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Transition into Sales Ops

Diagnostics, solution engineering, and planning are the key functions in management consulting. In sales ops, you get to implement these solutions in the real world. 

Akira spent quite a few years in management consulting and sales strategy, where he developed his passion for sales. Somewhere along the road, he discovered he loved being an operator more than being an advisor. His seven years in sales ops at LinkedIn have been transformative.

LinkedIn sales team structure

The Sales team takes care of growth in two business areas – SaaS business (the LinkedIn tool) and media (LinkedIn Ads). Akira’s team takes care of the SaaS arm of the sales function at the company.

Within the SaaS business area, they have lines of business for HR, talent acquisition organizations, and sales leadership. The SaaS sales ops team has about 200 people helping 4,000 sales reps globally. Over the years, the sales ops function has diversified into specific teams for planning and performance, systems and tools,  and business intelligence. 

The most impactful Sales Ops activity at LinkedIn

Decisions, processes, and intelligence specific to each regional team helped them keep things nimble and quick. As the company expanded into multiple new geographies, this fragmented structure of sales knowledge made planning all the more difficult. So, they centralized the planning and investment decisions to share various aspects of sales knowledge, their growth, and forecasting data with global teams. 

The core focus of the SaaS team at LinkedIn in 2021

Their top priority is employee well-being because it’s easy to lose the connection with the rest of your team when working remotely. They are also focused on hiring great team members as they plan to add more than forty new people to their team before the end of June 2022. 

The frustrating bits of working as a sales strategy consultant 

Consultants don’t get to see their solutions in action, and often their plans are modified due to various issues that the clients face. They don’t have control over the final result. 

When to move control from regional sales teams to global teams

When regional teams cover large areas, their future investment decisions are more accurate than global HQ teams. As the company grows fast and expands into different geographies, the need for a top-down investment approach grows. 

How LinkedIn takes care of employee well-being 

Employee well-being starts with bringing the focus to one’s self. LinkedIn offered a three-month fully-paid leave for employees whose families or loved ones were struggling during the pandemic. They also gave a full week mental health break to the entire company. It’s important to invest in employees and give them the flexibility to live their best lives because, ultimately, everyone is human, and we have all gone through extensive stress during the pandemic.

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