Mr. Weiner, tear down this wall!

Who is Jeff Weiner? The CEO of LinkedIn.

What wall? The wall that is being built around your data within LinkedIn.

As of last week, I cancelled my paid subscription to LinkedIn. I could not have imagined that just a few years ago. I had a $1,200/year Sales Navigator account and used it extensively for some time. LinkedIn changed things and I decided to move to the minimum level paid account. Then they eliminated the ability to download my own connections, reversing it a few days later with a warning that it will disappear again when they decide to. They changed or removed even more features and so I finally decided to cancel my premium level account.

I was a huge believer in LinkedIn and it’s value. I wrote a book about LinkedIn. I have spoken to conferences, conventions and corporate meetings worldwide about LinkedIn. I have trained thousands of people how to get the most out of LinkedIn. I still believe that LinkedIn has value to the sales person. There is still value in the visibility and “findability” for most users. But the days of viewing LinkedIn as a primary sales tool and platform are definitely winding down at this point. Unless they have a change of heart, I believe that more and more of you will find your time more wisely invested in other tools and platforms. Here are some of my observations and reasons why I make such a claim.

My connections are MY connections. in many cases I opened up my contact database and email accounts to invite them into the network and connect with me. This is my data, this is your data folks.You created the connections with these people. While legally not accurate most likely, I do believe that it is NOT LinkedIn’s data and yet that is exactly how it is being treated.

In order to access this same information, I am expected to pay for that access. No thanks.

The days of LinkedIn Groups being of value are a distant memory in most cases. They have been stripped of functionality for both the members and the group administrator/owner. Most are now nothing but a spam dumping ground. Most of the group managers that I know are fed up with the changes and limitations that have been implemented. Some of the very biggest and most active groups historically on LinkedIn have created groups on Facebook and other platforms from which to serve their members in a manner that allows more interaction and collaboration. Case in point – Viveka Von Rosen has run one of the longest standing groups focused on LinkedIn, and the interaction is dismal when compared with the interactions and engagement she created on the LinkedIn Experts Google+ community. A large LinkedIn Group about LinkedIn is less interactive than a Google+ community about LinkedIn? That makes no sense, except when you realize that group functionality has been severely stripped down and administrative controls are a shell of what used to be available. My most interactive and valuable discussion groups about “social selling” and sales are taking place within Facebook groups. That makes no sense!

Cutting off access to MY data to companies that I want my data integrated with like Nimble and Kitedesk is not acceptable. Give me the option to approve connections to my data to those services and tools that I choose to integrate with. When LinkedIn announced back in May that they are cutting off access to the data from outside tools and services across the board, that was a mistake. Offering CRM integration to only a small handful of enterprise solutions like Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics eliminated many valuable services being provided by third-party companies like Rival IQ, Nimble and many others. If I want to use Act-on as my marketing automation tool and interface it with LinkedIn, I should be able to. CRM is an important tool that every business should be using but most are not able to afford the support and/or costs associated with these enterprise class services they have chosen to partner with.

In the last few days, Salesforce has announced that their integration with LinkedIn is over and that all data, photos and history will be removed from Saleforce records. Here is the email that was received by Salesforce.com customers admin’s recently:

Salesforce drops LinkedIn

There has been clarification from LinkedIn that Julio Viskovich from rFactor received from LinkedIn’s global PR team that said

“If people have been using the Sales Navigator integration with Salesforce, they will still have an extensive view of their LinkedIn information within Salesforce”. Whatever that means.

I received this email from RivalIQ, a service which provides a valuable service to me:

On Monday, August 24th, we will remove historical LinkedIn data from Rival IQ. If you need to run any final reports or download historical data, please do so before next Monday. If you need assistance exporting data, please reply to this mail or contact our support team directly…

As you know, LinkedIn removed API data access for all public company data in early May, and we have been unable to update your LinkedIn data since that time…

Pulse has lost much of it’s effectiveness and value. It’s like if the Wall Street Journal opens up their newspaper for anyone to publish anything they choose. It’s value would drop to zero rapidly. Authors that would receive hundreds to thousands of views to their posts now receive less than a hundred. Commenters are leaving fewer comments than they had previosly.

