How to Use Linkedin Sales Navigator? [2021 Tutorial – Tips – Best Practices]

In this Linkedin Sales Navigator tutorial, you will learn:

  1. Linkedin Sales Navigator best practices for search filters
  2. How to use Sales Navigator to generate leads
  3. How to automate your Sales Navigator lead generation

We built this complete guide after spending hours and hours using Sales Navigator and analyzing +10K searches extracted with Evaboot.

Ready to learn to learn how to use Linkedin Sales Navigator like a boss?

Let’s dive in.

What is Linkedin Sales Navigator?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator It is a social selling platform that provides features helping sales find prospects and build relationships.

Basically, it is a much more advanced version of the free Linkedin search engine that offers more filters and more information about your prospects.

what is linkedin sales navigator

It comes with 3 offers:

  1. Linkedin Sales Navigator Professional (which is the basic sales navigator)
  2. Linkedin Sales Navigator Team (for small sales teams)
  3. Linkedin Sales Navigator Enterprise (for large sales teams)

In this article, we will focus on Sales Navigator Professional as it is the most used version.

If you want to know more about Team and Enterprise Edition, you can check the links just above.

How does Linkedin Sales Navigator works?

Linkedin has built a large set of tools that allow Sales Navigator users interact with their 700 millions professionals database.

Thanks to these feature you can easily build lead lists and get relevant icebreaker ideas.

The most useful feature for lead generation are:

  • Sales Navigator Search Engine to help you find your ideal customers with more than 40 filters.
how does sales navigator works
  • Saved Searches to get notified every time new people meet your search criterias
how does sales navigator saved searches work
  • Lead and Account Lists to keep track of your prospect activity and provide icebreakers/follow-ups ideas
how do linkedin sales navigator lists work

In this Linkedin Sales navigator Tutorial, we will show you how to get the most of these 3 features to generate leads for your business.

Let’s starts with the search filters.

How to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator Search Filters?

Sales Navigator Search Filters helps you build your leads lists and narrow your searches for new leads using a wide range of filters. Amon them:

  • job title
  • industry
  • location
  • company size
  • company name
  • keywords on the profile
  • and much more…

You can search for Leads (people) or Accounts (companies).

linkedin sales navigator search filters

There are many filters you can use but you will see that you don’t need to use all of them.

The thing is the search algorithm is far from perfect.

We did a study on +10000 searches.

On average 31% of your search results don’t match with your filters.

Here is a sample of search results for “Head of Sales”, see for yourself…

sales navigator search filters mistakes

It can give really random results.

The consequence is that many sales spend hours cleaning lists of prospects.

But still, Linkedin is the best B2B database in the world.

So we deal with it…

linkedin sales navigator search filter problem

Being aware of Sales Navigator flaws is absolutely necessary if you want to build targeted lead list.

If you trust Sales Navigator results blindly, you will end up reaching out to people that have nothing to do with your client.

Your time is precious. You don’t want to spend it contacting the wrong people.

Knowing how every search filter works will help you avoid that.

Let’s see all the tips and best practices around search filters and how Evaboot can help you with that

How to make a Lead Search?

It is completely useless to jump on Sales Navigator filters right away without think about your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) first.

Before you get your hands on Sales Navigator, take some time to think about who you should target.

A good practice for that is to analyze your current clients’ Linkedin profile as well as those of your competitors.

  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Company Headcount
  • Etc…

After you have significant database, run a analysis and start filling a Sales Navigator search with the criterias that come back the most.

1.Keywords Search

sales navigator keyword search

The linkedin sales navigator keyword search will look into the entire profile of your prospect.

So if you are typing “Marketing” in your search, you will get every people that have mentioned “Marketing” at least one time in their profile.

Here is an example of a lead that came out on a “Marketing” keyword search:

keyword search example sales navigator

You see that using this filter can bring a lot of irrelevant leads in your search results so you need to use it with caution.

What Evaboot does 💜

Our tool make sure your keywords are presents in the current job description of your prospects. Using Evaboot, the profile above would have been automatically detected as an unqualified lead.

The most common error is to use the keyword filter to look for job titles.

Keep that for the title filter.

Here is an example.

I’ve compared the results of the same search using the keyword filter and the title filter with Evaboot.

You can see that the error rate is higher with keywords search

keyword vs title search sales navigator

If you are looking for job titles, you should always use the “Title” filter, forget about the keywords.

So how to use the keyword filter then?

