The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 show we've got on Joli Kassaini. She is a sales leader helping drive new business for 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 some of the qualities are that make successful sales people so typically great conversation. Before we 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 new way to learn. Outreach. On outreaches the place to learn how outreach does outreach. So learn how outreach became such an amazing company. You can see how they run account Basse plays, manage reps and so much more using their own 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 is also sponsored by pavilion, formally revenue collected. Pavilion is the key to getting more out of your career. Our private membership connects you with thousands of like minded peers and resources where you can tap into leaders opportunities, training, mentorship and other services made for high growth leaders like you. Unlock your professional potential with a pavilion membership. Leaders at every stage can get started today at joy pavilioncom. And finally, ambition. Every sales later feels the pressure to predictably close more deals. Take control with an ambition and end to End Sales Management Platform that sinks with your crm and existing text Dec to turn overwhelming data into realtime 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 check out exclusive offers for sales haacker listeners at ambitioncom. Forward slash sales hacker without further adoles. Listen my conversation with a Joli Ka Sany Hey, folks, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. Were so excited to have you today on the show. We've got unjuli Ka Sany and. She is a sales leader at linkedin working on the sales solutions business. She's a segment leader on the new business side, pushing and selling and helping people understand linkedin sales davocator, which we all know and love, one of the most ubiquitous and essential tools that any sales team can have in their tool kit to make sure that they're connecting with people in the right way. Prior time at Linkedin, she spent twelve and a half years in American Express. She's originally from 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 quite the intro. Thanks. That's your life. You should be proud of it. So we like to start with with your baseball card. I gave a little bit of the Bayou, but tell us what's your official title? Give us 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 really get to talk to to the people that are in our field, which is amazing. I manage a team that sells in all new business, so they're the true hunters, like you said, pushing and selling, and I spent a number of years on our customer side of the business. So it's a great growing business. We obviously feel really passionate about our product and we obviously use our own product too. So I've been sitting in this role for about three 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 sales and how they how they came to discover this calling. But I got a question. So is it cold outbound for you all on your team, because so much of Linkedin's business is sort of self served, or is is sales navigator? Is it not possible to buy it on your own and you have to go through a sales team? You can buy it online? That's a good question. We didn't even tee you up for that one. But you can 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 individual seller or you're kind of like a functioning... a one man shop, you can 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 people don't. What are some of the benefits, you know, like what are some of the features that you get when you purchase sales navigator? What are some of the tools, like? What are some of the things you're most excited about when you're talking to sales teams? Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, selling is relationship based and that's really what it boils down to. We're just a platform that enables it, and everyone knows we are the biggest professional platform in the world. But we really allow you to do is leverage all of that amazing relationship data intelligence, what people are posting about what's happening in the world, and just be able to put it in one place for you to use as a seller. Because, like you said, at the end of the day, what we're trying to do is enable sales teams to have conversations and so, whether it means hey, I saw that, you know Underlika, you went to Nyu. Talk to me about that. or coming in with a warm introduction. Linkedin sales navigator is just like one of those tools that can help you to open up that conversation and keep it going awesome. Well, it's a very powerful tool and the platform linkedin is, as you said, subiquitous. It's definitely the largest and it's changed the game in so many different ways. But let's talk about your game. How how'd you get here? Tell us a little bit about your origin story. How'd you get into sales? Walk US three background a little bit. Yep, so, like a lot of people that end up in sales, I really didn't intend to be here at all. Actually went to Undergrad when to nyu to be a broadcast journalist. So I back in the day, 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 degree and I finally landed an internship at CNN FN, which was CNN financial news for those who remember it, and I loved the internship, but I figured out through that time that this really wasn't won the industry for me and it wasn't the job for me. Why wasn't it you know, I think that I realized that the demands and the I should say the the pros one was like tipping in the con scale for me. I really felt like the pros weren't in it for me, and I think that I the biggest change that I 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 but my family, and that was just like something I realized I wasn't willing to trade off. Yeah, makes sense. Yeah, so I figured out it wasn't for me and what that did was it allowed me to focus on what I found super interesting and what other care options were out there. So I again 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 school I decided to go into the marketing field and it was really that curiosity on why do people buy? Why did they do things? Why is their behavior X, Y Z, and so I decided to go into a marketing roll right 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, like I was at messed meant for this, like desk job. I was doing excel as, creating models, I was managing marketing channels, but I started to really hone in on where did I get my energy from, what did I like, what did I not like, and that really pointing me towards not to be Cliche, but the time I spent with people, whether I was managing a vendor, whether I was talking to internal colleagues, whether I was managing a client based conversation, and...

