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One of the most common questions I get asked as a LinkedIn trainer is do I need pay for LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator to succeed on LinkedIn.

The short answer is probably not.

It does depend on your role and objectives within your organisation. 

Here is a quick guide through the key distinctions to help you decide which option best suits your needs. 

Free Account: Perfect for 98% of LinkedIn users

A free LinkedIn account is a great starting point for most users as you can access all the core product features and start building your professional brand

  • Create and edit your professional profile
  • Build and manage your network by sending connection requests
  • Join groups and participate in discussions
  • Share updates, articles, and posts with your network
  • Engage with posts by others
  • Search for job opportunities and apply to them
  • Send and receive private messages with your connections

Start with a free account and upgrade if you need access to more profile views, want more analytics or have sales as your primary motivation for using LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Premium: Perfect for boosting LinkedIn’s Profits

We are not huge fans of LinkedIn Premium as the subscription options are expensive (up to £50p/m) with only a few additional pieces of functionality.

New functionality includes seeing everyone that has viewed your profile, privacy when viewing profiles and access to LinkedIn Learning (a huge benefit).

The main benefits of LinkedIn Premium include:

InMail: Reach out to people outside your network with a set number of monthly InMail credits.

Who’s Viewed Your Profile: See a list of members who have viewed your profile in the past 90 days, with insights into their industries and locations.

Privacy when viewing profiles: use private mode to remain anonymous when searching and viewing profiles

LinkedIn Learning Access: Build your skills with training courses from subject experts

LinkedIn Premium is ideal for individuals looking to invest in their career growth or businesses and wanting a slightly better experience than the free option.

In our opinion, those considering LinkedIn Premium should skip straight to Sales Navigator.

Sales Navigator: Perfect for sales professionals

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a separate, advanced subscription plan for sales professionals. It provides all Premium features with additional elements to help you find, engage, and build relationships with prospects and customers.

Some key features of Sales Navigator include

Advanced Search: Access powerful search filters to find and target the right prospects for your business.
Lead Recommendations: Get personalised suggestions for potential leads based on your search criteria and preferences.
Custom Lists: Organize your leads and accounts into custom lists for easy tracking and follow-ups.
CRM Integration: Integrate Sales Navigator with popular CRM platforms for seamless lead tracking and engagement.
Sales Updates: Stay informed on job changes, recent activity, and news about your leads and accounts. Sales Navigator is best suited for sales professionals and teams looking to maximize their sales potential on LinkedIn.

Should I Invest In LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator?

Choosing the right LinkedIn account depends on your specific goals and needs.

A free account is a great starting point for most users; while LinkedIn Premium offers some features due to the cost differential being small, we would recommend skipping straight to Sales Navigator.

If you work for a large company it is worth speaking to LinkedIn’s sales teams as they are likely to be able to offer you different packages and pricing to match your needs.