The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 5 months ago

171. How to Hire Salespeople with the Future in Mind w/ Anjulika Saini


In this episode of the Sales Hacker Podcast, we have Anjulika Saini, a sales leader helping drive new business for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Join us for a great conversation about Anjulika’s career, how she discovered that she wanted to get into sales, the qualities that make successful salespeople, and hiring with the future in mind.

What You’ll Learn

  1. The importance of curiosity in sales
  2. Selling is relationship-based
  3. Finding a job that gives you energy
  4. Hiring with the future in mind
  5. Everyone has something to teach you

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Anjulika Saini & LinkedIn Sales Navigator [2:26]
  2. Moving from individual contributor into leadership [10:18]
  3. Strategies for today’s sales teams [13:13]
  4. Principles of team leadership [14:58]
  5. Talent development & hiring on potential [17:11]
  6. Sam’s Corner [23:42]


One, two, one, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs and welcome to the salesacker podcast. Today in the showwe've got on Joli Kassaini. She is a sales leader helping drive new businessfor linkedin sales navigator, and a really great conversation about both her career,about how she figured out how she wanted to get into sales and what someof the qualities are that make successful sales people so typically great conversation. Beforewe get there, we want to thank our sponsors. The first's outreach.Outreach has been a long time sponsor this podcast and they just launched a newway to learn. Outreach. On outreaches the place to learn how outreach doesoutreach. So learn how outreach became such an amazing company. You can seehow they run account Basse plays, manage reps and so much more using theirown sales engagement platform. All you have to do is head to outreach io, forward slash on outreach to see what they've got going on. PODCAST isalso sponsored by pavilion, formally revenue collected. Pavilion is the key to getting moreout of your career. Our private membership connects you with thousands of likeminded peers and resources where you can tap into leaders opportunities, training, mentorshipand other services made for high growth leaders like you. Unlock your professional potentialwith a pavilion membership. Leaders at every stage can get started today at joypavilioncom. And finally, ambition. Every sales later feels the pressure to predictablyclose more deals. Take control with an ambition and end to End Sales ManagementPlatform that sinks with your crm and existing text Dec to turn overwhelming data intorealtime goal tracking and instant recognition for your team's see why brands like Fedex,ATP Waste Management Outreaching, the Phoenix Suns and Devin booker use ambition and checkout exclusive offers for sales haacker listeners at ambitioncom. Forward slash sales hacker withoutfurther adoles. Listen my conversation with a Joli Ka Sany Hey, folks,it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. Were so excited tohave you today on the show. We've got unjuli Ka Sany and. Sheis a sales leader at linkedin working on the sales solutions business. She's asegment leader on the new business side, pushing and selling and helping people understandlinkedin sales davocator, which we all know and love, one of the mostubiquitous and essential tools that any sales team can have in their tool kit tomake sure that they're connecting with people in the right way. Prior time atLinkedin, she spent twelve and a half years in American Express. She's originallyfrom Ohio. She's got an Undergrad degree from nyu and an MBA from Columbia, UNJELICA. Welcome to the show. Thanks. Wow, that's that's quitethe intro. Thanks. That's your life. You should be proud of it.So we like to start with with your baseball card. I gave alittle bit of the Bayou, but tell us what's your official title? Giveus a little bit of sense of your official responsibilities at Linkedin. Sure,like you said, I sit within our sales solution side of the business,which is the side of the company that sells to sellers. So we reallyget to talk to to the people that are in our field, which isamazing. I manage a team that sells in all new business, so they'rethe true hunters, like you said, pushing and selling, and I spenta number of years on our customer side of the business. So it's agreat growing business. We obviously feel really passionate about our product and we obviouslyuse our own product too. So I've been sitting in this role for aboutthree years or so and excited to chat with you today. Awesome and well, before we dive into your store and you know, we'll start with,of course, your background because we want to hear how people got into salesand how they how they came to discover this calling. But I got aquestion. So is it cold outbound for you all on your team, becauseso much of Linkedin's business is sort of self served, or is is salesnavigator? Is it not possible to buy it on your own and you haveto go through a sales team? You can buy it online? That's agood question. We didn't even tee you up for that one. But youcan buy it online, but our version is that is meant for sales team. So we actually sell to actual sales organizations that sit within a company.It's the enterprise version, really meant for a team. If you're an individualseller or you're kind of like a functioning... a one man shop, youcan buy it online, but this is really meant for that team aspect.VP OF SALES CR row that's really running growth or revenue engine. Cool,and I appreciate that. So many people no sales navigator, but some peopledon't. What are some of the benefits, you know, like what are someof the features that you get when you purchase sales navigator? What aresome of the tools, like? What are some of the things you're mostexcited about when you're talking to sales teams? Yeah, I mean, at theend of the day, selling is relationship based and that's really what itboils down to. We're just a platform that enables it, and everyone knowswe are the biggest professional platform in the world. But we really allow youto do is leverage all of that amazing relationship data intelligence, what people areposting about what's happening in the world, and just be able to put itin one place for you to use as a seller. Because, like yousaid, at the end of the day, what we're trying to do is enablesales teams to have conversations and so, whether it means hey, I sawthat, you know Underlika, you went to Nyu. Talk to meabout that. or coming in with a warm introduction. Linkedin sales navigator isjust like one of those tools that can help you to open up that conversationand keep it going awesome. Well, it's a very powerful tool and theplatform linkedin is, as you said, subiquitous. It's definitely the largest andit's changed the game in so many different ways. But let's talk about yourgame. How how'd you get here? Tell us a little bit about yourorigin story. How'd you get into sales? Walk US three background a little bit. Yep, so, like a lot of people that end up insales, I really didn't intend to be here at all. Actually went toUndergrad when to nyu to be a broadcast journalist. So I back in theday, I wanted to be Connie chunk right or or Bart but walters.I actually wanted to be on TV and I took that into my undergrad degreeand I finally landed an internship at CNN FN, which was CNN financial newsfor those who remember it, and I loved the internship, but I figuredout through that time that this really wasn't won the industry for me and itwasn't the job for me. Why wasn't it you know, I think thatI realized that the demands and the I should say the the pros one waslike tipping in the con scale for me. I really felt like the pros weren'tin it for me, and I think that I the biggest change thatI realized was they were asking for me to move to a completely different location, very, very far away from not only things that I was comfortable butmy family, and that was just like something I realized I wasn't willing totrade off. Yeah, makes sense. Yeah, so I figured out itwasn't for me and what that did was it allowed me to focus on whatI found super interesting and what other care options were out there. So Iagain have always been curious. That's why I wanted to be a journalist,and so I decided to take a different take a different approach. In schoolI decided to go into the marketing field and it was really that curiosity onwhy do people buy? Why did they do things? Why is their behaviorX, Y Z, and so I decided to go into a marketing rollright out of school and that was when I went into a American Express.So I did that for a few years and then also figured out, likeI was at messed meant for this, like desk job. I was doingexcel as, creating models, I was managing marketing channels, but I startedto really hone in on where did I get my energy from, what didI like, what did I not like, and that really pointing me towards notto be Cliche, but the time I spent with people, whether Iwas managing a vendor, whether I was talking to internal colleagues, whether Iwas managing a client based conversation, and...