InMail is not as productive as we have been led to believe. The limits are ridiculous for those even with premium accounts. Before cancelling I was allowed 3 InMails. If I feel the need to contact one of my connections, I should be able to do so without hassle or limits. Make it easy to do so within LinkedIn or I will go elsewhere to do so utilizing tools like Kitedesk, Salesloft, or Nimble.

Continually eliminate functions and features that were helpful. Remember the old Questions and Answers feature. Yes there were a few crazies that spent all day responding with useless answers, but overall many I know found it helpful both for those asking questions and for those answering. It was easier to use that feature than jump out to Quora as an example. There are too many other examples of this but please share the ones that you miss the most in the comments area below the post.

Acquire company after company with innovative solutions that were available to everyone prior to acquisition and then make the functionality disappear in part or entirely in a few months to everyone, or put behind a pay wall in some form. Services like CardMunch, Bizo, Bright, Newsle, Pulse, and the recent Lynda.com buy are examples of companies that were more easily accessed and used prior to acquisition.

Replace it with an inclusive partner community that encourages innovation and partnering.

Deploy the approach that Apple, Google and Salesforce.com have used by creating a marketplace that third-party vendors can connect their services directly to LinkedIn data. Charge the vendors for that capabililty, monitor the quality and set standards by all means. And give me the option as a LinkedIn customer of allowing access to my data with these services. Opt-in on an individual tool basis decided by me, for those tools that meet my need. Make that choice revocable if I change my mind. I think of the way that I have to authorize Hootsuite to work with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Or the way BufferApp requires approval to access my account info, but can be revoked at any time. That is how I want to treat access to my LinkedIn data.

Salesforce.com’s App Exchange is a thriving market of companies providing tools and capabilities that extend Salesforce functionality way beyond it’s core, into niches and industries that can only be served by specialists with deep knowledge of the market they serve. Same goes for Google Play and Apple’s App Store. This model works and judging from the growth of each, customers prefer it as well.

I have heard some very smart people say that LinkedIn could crush all CRM vendors if they choose to. Not possible unless and until LinkedIn tears down the walls. Proprietary, walled environments haven’t historically done well in most markets. Ask Microsoft. Tear down the walls and see LinkedIn explode in ways unthinkable previously.

Create a certification program for Trainers, coaches and speakers to go through that will ensure a solid foundation for those training others on the effective use of LinkedIn. I have been involved with at least two of these initiatives within LinkedIn, and both ended in a big fat zero even though they had sponsorship of respected mid-level management within LinkedIn. If someone wants to claim they are a Certified LinkedIn Trainer, make them learn and prove their expertise. Go search for LinkedIn Certified Trainer in Google today and you will see there are over 2,300 results for a title that does not exist anywhere I am aware of.

From my vantage point, LinkedIn will either grow into the long-term winner as the business social platform, or continue to create frustrated, disgruntled, and even angry customers who are begging for an alternative solution.

Mr. Weiner, take down this wall!

Ok, let me have it. Am I off base or am I writing some of what you have been thinking. I am looking forward to your thoughts in the comments below. 

  • Miles – I’m so glad you started this conversation. IMHO – I have felt that LinkedIn would do well by embracing the companies that provide innovation around their platform, much like Facebook, Salesforce, Apple, and Google have done. These companies recognize that not only are these upstarts closer to their users (in many cases, not always), then they are – but they are also a revenue source for them (by collecting a fee when their users buy their products via their platform). It has been my experience that Salesforce has utilized their app exchange and events, like Dreamforce, to see the traction these applications get – and that has provided them with observable insights into acquisitions. In any case, I’d love to hear what others think about this…please share!

