Leaked memo: Google laid off sales team members after recent voice assistant team layoffs. But why?

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Key notes

  • Google announced a restructuring of its ad sales team, resulting in several hundred job eliminations.
  • The plan focuses on adapting to evolving client needs, increasing automation, and remaining competitive in a dynamic market.

Google announced a restructuring of its advertising sales team today, focusing on streamlining operations and leveraging automation. The plan includes eliminating several hundred roles within the large-customer sales team. This comes after recent layoffs in the voice assistant team.

This initiative follows recent announcements of workforce reductions in other Google divisions, including the Pixel, Fitbit, and Nest teams. Google clarified that impacted employees will be offered the opportunity to apply for open positions within the company.

In a memo, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, told staff about Tuesday’s cuts. Here is what it says:

Team,

Last month at GBO Live I shared our GBO 2024+ Strategy. We had a candid conversation on our rapidly evolving business reality, the profound moment we’re in with AI, and how we’ll intensify our focus on customer and partner growth. More than 20k of you watched, and overall, you gave us extremely positive feedback.

As part of the session, I also made clear that a substantial channel shift was coming and that regularly adjusting organizational structures based on customer needs, the overall market environment, and available resourcing is a normal part of running a business diligently. This is nothing new for GBO; we’ve done this for many years — sometimes smaller, sometimes at a larger scale — and will continue to do so.

In the last six months alone, we’ve executed strategic changes across three different teams: Global Partnerships, gTech, and Global Product Solutions — all aligned with our GBO growth principles. Each shift had a clear catalyst and expected impact with customer and partner needs as top priority. Internally, these moves are speeding up decision-making and velocity, simplifying complexity, and reducing hierarchy, laters, and duplication of work.

This week, we’re announcing the evolution of our sales operating model across LCS and GCS. Our goal has always been to have the right customer, mapped to the right channel for growth, with the best support models and streamlined operations. Every year we go through a rigorous channel management process to assess this and adjust customers accordingly. This year’s adjustment will be more sizable than usual — similar to what we did in 2016 and 2017 — and it will play into the strengths of each of our sales teams. Going forward, GCS will be our core channel for scaling growth by dynamically delivering the right treatment for every customer — while LCS will focus on transformational growth for our largest, most sophisticated customers.

As part of this shift, unfortunately, several hundred jobs will be eliminated or put at risk (subject to local regulations and consultations). Impacted GBOers will be supported throughout the process and can apply for open positions across our team (including some roles we’ll be adding to take care of additional customers moving to GCS) or elsewhere across Google. Sadly though, we will have to say goodbye to many highly talented and amazing sales colleagues. There’s no easy or best way to do this, but I’ve asked designated leaders to communicate personally with impacted folks in 1:1s. These conversations will start tomorrow across all regions; in EMEA, this process may take longer due to local regulations and practices. Next steps will be shared as quickly and respectfully as possible to minimize uncertainty.

While I’m confident we’re doing the right thing for our customers, partners, and ultimately our business, this will be very hard for many, especially across our LCS teams. Thank you for continuing to show up for each other with empathy, respect, and kindness. At GBO Live in two weeks we’ll further discuss and answer all your open questions.

Philipp.

So overall, here’s why Google is doing it:

  • Automation: AI-powered tools like Google’s Performance Max automate tasks like campaign management, reducing the need for manual human input. This automation trend is expected to continue, impacting traditional sales roles.
  • Adapting to market competition: The digital advertising landscape is fiercely competitive, with new players like TikTok and Amazon gaining traction. Google’s restructuring is seen as a way to improve efficiency and remain a dominant force in the industry.
  • Focus on the mid-tier market: Google is shifting its focus to serving the needs of medium-sized clients, who might require more hands-on support than larger clients. This means expanding and strengthening the Google customer solutions team.

Hence, Google’s decision to lay off members of its sales team reflects the larger trends of automation, shifting client needs, and intense competition in the digital advertising industry.

More here.

More about the topics: google, Layoffs