Job: Enterprise Account Executive, LinkedIn
Location: New York City, New York
Maggie's cousin, Sean Slaughter, was my very first interview, and he connected us. I was lucky enough to meet Maggie in person last weekend while I was visiting the city and had the opportunity to tour her office, which also happens to be in the Empire State Building. You could say I had fun. You will love hearing Maggie's story this week, in which we cover everything from how all of the major decisions about your career are made when you're not in the room, to the best LinkedIn tips for your profile.
Give us a brief overview of yourself to get started.
I was born and raised on Long Island, went to Sacred Heart University and played division one soccer there. I was originally a psychology major because I love to figure out how people tick and understand why people do the things they do. I loved psychology but transferred my major to the Jack Welsh College of Business and majored in business management with a focus in marketing and minor in psychology. As a kid all I ever wanted to do was play soccer, but I always developed a passion for coaching. Throughout HS and college I enjoyed coaching youth teams, conducting private soccer skills training sessions, as well as speed training sessions as well.
What did you do after graduating and where did your career path take you next?
After my first job, which was a previous internship in college-turned-job, I joined a company called SiriusDecisions, where I was actually the 86th employee. I was there for about six and a half years and sort of grew up with the company. I started out in a role as an account representative, which was a combination of today’s customer success role, an inside sales role, and a marketing role, all rolled into one. I was put on the team that focused on some of our key enterprise clients, which was a great way to learn fast. I quickly moved into a quota-bearing sales role and eventually into a coaching role helping develop our team to develop their skills and knowledge on how to build relationships and sell to the C-suite. I exceeded my quota every year and was able to travel to some of the most amazing places with our President's Club trips. SiriusDecisions was acquired by a company called Forrester in January 2019, so I stayed through the acquisition and moved into my new role at LinkedIn this past January. Working at SiriusDecisions was a really fun journey for me. I was able to learn so much and developed great relationships over that time with my peers and our leadership team. Currently I am working with LinkedIn in our Sales Solutions line of business. We provide a platform, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a software for sales professionals who want to better target, understand and engage decision makers and build relationships. Navigator taps into the power of LinkedIn with its over 630 million members. Actually, two people join LinkedIn every second, so the network is ever growing and expanding.
Well I definitely want to dive in more and talk about LinkedIn, but before we do that, you mentioned you were at your first company for almost seven years. What did the process of leaving look like and how did you know that it was time to make the jump?
It was a hard decision, but it was something I had been thinking about for a while. I learned so much at SiriusDecisions and had so much gratitude for the co-founders of the company. With the announcement of our acquisition, I felt the timing was right for me to start my next chapter. I had been having exploratory conversations with leaders in the SaaS space over the last couple of years, so I knew moving into a SaaS org would be my next move. Truthfully, I was also pretty nervous because I had been really successful with SiriusDecisions, I was able to progress through the organization and hit my quota every year but it was the only company I had worked with up to that point. My biggest worry was, ‘can I replicate this somewhere else?’. In my first six months with LinkedIn I've found that the level of business acumen and questioning that I developed from working exclusively with C-Suite Sales, Marketing, and Product leaders in my previous roles at SiriusDecisions has translated really nicely here.
I can imagine that must have been difficult, and it's so important to leave on a good note like you did. What does your day to day look like now?
I start the day with a run or workout which is key for me to have energy throughout the day. When I'm on the train, I’m using Sales Navigator app to prepare for my meetings that day and usually listening to podcast. Once I’m in the office, I start by connecting with my sales development rep on our strategy and ensure I can answer any questions they might have. A standard day is a combination of preparing for meetings with sales leaders, meetings with sales leaders, developing business case materials, or traveling to meet these individuals in-person. I have about 40 accounts here in North America, so I do travel quite a bit. I'm a naturally curious person, so I always enjoy meeting people in person to build stronger relationships.
Backing up to your college days, you mentioned you were an athlete. How do you think being a collegiate athlete prepares you for a sales career?
There are so many lessons from sports that are transferrable to business to help us approach each day with the will to win. The ability to embrace hard work, and to be disciplined in your process is key. Also, grit meaning having the passion and perseverance to achieve your long-term goals is something I was able to develop from years of training to play soccer at the division one college level. Grit translates really well from sports into a sales career. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, so it's important to create repeatable processes for yourself and execute that process everyday. Also, probably often overlooked is the opportunity that team sports provides for athletes to develop strong communication skills so that you can execute with precision as a team. The last core skill I'll mention is flexibility. In sports, you could have a play set in your head, but you have to be prepared if it doesn’t go as planned. It’s the same in sales, it's key to put yourself in your customers shoes to prepare for multiple scenarios. I think that that level of flexibility/agility has helped me as well.
Can you talk about any hardships that you've experienced in your young professional career and how you have grown from it?
