The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 4 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: three: three o everybody at sam jacobs and welcome tothe sales hacker podcast today in the show he's got on to likasi. She is asales later helping drive new business for lincoln sales navigator and areally great conversation about tother career about how she figured out howshe wanted to get into sales and what some of the qualities are that makesuccessive sales people so typically great conversation before we get there.We want to think our sponsors. The first is out reach our, which has beena long time sponsor this podcast and they just launched in the way to learnout return out, which is the place to learn how out each does that waketelearn how out each became such an amazing company. You can see how theyrun account. Base plays manage rafts and so much more using their own salesengagement potum. All you have to do is had to outreach lao for slash on outlage, to see what they've got going on. Podcast is also sponsored by pavilion.Formerly reheated bazillion is the key to getting more out of your career. Ourprivate membership connects you with thousands of like minded peers andresources where you can tap into leaders of opportunities, training,mentorship and other services made for high growth clears like you, unlockyour professional potential with a pavilion membership. Leaders at everystage can get started to day at joy, pavilion and finally, ambition. Everysales leader feels the pressure to predictably close. More deals. Takecontrol with an ambition, an end to n sales management platform, that sinkswith your cram and insisting text ac to turn overwhelming data into real timegoal. Tracking and instant recognition for your teams see why brands likefedex at p waste management outreach in the phoenix sons and devon booke useambition and check out exclusive offers for sale. Hacker listeners thatambition com forward a sales packe without further do, let's listen. Myconversation with angelican. They folks at sam jacob's, welcome to the saleshacker podcast were so excited to have you today on the show. We've gotangelica sani and she is a sales leader at linked in working on the sale,susians business she's, a segment leader on the new business side,pushing and selling and helping people understand, like the sales advocator,which we all know and love, one of the most ubiquitous and essential toolsthat any sales team can have in their tool kit to make sure that they'reconnecting with people in the right way prior time at linkedin, she spenttwelve and a half years. American express she's originally from ohio.She's got an undergraduate from nyu and an mba from columbia. Ajala welcome tothe show thanks wow! That's that's quite the intra thanks! That's your wife! You should be proudof it. So we like to start with with your baseball card. I gave a little bitof the bio, but tell us: what's your official title, give us a little bit ofsense of your official responsibilities at, like, i sure, like you said i setwithin our sale solution side of the business, which is the side of thecompany that sells to sellers. So we really get to talk to to the peoplethat are in our field, which is amazing. I manage a team that sells in all newbusiness, so they're, the true hunters, like you, said, pushing and selling,and i spent a number of years on hour customer site at the business. So it'sa great growing business. We obviously feel really passionate about ourproduct and we obviously use our own product too. So i've been sitting inthis role for about three years or so and excited to chat with you today,awesome and well before we dive into your story- and you know we'll startwith, of course, your background, because we want to hear how people gotinto sales and how they how they came to discover this calling. But i got aquestion, so is it cold out bound for you all on your team, because so muchof lincoln's business is sort of self serve or is sales navigator? Is it notpossible to buy it on your own and you have to go through a sales team? Youcan buy it online. That's a good question. We didn't even tea. You upfor that one, but you can buy it online, but our version is that is met forsales team, so we actually sell to actual sales organizations that sitwithin a company. It's the enterprise version really meant for a team ifyou're an individual seller or you're...

...kind of like a functioning as a one manshop, you can buy it online, but this is really meant for that team aspect.Vps, l, cro, that's really running a growth or revenue engine cool, and iappreciate that so many people know sales navigator, but some people don'twhat are some of the benefits? You know like what are some of the features thatyou get when you purchase sales navigator? What are some of the toolslike what are some of the things you're most excited about when you're talkingto sales teams? Yeah, i mean at the end of the day, selling is relationshipbased and that's really what it boils down to we're just a platform thatenables it- and everyone knows we are the biggest professional platform inthe world. But what we really allow you to do is leverage all of that. Amazingrelationship data intelligence, what people are posting about what'shappening in the world and just be able to put it in one place for you to useas a seller, because, like you said at the end of the day, what we're tryingto do, i is enable sales teams to have conversations, and so whether it meanshey, i saw that you know under lico. You went to n. You talked to me aboutthat or coming in with a warm introduction. Linton 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 the platformlinked in is, as you said, ubiquitous it's definitely the largest and it'schanged the game in so many different ways. But let's talk about your game?How? How did you get here? Tell us a little bit about your origin story. Howdid you get into sales walk us through your background, a little bit yep solike a lot of people that end up in sales, i really didn't intend to behere at all. Actually went to undergrad went to ny: u to be a broadcastjournalist, so i back in the day i wanted to be connie,chum right or barbra walters. I actually wanted to be on tv, and i tookthat 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 love theinternship, but i figured out through that time that this really wasn't onethe industry for me and it wasn't the job for me, but i wasn't you know. Ithink that i realized that the demands and the i should say that the pros onewas like 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 that i realized was theywere 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, andthat was just like something i realized. I wasn't willing to trade off. Yeahmakes sense yeah, so we figured out it wasn't for me and what that did was itallowed me to focus on what i found super interesting and what othercorruptions were out there? So i again have always been curious. That's why iwanted to be a journalist, and so i decided to take a different take adifferent approach in school. I decided to go into the marketing field and itwas really that curiosity on. Why do people buy? Why do they do things? Whyis their behavior x y z, and so i decided to go into a marketing roleright out of school, and that was when i went into american express. So i didthat for a few years and then also figured out like i was a mess meant forthis. Like desk job, i was doing exhales creating models. I was managingmarketing channels, but i started to really hone in on. Where did i get myenergy from? What did i like? What did i not like- and that really pointed metowards not to be cliche, but the time i spent with people whether i wasmanaging a vendor, whether i was talking to internal colleagues, whetheri was managing a client base conversation and that's really what...

