Head of SAP SuccessFactors UKI
At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.
Success means different things to different people, to me it means building strong client relationships, having a team that respects you and you respect them.
Having worked closely with SAP in another business, Leila joined SAP in 2017 as the Cloud Leader. Since then, she has become Head of SuccessFactors UKI, responsible for all sales in the UK and Ireland. This includes running and leading a team of sales, presales and channels, developing strategies for the business, people responsibility and development of the team.
So how did Leila come to be at SAP?
"I was approached by a senior leader within SAP and given its brand it was of interest. It was a mix of the proposition, the fact the business is moving to the cloud, the strong technology and the overall brand that made the move attractive.
I joined in a slightly different role to the one I am now in. As Cloud Leader I carried the entire numbers for the UK and Ireland for Cloud, however had no direct people responsibility. I was later asked to be be responsible for SuccessFactors in UKI which means I have people responsibility and can build out a business plan and strategy.
The thing I really like about the SAP culture is the fun you can have! There are a number of great things that the company invests in, such as SAP Play, Innovation X and the recent Diverse Minds event."
But it’s not all fun and games!
"The sales environment can be tough, but that is why we do the job and why we are in sales, it can also be the most rewarding. The good thing about having a number of peers in similar roles is the ability to bounce off them and talk scenario’s through that might be challenging but that they may have been through before.
It’s important to have coaches and mentors, a colleague or two that you can confide in and bounce ideas off and a manager who is supportive and approachable. That’s something SAP do very well. There is a coaching program internally, and everyone is encouraged to find mentor.
This supportive and collaborative culture is how SAP set people up for success."
But how does Leila define this?
"Success means different things to different people, to me it means building strong client relationships, having a team that respects you and you respect them. Having a team that knows how to work with clients successfully that then demonstrates strong results.
My best moment at SAP came about when I had the right team around me and I delivered my first successful quarter."
With a successful sales and management career, Leila also strives to ensure she has a healthy work life balance. Something she admits is not always easy.
"I try and go to the gym at least twice a week. I also have 5 sisters and between all of my nieces and nephews they keep me pretty busy! I’m also just finishing building a house in Tunisia.
Outside of that any opportunity I get to go travelling I do. Three years ago I took a career break to go travelling around a number of places."
So what advice would Leila give to other women looking at pursuing a sales career?
"Be yourself, be authentic and make sure you understand the company you are working for and the clients you are working with."
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