The best way to use it is to look for niche keywords that will not appear on the job title but rather on job descriptions or company descriptions.

Like “offline marketing” for example. Probably no one will mention this on their job title but it can appear on job description.

how to use keyword search sales navigator

2.Title Filter

title filter sales navigator

The title filter will look for your keyword in the current job titles of your prospects.

LinkedIn will look for your keywords in all the “current” experiences of your prospects

Warning ⚠️

Many people forget to correctly update their job position, so they have 3 current experiences at the same time.

Ex: here is a prospect in a search for the keyword CEO

title filter problem

What Evaboot does 💜

We make sure the title keyword is present on the real current experience of the prospect

If you are targeting several job titles, you can use boolean search.

Ex: CRM AND (Head OR Chief OR Manager OR Director).

This way you don’t give exact job titles to LinkedIn and you can stay open to opportunities within the range you defined.

3.Boolean Search

Boolean search is a simple programmatic language with whom you can build relationships between your keywords :

  • NOT searches: Type the word NOT (capital letters) immediately before a search term to exclude it from your search results. This typically limits your search results. For example, “programmer NOT manager”.
  • OR searches: Type the word OR (capital letters) to see results that include one or more items in a list. This typically broadens your search results. For example, “sales OR marketing OR advertising”.
  • AND searches: AND searches: Type the word AND (capital letters) to see results that include all items in a list. This typically limits your search results. For example, “accountant AND finance AND CPA”.
  • Quoted searches: For an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example, type “product manager”. You can also use quotation marks if you want to find someone with a multi-word title.


sales navigator geography filter

This filter will select the location of the people (not the location of their companies!).

Make sure to keep that in my mind while you use it.

We noticed that Linkedin does not link city and region everytime.

If you go on your Linkedin profile, you will noticed that you can choose between your city and your region.

how to change location on your linkedin profile

Linkedin will consider the two elements as different locations and won’t automatically select all the people that lives in the cities of the region you select.

Let’s take an example.

Here if I select New York City Metropolitan Area, I get 2K+ results.

However you can see that I still can select New York, United States and New, New york, United States (New York City)

location difference linkedin

If I add the two locations to my search, the number of results increases

location difference with city linkedin

When you are targeting a region, make sure to select the important cities of this region as well to really all the people that lives there

You won’t need to do that for the country as it a separated and mandatory field on your Linkedin profile.

change country linkedin profile


Spotlights provide additional info on your leads like:

  • Have they changed jobs recently?
  • Do they follow your company page?
  • Do they share experiences with you?
  • Have they posted recently on Linkedin?

linkedin sales navigator spotlights

Best Practices & Tips:

  • Use “Changed Job” as an icebreaker
  • Use posted on “Linkedin in past 30 days” to focus your outreach on people that are active on the platform
  • Use “Share Experience” provides excellent icebreakers as well


industry filter sales navigator

The industry will look for the industry chosen by people in their LinkedIn Profile, not the industry of their company.

industry profile sales navigator

Indeed, most people think they are looking in prospects’ company Industries using this filter, but that is not the case.

Some users consider this field as “Department” and enter “Sales” if they work in Sales even if they work in a Software company.

Ex: I’ve changed my industry from Computer Software to E-Learning and this is what happens.

industry filter error sales navigator

If you use this filter, there will be some garbage in your search for sure, but you can still use it with Evaboot if you want as some people will correctly fill their profile industry.

What Evaboot does 💜

We extract the company industry on the prospects’ company page and we check if it matches with the industry you selected on your lead search. Basically, we correct this filter to make it search the right information.

7.Company Headcount

company headcount filter

Company Headcount looks for the company size entered by the company page creator on the company page.

company page sales navigator

Some people might appear in the search results because his previous company had the right size but they don’t work in it anymore.

The fact that he has not marked his last experience as finished on his profile make him still appear in the search

What Evaboot does 💜

We double-check your search results to verify if your prospect’s current company has the right size. We also extract the exact number of employees on Linkedin so you double check the information.

8.Seniority Level

seniority level filter sales navigator

With the Seniority level filter, LinkedIn tries to guess the seniority level with twi information:

  • the job title
  • the hierarchical relations between people.

So if you’re a CEO there is high chance that Linkedin classify you as Owner for example.

They will also use the information given by users when they add their managers or add managers for other people.

how seniority filter works

This info is poorly informed, and the algorithm give unpredictable results.

Linkedin will create a Seniority Level for every current experience on your profile. So if you have 4 opened experience you will have 4 differents Seniority Level attached to your profile.

seniority level problem linkedin

You can see in this example that a CEO can be considered as in intern.

