MicroSummary: Mark Roberge is undoubtedly one of the most influential sales managers in the world today. He was the first sales VP for Hubspot, one of the largest marketing automation companies in the world and took the company from zero to $ 100 million in revenue and an IPO that valued the company at more than $1 billion.
In his book, Sales Acceleration Formula, he tells how he achieved this feat, showing his learnings about culture, technology, metrics, management, and compensation of the commercial team. Do you have a company and are you setting up your first business team? If so, this is a must-read.
Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million
Why odd? I have almost six years of experience in sales. So after reading this book, I’ve realized that so many ideas presented here are the opposite of almost everything that I’ve learned all this time.
Using a mathematical approach, Mark Roberge made from his book a real guideline for anyone who wants to succeed in selling to businesses.
SALES TEAM / THE SALES ACCELERATION FORMULA
Data is your friend, and statistics do not lie.
His manner of writing also draws my attention: well structured, very simple and easy to follow.
A blueprint for how you can effectively hire, train, and manage a high-performing sales team.
As Mark Roberge says, this blueprint for human resourcing has five main parts.
In the first part – The Sales Hiring Formula – the author reveals the most important abilities needed for a sales team.
He explains all the steps needed to follow in searching for the perfect candidates for this job.
“Sales Acceleration Formula PDF Summary”
If you have enough experience in the sales area, you’ll definitely agree with that. Because the most important skill of a good salesperson is to bring value to the business for a long, long time.
Finding a top salesperson, one who will bring in hundreds of big customers for years to come, helps win the war.
Have you ever wondered what are the main skills a recruiter is looking for in jobs interviews? Your answer is here. And if you need to prepare for a job interview you better read this before.
Following Mark’s advice, you’ll discover new ways to approach a meeting like this. His goal is to redesign the salesperson’s image and to redefine the salesperson’s duties is in the technology era.
In the second part of The Sales Training Formula – Mark Roberge teaches us how a business can stay on top for a long time.
His advice is to improve the sales skills of employees through training programs.
But pay attention, because it isn’t just an ordinary training. You have to check with every employee what skills to train and what quality to improve.
For guaranteed success, a good employee needs to have skills like:
- Coachability – this skill is important because a sales career means coaching all the time using new strategies, new products, new abilities and so on.
- Curiosity – is the ability that makes a salesperson discover everything about his customers, and all this knowledge gives him all the info needed to understand and guide his customer in the right direction.
- Prior Success – “a history of top performance or remarkable achievement.”
- Intelligence – without this skill no one could understand complex products and strategies. And the lack of knowledge could destroy the entire work.The most affected will be the customer relation and the company’s image.
- Work Ethic – “proactively pursuing the company mission with a high degree of energy and daily activity.”
Aggression and strong objection handling ability, had the worst correlation with success.
The next three parts of the book are about the company culture and long-term decisions. Motivating employees is a good strategy.
This will help you to be sure that everyone gives everything for the company’s prosperity.
In fact, the motivational culture in your company can make a difference and bring long-lasting results.
But a company that wants to succeed in business also needs a good marketing strategy. A strategy that is up to date with technology.
That is dynamic in the online media. The customer evolution is a fact that can’t be ignored. After all, we’re also customers in different contexts.
Think about it: what is the first thing you do when you want to buy something? These days we first search online.
Google seems to be the first reliable friend that we think of. Only after some time spent on searching we finally buy what we need.
That’s why all businesses have to keep up with this evolved customer. They have to make available and visible the offer to their target.
If you’ve ever been in the position to manage human resources of your company, you know how important it is for a company to have a great innovation culture.
How to achieve that – you’ll find out in this book. You also have to be prepared to learn how great ideas could be found in the executive’s teams.
Only a strategy like this that brings long-term results, makes sure that the company has an innovation culture and enough transparency for all employees.
Why should we be focused on these kinds of things? First of all, because a good innovation culture could bring changes that may create advanced products or selling strategies.
The Sales Acceleration Formula also provides plenty of information about promoting your business online and how you can bring traffic to your site.
Simple and actionable steps for scheduling the right actions and designing a wise plan for your business.