    • Sean.The Salesforce App Exchange model would be a massive turn for LinkedIn. The most innovative, close-to-the-customer thinking is coming from startups and smaller companies like Kitedesk. Why they push all of this opportunity away is befuddling. Fresh thinking and faces within the walls of LinkedIn might be the only way to get this on the table.

      • linkedinexpert

        I didn’t realize they had shut down Salesforce too. What?????????? Geesh.

    • Thomas Evans

      I couldn’t agree more Sean, embrace all the companies that promote you.

  • Paul Croubalian

    I can’t speak to how LinkedIn has changed. I have only been active for a few months. I do agree that I do not see the value that I was supposed to get from Sales Navigator. I’m still on it, simply because I forgot to cancel it this month.

    As regards Pulse, or long form posts, or whatever people wish to call the publishing platform, I have to disagree. To my way of thinking, the publishing platform is the saving grace to LinkedIn. Without it, LinkedIn is just a glorified Rolodex. It has value but not a ton of it.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Pulse Paul. Good to hear that Pulse is getting you the results you are looking for. Hope to have you drop by with your thoughts in the future.

  • It has been highly curious to me why LinkedIn has chosen the walled garden approach. It worked so well for AOL after all….cough cough….

    • Wasn’t the AOL/Time Warner merger an awesome success? Snark, snark

    • linkedinexpert

      OMG – so true…

  • Andy Foote

    Thanks Miles, great and timely piece. Well done Sir.

    LinkedIn doesn’t do a wonderful job of explaining policy, strategy, thinking – perhaps that’s deliberate. I don’t think there are great commercial/competitive reasons for doing this, I think it’s cultural and ingrained and I think it hurts them in many different ways.

    The perception that LinkedIn is unnecessarily secretive and often tone deaf is hard to defend – I’ve experienced this first-hand in the LinkedIn Groups Product Forum, which they closed after participation/activism from people who genuinely cared and wanted to improve LinkedIn Groups, became a crescendo of frustration. Groups close, features disappear, software gets killed – but people don’t forget.

    I’d love to know what’s holding them back from rolling out an accredited LinkedIn Trainer/Coach program? Surely the pros far outweigh the cons? Do this already!

    When are we going to see clarification on how content moves around LinkedIn via Publisher/Pulse? On what basis does LinkedIn decide which people in my network get notified about new Publisher posts? Why is this even a secret? Why do some people get help from the Pulse Editorial team and others get ignored? Are we to assume then that the whole thing is rigged?

    LinkedIn Groups….could be awesome…and yet 1000+ LinkedIn Experts prefer to congregate in a fabulous Google+ community. Mountain View, you have a problem.

    I’m an obsessive LinkedIn fan, investor and watcher – someone who has devoted the last 7 years to the study of all things LinkedIn. I’ll never cancel my subscription(s) but I will speak up and point to things which LinkedIn could and should be doing better.

    http://www.linkedinsights.com
    Advanced LinkedIn Strategies

  • Miles, thank you for stating what we are all feeling – the question remains, will you, will we, be heard?

    • I hope so Brynne, we are all fans that are hoping for change.

  • Great post Miles. I too do NOT see the value of any paid LinkedIn account. LinkedIn seems to think that all the data belongs to them and that they do not need to share – very social of them

  • Unfortunately, I think the moat is only deepening. LinkedIn has no close competitor. There is no current substitute for professional identity, no alternative. I’d guess that the company’s main economic goal is to increase the price of data for/to the 350M (and counting) users of the service.

    I concur with most of your points, especially those related to innovative acquisitions useful product features going away… Bummer.

    I disagree with your opinion on Pulse. Comparing LinkedIn to the WSJ is only possible today because of Pulse (prior to Pulse there wasn’t any publishing on LinkedIn– maybe stay away from revisionist history).

