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HubSpot’s Science to Building a Scalable Sales Team

Mark Roberge

September 15th, 2014

My mission when I started at HubSpot was to create predictable, scalable revenue growth.

To create predictable and scalable revenue:

  1. Hire Great Salespeople
  2. Train Your Sales People in the Same Way
  3. Understand how the sales process has changed
  4. Hold your salespeople responsible for the process

#1 – Hire Great Salespeople

I’m often asked what I look for when I hire a new salesperson. I’ve found that the ideal sales hiring formula is different for every company but the process is the same.

At Hubspot, we’ve engineered a process for hiring new salespeople that includes subjective and objective traits. At first, I looked at different traits like Internet Marketing Experience, Intelligence, Drive, and many other traits. I measured people when they got hired, and continued to monitor that person’s performance through their time at HubSpot. Later, I aggregated these traits against their sales performance and performed a regression analysis to determine the traits for our top salespeople.

At HubSpot, the top traits we look for are:

  1. Coach-ability
  2. Curiosity
  3. Intelligence
  4. Work ethic
  5. Prior success.

We continue to assess these traits during the onboarding process and we’ll let folks go if it becomes clear that they are not a good fit.

#2 Train Your Sales People in the Same Way

A “ride-along” training strategy is neither scalable nor predictable. Most top performing sales people succeed in their own unique way, and they all get better in their own way. You can’t just have a new salesperson sit next to another salesperson and expect them to learn.

To illustrate – early on with HubSpot, I hired two sales reps with vastly different strengths. One woman had an amazing ability to connect with customers. Her selling ability was a little weak, but our leads connected with her and she sold a lot of business. The other salesman was great at completing activities. He was a great multitasker and was incredibly efficient. If I would have paired these two salespeople together for “ride-along” training, they would not have learned from each other or been successful.

We’ve scaled our sales team through teaching a common sales methodology that includes:

  1. Buyer Journey
    • Build out and understand the buyer journey
  2. Sales Process
    • Understand and align your training with the buyer journey to maximize their chances of success.
  3. Qualifying Matrix
    • Cheatsheet for your sales people to understand how to qualify leads

We use exams and certifications to measure quality and consistency coming out of training. Our sales reps may have different strengths and skills, but they’ll come out of our sales training program with a common set of skills and one unified sales methodology.

#3 – The Sales Process Is Changing

How do you buy? Cold call? Cold Email? Google?

Inbound marketing now defines modern lead generation. Leads are drawn to companies from blogs, SEO, and social media. The best way to draw people to you is via streams of content that are relevant to your industry. I believe that journalists hold the keys to the future of demand generation. In fact, one of our early hires at Hubspot was a journalist from the New York Times.

One great content generation hack you should employ at your company: put your sales leaders, marketing leaders, engineering leaders in front of journalists once-a-week for an hour to do content marketing for you. This meeting should generate 1 ebook, 4 blog posts, 8 facebook posts, 16 tweets. Create a call-to-action associated with each step in your content calendar that draws customers towards you and is designed to generate leads.

#4 Hold Your Salespeople Responsible for the Sales Process

Coaching: Golf vs. Sales

Most coaches try to get you to fix absolutely every problem that their reps have. The best coaches see all the problems and personalize their coaching to focus on the 1 or 2 different things that will make the biggest impact on their salespeople. They use “metrics-driven sales coaching” to diagnose the skill deficiency and build a coaching plan.

This session is titled HubSpot’s Science to Building a Scalable Sales Team by Mark Roberge, CRO of Hubspot

About the author

Mark Roberge

Mark is the Chief Revenue Officer of HubSpot Sales Products. Prior to HubSpot, Mark founded and/or held executive positions at start-ups in the social media and mobile sector. Mark started his career as a Technology Consultant with Accenture.

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