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    [Closed Search] Vice President of North American Sales at Turnitin


    Vice President, North American Sales

    Reports To: CEO, Turnitin
    Location: Oakland, CA
    Website: www.turnitin.com


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    Turnitin, the world’s leading web-based SaaS solution for plagiarism prevention and online grading, is seeking a Vice President of North American Sales. This person will be a critical member of the executive management team reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, Chris Caren, and responsible for directing the company’s transition from a transactional sales model to a value-based solution sale of a much broader adaptive student writing solution.

    This person will also be responsible for rethinking the company’s sales organization to reflect (1) its growing market position and (2) the fact that such a complex, technology-based product line requires both a higher level sales organization and more professionalism in how this sales organization is structured and managed.

    The CEO and IVP, the company’s lead investor, share the conviction that the room for future growth is substantial, and that the company's growth objectives will come largely through the acquisition of new schools in the United States (primarily secondary and higher education), and in cross selling a growing portfolio of products to the established customer base in both K-12 and higher education.

    Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on...


    Company Background
    Turnitin is the global leader in evaluating and improving student learning. The company’s cloud-based service for originality checking, online grading, and peer review saves instructors time and provides rich feedback to students.

    One of the most widely distributed educational applications in the world, Turnitin, is used by more than 15,000 institutions in 140 countries to manage the submission, tracking and evaluation of student papers online. Turnitin also offers iThenticate, a plagiarism detection service for commercial markets, and WriteCheck, a suite of formative tools for writers.

    Turnitin, was founded in 2000 by graduate student researchers at UC Berkeley, who created software to monitor the recycling of papers in their large, undergraduate classes. Encouraged by the interest from their peers, they assembled a team of instructors, mathematicians, and computer scientists to create the world's leading cloud-based plagiarism detection and online grading service.

    In 2015 Turnitin will eclipse $100M in revenues, has consistently seen growth of over 25%, and has been profitable for the past ten years.

    Turnitin was re-capitalized in 2014 at a valuation over $750M and is backed by Insight Venture Partners, GIC Special Investments, Norwest Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital, and Georgian Partners, and is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with an international office in Newcastle, U.K.

    Product Overview
    Turnitin’s core product is the gold standard for checking originality, evaluating and grading student papers and providing peer review opportunities. 

    Educators can check students' work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against Turnitin's expansive content databases. Every Originality Report provides instructors with the opportunity to teach their students proper citation methods as well as to safeguard their institution's academic integrity.

    Turnitin's online grading tool allows instructors to leave the days of red ink and stacks of papers behind. Turnitin's drag-and-drop commenting and one-click rubrics are a time-saving alternative to traditional pen-and-paper grading, making it easy for instructors to give students the valuable, time-sensitive feedback that's so essential in building quality writing skills.

    Instructors can create peer review assignments that students use to evaluate and learn from one another's work. Peer reviews can be assigned as online homework rather than taking precious class time. These assignments provide a unique and valuable framework for students to develop critical thinking and writing skills.

    What's new?
    In October 2014 Turnitin acquired LightSide Labs, The DEVELOPER of Revision Assistant, an educational technology company dedicated to improving student writing skills via machine learning and AI technologies. The company’s plan on incorporating revision assistant into Turnitin to deliver a writing platform that meets the needs of 21st-century classroom. The combined products will provide educators with an integrated platform that manages formative and summative writing assignments with the range of feedback tools, including automated feedback, originality check, online grading and peer review. Their vision is to deliver a solution that improved student writing, saves instructors time and enhances the quality of feedback to the student and provides institutions with insights into how students learn over time.

    About Insight Venture Partners
    Insight Venture Partners is an American private equity and venture capital firm based in New York City. The firm focuses exclusively on investing in fast growing software and Internet-enabled businesses and currently has a capital base of approximately $7.6 billion for this purpose. The company has invested in well-known companies such as Twitter, Chegg, Tumblr, Flipboard, Zenefits, PluralSight, and Instructure. Insight’s investments include growth equity, capital for M&A, buyouts, take-privates, pre-IPO rounds, and recapitalizations.


    Turnitin is seeking a Vice President of North American Sales to lead and direct the North American sales effort for this rapidly expanding company, reporting to the CEO.

    Key Responsibilities:

    • Developing and executing the go to market strategy, and value proposition, that will move the company from their current transactional model to a value based solution sales of a much broader student and teacher solution.
    • Developing overall sales strategy in close partnership with the CEO and leadership team that will improve sales force productivity in both customer renewals and new business sales to existing and new customers.
    • Integrating and directing the inside and outside activities to achieve sales goals including transformation leadership with the sales organization.
    • Manage transformation from a sales team of individuals managing both new business and renewals to one that is more segmented.
    • Carefully evaluating the changes in people, services and processes that need to be put in place as their product shifts to a higher-priced, adaptive virtual writing coach for students and teachers.
    • Work actively and collaboratively with the CEO and the executive team to accomplish high growth objectives.
    • Working closely with marketing, product management, business development, and software development organizations to drive business results.