...pushed me towards wanting to be aseller. So i got an. I see, sales role, basically within the biggest be to bepart of our business at m, and i found my group it was super exciting. I hadnever 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 thatwas my first sales gig and ever since there it's been building relationships,obviously moved into a sales leadership role for the last ten years, and now myenergy is coming from helping my team, you know being their confidant, wedriving the business working in the business and on the business and that'swhere i'm at right now awesome why i have a question, so you frame thatreally, interestingly, and i think with some wisdom behind it, you said youreflect it on where you got your energy from that. Is that framing somethingthat 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 thatyou know somebody helped you discover, or is it just you reflecting, because ijust think the framing is interesting. Sometimes people like this is what i'mgood at this. What i'm interested in, but you specifically talked about whereyou derived energy yeah. No, i mean, i think it's like everyone feels like youhave to have this like typical linear path on you know you go to college andif post college you get a job and then you stay on that track for the nexttwenty years, and what i realized like, even startingduring my undergrad degree, was that it was okay to sometimes take a fuge stepsback or take a lateral and go deeper there before moving up- and i probablyrealized after the fact that when i was making those decisions, it was ahundred percent based off of my energy. I think it to boil it down simply noone'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, butit's really, i think that sense of complacency or when you are at a lowenergy level that forces you or has forced me to pick up and consider achange makes a lot of sense. So you know you're to your point right. You'vedone both the individual contributor role and now now you're a sales leaderwhen you think about the key skills required to make that transition forpeople, because so many people, you know they think they might want to be amanager or a leader but they're not quite sure. What do you think are thekey 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 customercalls, but that to the end of the day, you're, building a team culture and theculture is what drives inevitably every individual on that team. So thequestion i want to ask yourself is: do you have a team culture? Do you have akind of like a mantra rallying cry? That brings everyone together, or areyou and our second? You know the head of our business has talked a lot aboutthis. 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 becomethink about becoming a people leader, you have to focus a lot around whatthat team mission vision is and how you're going to operate, because thattrickles down everything, so it's kind of like the culture eat strategy forbreakfast or whatever the saying is so i think for people that are looking tobecome people leaders. How are you going to go about that in terms ofworking with a new group of people, potentially a group of people that wereyour former peers? So that's first and then i think the second is the largestdriver of my success. As an ice was...

...curiosity, a hundred percent. It is nodifferent as a people eater. What it's just transitioned into has been insteadof being curious about a customers business. I'm just curious about mypeople right now. I ask them questions. I want them to kind of come to therealization on their own and so that same curiosity works when you're apeople leader, because it truly does show you care and it helps you to learnabout your team. I think that's! That's so important, and also curiosity, youknow, implies a humility as well, because it means you know definitionally. You don't think you know everything. That's why you're curiousabout learning more yeah, who does right even an american express you beenat like den lington itself, has changed how people sell in your opinion, hasthe discipline has the practice of selling? Has that changed over? Youknow the last twenty or so years. As you know, you and i have been in theworkforce or like what do you think i as evolved since you began sellingversus today? What are the new strategies tactics? What's the newreality for the team that you manage? Well, i mean the last sixteen monthsclearly have been a little bit different, just a tad, and so there isthere. Is that trend one first and foremost of were not only in the days of whining and diningcustomers and that's the only way that you can build a relationship like thereare other means to do this and what i think it's opened up is not necessarilythat you need to take a digital format only, but in order to be a seller, youhave to be creative. In fact, the best sellers i see are two steps ahead ofwhat probably is happening right now, so there they're always thinking aboutlike. Where do i see my practice, evolving or internally? Looking atthemselves say how can i be a better seller in general because those trendsare 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 get,maybe not the only. But it's part of your your actual sales strategy is kindof critical, because it's productivity it's time and in a time where the hoursare 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 akey accounts relationship manager. What what's your perspective on you knowthere's a lot of debate. Obviously, during ovid we were doing definitionaldeals online on the computer and now the question is: when do people youknow get back on a plane and how important is face to face selling? Howimportant is it to fly around to your largest customers and met them inperson and take them to dinner? What's your perspective as we look ahead toyou know, the world was the united states, obviously unlocking and openingup and then the rest of the world, hopefully soon as well. Yeah i meanlisten, i'm ready to get back on a plane, i'm i'm at that point where i'mcraving 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 tonecessarily be remote. It's going to be probably hybrid for many folks, and soi think you need to figure out truly like putting yourself again beingcurious, 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 firstselling call? Probably chances? Are your custers not even going to give youthe chance to do that, but maybe you should be in person for a quarterlybusiness review if you're a relationship manager or maybe youshould be in person for a proposal or you know, contract negotiation, butthat you can spend the rest of your...

