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Office Hours: I’m the Head of Product at Mercado Pago. I'm also a 500 Startups, Latitud, and Rockstart mentor focused on Sales Ops. I’m Juliana Aldana. AMA!Featured

Hi everyone!

My name is Juliana Aldana and I’m currently Head of Product in Mercado Pago (Mercado Libre's payment platform) and a 500 startups, Latitud, and Rockstart mentor focused on Sales Operations.

I have over 10 years of experience in B2B operations and my area of expertise is in scaling commercial operations, product, and processes in different countries.

I recently joined Mercado Libre working as Head of Product. Over the past few months, I've been mentoring a few startups from Mexico and Colombia and became an Angel Investor for the first time.

Before that, I had the chance to build the Sales and Onboarding Operations at Rappi for 9 countries dealing with +10k restaurants/month and leading +250 people. And I also launched Uber Eats Mexico in +35 cities, growing from 1000 partners to more than 50k.

In the last 3 years, I’ve built the first self-onboarding tool for new merchants at Rappi – representing around 25%-30% of monthly new merchants and reducing acquisition costs by 80% –, launched and owned the CRM implementation for commercial teams at Rappi, and reduced overall onboarding days from +20 to less than 7 in 5 months and reduced early churn in 10% for new partners at Rappi.

During my spare time, I’m a passionate and dedicated yoga student and an astrology enthusiast. I’ve found these to be interesting tools when connecting with my spiritual side. Also, I spend most of my time with my two rescue pets Chela (dog) and Bruna (cat).

Ask me anything about leading and creating teams, B2B Growth, scaling ops in different countries, and mentorship!