    Key Accountabilities:

    • Partner with the CEO and leadership team to develop, design, and communicate the sales strategy and vision to ensure delivery of revenue growth goals. Establish annual sales goals and develop and communicate objectives and tactics for the sales team.
    • Develop, implement, and execute the sales organization transformation plan to move from a transactional low-priced teacher tool to a higher-priced solution sale for teachers and students. Determine timeline for implementation and communication.
    • Develop a multi-product and multichannel strategy that drives sales growth in middle school, high school and higher Ed with the particular focus on the upside in K-12.
    • Maintain the CRM database and communicate market-generated, customer-segmented information (via customer database) to sales organization to ensure that territory assignments and product offerings meet sales strategy goals. Drive product sales by partnering with product management to develop business cases, pricing strategies, and sales projections.
    • Develop the overall sales process for both inside and outside sales activities and customer and service delivery. Develop and oversee the monthly, quarterly, and annual forecast to present to the CEO
    • Actively solicit and provide any market competitive information relevant to the organization as input to product software development project planning process. Work with marketing, product and business development areas to improve the efficiency of follow-up releases and features as well as ensure that gaps in customer directed product offerings are addressed by the company.
    • Ensure product knowledge and sales delivery philosophy/strategy are established and understood by sales organization through focused sales team development and training. Ensure appropriate sales/marketing materials and technology is available for product info sessions with customers and will have significant impact on Turnitin’s value proposition in the K-12 competitive market.
    • Lead, coach and evaluate the sales management leaders of the sales team and sales support staff to drive optimum performance. Coordinate with any external partners the communication of product knowledge and sales strategy to strengthen their support for achieving sales goals.
    • Direct the due diligence and sales support integration efforts for any acquisitions or divestitures.

    This executive is skilled at setting up and implementing sales processes and also hiring, training, compensating, and working with the sales force to achieve success. S/he knows the decision making process within the K-12 market and higher education, especially in selling at the district level. S/he is high energy, an entrepreneur, a skilled judge of personnel, and absolutely driven by success.


    The ideal candidate has significant national experience in selling digital products and services to K-12 school districts and to large university systems in higher education. Importantly, this individual also has proven experience in running national (or large regional) field sales and inside sales. This candidate has managed a highly productive sales organization of at least 40 sales and sales support personnel.

    He or she must be an entrepreneurial team player who has grown company sales and profits through the design and successful execution of comprehensive sales strategies and detailed plans.

    Specifically, the person hired will have—

    • Proven success in high velocity solution selling of a product or service, ideally to the K-12 marketplace, at the district level.
    • Experience at opening up new markets and transforming a sales force from a transactional model to solution selling.
    • Seven to ten years’ experience managing a sales staff while achieving/exceeding revenue goals (at least $50M in revenues).
    • Experience managing multiple national sales forces in multiple channels.
    • Experience in integrating outside and inside sales in a SaaS environment.
    • Outstanding sales leadership and experience in sales training, commission plans, budgeting, customer relationships, management systems, and other aspects of managing a sales force.
    • Experience selling digital content (literacy or other) into the K-12 school market, especially at the district level.
    • Experience with a subscription-based service, i.e., customer renewal sales (account management, customer support).
    • Solid background in the mechanics of school district purchasing, funding sources, and ed-tech sales process.
    • Experience selling into top 100 districts.
    • Some experience in higher education a plus.
    • The ability to uncover actual budgets early in the sales process and to know how to discover why prospects buy (find the “pain”).
    • Bachelor degree required; MBA or education degree is preferred.Success in this role involves a range of personal attributes-- flexibility and adaptability; a great work ethic; strong leadership skills; an ability to analyze and evaluate one’s own (and other’s) performance and to develop plans to improve performance; excellent presentation skills; willingness to take responsibility for both success and failure; a thick skin; self-confidence; a positive attitude about self, company, marketplace; and a strong desire for success.


    To an experienced VP Sales with relevant K-12 (and possibly higher ed) experience, this opportunity offers several attractive features:

    • The opportunity to join a high growth, profitable, private equity-owned industry leader, but as part of a small executive team—to have “a seat at the table” as the company charts its future.
    • The opportunity to integrate, expand, and refine an existing sales organization’s direct and indirect sales personnel; a step up in responsibility for most sales managers.
    • The opportunity to drive revenue growth and participate in the upside from an exit strategy within the next 3 to 5 years.For a preK-12 sales executive looking to expand his or her market knowledge and experience, the opportunity to work in the international market.
    • The opportunity to live in the highly attractive Bay Area and enjoy nude biking if it behooves you.


    Compensation will include salary, commissions, bonuses, and equity in line with the individual’s experience.


    The ideal candidate, residing in the Bay Area, would likely have a travel factor of 25%. For candidates who are considering commuting, the travel factor would approach 75%, with 20-25% of the time being spent in the Oakland office and the remainder on the road.


    Resume should be sent as a Word document to Ralph Protsik and Barbara Piercecchi, and also posted on the BSG website, www.bsgtv.com. No phone calls please.

     Request Information

    -by Megan Gillis on Jul 21, 2015 3:38:16 PM


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