Sales Navigator is a great database to identify potential prospects, but as with many great tools, it requires some training to be able to use it to its full potential.

A big problem of Sales Navigator is that their filters are too few and narrow, and doesn’t allow for searches such as :

  • Easily identifying all Growth agencies in France

  • Or Luxury house within a list of retail actors

  • Or, at the lead level, finding people based on specific criteria such as skills?

But you can create your own custom search using Boolean parameters

Want to master advanced custom searches using Booleans? Read-on!

Table of contents :

What are Booleans parameters?

Mastering Account-Based before Booleans

Before learning about Booleans parameters, we strongly recommend reading our guide on how to do precise Account-Based targeting using Sales Navigator. Some elements are introduction pre-requisite to mastering Boolean search

What are Booleans parameters?

Booleans parameters are operators that allow you to combine keywords using AND, NOT, OR during your search :

  • Quoted searches: For an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example, type "sales manager". You can also use quotation marks if you want to find someone with a multi-word title.

    Sales Navigator search only supports standard, straight quotation marks ("). Other software or websites may use special symbols that our system does not recognize. Curly quotation marks (“), also known as smart quotes or typographer's quotes, aren't supported.

    In order to optimize overall site performance, stop words such as "by", "in", "with", etc. aren't used.

  • 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, "sales 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: 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".

  • Parenthetical searches: To do a complex search, you can combine terms using parentheses. For example, to find people who have "VP" in their profiles, but exclude "assistant to VP" or SVPs, type VP NOT (assistant OR SVP).

So, for example, if you were targeting Growth Agencies, you may choose to create the following Boolean expression :

("growth agency" OR "marketing agency" OR “Search Engine Optimization” OR “Search Engine Advertising” OR "lead generation" OR "growth hacking" OR "digital performance") NOT ("freelance")

Let’s review some advice on how you should build your list of keywords.

How can I use Booleans to better target accounts within Sales Navigator?

Let’s take our example mentioned above, looking for French marketing agencies, between 51-200 employees, using the following keywords :

("growth agency" OR "marketing agency" OR “Search Engine Optimization” OR “Search Engine Advertising” OR "lead generation" OR "growth hacking" OR "digital performance") NOT ("freelance")

If you input keywords in an Account search, it will look for matching content within the entire company page, including Title and description.

As we can see, JVWEB stood out because they used “Search Engine Optimization” keywords.

But reading their description, many new relevant keywords pop up!

This brings us to a key concept to Boolean search: it's a process that you must refine using as many keywords to includes and/or exclude. Do read the first few pages of companies' descriptions to identify new keywords you hadn’t thought of.

By adding all of them to our Boolean boolean search, I just went from 25 results to 64 results.

Now our Booleans is the following :

("growth agency" OR "marketing agency" OR “Search Engine Optimization” OR “Search Engine Advertising” OR "lead generation" OR "growth hacking" OR "digital performance" OR “affiliation” OR “sponsored link” OR “Adwords” OR “Google Shopping” OR “Facebook advertising” OR “Youtube Advertising”) NOT ("freelance")

And as you keep it up, your keywords may end up like this

("growth agency" OR "marketing agency" OR “Search Engine Optimization” OR “Search Engine Advertising” OR "lead generation" OR "growth hacking" OR "digital performance" OR “affiliation” OR “sponsored link” OR “Adwords” OR “Google Shopping” OR “Facebook advertising” OR “Youtube Advertising” OR “Bing Ads” OR “PPC” OR “inbound marketing” OR “Google Analytics” OR “Pay Per Click” OR “marketing automation” OR “lead generation” OR “Influence marketing” OR “Netlinking” ) NOT ("freelance")

And so on… As you build up your own list of keywords, you’ll end up with extremely precise lists of accounts!

How to build a list of accounts and turn it into a lead search?

Now that you have enough keywords, your goal is to build a list of these accounts and find the right point of contact. It just so happens that Sales Navigator allows you to do just that.

To learn more about how to build a list of account and turn them into Leads, read our guide about mastering account-based targeting using Sales Navigator

How can I use them to better target leads within Sales Navigator?

We’ve seen how we can use keywords to find the right accounts, but they work great to brainstorm on finding the right contacts too.

You have to pay attention to one thing though: using boolean as keywords into Lead keywords search will look for matching results within the entire profile. This will include not only the current experience and its description, but also past experiences and/or school.

Use it with caution as this may return irrelevant leads.

In order to demonstrate the risks, let’s take a real-life example of recruiting a freelance backend developer that I’ll be segmenting based on the technology stack, available in Paris

My current boolean is:

("freelance") AND ("NestJS" OR "TypeScript" OR "GraphQL" OR "ApolloServer" OR "PostgreSQL").

+1.000 results. Great! But beware, the first few pages are always great, but as you scroll through pages, you’ll see that results are wrong.

A piece of advice : check out results starting page 10. The first few pages are always great, but as you scroll through, relevancy will decrease and you'll be able to spot Sales Navigator's mistakes.

For the lead below, the Freelance keyword came up as a past experience. But he is not a freelance anymore.

Or this person shows us because it attended a Freelance Academy, but doesn’t seem to be a freelance

This is the problem of using keywords at the contact level: it scans for everything in the contact’s profile, including :

  • The biography

  • Present and past job title and description

  • Education

In our current example, if we want to be thorough, we will want to have “Freelance” as a Title, and only keep the technology stack as keywords.

We’re down to 248 results, which are all relevant. Another hint to keep in mind: Booleans do work for other filters too. Let’s expand our title filter to include “Freelance” OR “Consultant”.

Search results are much broader but relevant as well and ready for import into LaGrowthMachine

It’s up to you now!

We’ve shared with you the basics and your brain must be driving crazy with the limitless possibilities. Here’s some more reading for you :

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