...that's really what pushed me towards wantingto be a seller. So I got an, I see, sales roll, basically within the biggest be to be part of our business at am Max, and I found my groove. It was super exciting. I had neverbeen in an external facing role before and now I got to manage clients businessand help them grow. So I really figured out. That was when.That was my first sales GIG and ever since there it's been building relationships.Obviously moved into a sales leadership roll for the last ten years and now myenergy is coming from helping my team, you know, being their confidant,driving the business, working in the business and on the business and that's whereI'm at right now. Awesome. Well, I have a question. So youframe that really interestingly and, I think, with some wisdom behind it. You said you reflected on where you got your energy from. That isthat framing something that you that you intuited, just because I find it that isso powerful. It's about what energizes you, what motivates you. Isthat something that you know somebody helped you discover, or is it just youreflecting, because I just think the framing is interesting. Sometimes people like thisis what I'm good at, this what I'm interested in. But you specificallytalked about where you derived energy. Yeah, no, I mean I think it'slike everyone feels like you have to have this like typical linear path on, you know, you go to college and if postcology, you get ajob and then you stay on that track for the next twenty years. Andwhat I realize, like even starting during my undergrad degree, was that itwas okay to sometimes take a few steps back or take a later role andgo deeper there before moving up. And I probably realized after the fact thatwhen I was making those decisions it was a hundred percent based off of myenergy. I think it that, to boil it down simply, no one'sgoing to continue doing something if you if you're not happy about it. Iguess you could stay in a roll if you were even if you were bored, but it's really, I think, that sense of complacency or when youare at a low energy level that forces you, or has forced me,to pick up and consider a change. Makes a lot of sense. Sowe you know your to your point right. You've done both the individual contributor roleand now your sales leader. When you think about the key skills requiredto make that transition for people, because so many people, you know,they think they might want to be a manager or a leader but they're notquite sure. What do you think are the key differentiated skills that enabled youto become such a great leader? Yeah, I think at the end of theday, when you become a leader, yes, you are, maybe you're, you know, doing some deal coaching, you're leading some calls,maybe participating in some customer calls, but the Act at the end of theday you're building a team culture and the culture is what drives inevitably every individualon that team. So the question I'd want to ask yourself is do youhave a team culture? Do you have a kind of like a mantra,rallying cry that brings everyone together? Or are you, and in our secondyou know the head of our business has talked a lot about this, areyou just like really a group of individuals? That's not a team right, that'sthat's really just a group of people. So I think when you become thinkabout becoming a people leader, you have to focus a lot around whatthat team mission vision is and how you're going to operate, because that tricklesdown everything. So it's kind of like the culture eat strategy for breakfast,or whatever saying is. So I think for people that are looking to becomepeople leaders, how are you going to go about that in terms of workingwith a new group of people, potentially a group of people that were yourformer peers? So that's first and then I think the second is the largestdriver of my success as an I see...