...time online or being working from youroffice or working from home. So thinking really strategically aboutwhat are those key sales interactions that need that in person element versewhat can be done more productively yeah? That makes a lot of sense, and ithink also probably you know it's probably up to the buyer as well. Youknow rob i mean there's a lot of, i think, there's a lot of introvertedbuyers or people that were very comfortable being on a zoom and didn't,maybe don't feel there. You know feel like hey, don't worry, yeh i'll sign the docky sign. You don'tneed 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 tomake a break this deal, but you know, maybe you should come in person for thetraining program right to train my train, my folks, or to give a demoright. So i think that yea, let the customer drive that and then also theonly other trend, i would say, is, as we start to think ahead. What functionsmight need to be more in person verse. What functions truly could be done morein that inside selling model. That makes a lot of sense. Let's talk alittle bit about talent, development. You know: that's that's so importantfor you as a leader, building a team growing a team and you've talked a lotabout kind of hiring on potential walk us through. You know your perspectivethere 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 ireally am an advocate of not only hiring but promoting on potential and ithink that's the reason. Why is just it's not necessarily realistic thatyou're always going to have the exact experience or skills necessarily towalk into the role from day one if you are then you're, probably taking alateral which is great, but i think, as a leader, what you always want to bedoing 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 thinkthat this person could accomplish them so potential really? First, you do haveto have your baseline minimum requirements. What you want people towalk in with, and that might be a certain amount of years of salesexperience, but then, i think again on is this person curious? Is this personhungry? How do you assess their motivation level because that's theperson who's probably going to stick out at the end and figure out how tolaunch the next solution in your business or develop the next go tomarket? 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 theseller? That's hitting a hundred and twenty percent now every day, that's afantastic approach and it puts tremendous pressure on yourinterviewing and assessing capabilities. So how do you do that? How do youfigure out if somebody has the right level of curiosity, the right level ofdrive and motivation and spirit? What's your frame look for doing this yeah, wehave a pretty crystallized format in our world and it's really helpedbecause to your point, there's a lot of bias that can be put in the interviewprocess. If you don't set a structure, so we have laid out one, it's like acrystal clear profile based off of what the demands of the business are here.Will we need our sellers to look like right generally? These are thecompetencies that we need, and here again is the baseline experience. Nextis what does the interview process look like and how does it stack back to thatprofile? So what is the round? One interview? Look like what questions areyou asking the individual? What case studies or mock interviews? Are youasking 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 ofhow you assess how you assess candidates, so i think it's justconsistency is key. One particular question not to give it away that ilove on understanding. Motivation and curiosity is tell me the last thingthat you taught yourself. I mean i don't know where i found it. Iclearly didn't make it out, but i love that question because it shows me howdriven a person is and then, of course what i want to go into is like walk methrough the process. What how did you actually teach yourself? You know?Maybe you taught yourself mandarin. Maybe you taught yourself how a benchpress a hundred and fifty pounds, but it tells you a lot about theindividuals curiosity to learn to get better and then in fact, the motivationand what the impact was. I love it. What's the last thing you taughtyourself, oh jees, that wasn't he fail number one. Let's, let's see youknow i love to cook, so it was probably a new, a new cusine, but you stumped mesam with my own question. Well, no, it's okay! Learning to cook is great. Ionly ask to because i have like a readily available into for myself,which is that i downloaded my swim pro on my phone so that i could learn howto swim, free style 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 outsideof you know. You spend a lot of time managing your team, but linton's a bigplace outside of your day job at what keeps you motivated, yeah there's athere. Definitely is a lot because we have a great organization, but i spenta lot of time working on what i what i would say,what turned in from a passion project into something. That's actuallyconsidered part of my role. It's colead, an employee resource group, a r, an ergand the specific one that i co lead globally. Is our families at linkedingroup. It's honestly such an amazing part of my work, because the mission ofthe company is why i joined- and this was an opportunity that was given to meby the company, to really help all linked employees that identify ashaving a family or being a caregiver, not just a parent, but maybe acaregiver to an adult and really supporting them through their work andtheir life. So it's a non day job job and i play a similar role to my teamleadership role, which is driving this strategy for our members, providingregional