    Further, because of an abundance of cash and market position (monopoly?), LinkedIn is making a calculated bet that a collection of INfluencers and self-publishers distributed by an algorithm to users along collaborative filtering lines will be more effective for a professional audience than a staff of journalists and editors. I find this an interesting experiment to watch… And believe it’s waaaay too early to declare success or failure.

    • Fair points on Pulse Eric. It is just the analytics that I was thinking about and those are way down from the initial 3 month window. Your thoughts on the abundance of cash and market position is spot on. They wield this position like a bully though, and that is what bothers many people. On a phone call from a reader that was responding to the post, she said their actions reminded her of JR Ewing, and she wished they were more like Bobby. (Google Dallas-TV series for the millenials in the room ;))

      • Barbara Giamanco

        Miles – I worked for a tech company who though they were the biggest and the baddest. That arrogance bit them in the backside, and it has taken them years to recover a position in the marketplace that now gives them credit for being innovators.

  • Thomas Evans

    They are getting too romantic about their product and not respecting the communities that helped build up their success (data) It makes the social community feel used…not a good look.

    • Barbara Giamanco

      BOOM! There it is, Thomas. LinkedIn is stepping on the vast majority of people who built their network to the point of massive success that could lead them to go public. I’ve been in tech long enough to see what can happen. They might be big right now, but my money is on the garage hackers out there creating something better!

  • Miles, I agree with you that LinkedIn has increasingly made it more difficult to use their platform. I miss Answers, Events and the ability to export group members email addresses.

    I believe what has happened is LinkedIn’s vision has evolved. Rather than being a professional network for everyone, they are becoming a corporation network. What I mean by that is they are slowly pushing small business owners and solopreneurs to the side to focus on larger paying clients. And why not. They answer to shareholders now.

    This is why social platforms are so risky. They don’t follow a protocol and will change the rules whenever they want. That is something the experts like you, the commenters on this post and I have to be prepared for so we can advise our clients on the next best course of action.

    Changes like this give Martin Brossman and I something to discuss on the Linking into Sales Social Selling Podcast. We’d love to have you on sometime!

    • Martin Brossman

      Good point Greg and I am looking for what is the “LinkedIn” for small businesses as well. LinkedIns constant changes remind me of the importance of keeping all key contact in my own CRM and make sure to not overly rely on LinkedIn. Earned, Owned and Paid. I “own” my CRM while I am part of the product of LinkedIN.

      • Let me know when you come across tools that work for small business. Your advice of keeping all your contacts in something that you own and control can be expanded to include all your “content” as well. I believe that everything we do online should untimately connect back to your own, controllable site. That is why I am such a strong advocate for each individual to have their own website – WordPress is my #1 recommendation for that.

        • Martin Brossman

          Miles, I agree about content under your control. Even if I just post it on LinkedIn I keep a copy safe.

    • Thanks for chiming in Greg. I appreciate your observation about the perception that LinkedIn is pushing away small business owners. I had not considered that but it rings true to me. An example of this is LinkedIn’s decision to limit CRM integration only to those select few, enterprise class systems that are not feasible for small business. Thanks for adding your perspective to the conversation. Yes, love to join your Linking into Sales Social Selling Podcast.

      • I was reading a few articles by some financial analysts about LinkedIn’s performance and I noticed how they continue to point out that Talent Solutions is a significant revenue driver. They also mentioned that Sales Navigator has a longer than usual sales cycle. This says to me that they have not found the right product-market fit with sales orgs and could explain their less than favorable behavior with platform features.

        I’ll reach out to you via Twitter DM to set up a time for us to talk about having you on the podcast. Thanks!