A learning for me was that it's not natural or easy for every person to understand how to collaborate effectively. Collaboration and communication are skills that I developed from playing sports and I definitely took for granted as it doesn't come easy to everyone. I've always been a very driven person and I hold myself to a high standard. I think you develop this mentality as an athlete because no one can be harder on you than yourself. I expect to be successful and expect to win. When I started managing people at last my company, it was really interesting for me to realize that not everyone is wired like me. It's important to coach each individual differently based on where they are in their journey and how they look at the world. It was an interesting exercise for me to realize that not everyone is motivated in the same way as I am or sees the world the way I do. Adapting my approach to understand other individuals’ motivations was a learning for me which helped me to better communicate with my team. Another learning for me was around the importance of discussing your career goals and to constantly reinforce what you want with your manager as well as cross-functional partners. If you don’t do that, then people assume you’re happy with where you are and that you wouldn’t be interested in other opportunities.
LinkedIn is one of the largest social network companies in the world. What made LinkedIn stand out to you in your job search?
I had the ability to see an amazing growth trajectory in my 6.5 years with SiriusDecisions but felt like for my next play I wanted to have the big company experience. The reason I chose LinkedIn is because Sales Navigator is a platform that I leveraged every single day as both a rep and a manager as part of my process to exceed quota every year, so I know works. I like selling to sales leaders and sharing how we can help them grow revenue for their businesses. I also wanted to chose a company that had a strong vision statement: LinkedIn's value statement is to create opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
What are some of the perks of working there?
Our New York City Office is in the Empire State Building, which is such an iconic building to work in and the space is really amazing. We've got free gourmet breakfast and lunch, a coffee bar, gym membership, and “Perk Up Bucks”, which allows us to expense up to a certain amount of wellness-related expenses, so think a massage or a facial. I joke with some of my colleagues, especially some of our sales development reps who came to LinkedIn out of school by saying you know this is not normal, right? The perks are unbelievable.
Tell us about somebody who has inspired you.
My mom definitely inspires me. She's been able to manage having a family and continuously pursuing excellence in her career. She is an executive director for a school district in Long Island, and she is currently getting her doctorate in education. She continues to push the envelope on what she can achieve and she is always striving to be learning and do more, so that's definitely something that's inspiring for me. Also, both of my parents are involved in volunteer work, which I think is super important to be involved in your community. Having strong careers, but also actively make time for things like that, is important because life is about relationships. LinkedIn actually has "InDay" once a month where we can step away build relationships with colleagues and volunteer for various causes. I've been busy getting up to speed, but this is something I plan to start to participate in moving forward.
What would you say to more experienced professionals about young professionals and what we want and what we need to succeed?
It is important to be purposeful in building relationships cross-functionally, whether it is at a big or small organization. Obviously, it's a little easier in smaller organizations, but that will benefit you to build strong partners across teams. Also if you identify something that could be improved don't just raise this issue be sure to proactively bringing solutions as well.
What is your number one LinkedIn tip to make your profile stand out?
I have two: First and foremost- get a professional headshot! Second- develop a customer-centric headline. For example, my title is enterprise account executive at LinkedIn but my headline is “helping sales professionals unlock the revenue-generating power of LinkedIn”. The first thing people will see on your LinkedIn is your photo and your headline. It's super important to craft a customer-centric headline that aligns with the value you bring for your customers or to the market.
Do you have a favorite restaurant or bar that you would recommend to someone that's listening to this or reading this?
Well, it’s really hard to say. It depends on what part of the city you're in and whatever you are in the mood for. I actually have a colleague who has an Excel spreadsheet by type of food and location, and he will just pass it out to people in the office!
What is your go-to book right now?
I recently read “Expect To Win” by Carla Harris. She's the Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley. My key takeaway from this book was about adjectives. Your adjectives are extremely important because all major decisions about your career are made when you're not in the room. Throughout the book, she reinforces the need for you to think about the words you want people to describe you with when you’re not in the room. She encourages you to pick those three adjectives that describe who you are, while being authentic in those choices, and also encouraging you to tie in adjectives that are valued within your organization. So if you're unsure on what your organization's values are, go to the website, take a look and think about the value that you can provide. Then start to use those words to describe yourself with colleagues and with your manager. It was a fantastic read and I highly recommend that folks check it out because it really got me thinking about my adjectives and the idea of you assuming that people see you the way you see yourself. It’s crucial to control your personal brand.
Any other tips you’d like to add?
When I was a kid on the way to every soccer game, my Dad would tell me to visualize my breakaways, scoring goals and winning. This is something that I've taken into my professional life as well. I visualize success executing meetings with C-level executives, building relationships, closing deals and exceeding my quota. It's extremely important to be your own champion, define the processes that you need to get to be successful, rinse and repeat. Also, always ask for feedback to continuously improve.
The YoPro Know's Takeaways:
- Know what the adjectives used to describe you are; all of the major decisions about your career are made when you are not in the room.
- Visualizing your success gives you a higher chance of accomplishing the goals you set for yourself
- People are not naturally built to collaborate, so avoid making assumptions about how to lead and how to communicate with others
- Have a professional headshot and a customer-centric headline on your LinkedIn profile
*** If you’re a young professional heading to New York you may want to check out Trolley, a nascent community for new grads in NYC. Trolley has curated a community of new grads to make it easier to find housing opportunities, join interest groups, and get help on post-grad questions.