...that's really what pushed me towards wanting to 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 never been in an external facing role before and now I got to manage clients business and 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 my energy 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 where I'm at right now. Awesome. Well, I have a question. So you frame that really interestingly and, I think, with some wisdom behind it. You said you reflected on where you got your energy from. That is that framing something that you that you intuited, just because I find it that is so powerful. It's about what energizes you, what motivates you. Is that something that you know somebody helped you discover, or is it just you reflecting, because I just think the framing is interesting. Sometimes people like this is what I'm good at, this what I'm interested in. But you specifically talked about where you derived energy. Yeah, no, I mean I think it's like everyone feels like you have to have this like typical linear path on, you know, you go to college and if postcology, you get a job and then you stay on that track for the next twenty years. And what I realize, like even starting during my undergrad degree, was that it was okay to sometimes take a few steps back or take a later role and go deeper there before moving up. And I probably realized after the fact that when I was making those decisions it was a hundred percent based off of my energy. I think it that, to boil it down simply, no one's going to continue doing something if you if you're not happy about it. I guess 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 you are at a low energy level that forces you, or has forced me, to pick up and consider a change. Makes a lot of sense. So we you know your to your point right. You've done both the individual contributor role and now your sales leader. When you think about the key skills required to 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 not quite sure. What do you think are the key differentiated skills that enabled you to become such a great leader? Yeah, I think at the end of the day, 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 the day you're building a team culture and the culture is what drives inevitably every individual on that team. So the question I'd want to ask yourself is do you have a team culture? Do you have a kind of like a mantra, rallying cry that brings everyone together? Or are you, and in our second you know the head of our business has talked a lot about this, are you just like really a group of individuals? That's not a team right, that's that's really just a group of people. So I think when you become think about becoming a people leader, you have to focus a lot around what that team mission vision is and how you're going to operate, because that trickles down 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 become people leaders, how are you going to go about that in terms of working with a new group of people, potentially a group of people that were your former peers? So that's first and then I think the second is the largest driver of my success as an I see...

...was curiosity a hundred percent. It is no different as a people leader. What it's just transitioned into has been instead of being curious about a customers business, I'm just curious about my people right now. I ask them questions, I want them to kind of come to the realization on their own. And so that same curiosity works when you're a people leader because it truly does show you care and it helps you to learn 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 know definitionally, 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've been at Linkedin. Linkedin itself has changed how people sell, in your opinion, has the discipline, has the the practice of selling? Has that changed over, you know, the last twenty or so years, as you know, you and I've been in the workforce or like. What do you think has 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 and foremost. 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 other means to do this and what I think it's opened up is not necessarily that you need to take a digital format only, but in order to be a seller you have to be creative. In fact, the best sellers I see are two steps ahead of what probably is happening right now. So they're they're always thinking about like where do I see my practice evolving, or internally looking at themselves like how can I be a better seller in general, because those trends are going to take them to the next level. So I think you know, right now what we're seeing is, yes, adopting a digital format as part of your tool kit, maybe not the only, but it's part of your your actual sales strategy is kind of critical because it's productivity, it's time and in a time where the hours are blending right now, it's really important to be able to be productive, whether you're a small business account executive or whether you're a key accounts relationship manager. What what's your perspective on? You know, there's a lot of debate. Obviously, during Covid we were doing definitionally deals online on the computer, and now the question is, when do people, you know, get back on a plane and how important is facetoface selling? Important is it to fly around to your largest customers and make them in person and take them to dinner? What's your perspective as we look ahead to, you know, the world, least the United States obviously, unlocking and opening up, and then the rest of the world hopefully soon as well? Yeah, I mean, listen, I'm ready to get back on a plane. I'm I am at that point where I'm craving the physical interaction that, like you, just can't replicate online. But I think it's going to be a blend, just like remote work, right, it's not going to 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 be in person for the first selling call? Probably, chances are your husbomers not even going to give you the chance to do that. But maybe you should be in person for a quarterly business review if you're a relationship manager, or maybe you should be in person for a proposal or, you know, a contract negotiation, but that you can spend the rest of your time online or being working from your office or working from...