...was curiosity a hundred percent. Itis no different as a people leader. What it's just transitioned into has beeninstead of being curious about a customers business, I'm just curious about my people rightnow. I ask them questions, I want them to kind of cometo the realization on their own. And so that same curiosity works when you'rea people leader because it truly does show you care and it helps you tolearn about your team. I think that's that's so important. And also curiosity, you know, implies a humility as well, because it means you knowdefinitionally, you don't think you know everything. That's why you're curious about lear anymore. Yeah, who does right? You've been an American Express, you'vebeen at Linkedin. Linkedin itself has changed how people sell, in your opinion, has the discipline, has the the practice of selling? Has that changedover, you know, the last twenty or so years, as you know, you and I've been in the workforce or like. What do you thinkhas evolved since you began selling versus today? What are the new strategies, tactics? What's the new reality for the team that you manage? H Well, I mean the last sixteen months clearly have been a little bit different,just to Tad, and so there is there is that trend one first andforemost. Of We're not only in the days of wining and dining customers,and that's the only way that you can build a relationship like there are othermeans to do this and what I think it's opened up is not necessarily thatyou need to take a digital format only, but in order to be a selleryou have to be creative. In fact, the best sellers I seeare two steps ahead of what probably is happening right now. So they're they'realways thinking about like where do I see my practice evolving, or internally lookingat themselves like how can I be a better seller in general, because thosetrends are going to take them to the next level. So I think youknow, right now what we're seeing is, yes, adopting a digital format aspart of your tool kit, maybe not the only, but it's partof your your actual sales strategy is kind of critical because it's productivity, it'stime and in a time where the hours are blending right now, it's reallyimportant to be able to be productive, whether you're a small business account executiveor whether you're a key accounts relationship manager. What what's your perspective on? Youknow, there's a lot of debate. Obviously, during Covid we were doingdefinitionally deals online on the computer, and now the question is, whendo people, you know, get back on a plane and how important isfacetoface selling? Important is it to fly around to your largest customers and makethem in person and take them to dinner? What's your perspective as we look aheadto, you know, the world, least the United States obviously, unlockingand opening up, and then the rest of the world hopefully soon aswell? Yeah, I mean, listen, I'm ready to get back on aplane. I'm I am at that point where I'm craving the physical interactionthat, like you, just can't replicate online. But I think it's goingto be a blend, just like remote work, right, it's not goingto necessarily be remote. It's going to be probably hybrid for many folks,and so I think you need to figure out truly like putting yourself again,being curious, like put yourself in the seat of that customer and think about, like, what's going to make a difference? Do you need to bein person for the first selling call? Probably, chances are your husbomers noteven going to give you the chance to do that. But maybe you shouldbe in person for a quarterly business review if you're a relationship manager, ormaybe you should be in person for a proposal or, you know, acontract negotiation, but that you can spend the rest of your time online orbeing working from your office or working from...