        • Barbara Giamanco

          Greg – good point re: Sales Navigator. The sales cycle is longer, because frankly, the LI salespeople cannot sell. They push “pilots”, which I guess are magically supposed to turn into sales.-:) I have first hand experience with current clients who agree to a pilot of navigator and in every situation they are failing. Why? No solid training or support; yet, LI will promise FREE training to enterprise customers and don’t even get me started on the lack of quality. People are taught to click buttons, not how to use LI strategically to drive sales outcomes. LinkedIn has name power right now, so they can get in the door. I’ve had clients tell me that the salespeople don’t even research them before a sales call. Huh? Isn’t that part of why you use LI? To research people before meeting them? True story… recently, I was on a speaker roster with 2 other companies… one was LI. The rep showed up that morning (had never even read the agenda the customer had established) and actually said to me… who are you? Uh, dude…there’s this platform called LI. Ever heard of it? I couldn’t believe he hadn’t looked up a single person who was going to be in the room and it was a BIG client of LI’s hosting this meeting for their customers. The arrogance is amazing.

  • AnnTIG

    I’m not a power user / premium or paid user or whatever term is used. I’m not a headhunter or recruiter or corporate ladder climber looking for the next opportunity and I’m not in Sales. My purpose in using LI is to connect with the millions of owners of a small business who have used LI Groups to create great networks where we can have serious business discussions. We know that the price of a free forum is our data and have been happy to participate in that trade off.
    I agree absolutely with your assessment of Groups Miles. There are no real discussions going on there and even the simplest activity is made into a miserable experience by the worst software of any social network. (I’m repeatedly told by LI Help that this is because I use Chrome – I can’t figure out if this is a joke or not).
    Many small businesses are now turning to Facebook Groups to have serious discussions and create peer group support that used to happen in LI.
    However, I agree with Paul about Pulse. As a veteran blogger, Pulse brings me more viewers and comments than many other platforms – at the moment. However, this is also being diluted by promo posts, job adverts etc so I guess it will soon go the way of groups.
    Much as I hate many of the things Facebook does, it’s where owners of small businesses are going to meet their peers and we’re therefore delivering more data into that bank instead of the LI bank.
    Maybe the Alaphabet / Google model is the answer with smaller more agile services operating as discrete revenue streams feeding into the LI lake.

    • Ann, great input on what you are finding with Groups – both on LinkedIn and on Facebook. Individual experiences will vary with Pulse satisfaction based on the other platforms being used. My #1 strongest performer for going on 8 years now is this blog. Yes, in the early days of Pulse I could get double the “views” on a post when compared to my blog, but over time the total views always on the blog reaches a higher level, but that is just my experience. I am in this for the long haul, and the challenges of having LinkedIn, Facebook or anyone else change, place ads, re-format the look and layout are not welcome. I am all for testing and innovation, but if I have no interest or input into what ads appear around my posts, or even if they appear at all is a p roblem for me. I like YouTube’s approach to this – as the channel owner I can choose to turn on or off monetization (ads) on my channel and/or each video – and they will share in the profits from the ads that run. Think about the goodwill that LinkedIn could build by working with post authors in this way, rather than doing what they will on their own. Just my thoughts.

  • Seth Bridges

    Thanks for putting this out there, Miles. I know how many of our Rival IQ customers have been frustrated by LinkedIn’s approach, so it’s nice to see more good writing that supports the case.

  • brandonlife

    10000000% agree.

  • Miles –
    I admire and appreciate your keen insights and feedback on some of the decisions
    vendors like LinkedIn and Facebook have made in regards to walling off API
    access.

    There are certainly ways to create an open market and compete at the same time.
    History is littered with companies that did this well and others who have not.
    GoldMine was built by partnering with VARS, Third Party developers and even
    competitors in its day with an open API and this led to global success.
    Microsoft on the other hand started out as an open Eco system with windows but
    later began to eat its SW developer children like Borland, WorkPerfect and
    Lotus and at the same time compete with its VARS. The result was a disastrous
    decade. Microsoft’s “Lost Decade” or How They Lost Their Mojo –
    http://vnty.fr/1TW8iYg

    The reality is that no one social network will win or maybe even stick around
    forever. None ever have. Also you need more than one data point to understand
    and connect with a human being. LinkedIn is kind of my resume, useful but if
    you really want to “know” me connect with me on Instagram or
    Facebook. Want to see what’s happening with me real time or connect in a
    relevant and authentic way? Try Twitter. You need at least three data points on
    a map to locate me; longitude, latitude and altitude. Get just one or two and
    your going to miss me.