...home. So thinking really strategically about what are those key sales interactions that need that in person element verse what can be done more productively? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense and I think 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's a lot of introverted buyers or people that were very comfortable being on a zoom and 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 come here, 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 going to make or break this deal. But you know, maybe you should come in person for the training program right, to train might to train my folks or to give a demo. Right. So I think that, yeah, let the customer drive that. And then also the only other trend I would say is, as we start to think ahead, what functions might need to be more in person verse what functions truly could be done more in that inside selling model makes a lot of sense. Let's talk a little bit about talent development. You know that's that's so important for you as a leader, building a team, growing a team, and you've talked a lot about kind of hiring on potential. Walk us through, you know, your perspective there a little bit. Yeah, I love I love talking about this. There's been a lot of research and a lot of opinions about this, but I really am an advocate of not only hiring but promoting on potential, and I think that the reason why is just it's not necessarily realistic that you're always going to have 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, which is great, but I think is a leader, what you always want to be 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, and do I think that this person could accomplish them? So potential really first you do have to have your baseline minimum requirements, what you want people to walk in with, and that might be a certain amount of years of sales experience. But then I think again on is this person curious? Is this person hungry? How do you assess their motivation level, because that's the person who's probably going to stick out at the end and figure out how to launch the next solution in your business or develop the next go to market. So I think that what you really want to focus on is that forward looking. Is that person going to be the next best seller and not are they the seller that's hitting a hundred and twenty percent now every day? That's a fantastic approach and it puts tremendous pressure on your interviewing and assessing capabilities. So how do you do that? How do you figure out if somebody has the right level of curiosity, the right level of drive and motivation and spirit? What's your framework for doing that? Yeah, we have a pretty crystallized format in our world and it's really helped because, to your point, there's a lot of bias 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 based off of what the demands of the business are. Here's what we need our sellers to look like right generally, these are the competencies that we need and here again, is the baseline experience. Next is what does the interview process look like and how does it stack back to that profile? So what is the 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? And by setting a structured approach, you actually...

...then can be on the same page with 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't make it out, but I love that question because it shows me how driven a person is. And then, of course, what I want to go into is like walk me through the process. What it how did you actually teach yourself? You know, maybe you taught yourself mandarin, maybe you taught yourself how to bench press a hundred fifty pounds, but it tells you a lot about the individuals curiosity to learn, to get better and then, in fact, the motivation and what the impact was. I love it. What's the 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 to cook is Great. I only ask that because I have my a readily availables for myself, which is that I downloaded my swim pro on my phone so 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 you know, you spend a lot of time managing your team, but linkedin's a 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 say what turned in from a passion project into something that's actually considered part of my role. It's Co leading an employee resource group and an Earg, and the specific one that I collad globally is our families at linkedin group. It's honestly such an amazing part of of my work because the mission of the company is why I joined and this was an opportunity that was given to me by the company to really help all linked employees that identify as having a family or being a 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 a non 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, and what I like to think of is as an ear G leader. What you're really trying to do is drive change, and I'm trying to drive change both in internally, in our families at Linkedin community, but outside of our organization and hopefully with other companies just considering how they can better support families. So on, 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 best way that they can contact you? Well, none other than Linkedin. You can find me there. Connect with me. I love to have a conversation with you. Send me an in mail and just make sure to spell my name right. There's usually not any other spellings other than Julika, but hope to chat with you there. Awesome. Thanks so much and thanks for being a guest on the salesacer podcast. Will Talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals. Thanks for having me. Hey everybody. Sam Jacob Sam's corner. Really enjoyed that conversation with Angelika. Sayy couple things just to maybe think about her take away, as I sort of probed during the conversation, the way that she framed, you know, thinking about her career. She taught about where she derived energy, and I think that's just so important. If you don't reflect on what are the things that...

...that are energizing to you, what are the moments in your tasks and your day to day that are providing you with 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 labeling them, saying, like I don't like spreadsheets or I don't like sales or I don't like marketing. But thinking about the specific activities, one of the things that you talked about was that she drived energy from interacting with other people and obviously sales is about that. So that helped inform her decision as she moved from what she was initially doing into begin individual contributor role. So I just 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 you how 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's probably more optimistic about people's ability to fake curiosity than I am. My experience is that it's kind of either there or not, but nevertheless it's such a critical 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 about you, 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 particular and discovery is it's they're faking at they're running through a script of why this way 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 you are asking these questions as a means to an end and you're not bringing genuine curiosity if you are the kind of person that is really you know, my wife and I have a a rule, and here's the rule, and please use 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't ask you any questions about yourself, they're bad people. And if they ask you lots of questions, then whatever, there are other bad qualities, at least at least they have that. That shows a givingness, that shows an openness and it shows a humility. It showed. Sometimes people assume they understand who you are. I've been to places and listen, I'm not the most interesting person in the world, but I can tell you I was the most interesting person in that room and people then ask me one fucking question. So those are people. Those are small people. I want you to be big listener. I want you to be big. To be big, you got to ask questions, you got to be curious about the world. You don't know everything. We're just one part of this macro Cosm, this universe that is beyond our comprehension, and you should ask questions about it. And if you don't have that level of curiosity, if you are the person at the dinner party that talks about themselves the whole time and never ask the question to anybody 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 the most prestigious job, but they might have insights about human kind that are really interesting. I have lots of lots of folks like that. Everybody has something to teach you. You have to you have to be quiet long enough to learn and to listen. One of our values of pavilion is listen closely at quickly. 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 about you, 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 and very 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 me Sam at joined pavilioncom. I want to thank our sponsors. The first is outreach. Check out how our art which has outreach, by going to outreach dot 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 Management Outreach 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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