...home. So thinking really strategically aboutwhat are those key sales interactions that need that in person element verse what canbe done more productively? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense and Ithink also probably, you know, it rely up to the buyer as well. You know, that's probably I mean there's a lot of I think there'sa lot of introverted buyers or people that were very comfortable being on a zoomand didn't. Maybe you don't feel there. You know, feel like, Hey, don't worry, I'll sign the Docu sign you don't need to comehere, and I appreciate that. Right. I'd rather have a customer tell me, you know, don't don't worry about it, like that's not goingto make or break this deal. But you know, maybe you should comein person for the training program right, to train might to train my folksor to give a demo. Right. So I think that, yeah,let the customer drive that. And then also the only other trend I wouldsay is, as we start to think ahead, what functions might need tobe more in person verse what functions truly could be done more in that insideselling model makes a lot of sense. Let's talk a little bit about talentdevelopment. You know that's that's so important for you as a leader, buildinga team, growing a team, and you've talked a lot about kind ofhiring on potential. Walk us through, you know, your perspective there alittle bit. Yeah, I love I love talking about this. There's beena lot of research and a lot of opinions about this, but I reallyam an advocate of not only hiring but promoting on potential, and I thinkthat the reason why is just it's not necessarily realistic that you're always going tohave the exact experience or skills necessarily to walk into the role from day one, and if you are, then you're probably taking a later all, whichis great, but I think is a leader, what you always want tobe doing is thinking again in the future. Where do we see our business evolving? What skills are probably going to be required in the future, anddo I think that this person could accomplish them? So potential really first youdo have to have your baseline minimum requirements, what you want people to walk inwith, and that might be a certain amount of years of sales experience. But then I think again on is this person curious? Is this personhungry? How do you assess their motivation level, because that's the person who'sprobably going to stick out at the end and figure out how to launch thenext solution in your business or develop the next go to market. So Ithink that what you really want to focus on is that forward looking. Isthat person going to be the next best seller and not are they the sellerthat's hitting a hundred and twenty percent now every day? That's a fantastic approachand it puts tremendous pressure on your interviewing and assessing capabilities. So how doyou do that? How do you figure out if somebody has the right levelof curiosity, the right level of drive and motivation and spirit? What's yourframework for doing that? Yeah, we have a pretty crystallized format in ourworld and it's really helped because, to your point, there's a lot ofbias that can be put in the interview process if you don't set a structure. So we have laid out one. It's like a crystal clear profile basedoff of what the demands of the business are. Here's what we need oursellers to look like right generally, these are the competencies that we need andhere again, is the baseline experience. Next is what does the interview processlook like and how does it stack back to that profile? So what isthe round one interview look like? What questions are you asking the individual?What case studies or mock interviews are you asking for them to do? Andby setting a structured approach, you actually...

...then can be on the same pagewith your peers, on the same page with your leaders of how you assess, how you assess candidates. So I think it's just consistency is key.One particular question, not to give it away, that I love on understanding, motivation and curiosity, is tell me the last thing that you taught yourself. I mean, I don't know where I found it. I clearly didn'tmake it out, but I love that question because it shows me how drivena person is. And then, of course, what I want to gointo is like walk me through the process. What it how did you actually teachyourself? You know, maybe you taught yourself mandarin, maybe you taughtyourself how to bench press a hundred fifty pounds, but it tells you alot about the individuals curiosity to learn, to get better and then, infact, the motivation and what the impact was. I love it. What'sthe last thing you tell yourself? Oh Jeez, I wasn't herpping question.Fail Number One. Let's let's see. You know I love to cook,so it was probably a new a new cusing, but you stumped to me, Sam with my own question. Well, no, it's okay. Learning tocook is Great. I only ask that because I have my a readilyavailables for myself, which is that I downloaded my swim pro on my phoneso that I could learn how to swim freestyle better, because I wasn't.I was worried about my technique. So, wow, there's an APP for everything. There, sure is. There, sure is. So outside of youknow, you spend a lot of time managing your team, but linkedin'sa big place outside of your day job. What keeps you motivated? Yeah,there's a there definitely is a lot, because we have a great organization.But I spent a lot of time working on what what I would saywhat turned in from a passion project into something that's actually considered part of myrole. It's Co leading an employee resource group and an Earg, and thespecific one that I collad globally is our families at linkedin group. It's honestlysuch an amazing part of of my work because the mission of the company iswhy I joined and this was an opportunity that was given to me by thecompany to really help all linked employees that identify as having a family or beinga caregiver, not just a parent, but maybe a caregiver to an adult, and really supporting them through their work and their life. So it's anon day job job and I play a similar role to my team leadership role, which is driving this strategy for our members, providing regional direction, andwhat I like to think of is as an ear G leader. What you'rereally trying to do is drive change, and I'm trying to drive change bothin internally, in our families at Linkedin community, but outside of our organizationand hopefully with other companies just considering how they can better support families. Soon, delica, it's been it's been great having you on the show today. If folks want to reach out to you, what's the what's the bestway that they can contact you? Well, none other than Linkedin. You canfind me there. Connect with me. I love to have a conversation withyou. Send me an in mail and just make sure to spell myname right. There's usually not any other spellings other than Julika, but hopeto chat with you there. Awesome. Thanks so much and thanks for beinga guest on the salesacer podcast. Will Talk to you on Friday for Fridayfundamentals. Thanks for having me. Hey everybody. Sam Jacob Sam's corner.Really enjoyed that conversation with Angelika. Sayy couple things just to maybe think abouther take away, as I sort of probed during the conversation, the waythat she framed, you know, thinking about her career. She taught aboutwhere she derived energy, and I think that's just so important. If youdon't reflect on what are the things that...