    In our over connected and over communicated world we need help
    identifying people who mater, reaching out to create and nurture connections
    that result in a mutually beneficial outcome. That’s why we need a simply
    smarter relationship manager that works for us by creating and updating company
    records with context (email, calendar and social conversations) and insights
    (Social identity and social profile data) and works with us everywhere we work
    (email, social networks, even other CRM’s like Saleforce) so we can do the
    human thing, build relationships to serve others.

    That’s why I built GoldMine and why we’re building Nimble.

    Keep inspiring and educating the way you’ve always done.

    Your friend Jon

    Jon Ferrara
    CEO – Nimble.com
    The Simply Smarter Social Relationship Manager
    We work for You, Everywhere You Work!

  • linkedinexpert

    You absolutely hit the nail on the head Miles!!!!! When a company goes public it seems to become about the short term income.. If they start losing their members (which they are – in droves) then the WHOLE VALUE of LinkedIn goes away!

  • chandra bodapati

    Miles, LinkedIn played smart. They gave just enough incentive to get 2 Billion+ professional man hours work for free (200M+ people spent 10+ hours each to update profile). Now they are leveraging that to make money. Nothing wrong or unethical about that part. However,

    I don’t believe they own the data member’s entered and the network created. They don’t have the legal right to stop others from using their network they want it. Unfortunately, no one is strong enough to fight them at this juncture

    I feel the 200m+ professionals will continue to update their LinkedIn profiles, to find great opportunities – unless someone come up with a 5x better incentive

    I feel you and 90%+ of all the people who are commenting here and agreeing with you will continue to leverage Linkedin and the network you created – despite all this publicly pronounced outrage.

    Let’s just figure out how to leverage LinkedIn for right now.
    And then look at ways to build the next generation of LinkedIn in parallel.

    Chandra
    CEO/FOUNDER eGrabber

    We develop B2B Sales Tools; Bought by 100,000+ companies over the past 15+ years

    • Chandra – you provided an epic response! True across the board in my experience as well. One thing has become crystal clear – a massive number of members would embrace a quality alternative if offered. Hopefully those blessed with coding talent and connections to funding are already working on just that. You have any ideas/suggestions…?

      • chandra bodapati

        Miles, I think a Linkedin competitor will arrive in a new media or channel, that starts with a goal that will look silly & absurd to most LinkedIn pundits.

        Example – it could be a TV program, a game etc

        My goal is to take the world as it is, and leverage it for immediate needs! long term will take care of itself if all the short terms are increasingly successful.

      • Laurent Ohana

        Miles, I don’t know how I missed this excellent post! I am sure you encountered my company Reachable (www.reachable.com) in the past. We provide a service that allows anyone to upload their contacts and use our connection finding algorithms to find the best path to their targets. (We don’t give your contacts to others, we don’t crowdsource contacts.) People ask us every day to “please take on LinkedIn.” We have been at this since 2008 and we do think there is a turning point today, where users want to control their data, and want to leverage their connections without having to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. But LinkedIn has a lot of value still. It’s a polite way to spam a mailing list, except it’s called posting a story… LinkedIn is a Seller’s Market. Everybody is there to sell something, not to buy. So, any person visiting my profile wants something from me, rarely people who want to buy. So, it might become less and less useful over time. There is room for other solutions, alongside LinkedIn, we expect to be one of them!

