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Optimizing Sales Operations Success with Akira Mamizuka of LinkedIn

This week on the Revenue Insights Podcast we are joined by Akira Mamizuka, Vice President of Global Sales Operations at LinkedIn. 

In this episode, Lee and Akira explore LinkedIn’s sales ops structure, quota-setting philosophy, and strategies for driving performance improvement, as well as the characteristics of top performers and how LinkedIn optimizes their sales organization for success. 

Akira Mamizuka is the Vice President of Global Sales Operations, SaaS at LinkedIn. He has been at LinkedIn for over a decade. Akira currently represents 60% of total B2B revenue, and is responsible for Member & Customer Success teams, as well as Marketing Planning & Performance. Before LinkedIn, Akira was with McKinsey & Company for almost three years.

Time Stamps:

  • 01:55 – Akira’s background
  • 05:29 – How to place operations teams
  • 11:00 – Aligning different teams
  • 15:02 – Difficult tech stack decisions
  • 16:53 – LinkedIn’s quota setting philosophy
  • 19:05 – Rectifying quote shortfalls
  • 20:26 – The hallmarks of high performers
  • 27:24 – Akira’s book recommendation: Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman 
  • 28:22 – Where to find Akira

Highlights:

Hallmarks of Top Performers

Akira highlights a few traits that differentiate top performers. Firstly, they operate a much more robust and thorough onboarding than the other LinkedIn representatives. They use this onboarding to understand what the customer goals are, work out what their priorities are, and what the metrics are that the customer will use to define success with LinkedIn. Secondly, they will set up customer relationships more transparently than other reps, implementing quarterly reviews business—or “value”—reviews to see how they are meeting the customer’s goals, and how they could be doing better.

Principles for Setting Quotas

Akira shares the principle they follow to set quotas and how they go about supporting their reps to achieve them. He says they use the “50/50” principle, whereby they set a quota at a level where they believe 50% of reps will hit 50% bonus. The key to this idea is its transparency—it’s something that Akira and his team communicate to the sales organization.

Aligning Teams

Akira believes that a flexible, adaptable approach is best. He says that, in terms of team alignment, there are “two dimensions that are very top of mind”: alignment with customers and alignment between teams. In the past, a sales leader in a certain line of business would have one sales person mapped to that leader. These days, they employ a hybrid approach where some people are mapped to individuals, and others are mapped to functional areas such as building tools or improving processes. Secondly, in terms of alignment between teams, Akira emphasizes the importance of synergy between teams, with clearly demarcated responsibilities and OKRs. It’s all about clarity.

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