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Best of Both Worlds: Ehud Ben Haim on Selling Pinterest in EMEA

What makes a successful sales leader leave the large tech company where he spent a decade growing his career? For Ehud Ben Haim, it was the chance to build something completely new at Pinterest. Below, Ehud explains why he decided to take the leap, how the company is supporting him and the fast-growing Dublin team, and what it’s like to sell for a platform that he calls “an island of positivity.”

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What do you and your team do at Pinterest?

I lead the Mid-Market Sales team in Dublin, which handles a mix of acquiring new business and helping support those customers as they grow. Our team is completely new — all of us joined Pinterest in the last few months — so right now, what we do includes a lot of firsts, from developing different types of campaigns to expanding into new markets. There’s a lot to do, but it’s an exciting time, especially for someone who wants to take ownership. Team members are getting opportunities to lead projects like designing trainings for advertisers and launching new partnerships. We’re also continuing to grow quickly; there are about 20 of us now, but we plan to expand substantially over the next year.

Why did you decide to join the team?

I worked at a very large tech company before coming here. It was great, but I was interested in joining a smaller team — and Pinterest was like the best of both worlds. It’s rare these days that you get to work for a successful, beloved brand but still build something completely new, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in EMEA right now. It’s like working at a startup with the benefits of working for a successful, established company. We’re deciding everything from what to focus on to how we engage with clients to what we want to measure. On a larger team, all of that would have been ironed out years ago. Here, those questions are still unanswered. So we have a strong foundation, and also a huge amount of freedom.

“It’s rare these days that you get to work for a successful, beloved brand but still build something completely new.”

The other thing I liked about joining a smaller team is that one person can have a transformational impact which can be more difficult in a larger company. Here, I can make a bigger difference — and see the results of my work very quickly, both for our customers and for Pinterest. That’s been really rewarding.

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What’s it like to sell Pinterest?

We’re the new kid on the block here in EMEA, which is a nice feeling. There’s a sense of freshness, and at the same time, people see the value. They want to talk to us. We’re having really fun interactions with customers, and it’s exciting to see them trusting us and deciding to partner with us for the first time.
 

One thing that’s especially nice for us in Sales is that Pinterest is an island of positivity on the internet. It’s a place where people come to get inspired and feel good. I’ve experienced that myself; I was a Pinner long before I even thought about working here. My wife and I have used it to plan everything from house renovations to our daughters’ birthday parties, and there is a lot of great content about archaeological sites in Ireland which is a hobby of mine . And Pinterest is an entirely different experience when it comes to advertising — much more organic and seamless — because unlike a lot of other platforms, content from brands is actually part of what Pinners want from us. If you’re looking for home design ideas, you want to see what’s out there. That gives our advertisers a very real competitive advantage, which makes our jobs much easier.

How does the company support you in EMEA?

Even before I joined, I remember reading that the company leadership is committed to growing internationally. And in just the few months that I’ve been here, I’ve seen so many examples of how important EMEA is to our leadership. We’ve had the most experienced people from our San Francisco HQ come to Dublin to help us. I’ve already spent a lot of time working with our U.S. strategy teams. And they’re clearly putting their money where their mouth is in terms of investing in Europe; we have this beautiful new workspace and we’re hiring top talent.

“Pinterest leadership is clearly putting their money where their mouth is in terms of investing in Europe.”

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It’s also very clear that our leaders want to hear from us in EMEA. I’d actually worried a bit before I joined that I wouldn’t have as much of a voice here as I did at my previous company. I’d been there for such a long time, and I thought I might lose that seniority and influence in a place where no one knew me. But the people here made a big effort to integrate me and connect with me right away. Two months in, I felt like I’d been here for two years — in the best way.

And they want to hear from everyone, not just those of us in leadership roles. We do have hierarchy here, but it’s very flat in terms of who has a voice. Our Global Head of Partnerships, Jon Kaplan, is going to be in Dublin in a couple of weeks, and one of the things he’s doing is sitting down with account managers to learn about their experience and take that back to U.S. leadership. They very much want to support EMEA and everyone here.

What’s surprised you since joining Pinterest?

It’s not a surprise necessarily — but before joining a new company you can never be certain what you’re going to find when you look under the hood. Sometimes it’s chaos, or there’s no infrastructure. But that’s definitely not the case here. I’ve been really happy with what I’m seeing in terms of culture, product, leadership.

I was also impressed by both the diversity and the caliber of talent we’ve been able to attract. Our office is mostly international; we have people from Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Germany, the U.K., Ireland, and Israel on my team alone. Having employees from all of those backgrounds makes us all better. And these are people with a lot of experience, as well. Dublin has become a real hub for tech talent — our office is in a neighborhood nicknamed the “Silicon Docks” — and we’re seeing people leave roles at very big companies to join us here, because they believe so much in Pinterest.
 
Interested in helping grow Pinterest in EMEA? Check out our open roles.

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