That is why If you know exactly which job title you want to target, our advice is to not use this filter.

Take the time to search all the possible job titles of your Ideal Customer Profile can have instead of using it

You should use it in only one case: If your audience is really broad or have too many different job title, you can combine the Title and Seniority filter like in this search.

Here we entered some keywords in the Title field and choose the Seniority Level to target decision-makers.

This way he tells LinkedIn “I want any decision-maker related to purchasing”

This is a great way to find decision-makers when you don’t want to list every job title on earth.

9. Function

function filter

With Function, LinkedIn tries to guess your Function with your job titles

This once again an unpredictable algorithmic decisions

Same as Seniority Filter, Linkedin will create one function for every current experience you have opened on your profile.

function problem filter sales navigator

Don’t Use this filter at all if possible

If you really know your personas, you know what job titles they have and you don’t need this filter.


company filter linkedin sales navigator

LinkedIn will find employees that have linked one of their current job title to the company

Warning ⚠️

As we saw earlier, people don’t update their current job every time.

You get a chance to get people that don’t work in this company anymore with this filter.

Make sure you select the proposed company every time they appear.

If nothing shows up here, the company does not exist on LinkedIn.

how company filter works

What Evaboot does 💜

We double-check your search results to verify if your prospects really work at the company at the moment.


relationship filter
  • 1st Degree: people in your network
  • 2nd Degree: people with 1 mutual connection with your network
  • 3rd Degree: people with no connection in your network

If you are doing outreach with Sales Navigator, select 2nd and 3rd-degree connections to avoid contacting people you already know.

12. Past Lead and Account Activity

past lead and account activity filter

  • Remove Saved Leads from Search: remove all the leads presents in your Lead Lists
  • Remove view Leads from Search: remove all the leads profile page you already visited
  • Remove contacted Leads from Search: remove all the leads you already sent an Inmail to
  • Search with Saved Account: look for the leads that have a current experience in the companies in all your Account Lists


You can look up group members inside Linkedin Sales Navigator.

group filter linkedin

Again, this a great icebreaker to connect with people.

From there, you can write a personalized message like: “Hey, saw you’re a member of { group name }…”

how group filter works

14.Posted on LinkedIn

You can use this filter to find content posted by Linkedin Users

Let’s say my targets are Head of Sales.

We can use the “Posted Content Keywords” to look for Head of Sales that recently:

  • Wrote a Linkedin article mentioning the keyword
  • Made a post mentioning a keyword
  • commented a post mentioning the keyword
posted content keyword

You have a perfect icebreaker to contact them: “Hi, just saw your recent comment about {post content keyword}…”

how posted content keyword works

15.View Similar

You found what you considered a perfect lead? Use the View similar button!

similar filter

LinkedIn will show you profiles that match the one you selected in term of education and professional experiences.

how similar filter works

16.Connection Of

What is the best icebreaker of all time? A common friend!

With this filter, you can search your friend’s networks for potential customers (You can only choose 1 person)

connected to filter

Here are 210 people you can contact with a great icebreaker!

“Hi, I spoke to {connection} last week and he told me about {company}. It ringed a bell for me because I {reason for outrearch}…”

sales navigator search engine

How to make an Account Search?

The exact same principles applies for the Account Search in term of keyword search, industries, size etc….

However, there are additional filters you can use to detect if a company is growing or not.

Detect Growing Companies

You got 2 ways to detect growing companies with the account search filters.

The first one is too look for companies that are hiring on Linkedin.

If they are hiring, business is obviously good for them and they might need your product or you service.

hiring filter sales navigator

The second way is too see if the company headcount has grown recently (i.e the company has hired people)

company headcount growth filter sales navigator

Linkedin will by default take into account the growth rate on the last 12 month. That is too say this number here:

yearly growth rate account page sales navigator

If you interested in the growth of particular of department, you can also detect this with Sales Navigator by using the Department Headcount Growth filter

department headcount growth filter sales navigator

This is particularly relevant if you product or service is addressing departments that are growing quickly or reached a particular size.

For example, you know that is a Sales Team is growing quickly or reached a number of 5-10 people, they will obviously need a CRM to organize teamwork.

Don’t Use Technology Filter

The technology filter gives really random results on Sales Navigator.

There is no information on Linkedin’s documentation about how they find technologies used by companies.

It makes it really hard to trust them on this.

