Kirsten is the marketing leader driving the world’s largest social selling initiative. With foundations built on research conducted together with the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University, the SAP Digital Selling program has grown to a massive scale and tremendous impact. Kirsten and her global team have trained more than 22,000 SAP employees and partners around the world on how to establish subject matter expertise, build relationships and spark business-building conversations on LinkedIn and other social and digital channels. She helped build the content strategy and global enablement program that supports digital selling.
Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?
I am most proud of the development of SAP’s Digital Selling program: 22,000 people trained, and the results that it is driving — 300% bigger deal sizes and 20% more lead conversions. This program was a chance to grow and develop in areas of program management, project management and overall Learning & Development program creation. Being able to make the link between training and impactful business outcomes was a huge win for me and my team. I’ve been able to translate the learning and development that I did within that program into the development of a new internal Learning & Development program for Marketing.
Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How have you maintained your collaboration and innovation despite the current WFH reality?
My team has always been a remote and fully global team, with people in five different countries, spanning four different time zones. My team has never all been in the same room together, and we have been working together for more than six years. My team grew out of an “innovation-focused” team – the premise was to take on new projects, pilot them and then launch into the organization. So, we have always been focused on trying new things, making the necessary changes and then launching those initiatives globally. We “grew up” on innovation and taking risks, and we’ve always been supported in taking those risks.
In the midst of Covid-19, what are some lessons you’ve learned that will impact or influence the future of your work?
Since I became a team manager a few years ago, I’ve tried to always put the human first, business comes secondary mentality. This concept has only been reinforced with the current pandemic situation. I try to ensure that I start every 1:1 conversation with my team with a personal check-in — how they are managing, keeping tabs on things that they’ve been struggling with, celebrating the small wins (and big wins) with them and giving them space to share whatever it is they need to share — personal or professional. By giving them this freedom, I believe my team is stronger for the human connections between us. Trust is a big part of connection – my team trusts that I will be there for them, that I care about them as people first, and that I will support them in whatever way they need to be supported.
What sources for inspiration help you stay excited and invigorated in your work?
I love watching videos and reading blogs by great business thought leaders such as Simon Sinek, Brene Brown and Malcolm Gladwell, among others. I also love learning — I love learning new things, trying out the new concepts that I learn and adapting them to my own reality. Right now, I am trying to learn all I can about the neuroscience of learning. This topic fascinates me – it all about how people learn, why people learn, what makes people connect to content and how you can apply that to make learning and development programs more effective. One of the big lessons that I learned while developing the Digital Selling program was that any programs need to be connected, as much as possible, to measurable business outcomes. Always keeping this in the back of my mind continually inspires me to never be satisfied with the status quo.
As Head of Global Channel Marketing at Juniper Networks, Tina O’Dell is responsible for developing global partner programs to accelerate partner growth and Juniper market share, as well as fostering business development and revenue acceleration through awareness, thought leadership and demand creation. She also leads GTM enablement programs across Juniper product lines in collaboration with cross-functional teams and field team execution. She is responsible for maintaining consistent messaging and execution while leveraging massive amounts of data more efficiently to improve marketing and sales effectiveness.