Okta just poached a seasoned sales leader from Splunk and Salesforce to woo customers and tackle its 'massive' market opportunity

  • Experienced software sales executive Susan St. Ledger is joining Okta as its new president of worldwide field operations in February, the company announced Friday.
  • St. Ledger was most recently in the same role at cloud data analytics company Splunk, and before that spent 11 years at Salesforce, working in sales and service leadership roles. 
  • St. Ledger, who will be leading all of the firm's customer-facing teams, said that the market opportunity for Okta's identity management tools is a "massive." 
  • Okta CEO Todd McKinnon said St. Ledger's experience with cloud and software sales, along wth growing platforms, will be important expertise for Okta going forward. 
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Okta has poached sales exec Susan St. Ledger from data analytics firm Splunk to become its new president of worldwide field operations, where she'll oversee all its customer facing teams and steer the future growth of the company, the firm announced Friday.

St. Ledger has worked in sales and revenue roles at enterprise software firms for over a decade, including four years at Splunk and 11 at Salesforce, most recently as chief revenue officer for its marketing cloud. She will officially come aboard in February, after current exec, Charles Race, ends his four year tenure at the company on January 31. 

Joining Okta was such a "compelling opportunity" because of the "massive" market opportunity, St. Ledger told Business Insider. Okta sells cloud software to manage online identities, both to employers — who use it to give their workers access to corporate tools — and organizations that want to allow customers to easily use their online tools.

That means any company with people and tech is a target customer for Okta, she said: "It gives you the two massive opportunities, for both workforce identity and customer identity." 

In her new role St. Ledger will oversee all departments that interact with customers, including marketing, sales, customer success, support, and professional services.

While St. Ledger is inheriting a massive department at Okta, she's also joining the company at a unique time in its history. The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shift to remote work has boosted its business tremendously, but it's also forced Okta (and its peers) to rethink ways to sell software.

CEO Todd McKinnon said that of all his direct reports, the worldwide field operations role is probably seeing the biggest shift with remote work.  

"These are probably the most in-person teams in the company," McKinnon told Business Insider. "It's about maintaining our performance through this, but it's also about how you take all the best learnings from this and incorporating them into the long-term plans." 

That part of what St. Ledger will be tasked with when she officially joins the company in February. She'll also be responsible for growing her team to reach more potential customers for Okta's identity products, and helping push forward Okta's platform services as it builds those out.

"I see a world where more products come with Okta pre-built," McKinnon said. 

Given St. Ledger's past experience in cloud and software sales, in addition to building and selling platforms, her expertise will be crucial to Okta as it builds out this vision, he added. 

For her part, St. Ledger plans to hit the ground running: "I don't see any reason why this can't be a $10 billion business very quickly," she said. Okta's annual revenue las year was $586.1 million, and it projects up to $803 million for this year. "The market opportunity is definitely there."

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