About the Company 

Enterprise AI is a category of software that harnesses advanced artificial intelligence techniques to drive digital transformation. Building an AI model that acts like a human requires large volumes of training data – data that must be properly categorized and annotated for a specific use case. With high-quality, human-powered data annotation, companies can build and improve AI implementations. The result is an enhanced customer experience, such as more accurate and relevant product recommendations, search engine results, computer vision, speech recognition, chatbots, and more. 

Founded in 2008, Sama is a recognized leader in data annotation, having the longest, proven track record of guiding enterprises to build and scale some of the most impactful AI applications from transportation and navigation, to consumer and media, to retail and e-commerce, and robotics and manufacturing. Sama is the only company with its own experienced data annotation workforce supported by a custom collaborative workspace platform – a platform that allows us to work in real-time with our customers to deliver the most accurate, scalable, and advanced training data pipeline that fuels AI engines. Today’s most innovative enterprises like Walmart, GM, Ford, Google, NASA, iRobot, and many others trust us to help them deliver AI models that actually work.

Driven by a mission to expand opportunities for underserved individuals through the digital economy, Sama is a certified B-Corp (a designation reserved for companies that balance purpose and profit).  MIT has validated our business model by conducting a Randomized Control Trial over the course of 3 years. The study concluded that Sama was responsible for lifting 60,000 people out of poverty, increasing wages by 4x, and women earned 60% more than those who weren’t trained or employed by Sama.

About the Job

As the Strategic Account Director, you will lead one of our strategic, dynamic, and complex accounts to success. You are a responsible tech-oriented and operationally-minded contributor driving to innovate by working across teams to solve problems and develop a deep understanding of both the managed services and the technology that Sama provides its customers.  You have a proven track record of formulating long-term account strategies and driving execution across teams.

You will provide executive-level program oversight by partnering closely with a large operations team in East Africa, and lead all strategic discussions with the client. You will need to work effectively cross-functionally, and engage and influence executive stakeholders from Sales, Operations, Product, and other teams. You will focus on engaging, growing, and retaining a large and strategic customer through the entire customer journey, consultative-ly driving the adoption of Sama services and solutions. 

The ideal candidate would have a strong interest in both business and technology and must be comfortable in a very customer-facing position with up to 20-30% domestic and international travel.

Key Responsibilities: 

  • Actively manage a high-value account and be responsible for associated client retention, account growth, and satisfaction goals
  • Own the contracting and negotiation of commercial terms
  • Drive the strategy, plan, and execution of the account with the goal of client satisfaction, retention through operational excellence, and ultimately growth
  • Be the main point of contact for high-level client contacts and the main point of contact for escalations 
  • Improve customer engagement and showcase Sama platform to key client personnel responsible for starting new projects
  • Actively consult with and coach internal teams in client engagement strategy, operational maturity, and organizational development, working with an array of internal functional teams. 
  • Provide technical guidance to customer developers, product managers, systems architects, applied research scientists, etc around best practices on how to leverage the client’s technology as well as Sama’s suite of training data services - this may include anything from business case development to API guidance
  • Deeply understand the customer’s organizational goals, culture, blockers, and priorities. Drive Sama’s account strategy to align with the customer’s needs to achieve mutual success.
  • Drive ongoing engagement with customers including check-ins, QBRs, etc. Cultivate and nurture new relationships with customers to expand Sama’s scope of engagement into new business. 
  • Work with the customer to identify/resolve all issues that could impact customer satisfaction 
  • Drive effective collaboration with internal sales, product, engineering, global delivery, solutions engineering, and other teams to resolve cross-functional issues and seize opportunities 
  • Identify Sama process deficiencies and recommend how they can be improved in a positive, constructive fashion.
  • Proactively network with key contacts outside own area of expertise
  • Coordinate Sama resources as they pertain to the support of assigned customers
  • When needed, analyze project and performance data to support Global Delivery teams
  • Actively coach the team to master necessary skills to become the best in class Customer Success Managers  

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience
  • 10+ years of customer-facing experience in account management or customer success roles, at least 5+ for Fortune 200 accounts
  • Experience leading change management and process improvement initiatives
  • Thrives in a highly dynamic environment, comfortable prioritizing competing priorities
  • You see obstacles as opportunities and are highly motivated by difficult challenges
  • Passionate about providing world class customer experience
  • Deep commitment to building an ethical, world-class company with technology at its core - supporting Sama’s mission
  • Proven experience leading high level customer engagements with excellent negotiation, influencing, collaboration, communication, and presentation skills required
  • Experience working in tech environments and familiar with technical concepts
  • Outstanding organizational & time management skills, able to effectively prioritize and problem solve in a fast-paced, global environment
  • Ability to adapt information & style to different cultures, explain difficult concepts concisely, establish consensus, and ultimately gain agreement
  • Available outside of standard business hours to provide additional support to our team in East Africa as needed
  • Highly curious and willing to stretch, learn, develop, and (at times) be uncomfortable and manage through ambiguity
  • Experienced at setting KPI’s and OKR’s that drive desired customer and organizational outcomes
  • Self-driven and self-motivated leader - likes to have fun, and can motivate others with their positive attitude

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Majority of customer-facing experience in post-sales roles and within the Technology vertical
  • 5+ years of direct management experience 
  • 5+ years project or operations management experience
  • Significant experience in the managed services industry and with managing workers with limited traditional work experience
  • Experience in that AI/ML annotation industry, specifically focused on computer vision
  • Experience working with internationally distributed teams
  • You embody our Sama values, exemplifying Grit, Integrity, Get things done (GTD), and Humanity
  • Genuine interest in learning about new forward-thinking technologies - including machine learning & artificial intelligence and how we deliver value to clients


About Sama 

Sama provides high-quality training data that powers AI technology for Fortune 2000 companies such as Google, Walmart, Ford, Microsoft, and Marriott. We’re experts in data curation and data annotation for 2D and 3D image, video, and sensor data for machine learning algorithms.. Sama offers the highest quality SLAs in the industry, along with cutting-edge ML-assisted annotation tools, QA processes, and security and compliance standards. 

Founded in 2008 on the belief that “talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not”, Sama is driven by the mission to expand opportunities for those who are underprivileged. As a certified B-corp, Sama has provided worker training programs to increase economic opportunity for more than 13,000 people from underserved communities. By connecting our customers with amazing talent in East Africa, we've impacted more than 59,000 workers and their dependents.

Today, our vision is to provide data scientists, ML engineers, and data operations teams with an indispensable, integrated platform for AI data preparation, labeling, and collection. 

For more information, visit www.sama.com.

More information can be found at:

Our Culture:

Sama is quite unique. We are a technology company with a social mission. People that thrive in a high-growth environment, love working on the bleeding edge of technology, and really care about having a positive impact on the world are a great fit for the Sama culture. Our core values are One Team, One Goal - Deliver. Period. - Trust & Transparency - Customer First - Humanity.

Our Benefits:

Sama offers competitive compensation commensurate with experience and a full benefits package, including: medical, dental, and vision insurance, long-term disability insurance, life, and AD&D insurance, employer-matching Group RRSP, generous holiday and vacation policies, sabbaticals, a monthly fitness stipend, and professional development opportunities.

At Sama, we pride ourselves in being a diverse and equal opportunity employer.

Apply for this Job

* Required
resume chosen  
(File types: pdf, doc, docx, txt, rtf)
cover_letter chosen  
(File types: pdf, doc, docx, txt, rtf)