        • I am aware of Reachable and have an account. You make an excellent point about LinkedIn having become a seller’s market. I have been asking audiences if they knew back when they signed up and added all their background and profile info into LinkedIn that it would be made available to anyone that wants to advertise to them, if they would still do it. The overwhelming response is NO. LinkedIn is still growing in raw numbers, but i hear stories every week from clients and audience members that are either removing or stripping out much of their profile information because the barrage of sales calls, inmails and connection requests has become overwhelming and completely counter-productive to the premise of LinkedIn originally. Keep building your solution at Reachable, it brings value and results.

  • Barbara Giamanco

    Excellent post, Miles. I’ve been a LinkedIn member since year one. I’ve been a long-time fan but that fandom has been fading of late. I’ve certainly seen many changes, as you and others have. Those changes now come at an accelerated pace, with no warning and often no apparent strategic reason for making them. Well, other than I think they are pulling free features to try to push people to paid. Bad strategy. Only pisses people off. And, it appears the only people they ask for feedback are at big companies. LI completely DOES NOT understand how many salespeople and small/medium sized business use LinkedIn. They would if they bothered to get out of their cleverly decorated conference rooms. They don’t seem to understand what happens when they bite the hand that feeds them.
    I’m not so keen on a “certified” LinkedIn training program created/delivered by LI. Why? At this point, there are many, many training companies (I’m putting mine, yours, Viveka’s, Brynne’s and others in this camp) that already do a great job in training our customers. Frankly, I know the platform better than many LI employees. If LinkedIn were smart, they would actually stop trying to give away crappy free training to sell licenses and actually partner with those of us in the market THEY KNOW do good work. It is a win for both of us, given that our customers ask us for opinions about products and trust our guidance. I was part of both of the ill fated programs you mentioned. Clearly, someone at LI doesn’t get the value of leveraging a strong channel of trainers, coaches and consultants that clients trust. What LI doesn’t consider when they keep making random changes is that this ecosystem of trainers, speakers, coaches, etc. have built content around their platform. That content/training helps people stay engaged and actively using the platform and often then moving to paid services. However, all their changes mean that we are constantly re-tooling and often on the fly. Maddening.
    As Chandra mentioned, we’ll all continue to use LI for now, but I admit, I don’t use it in the way I used too. I use other tools – like InsideView – to gather rich data and insights about the people and companies that I want to do business with. Frankly, that information – because it is gathered from public sources and social channels is more reliable than the user generated information on LI profiles and company pages.
    It will be interesting to see where this all goes and call me a pessimist, which I rarely am, but I don’t think Mr. Weiner will listen at all. When has he in the past?

  • Barbara Giamanco

    Excellent post, Miles. I’ve been a LinkedIn member since year one. I’ve been a long-time fan but that fandom has been fading of late. I’ve certainly seen many changes, as you and others have. Those changes now come at an accelerated pace, with no warning and often no apparent strategic reason for making them. Well, other than I think they are pulling free features to try to push people to paid. Bad strategy. Only pisses people off. And, it appears the only people they ask for feedback are at big companies. LI completely DOES NOT understand how many salespeople and small/medium sized business use LinkedIn. They would if they bothered to get out of their cleverly decorated conference rooms. They don’t seem to understand what happens when they bite the hand that feeds them.

    As Chandra mentioned, we’ll all continue to use LI for now, but I admit, I don’t use it in the way I used too. I use other tools – like InsideView – to gather rich data and insights about the people and companies that I want to do business with. Frankly, that information – because it is gathered from public sources and social channels is more reliable than the user generated information on LI profiles and company pages.

    It will be interesting to see where this all goes and call me a pessimist, which I rarely am, but I don’t think Mr. Weiner will listen at all. When has he in the past?

  • Paul M

    Does anyone remember Plaxo? Before LinkedIn it promised to be a great way to get connected to colleagues, potential employers and candidates, and even friends.
    At first it seemed like a great service for free, but they started making features only available for paying users. I put up with it for a while but I deleted my account when their naked greed became apparent and my privacy was going to be violated.