If you want to target companies based on which technology they used, it is much better to use services that have been built especially for that like Wappalyzer or BuiltWith.

Account Based Search: The best way to use Sales Navigator

Now that you know of each and every Sales Navigator filters work, let me show you the best way to use linkedin Sales Navigator to build lead lists.

This a 4 steps process:

  • Make a Account search
  • Build an Account List
  • Filter your Lead Search with this Account List
  • Add some lead filters to identify decision makers

31% of your search results on average do not respect your filters on regulars searches.

With this technique, you can reduce this number to 5-10%.

The Account Based Search Process

Start by making an Account search and select companies you want to contact in an Account list.

add company to an account list dales navigator

Go to Lead results and filter your search with your account list.

You now have a list of every employee working in the companies you selected.

how to ABM with sales navigator

Add the type of personae you want to target in these companies

title fitler linkedin sales navigator

Now you get a list of the CEO of your targeted Account list!

If your search results are large and you don’t want to click 50 times on the checkboxes to create your account list, you can use the following techniques to:

  • Export your account search
  • reupload the CSV to Sales Navigator to create your account list

Create Account Lists from CSV Upload

If you to create account list much faster or you are using other sources of data than Linkedin to identify accounts, this feature can really change your life.

Account upload allow to import CSV with account information so Linkedin can try to find these account into it database.

You need a Sales Navigator Team Account to have access to this feature!

This process can automate Account list building and allow to identify decision makers inside companies you have scraped on:

  • Google
  • Crunchbase
  • Madyness
  • Job boards

Let’s dive in ⬇️

Go to Account List > Create an Account List > Upload and Account from CSV

create account list from CSV sales navigator

Read the guidelines:

  • 1000 companies maximum
  • You need at least the name of the company to do this
  • The more you add details (ID, Website etc…) the more you improve the chances of LinkedIn to match your CSV with the right companies.
requirement csv upload linkedin sales navigator

Upload your CSV file

csv upload linkedin

Map the field

map field upload account list

Name you list and wait for the matching algorithm to do it’s magic

upload CSV to create account list sales navigator

Check the results!

CSV import results sales navigator

Congrats! 🎉 You just saved hours of boring work

How to exclude client and competitors from your search results

When you are doing prospecting, you want to make sure that you won’t contact your past or current clients and your competitors.

To do that, just look for your clients in the Account Search Engine

exclude client from sales navigator search

Add them to a list

exclude competitors sales navigator search

It will appear under Account Lists Tab

create an account blacklist sales navigator

You can repeat the same process for your competitors

Once you have built your 2 blacklists


You can go on custom list to exclude them from your searches

build a blacklist on linkedin sales navigator

Click on this icon to exclude the list (the list will turn red)

how to exclude account lists on sales navigator

The people working in these companies won’t appear in your searches anymore!

You can safely contact these people without worrying to contact a client or a competitor

How to use Linkedin Sales Navigator Effectively to Generate Leads?

One of the most common lead generation use case with Sales Navigator is this one:

Here we go through this process step by step

Export leads from Sales Navigator and get their emails

In this video, I show you how to use Evaboot to create a clean email list from Sales Navigator in just 2 clicks

How to split searches with 2.5K+ results

Sometimes you make a search on Sales Navigator on you get more you 2.5K results.

The thing is you can only export until 2500 prospects from a Sales Navigator search.

The reason is simple

Sales Navigator only displays 100 pages of 25 results each on the front end.

sales navigator search limit

It’s not possible for a scraper to get the LinkedIn Profile URL if the people are not displayed in the search 🤔

So you have to split your search if you don’t want to lose these leads.

To do that you can use two filters:

  • Seniority Level
  • Function

split search sales navigator


Because you won’t lose people in your search doing this operation

Let me explain

Here I have selected all the company sizes available…

But you can see that the search results have decreased from 6K to 5K

split sales navigator searches with company size


Because not everybody link their profile to their company page.

It is visible on the profile when there is no logo but a grey icon instead.

no company page sales navigator profile

So if you are using the company headcount filter you will exclude all these people

You can split your search with industry, but the process is messy

To reconstitute your search, you will likely have to select between 50-100 industries

The process is painful and not efficient

too many industry sales navigator

The easy way to extract a 2.5K+ search is to split it using Seniority Level.