...that are energizing to you, whatare the moments in your tasks and your day to day that are providing youwith momentum and with motivation, with energy, and what are the tasks that aren't, and thinking about those more deeply and more holistically than simply like labelingthem, saying, like I don't like spreadsheets or I don't like sales orI don't like marketing. But thinking about the specific activities, one of thethings that you talked about was that she drived energy from interacting with other peopleand obviously sales is about that. So that helped inform her decision as shemoved from what she was initially doing into begin individual contributor role. So Ijust really think that's an interesting framing. I think energy is so important,the flow of energy and also where you get it from and then how youhow you become a conduit for it. The other thing, of course,we talked about is curiosity and why it's so important, and I think Anjelika'sprobably more optimistic about people's ability to fake curiosity than I am. My experienceis that it's kind of either there or not, but nevertheless it's such acritical tool. It's such a critical characteristic or quality and, like I said, what it does is it it reflects humility right the point of curiosity.It does a number of things. Sales is about them. It's not aboutyou, it's about you listening, you listening and understanding and seeking to understand. Seek first to understand right. So it's not about pitching your solution.It's about you, truly understanding and sometimes where people get from too trouble particularand discovery is it's they're faking at they're running through a script of why thisway that that it quickly becomes an interest, sort of an interrogation. You know, it's it's very clear that you're working from a script, that youare asking these questions as a means to an end and you're not bringing genuinecuriosity if you are the kind of person that is really you know, mywife and I have a a rule, and here's the rule, and pleaseuse this rule if you're out there listening in and listen to this right now. If you go to a dinner party and you meet people and they don'task you any questions about yourself, they're bad people. And if they askyou lots of questions, then whatever, there are other bad qualities, atleast at least they have that. That shows a givingness, that shows anopenness and it shows a humility. It showed. Sometimes people assume they understandwho you are. I've been to places and listen, I'm not the mostinteresting person in the world, but I can tell you I was the mostinteresting person in that room and people then ask me one fucking question. Sothose are people. Those are small people. I want you to be big listener. I want you to be big. To be big, you got toask questions, you got to be curious about the world. You don'tknow everything. We're just one part of this macro Cosm, this universe thatis beyond our comprehension, and you should ask questions about it. And ifyou don't have that level of curiosity, if you are the person at thedinner party that talks about themselves the whole time and never ask the question toanybody else, then you are doing it wrong. And by the way,they it's not just because they might be the most interesting person in the world. They might on the surface, not be, they might not have themost prestigious job, but they might have insights about human kind that are reallyinteresting. I have lots of lots of folks like that. Everybody has somethingto teach you. You have to you have to be quiet long enough tolearn and to listen. One of our values of pavilion is listen closely atquickly. It's about being still. You don't have to make all the motion. You don't. It doesn't have to be about you. It's not aboutyou, it's about them. Sales is about them, it's not about you. In fact, life is about them, not about you. And then so, being about them, it becomes about you. Very Buddhist fairies andvery deep humh. Anyway, I believe all those things that I just said. If you want to reach out to me, you can linkedincom forward,Lash, the word in forward Lam. If Jacobs, you can email meSam at joined pavilioncom. I want to thank our sponsors. The first isoutreach. Check out how our art which has outreach, by going to outreachdot io for it, slash on outreach. The second is pavilion, my company. Get more out of your career, unlock and achieve your professional potential.The doors to your success are open. Come on and at Joint PAVILIONCOM.And finally, ambition. Check out how brands like Fedex ATP Waste ManagementOutreach and even the Phoenix Suns use ambition to check out exclusive offers for sale. Tacker listeners at ambitioncom forwards, Lash, sales haacker. Talking next time.

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