ElphaStaff's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much for joining us @julianaaldana!Elphas – please ask @julianaaldana your questions before Friday, September 23rd. @julianaaldana may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Gabliz's profile thumbnail
Hi Juliana! I enjoyed reading your post so much. Thank you for sharing and being open about connecting with your spiritual side. I am myself exploring different aspects through such instruments as astrology, human design, gene keys, meditation and breath work and etc.Being aligned with my purpose and authentic in my everyday life including work is important to me. I am looking to grow in the business development / growth role. I went really hands-on after switching to entrepreneurship from corporate (business consulting / investment manager). So far I have experience in fintech with finding product / market fit, launching new products - doing customer interviews, first sales, setting up the process, hiring the team. Could you share your view of professional growth? How would you view this track if you had to start now? Thank you!
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
I think you are experimenting all the sales roles :) You are doing great. my only recommendation would be to try to find that you enjoy and you are good and experiment on that field.
matetzlaff's profile thumbnail
Hi Juliana, it's so nice to meet you. It's exciting to see someone who has experience working in LatAm in this AMA. I am also a fellow Rappi alum, having worked in Argentina on CPGs team for 2 years, mainly focused on catalog and pricing.How easy was it for you break into a leadership role? Do you think that you had leadership skills before your first leadership role? Or did you learn those skills after accepting a leadership role? Asking because although I do want to remain an individual contributer (IC), I find myself drawn to the idea of one day leading team of other analysts/programmers, perhaps as a mentor.
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
Hiii!So, great question.If you are trying to jump into a leadership role I do think that starting as a mentor could be a really good place to start.Regarding leadership for IC or young professionals I always recommend 3 things before jumping into a leadership role:1. Doing things as being mentor, leading a squad, a project, etc.2. Asking yourself why do you want to become a leader: not that this is your case, but in my experience i've found that many people want to be a leader just because "it's the next thing to do if I want to grow" and not actually because you are really in the path of being a people manager.3. Study the concept of self leadership: https://www.selfleadership.com/what-is-self-leadership :)Regarding my own experience, i honestly think i just started being a people manager first because i'm focused on people (even when i was IC my approach at work was based and focused on teams and people growth) and second because i raised my hand and asked for it so many times until i got the chance and it happens that I was actually good at it.Hope this helps :)
meganrichards's profile thumbnail
Hi Juliana! I would love to hear your perspective on scaling sales operations for a marketplace business. What were some of the pivotal initiatives that allow the sales motions of those businesses to scale and increase efficiency beyond a direct sales/quota based framework?
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
Ok, overall to scale sales ops, I've used:- Optimizing improving lead generation: from buying better data bases, to hire people to manually clean leads to learn how to allocate better my budget in SEO/SEM strategies.- Compensation /Incentives schemes which I think this is the one you are talking about.- Centralization: This one i've used when having different cities/countries with local people, basically i hired a central team instead of satellite teams.- Improve CRM- related processes, tools and activities: automated emails, improved funnel visibility, better tracking tools, digital automated contracts.etc.
meganrichards's profile thumbnail
Thank you! Appreciate the ideas!
hannahsasser's profile thumbnail
Hi Juliana! Thanks for hosting! I've been in CDMX since 2017, you can find me at Parque Mexico most days with my dog Pirata :) I'm in Operations with a background in startups and looking to get into more Business Operations / Management Consulting. Would love any tips/tricks/things to know or best practices to getting into larger companies and building companies as a whole.
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
Hiiii :)Would love to introduce our dogs!.So, if I got this right the question is basically how to get into big tech companies right?If this is the question, then the answer is *networking*, use Linkedin to connect with people, contact them and then try to meet them in person if possible. This is not the fastest path but for me it opened me the opportunity to be referred to Uber.
hannahsasser's profile thumbnail
I would love that! If there is a DM here, please message me and we can coordinate a doggy play date and a coffee. Always looking to connect with women in the city!
iynna's profile thumbnail
It is SO nice to meet you and thank you for spending time with us this week! Really appreciate it. I am curious what do you think are the key 3-4 sales and prodcut metrics early-stage founders should be tracking as they think about product market fit? And what are some tips to optimise for that growth? You've got such amazing experience and I can't wait to get your thoughts on this!
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
Thank you for amazing question!Well, in the Sales Side I'd say:- CAC: Basically how much does it cost to bring a new customer.- Total Number of leads per source and Conversion Rate: which lead gen channel is being more efficient and effective.- Revenue per deal or paying customers: meaning out of the total customers that you have actually how many of them are paying and how much- Retention (depending how early is early founders) --> you would want to see if people actually stay on your product.- Burn Rate is not properly sales but it's keyFor Product (some of the above are also product as well):- Active users: I think this is the most important one.In Seed or pre-seed, optimizing for growth it's all about Sales (bringing leads that get pay customers), so generally speaking in that part of the process is where you are going to find the growth based on clients but also the validation of what they are asking from you to build in your product.Hope this works, without a specific understanding of the company or business model it's quite hard to provide this feedback :)
laetitiadursel's profile thumbnail
Hi Juliana,What an inspiring career! I'd love to ask you about your time at Rappi, when you implemented sales & onboarding in 9countries:- what was you biggest challenge in implementing this?- how did you decide where to start, or did you do these all at once?Many thanks for sharing your learnings with us!
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
Hi!!!- The biggest challenge was coordinating this with people from different backgrounds: from local sales teams, to Ops and product. Moreover, this was hard because I also had to make this a priority for the local teams on top their own agendas. So a lot of stakeholder management, prioritization, effective communication, planning and internal negotiation was made.- We decided to start when we saw a huge opportunities in terms of how long was the process for our clients and how ir cost. So we identified some key optimization areas. To start we selected the smallest countries to basically prove our proposal and then, after 1 month, we scale in 2 waves and I left the biggest country (Mexico) till the very last since it was the country in which if I fail I could have lose a big amount of money.Hope this is useful :)
laetitiadursel's profile thumbnail
This was super helpful, many thanks for taking the time to respond! I'd love to discuss further about this topic, if you are in NYC, let me know so we can go grab a drink :)
Hello Juliana. Thank you for your time on this session. I am wondering how you would advise someone without a sales background but considering a role in Sales. Where should they start from in their learning process? What resources can you recommend?Thank you in anticipation of your response.
julianaaldana's profile thumbnail
Hi!Look I think that whenever you want to change the career of your direction you must be fully aware that: (1) you are going to have a learning curve and (2) you could potentially have to accept a job offer with a bit less seniority in order to build a career in that new area.Speaking specifically about Sales, my recommendation are: (1) don't be afraid of NO, you will have tons of it, (2) you will only get better at sales by doing it, so practice as much as you can, (3) Sales is about relationships so be sure to learn how to make strong ones and (4) these are key resources i think you could find interesting about the topic: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XYjqqcbSRJZQG4LH40nJ4-HwTCwr8-5HqS_QGNIYma8/edit#gid=0
Hello @julianaaldanaThank you very much for your feedback on this. The resource links are much appreciated.