned, you can send up to 50 InMails per month using any of the premium plans on the platform.

InMail messaging gives you the chance to reach out to all leads and go directly to their inbox without restrictions. With a well-crafted message, you can stand out in your prospects’ inboxes and make a positive first impression that increases engagements.

6. Keep Track of Your Lead Generation Results

Analytics is a key part of any lead generation process — especially using Sales Navigator. Thankfully, LinkedIn has its’ own Usage Reports that will give you precise data about your sales team activity and how your users are performing. 

LinkedIn breaks down these reports into two:

  • Usage
  • Effectiveness

Usage reports enable you to track your sales reps’ performance using specific prospecting metrics. For example, you’ll be able to see how many searches each user has performed, how many leads they’ve saved, and the total number of lists created.

Other usage reporting metrics are:

  • Days active
  • Accounts saved
  • Profile views
  • Smart links created

Effectiveness reports, however, are better for understanding how efficient your salespeople are in terms of reaching out to new leads. The measures here are more focused on outreach activities that are vital for boosting responses and engagements on the platform. 

The effectiveness metrics you can track on Sales Navigator are the following:

  • InMail messages sent
  • InMail acceptance rate
  • Messages sent
  • Total unique connections
  • Smart Links views

No matter how prepared and trained your sales team is, there is always room for improvement when it comes to LinkedIn lead generation. You must revisit these performance reports regularly to identify areas where your SDRs might need more training and development. 

linkedin sales navigator

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Sales Navigator for Lead Generation

1. Not Optimizing Personal and Company Profiles

Although finding new prospects is your main objective with Sales Navigator, you can only succeed with lead generation if you have a strong brand with a credible reputation behind it. 

An optimized LinkedIn profile is appealing both to humans and algorithms. And that applies both to personal accounts and company profiles.

By completing your profile, you’ll enhance the trust necessary for establishing long-lasting relationships with your prospects. But you’ll also rank higher in the search whenever potential clients are looking for your services.

Here are a few important tips to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile:

  • Choose a high-quality profile picture that makes you look professional
  • Write a captivating profile headline
  • Add a brief description of your work achievements and current projects
  • Publish highly-valuable, keyword-rich content on a regular basis
  • Fill in all the necessary personal details in your profile
  • Include your educational background, certificates, and job-relevant skills 

2. Leaving Sales Navigator After a Failed First Attempt

With any new lead generation technology you use, a learning curve is not only natural but necessary. So one of the common mistakes companies make with Sales Navigator is leaving too soon.

Your sales team will need some time to discover more about the platform and understand how different features can work together. Your results may come slowly at first but they’ll be steady and only go up from there.

3. Pushy For Sales Too Quickly

The first impression you give leads on LinkedIn is crucial for improving your sales campaign results. The more engaging your outreach messages are, the more people are willing to respond to you.

Your sales reps need to take their time to personalize their outreach for each prospect. A value-first approach that nurtures leads with educational content pieces is also a must if you want to speed up the sales process.

Another reason why you should be more engaging and less salesy is the new InMail messages crediting system on Sales Navigator. Because although you’ll only get 50 credits each month, you can accumulate up to 150 credits if your response rate is high. So the better your outreach metrics are, the more people you can contact via InMails.

To put that in simple terms…

You’ll start the month with 50 credits and spend one credit on each message. For each response you get within the next 90 days, you’ll receive one InMail credit back. Any ignored messages, however, will cost you one credit and will not be given back.

Wrapping It Up

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the best tools to level up your lead generation game and land new business deals. It’s a beginner-friendly platform that anyone can use to find qualified prospects and reach out to them directly.

The most important thing to keep in mind when using Sales Navigator is to narrow down your targeting. There are dozens of search attributes that you can use with keywords to find highly-interested clients that can buy from you.

The truth is…

The first lead list you build with Sales Navigator will be far from perfect. It will surely have some irrelevant leads and uninterested accounts that might waste your time. But as you get accustomed to the tool and all the amazing features it offers, it can quickly become your most valuable lead generation asset.

Whenever you conduct an advanced search or build a new list, be sure to always turn on alerts to get lead notifications. These are crucial for monitoring how prospects are interacting with your company so you can capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.

Vito Vishnepolsky
Vito Vishnepolsky
CEO and Founder at Martal Group