All these strategies are the path to business success. Mark has a strategic mind and a realistic point of view.
He makes a list of changes that have occurred once this online era was born.
Buyers will no longer tolerate being strong-armed into a purchase.
This turned us into more aware and more informed clients during the buying process.
In this perpetually changing world, it’s getting harder and harder for sellers to accomplish their goals. In order to succeed, sale zones need intelligent people to do this job.
The Internet’s rise in prominence has caused a shift in power from the salesperson to the buyer.
Experience so far has changed the vendor’s perception. Customers are more suspicious when they are approached directly by vendors.
They prefer to be the ones who take the first step towards the seller.
Through the eyes of the author, this book is meant to teach, prove and predict plenty of interesting things about the sales field.
But above all these, Mark Roberge is designing a brand-new image for the salespersons.
He’s doing his duty to change, win more trust for vendors and bring more awareness of the salesperson qualities in the eyes of customers.
The Way to The $100 Million
Roberge was the number 4 employee at Hubspot, and his main challenge was to scale the sales force during the first 7 years of the company. The team went from 1 employee in sales (himself) to more than 450 people among areas like sales, services, and support.
Most interesting of all is that, when Roberge started, he had no sales experience and that, to a certain extent, was an advantage.
Roberge is a software engineer by training who later migrated to the business area getting an MBA at MIT which allowed him to see sales through a point of view focused on technology and data analysis.
Foreseeable, Scalable Revenues
That was the mission that Roberge set for himself. To do this, he created 4 tactics that could help him achieve this goal:
- Always hire the same archetype of a successful seller;
- Train all salespeople in the same way;
- Give them the same amount and quality of leads;
- Ensure that they work all leads with the same process;
These are some of the key points that allowed Mark’s acceleration strategies to succeed. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Hiring a Successful Seller Always
To build a scalable and predictable sales team, the first step is to hire the right people.
For Mark, there is no single vendor background that works for every business. Each company is unique and relies on its own context.
Roberge tried and managed to hire more experienced sellers from other well-known companies, but they did not stand out as much as he hoped.
Selling a product from a known company is simpler than the product of a newly founded startup.
The Hubspot sale was evangelistic, consultative, and unlike the other sales companies that had big teams. So Mark had to learn, in a way, in his own way.
Although each company has its unique candidate profile and its own hiring process, it has chosen to create a standard method, such as an engineer, to hire and evaluate candidates for sales.
He started by listing 10 attributes he sought from the candidates and believed to be the ones that would correlate most with success in sales.
Based on this, each candidate interviewed, and each candidate that was joining the company received a grade for each of these 10 criteria.
After 6 months using this process, he hired half a dozen people.
Some stood out, others not so much.
To understand this, he came back to analyze the performance of the best and try to understand what was consistent with his ideas of success attributes and what attributes were missing by reviewing his list of criteria.
Two years later, he already had dozens of vendors and enough data to do a regression analysis to understand, from the attributes he imagined correlated to success and which actually had the most significant impact on each candidate. Mark was surprised analyzing the results.
His list had attributes constantly associated with sales professionals, such as “ability to close deals,” “Objection Management,” and “Persuasion,” and incredible as it may seem, they did not correlate successfully with sales at Hubspot. In fact, in some cases, these attributes hurt the candidates.
The attributes that had a correlation with success were characteristics such as “Preparation”, “Knowledge in the area”, “Intelligence”, that is, characteristics of people with traits of consultants, counselors.
And that made Roberge understand that there was a difference in the buyer’s expectation as to precisely what a seller was.
The new buyer has much more control over the buying process, and so they seek out someone who understands it and manages real value for their decision making.
In Mark’s case (and he points out that this may not work for other companies), the criteria for predicting a candidate’s success were, in order:
- Coachability: The seller’s ability to learn more about the process, product, and through the monitoring of the most experienced professionals;
- Curiosity: His interest in genuinely understanding the buyer’s challenges and where the industry is moving;
- Intelligence: Yes, the seller’s analytical ability was crucial to selling more;
- Work ethics: The commitment and the desire to be a qualified professional;
- Previous Successes: Have participated in something and have been successful, whether in sales, sports, arts, etc.
