How to hire, treat and train your salespeople so that you get predictable, scalable revenue growth.
Mark is responsible for the entire sales and services function at HubSpot, increasing revenue over 6,000% and expanding the team from 1 to 200 employees in five years. These results placed HubSpot #33 on the 2011 INC 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. Mark was also awarded the 2010 Salesperson of the Year at the MIT Sales Conference.
When interviewing look for patterns and predictability. You should be able to identify traits that are required for successful people at your company.
For example, the three criteria Mark Roberge was originally evaluating candidates by were:
He realized after the first year that coachability is the crucial element of success at HubSpot. During his interview process, he provides coaching and training and if they take the training well, then that’s a good indicator for later success.
When you are hiring, don’t look for unemployed people. Good sales people are never unemployed. If they are unemployed, they probably aren’t good at sales
Hiring the right type of salesperson can’t be done via Monster.com or Craigslist. Sometimes agencies and recruiters can help.
But the best way is to actively and passively recruit by tapping into:
Many companies train their new salespeople by giving them a two-page sales manual and letting them shadow a senior sales rep for a month.
But there are inherent flaws in this approach:
This is how they train new salespeople at HubSpot:
Sales reps at HubSpot take a 150 question test that helps them to find their strengths and what their "killer skill set" is.
You need to encourage them to leverage that skill set. Find a way of helping your sales reps to recognize and leverage their individual killer skill set.
Today in the world of SaaS when people can buy on their own, sales is more about being a trusted advisor than an aggressive salesperson.
For example, new salespeople at HubSpot don’t do any sales for the first three weeks on the job. They use HubSpot for three weeks and are asked to do everything (build a site, set up a campaign run a blog, etc.), so that they have hands-on experience with the product.
Provide content that will drive traffic. Set up a blog!
Go to a local school (university) and find a journalism student and have them write content for a few hours a week.
Have them interview you, your engineering team, or your executive leadership team.
They will start compiling these interviews and create an ebook and blog posts.
In promoting the ebook and blogs, they will put links on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs that will drive traffic back to your site.
The best way to go about this is to create a content calendar, so that you know when you will publish what on which platform. Here’s an example of how this could look:
1. Today’s new motto is “always be helping” rather than “always be closing”.
2. Equip your sales team with how you found the leads they are reaching out to. Its important to let your sales team know how I (as a salesperson) called you.
3. Make sure your sales reps are reaching out to people who are giving buying signals.
4. You shouldn’t be cold pitching new leads, you should be pitching them based on client info you learned prior to the call.
5. If they give you a question, then you increase the likelihood of a close on a cold call from .5% to ~10%.
6. Maximize the time your managers are coaching.
7. Use metrics to find sales reps weak points and then provide coaching based on metrics that are not where they should be.
Image credits: HubSpot slideshow for the 2013 Sales Hacker Conference
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