In this episode, David shares the mic with Brian Walton, Sales Development Director at LinkedIn. Listen as Brian walks us through his journey from starting off on the talent solutions team of LinkedIn to becoming the Sales Development Director. He has managed and reorganized the sales development teams of Latin America into segments so that each team can focus on their target people and maximize their efficiency. Tune in as Brian discusses the importance of training your sales reps and what he’s fired up about, today, in his work at LinkedIn.

3 Key Points:
1.Managers and directors: spend time with your sales reps, educating them on the fundamentals of how business leaders think.
2.Sales reps: if your point of contact is a VP of sales, go to your own company’s VP of sales—study and learn from them so that you can be better equipped for that meeting or call.
3.At the end of the day, you are just two people connecting and and that point of connection is what people appreciate and respect.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:03 – Introducing Brian Walton
  • 01:22 – Brian is the director of sales development at LinkedIn
  • 01:39 – He leads the Americas’ teams for the sales solutions business
  • 02:07 – He has been in sales for most of his career
  • 02:17 – Prior to LinkedIn, he spent a couple of years in a public relations software company
  • 02:51 – Brian started out in the talent solutions organization at LinkedIn
  • 03:02 – In 2015, he moved to sales development leadership
    • 03:11 – Brian moved because the majority of his experience has been in sales leadership
    • 03:55 – He loves coaching and working with early-in-career sales professionals
  • 04:23 – He scaled his team from 4 to 8
  • 05:10 – Before Brian went into the sales development function, the department had been up for 3-4 years
  • 05:23 – As they grew, they had to continue to innovate and refine the sales development function
  • 05:50 – The playbook that works for their talent solution team doesn’t work in their other lines of business
    • 06:00 – The customers are different
    • 06:35 – They have gotten more sophisticated
  • 07:02 – “Even within the lines of business, you have nuances”
  • 07:41 – There was a lot of tailoring and customization in their sales development
  • 08:13 – They have now consolidated the global inbound organization of LinkedIn
  • 08:48 – Ultimately, they are developing their reps and load balancing
  • 09:52 – Brian does not lead inbound teams outside the Latin American market
    • 10:10 – He runs all lines of business in Latin America
  • 11:04 – LinkedIn has essentially been organized by GEOs
    • 11:42 – They ran this model for a couple of years until Brian reorganized it in 2016
    • 11:58 – Teams focused on specific business segments
    • 12:20 – It was a fairly easy transition
    • 12:29 – The managers of these teams now have more sanity
    • 12:48 – Reps are able to go deeper into the segments they support
    • 13:09 – The team becomes more closely aligned with the sales organization in that segment
    • 13:44 – The big risk assumed was that removing GEO locations would affect productivity in a negative way
    • 14:39 – LinkedIn is now maintaining their new structure
  • 15:22 – LinkedIn has too many metrics
    • 15:39 – One of their most useful analytics determine when sales development reps move into their post SDR (Sales Development Rep) career
  • 16:16 – Pipeline productivity metrics
    • 16:22 – Activity: calls, mail, emails, etc
    • 16:36 – Net new opportunities
    • 17:00 – Bookings
  • 17:36 – If you’re hiring the right people and managing them on the right KPIs, you’ll get the result you want
  • 18:19 – Paid metrics include qualified opportunities and the bookings that you drive
  • 18:48 – Leadership Leveraging Results Framework
    • 18:54 – Measures all employees
    • 19:01 – Leadership is how you inspire others to a shared result
    • 19:22 – Concept of thinking globally and growing 10x
    • 19:46 – SDRs are given career performance profiles
    • 20:01 – Semi-annual ratings
  • 21:39 – There are circumstances that contribute to one having a challenging year that every sales rep is aware of
  • 22:15 – Results is a primary metric, but it’s important to staff a company with well-rounded individuals
  • 23:37 – Working at LinkedIn, they were able to make a lot of homegrown tools
    • 24:33 – How do I connect with this individual via a common connection? How do I break-in?
    • 25:14 – If you find the right connection, the person will make the introduction and link you to the target contact
    • 25:48 – If they cannot find a person to introduce you to, they tend to over-invest in a high quality message
      • 26:41 – Even if you get a “no”, that’s a small victory
  • 28:43 – The biggest challenge is to train people on how to craft that personalized email and have a good conversation once they’ve caught someone on the phone
  • 29:07 – Brian leverages their LinkedIn learning platform for their employees
  • 29:35 – It’s easy to get caught up in the info you find at LinkedIn
  • 30:00 – You have to deliver a strong value proposition to get the opportunity
  • 30:38 – Spend time with reps and educate them on the fundamentals of how business leaders think
  • 32:23 – Remember that at the end of the day, it’s just 2 human beings communicating
  • 32:53 – If you have a normal chat with someone, you’re going to make a connection that people will appreciate and respect
  • 34:10 – Framework from Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO
  • 36:13 – Brian is excited about the work they’re doing; pursing a system of engagement—find the right people, know what to say, and say it, then, be able to repeat that
  • 37:56 – David joined LinkedIn in 2006
  • 38:41 – One of LinkedIn’s core values is “Transformation”
  • 39:27 – “We are here to transform the sales function and really create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce”
  • 40:26 – End of podcast

Resources Mentioned:

  • LinkedIn – A platform where you can build and engage with your professional network.
  • Framework from Jeff Weiner – A blog post on The Three Qualities of People I (Jeff Weiner) Most Enjoy Working With

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