And from that analysis, Mark ensured he knew exactly who he would like to hire for his commercial team and succeed at all times.
Training All People The Same Way
Once we have the right candidate, the next step is to ensure that the training is the same for all of them.
The market standard for training new salespeople at the time was simple.
Commercial directors hired new candidates and asked them to “stick” to the best-performing salespeople to learn by watching the other vendors sell.
For Mark, this did not seem scalable, and he noticed it early.
Although the sellers had the same set of characteristics, they were different. Some focused on performing many activities at high speed. Others were terrific in rapport and connecting emotionally with their customers.
These different skills were not easy to pass from seller to seller because each seller succeeds in his unique way.
Therefore, he chose to create a standard training that went through the client’s buying journey, the sales process and a qualification matrix.
Mark and his team spent a month building their own methodology and ensuring that their vendors understood how the new buyer has more control over the new buying process.
The seller’s role is to help you in an advisory fashion to reach the end.
From there, he decided that at Hubspot, every salesperson should go through 30 days of training.
In this training, he needed to use the company’s software, know its functionality, and understand precisely what the company’s customers were doing with their product.
When these salespeople got on the phone to talk to their customers, they were actually able to explain how the product could help them, after all, they had actually put themselves in their place.
Another important point was that the sellers would participate in the digital communities where the buyers met. Blogs, social networks, LinkedIn groups, Twitter profiles, etc.
The Same Volume and Leads Quality for Everyone, Every Month
With hired and trained salespeople, it’s time for action and for that they need leads.
And the challenge is to ensure that salespeople have a predictable flow of leads coming in so they can work.
The digital consumer is already online researching solutions to solve their problems on the internet.
Therefore, it is crucial that the company does marketing on this channel and offers solutions for customers who are seeking to solve these issues and this is something that depends on the production of content.
Ideally, hire a journalist or someone with experience in the field. The person does not necessarily need to know everything about their company or area of expertise.
She needs to be able to talk to her team, her executives, and turn that knowledge into content for the end consumer.
The idea is that he interviews these people and, from that, he creates a free ebook, 1 landing page, 4 blog posts and posts on social networks.
The content of the blog and social networks lead people to download the free ebook, and in this process, the company can collect information from people who really have the problem you are looking for.
\Leads! Another important point is to align the marketing and sales teams.
To avoid the sales team from complaining about the quality of leads, volume, and abstract criteria, a more considerable alignment is required.
Roberge created with the marketing team an SLA (service level agreement) so that there was no abstraction when evaluating performance between teams.
With this, each lead generated by the marketing becomes a monetary value based on the conversion rate of that lead.
With SLA marketing, marketing and sales learn that, for example, if they give 100 leads that downloaded an ebook to a sales professional, he can connect with 30 of them, make 15 statements and close 5 contracts of $1000, making it clear that every lead that marketing is worth $50 in revenue.
Of course, different types of leads have different conversion rates, a user who downloads an ebook is less likely to buy than one who requests a product test.
To understand each type of lead, Hubspot created a matrix of lead education and from it, it was clear to understand the value of each lead and what conversion rate was expected for it.
Still, it is possible to model how much each lead is worth and what monetary value in leads marketing needs to deliver for the sales team to meet its goal.
In addition to marketing within an SLA, the sales team must also follow a predictable standard procedure.
Once the lead is received, how many contact attempts are required to be made until it closes or is discarded?
To do this, again Mark turned to statistical analysis and clearly defined how many tries had to be made for each type of lead.
In the end, he came to the conclusion that for small businesses, the ideal number was 5, for averages, 8 were needed, and 12 for large companies.
With that done, everything was automated in CRM and people came to follow this new model, making the valuable leads generated by the marketing were being treated with the attention deserved.
From then on, this SLA between both teams is tracked daily, and the results are visible to all.
Guarantee That All Leads Are Worked With The Same Process
The primary task of the sales manager is not to keep the pipeline up to date or to make sales forecasts.
The most important thing is to ensure that all the vendors are adopting the process and understand how they can use it, their challenges and work with them to overcome them.
