SalesTechStar Interview With Adam Maine, Head of Asia, LinkedIn Sales Solutions

The changing face of technology sales and salestech has transformed how salespeople approach selling today. But with it comes its own challenges and the need to implement a better and more wholesome customer success strategy. Adam Maine joins us in this SalesTechStar interview to share his view on this changing landscape.



As the Asia head of Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, what would you say has evolved over the last 3 years in Asia, when it comes to managing a team of modern sales professionals? 

There are several aspects of sales that have evolved over the past three years. Firstly, technology pervades everything these days and the rise of sales tech is a massive shift. Tools such as Sales Navigator are table stakes for most sales organisations these days along with any number of the 800+ vendors that have come onto the market in recent years. Secondly, customer buying processes are continuing to become increasingly complex and risk averse. It’s now common to see companies make evaluation and purchase decisions by committees with over 10 plus stakeholders. This builds complexity and slows the purchase process as organisations seek to find consensus, often watering down recommended solutions. Third, as the expectations of sales reps continues to rise we’ve seen a stagnating of productivity as reps are spending more time on research and admin and less time in front of clients actually selling. Lastly, we also see companies outside SaaS, across a range of B2B sectors increasingly adopting a Customer Success function into their sales org as they change their approach to one of more customer-life-cycle-management.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview With Tom Addis, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) At Kinetica

How can modern selling help to overcome this?

Modern sales combines the power of digital with modern outreach and engagement techniques to adapt to the new realities of sales. Together this is helping sales orgs evolve from out-dated and increasingly ineffective sales tactics and in turn improve the experience for buyers. Modern selling is enabling reps to become more efficient in research and stakeholder mapping and more effective in the outreach and engagement they have with clients and prospects. This in turn is helping to address the new reality of buyer complexity and falling rep productivity as digital AI anticipates next best actions and buyer intent signals. This translates to greater value perception from buyers as outreach is more relevant, timely and targeted.

Before implementing Sales Navigator across the sales team in my previous organisation we were experiencing this new reality of buyer complexity with an ever-increasing number of stakeholders from multiple functions involved at each stage of the purchase discussion. As we never knew exactly which people from which department would be involved we our deals were often slowed or derailed by a hidden blocker that we were not aware of. Sales Navigator became a game-changer for this, enabling our reps to more effectively identify and engage those hidden buying influences and improve win rates and deal velocity as a result.

Which sales or marketing tech product/tool(s), do you believe, leaders can leverage on to create the biggest impact in this changing landscape?

The sales tech landscape has grown exponentially in the past 3 years with specific use cases for different elements of sales and marketing. In a landscape where there was once only CRM and Marketing automation, there now exists over 800 vendors across 30 different categories. So in this sense I think it really depends on the role and specific challenges leaders are seeking to overcome as to which would create the biggest impact. There are some fantastic tools out there. I really like some of the things Sales Loft and Gong are doing but for sheer versatility and impact, I cannot go past Sales Navigator. Witnessing first hand the impact it’s had across hundreds of sales teams and organisations and seeing how the product continues to evolve to address so many of the new challenges we’re confronting in sales puts it top of the list for me.

Give us an example of LinkedIn’s own successes with Sales Navigator? Any client examples?

For me the most powerful stories of success with Sales Navigator are not the stats on improved win rates, deal size and pipeline creation but those stories from reps on how Sales Navigator helped them finally crack a big prospect they’d been targeting. One recent example of this was one of our Relationship Managers in Singapore. After successfully using Sales Navigator to help unearth an opportunity which led to a 3 month proof of concept pilot with a global property management firm she went about using Sales Navigator to identify and multi-thread into the sales teams of the other divisions and geographies. In most cases she was able to get warm introductions to key decision makers through leveraging the expanded LinkedIn network of her peers and colleagues from around the world. Using Smart Links (formerly Point Drive) to share compelling insights from the pilot and identify who else was engaging with the content, she was able to engage the extended buying committee and generate a groundswell of interest, resulting in a 10x increase in the size of the deal when the pilot renewed 3 months later.

Would you be able to share more about the modern selling landscape within specific countries in Asia? What would you ascribe these to?

Asia is interesting in so many ways, not least because as a region it is so diverse and unique. It has a relatively young workforce which makes it a digital native, mobile first, early adopter of new tech. Interestingly however, many companies still run fairly traditional sales teams. This presents a first mover, competitive advantage for more progressive leaders to increase market share by adopting modern selling tools and techniques. While each country has their differences there are more similarities that bond them together. Trust and relationships are of great importance for Asian leaders, which is why face to face is still so important. Asia Pacific is the fasting growing region for LinkedIn and as more senior decision makers embrace LinkedIn, companies are seeking to take advantage of the immense opportunity to build genuine, trust-based relationships at scale across wide geographies across Asia.

Which industries in Asia, do you think has the highest growth in Sales Tech adoption? What is the one piece of advice you have for Senior B2B Sales leaders/professionals? 

Unsurprisingly, the tech and internet industries were the earliest adopter of sales tech in Asia (Read about a study we did on the tech landscape) , but we’ve seen a steep adoption curve across most other B2B industries in recent years, including the more traditional banking and financial services industries.

My advice for Senior B2B sales leaders, is to embrace modern selling and sales tech in your organizations even if you’re not familiar or experienced with it. As with digitalization, the wave of change has well and truly arrived for sales and failure to embrace the new reality will result in missed opportunities, erosion of market share and perhaps most importantly loss of sales talent to competitors.

What are the best 3 hacks for APAC Sales leaders to drive growth in the years to come? 

It’s not enough to set and forget. To be truly effective, Sales Leaders need to continuously champion the adoption of modern selling and embed it into existing systems and processes like sales methodology, playbooks, onboarding, sales skills and sales KPI’s.

Make time to regularly meet your clients and ride-along with your reps to see them in action. It can be harder to do then it sounds but there’s no better way to get the voice of customer and performance coach reps in real-time.

Invest in your people. Your success relies on your people so equip them with the skills and tools to excel in the new era of sales and customer engagement and inspire them to challenge the status quo and exceed what they thought was the limit of their potential.

A highly recommended Sales book? 

The Challenger Sale and Combo Prospecting for reps and Pathways to Growth for Managers.

Shout out to a Sales mentor!

I’d like to give a shout out to Martin Dennett who picked me off the sales floor early in my career and took me under his wing, mentoring me in the art and science of B2B sales. He backed me, challenged me and empowered me, which helped in no small way to get to where I am today.


Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 675+ million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. The company has a diversified business model with revenue coming from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, and Premium Subscriptions products. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe.

Adam is Head of Asia, LinkedIn Sales Solutions and comes with over 15 years of industry experience leading direct and indirect teams of diverse, consultative sales and marketing professionals across the Asia Pacific region.

B2B salescustomer-life-cycle-managementLinkedInonboardingTechnology
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