As every profile has a seniority level (whether they linked their profile to a company page or not), you won’t lose anyone.

seniority level split sales navigator

Here I split my 6K export with 3 searches

You can see that the 3rd search still contains more than 2.5K people

Don’t worry

You can use Function to split it

If you still got more than 2.5K people in a Seniority Category, you can use Function to split it like this

  • Choose a Seniority Level
  • Choose some function to split in 2 or 3 parts
split slaes navigator searches with function

Use Emails, Not Inmails

Sales Navigator InMail allows you to contact anyone on LinkedIn without being connected.

If your prospects:

  • haven’t accepted your connection request
  • didn’t answer your first emails

The thing is that when you send an inmail, your prospect knows that you are here to sell something. The reply rate is really low.

Only use Inmails as a last resort to get an answer through Emails or Linkedin.

Check our Inmail Complete Guide for more advice

Automate your prospecting with an outreach tool

Once you have a clean email lists, there many out there to help you send cold emails campaigns like:

I won’t make a deep analysis here I let you make your benchmark.

I personally use LaGrowthMachine because the email finder is integrated in the pricing and they allow multi channel sequences (Email + Linkedin + Twitter)

How to automate your Sales Navigator lead generation

Sales Navigator offers several features that can automate a large of the follow-ups tasks on your leads:

  • Saved Searches: to automatically detect new qualified leads
  • Lead & Account Alerts: to get notifications about leads’ activities

How to use Sales Navigator saved searches to generate leads on autopilot?

So the first time you do a search, you extract the results with a Chrome Extension and send your first campaign.


But what happens after that?

This list will not be the same forever, some people will change jobs, and new people will meet your search criteria every day

You need to do some follow-up on this search.

The “Save Search” feature allows you to get notified when new people match your search results.

how to use saved searches sales navigator

It is a great way to identify new opportunities and gets in contact with people as soon as they get into their new position.

sales navigator saved searches results

If you click on the “New” field, you will get access to the list of leads that recently matched your search filters.

To save a search, just click on save search here

how to save a search on sales navigator

Define a name and the alert frequency

This is the frequency at which new leads will appear on your Saved Search Dashboards.

It is mostly defined by the frequency of your outbound campaigns.

You want to contact new campaign every week => Choose Weekly

You want to launch new campaign every month => Choose Monthly

set up alert frequency saved search

Let’s say you want to fill your campaign with new leads every Monday.

You just need to connect to LinkedIn Sales Navigator > Go to Saved Searches > Click on New Results

You now have access to the newly added leads

When you are on this type of searches, you can see “delta-saved-search” on the URL

delta saved searches

You can now extract this search with Evaboot and add these people to your campaign! 🎉

How to use Sales Navigator lists and Alerts to get icebreakers ideas

When you are using the Sales Navigator Search, you can add leads or companies to lists.

This allows handpicking some profiles in your searches to save them in the shortlist you want to contact.

You can add them one by one:

add lead to list linkedin sales navigator

Or select groups of leads to import in your lists:

bulk add lead sales navigator list

Once you handpicked a good list of qualified prospects you can :

  • contact them one by one on LinkedIn
  • Export the list in a spreadsheet to launch an outreach campaign.

Once a lead or an account is added to a list, you get notifications about their activities in your Sales Navigator feed.

sales navigator alerts

This a great to write personalized icebreakers for your prospects!

how to use sales navigator alerts

When a prospect writes a post you can:

  • like the post
  • leave a comment
  • send a message

When you want to get a response, timing is key.

Use this Sales Navigator feature to contact the right people at the right time!

How to use Sales Navigator for Linkedin Ads?

Extracting leads from Sales Navigator and then re-upload them on Linkedin Ads can allow to create an hyper-targeted audiences for you ads.

Instead of trusting Linkedin Algorithm, you show Linkedin the exact list of people to to target.

When you are choosing your audience, click on List upload > Contact List or Company List

Capture d’écran 2021-06-24 à 11.11.44.png

Then “Upload a list”

Capture d’écran 2021-06-24 à 11.13.37.png

LinkedIn recommend uploading at least 10,000 contacts, but you upload starting at 300.

To match your list to LinkedIn members, They require at least one of the following:

  • email address
  • first and last name

Including additional fields such as company, job title, or country increases the accuracy of the match.

You lucky because you already extracted all this information with Evaboot (whether you upload a Contact or a Company list) 😉

Capture d’écran 2021-06-24 à 11.33.19.png

You can now continue the setting of your Ad campaign.

Hope you enjoyed this Linkedin Sales Navigator overview.

If you want export clean lead list out of Sales Navigator in just one click, make sure to take a look at Evaboot.

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