direction and what i like to think of is as an ear g leader. Whatyou're really trying to do is drive change and i'm trying to drive changeboth in internally in our families, at linkedin community, but outside of ourorganization, and hopefully with other companies just considering how they canbetter support families. So angelica it's been. It's been great having youon the show today, if folks want to reach out to you, what's the what's thebest way that they can contact you well, none other than linked in you can findme there connect with me. I love to have a conversation with you. Send mean email and just make sure to spell my name right: there's, usually not anyother spellings other than angelica, but hope to chat with you. Thereawesome thanks so much and thanks for being a guest on the sale, tackerpodcast will talk to you on friday for friday fundamentals. Thanks for happingme, everybody same jacob, sam's cornerreally enjoyed that conversation with angelica tani a couple things just tomaybe think about it. Take away as i sort of probed during the conversationthe way that she framed. You know thinking about her career. She thoughtabout where 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 you withmomentum and with motivation with energy and wore of the tasks thataren't and thinking about those more deeply and more holistically thansimply like labeling them saying like i don't like spreadsheets or i don't likesale, and so i don't like marketing. But thinking about the specificactivities, one of the things that she talked about was that she drived energyfrom interacting with other people, and obviously sales is about that, so thathelped inform her decision as she moved from what she was initially doing intobegin individual contributor world. So i just really think that's aninteresting framing. I think energy is so important, the flow of energy andalso where you get it from and then how you how you become a conduit for it.The thing of course we talked about as curiosity and why it's so important andi think angelicas, probably more optimistic about people's ability tofake curiosity than i am my experience is that it's kind of either there ornot, but nevertheless it's such a critical tool. It's such a criticalcharacteristic or quality, and, like i said what it does, is it it reflectshumility at the point of curiosity, it does a number of things. Sales is aboutthem. It's not about you! It's about you listening! You listening andunderstanding and seeking to understand, seek first to understand right. So it'snot about pitching your solution. It's about you truly understanding,sometimes what people get into trouble. Particularly discovery is they'refaking if they're running through a script of why this? Why that that itquickly becomes an in sort of an interrogation. You know it's it's veryclear that you're working from a script that you are asking these questions asit means to an end and you're, not bringing genuine curiosity. If you arethe kind of person that is really you know my wife and i have of a rule nearsthe rule and please use this role. I your out there listening pointing tolisten to this right now. If you go to a dinner party and you meet people andthey 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 havethat that shows a givingness that shows an openness and it shows a humility itshowed sometimes people assume they understand who you are i've been toplaces and listen, i'm not the most interesting person in the world, but ican tell you. I was the most interesting person in that room andpeople tent. Ask me one fucking question. So those are people, those are smallpeople. I want you to be big listener. I want you to be big to be big. You gotto ask questions. You got to be curious about the work. You don't knoweverything we're just one part of this macrocosm, this universe. That isbeyond our comprehension, and you should ask questions about it and ifyou don't have that level of curiosity, if you were the person at the dinnerparty that talks about themselves the whole time and never asked a questionto anybody else than you are doing it wrong and by the way the it's not justbecause they might be the most interesting person in the world theymight on the surface not be, they might not have the most prestigious job, butthey might have insights about human kind that are really interesting. Ihave lots of lots of folks like that everybody has something to teaching youhave to. You have to be quiet, long enough to learn and to listen. One ofour values at pavilion is listened closely that quickly it's about beingstill, you don't have to make all the motion you don't it doesn't have to beabout you, it's not about you. It's about them. Sales is about them, it'snot about you. In fact, life is about them, not about you and then so beingabout them. It becomes about you very buddhist, very sad, very deep, huhanyway. I believe all of the things that i just said. If you want to reachout to me, you ken linton for lash the word in for it last sam. If jacobs, youcan email me salmon, joint pavillion, i want to thank our sponsors. The firstis out reach check out how it which does outraged by going to outlast iofor slash on hot rage. The second is pavilion and my company get more out ofyour career unlock and achieve your professional potential. The doors toyour success are open, come on and at joint a villianous. Finally, ambitioncheck out how brands like fedex a p, was management out reach and even thephoenix sons use the ambition to check out exclusive offers for sale, tackerlisteners at ambition, com for slash sales hacker talking next time.

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