To promote someone to management and ensure that the person will succeed, they need to be able to train a salesperson, see how things are going and give continuous feedback so that he can overcome his challenges, one or two things at a time.
That is a coaching approach based entirely on metrics.
If you have a team of competent salespeople, a constant volume of leads, and a clear process, your biggest challenge is to help people improve at the points of difficulty in that process.
Observed conversion rates at each stage of the funnel, you can do this.
If a salesperson is great in the first phase of the connection, but not so good at presentation or closing, the manager must work that particular point with him weekly until the performance is corrected.
If another salesperson is excellent at demonstrations and closings but has difficulty connecting with leads, it is important that he be able to develop this skill with the help of his manager.
It is essential to know how to ask the right questions to find the professional’s difficulties.
Besides, listening to leads together and analyzing the cadence of emails helps the person to learn and improve their rates at every stage of the business process.
How to Use Competitions to Sell More
The use of competitions in sales can help the company as a whole to sell more.
Which seller does not want an additional bonus on stocks or financial? As Hubspot grew, Roberge was able to use these competitions/campaigns to ensure the team upped its performance.
He would make small monthly competitions to solve challenges such as reinforcing desired behaviors, achieving short-term goals and enhancing team integration.
To make a successful sales competition, you need to:
- Align the goal of the competition with the desired short-term behavior change for the team.
- Adopt a team competition;
- Give the prize to the winning team;
- Send competition rankings by email, every night;
- Choose the right time;
- Avoid competition fever while keeping the weather friendly;
Use mastery competitions, and you will be able to direct your team to the desired goals.
The Role Playing Game
Traditional Role Playing used to be a common sales training tactic. On the other hand, it is challenging to use this interpretation as a training tool because it is difficult to measure its results.
Therefore, Roberge created a Role-Playing model, which has a fixed curriculum, structured and based on real sales situations.
Training included testing, certifications, and helping candidates identify areas for improvement and strengths.
These evaluations were passed on to the seller’s manager, who used them to ensure that they focused on opportunities for growth.
That allowed each team member always to know their strengths and also had a clear path to evolve.
Experiencing and Innovating Sales
At Hubspot, most of the sales innovations came from the team and not from the managers. Ideas began to emerge, and Roberge created a model to ensure that experiments would be sources of learning.
To have a new experiment in progress, it was necessary: To be clear to all what would be success or failure before implementing it; Find the smallest possible investment to take this test without compromising the team’s performance; Select the best possible people to perform the test.
This environment, which is prone to experimentation, has allowed Hubspot to create its channel sales team, which currently accounts for almost 40% of the company’s sales.
Evolving The Sales Compensation Program
In order to have a successful team, it is necessary that the company’s compensation plan is aligned with the objectives of the business.
However, many companies do not evolve their compensation plans as the company grows.
As Hubspot evolved, the compensation plan went through several phases.
Up to the first 1000 customers, the strategy was focused entirely on bringing new customers to the company.
So the compensation plan was based only on closing new customers and did not include retention bonuses.
As the company grew, the plan was adjusted to ensure that the company brought customers and these customers were retained, thus maximizing the value captured by the organization and focusing on the sellers in bringing the right customers.
In this compensation plan, the seller received commissions for being able to better retain the customers he sold, and that made him sell to customers with the most appropriate profile.
Another incentive was to commission more aggressively sellers who were able to receive the value of the annual advance contract and thereby improve the company’s cash flow.
“Sales Acceleration Formula Quotes”When you are scaling a sales team, the to-do list is endless. Hiring, training, coaching, pipeline reviews, forecasting, enterprise deal support, leadership development, and cross-functional communication are all part of the day-to-day. Click To Tweet Recently at a meeting of corporate strategists. More than 70 percent responded that their strategy was. Click To Tweet The sales compensation plan is Batman, the sales contest is Robin. Click To Tweet
“The Sales Acceleration Formula” is a fantastic book because it allows us to look at how one of the best sales teams in the world works and how they managed to scale and become a billionaire company in such a short time.
If you have a startup and want to set up your sales team, this reading is essential, and we recommend that you stop everything now and buy the whole book!
Mark Roberge’s lessons can help revolutionize any business that relies on a commercial team.
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