    Well, LinkedIn, go look at the other person-to-person network/contact services and see how they shot themselves in the foot. I’m not ready to delete my LinkedIn account yet, but I’ve been reducing my engagement over the last year or so, ready to pull the plug.

    • Paul, when you say “pull the plug” do you mean completely delete your LinkedIn account? Or just go to the free account?

      Personally, if I were in your shoes, I don’t think I would go so far as completely deleting my LinkedIn profile so nobody who is interested in doing business with me could not find me, but I would probably stick with just keeping a free profile up as a lead generator. Just my 2 cents.

      • Paul M

        Things would have to get a *lot* worse for me to delete my profile entirely.

        By pull the plug I mean to unsubscribe from the remaining few lists I’m on and remove most of my profile so it would become simply a “sales brochure” for recruiters, and so I would withdraw most of my attention from LinkedIn.

  • thank you for writing this I am a small business owner trying to network and learn how to market successfully. Now I understand why I am having such a tough time networking and finding help on linkedin.

    • LinkedIn is still a helpful tool Calvin. You should have a robust profile and connect with those that are valuable to you. Just don’t limit your activity to LinkedIn. The most successful sales people I know are using a mix of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram. Your success will depend on what industry you are in, your business model and how much effort you put into it. If you want to check how you are doing within LinkedIn, I encourage you to grab a copy of Monster LinkedIn Mistakes for free here at: https://www.fillthefunnel.com/monster-mistakes/ It might give you some ideas where you might be able to improve your LinkedIn experience. Good luck.

  • I hope the folks at LinkedIn find this article, because you summed up many of my same frustrations with LinkedIn.

    I remember reading about LinkedIn Sales Navigator and getting excited at how much of a game-changer I thought it would be for my prospecting.

    Imagine saving hours a day building lists when you can do it in a few quick clicks?

    Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out how we thought it would.

    Luckily, there are tools out there that can still harness the power of everything LinkedIn provides as the primary source for your sales prospecting to get more clients.

    One of those tools is Seamless Contacts (www.seamlesscontacts.com), which is also my employer.

    So without going too “cheap plug” about my own product, I’ll just give you the 10,000-foot view on what this is:

    Imagine if there was a way you could automate all your prospecting, list building, contact info searching, data entering, and pre-call research for you…how many hours a day could this save you?

    And since you’re now spending those hours making sales (instead of Googling for sales intel or scouring LinkedIn for an email address), you are closing 10X more deals, hitting your number, and making 300% more revenue and commissions.

    You get all that with Seamless Contacts. I talk to many B2B salespeople everyday, and they’re calling it “The Terminator of Business Development” or a “Limitless drug for salespeople.”

    I simply call it a license to print your own money, since that’s basically what I’m doing using Seamless Contacts to automate my prospecting and pre-call research for me.

    I guess the benefit to all the uproar over LinkedIn closing out more of its fan favorite features is the fact that now we have a wide variety of great sales tools to try out and see what works best for our particular situation.

    And FilltheFunnel.com and the hard work of Miles Austin is a fantastic way to stay up to date and educated on everything that is changing in this hyperfast world of B2B sales.

    What might’ve been hot 6 months (or sometimes even weeks) ago is now old news in favor of something newer, faster, and better.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience to help others in sales and life, Miles!

    • chandra bodapati

      John – 100% agree with you
      B2B sales folks can still harness tremendous value from LinkedIn,
      by using tools from companies
      as well as tools from eGrabber

      Smart sales and marketing people will always look at what they got now,
      as opposed to what they are missing.
      LinkedIn still provides tons of fantastic information for free
      LinkedIn is still the best source of leads for B2B niche market targeting
      there are more ways to search LinkedIn, than any other database
      and its FREE

      Chandra
      CEO/FOUNDER eGrabber

      If anyone needs help searching LinkedIn for their particular B2B niche
      I can see if I can help you for free in doing the search
      You don’t need to buy anything!

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