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What Sales Teams Must Focus On to Scale to Nine Figures

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Conference Boston are brought to you by PipelineDeals. PipelineDeals is sales and CRM software trusted by thousands of companies to increase sales. Follow us @pipelinedeals.

By Mike McGuinness, SVP of Global Sales at SmartBear

Today I’m going to highlight some questions to consider as you begin to scale. Before you talk about scaling, you have to assume that the following three things are already met.

  • The Product Works
  • The Market Exists
  • Your Sales Model Works

If these three things do not already exist for your company, you are not ready to scale yet. So what are the things to consider when you’re beginning to scale.

The Second Lieutenant

This is the first level manager in your organization. Who is this person, how were they chosen, and what skills do they have? You need to make sure that you’re focusing on the qualities of this first managerial leader at your company. This person should have the ability to coach your lower level reps, and your hiring process for these lower level managers must be repeatable.

Moneyball

How can you hire people at a cost-level that you can handle so that you can scale? I call this playing “moneyball” in the market. One way to hire people at a cost-level you can handle is through having incentive packages well aligned to your scaling goals.

What’s your farm system?

There are organizations that have great farm systems, and you can create a great one at your company. With that being said, your BDR program is not your farm system.

Why do “A” developmental players want to join your team?

Make sure that you understand why these developmental players want to join your team. They may be mission driven, career driven, or have a strong desire to make money with a growing company. If they only want to join you because of money, your sales team is going to struggle. Invest in your sales team by building up your teams skills and building their careers.

Henry Ford Had it Right

Limit the number of variations that you have in your company. You can’t customize everything for everyone on your team. The worst mistake that I see company’s make is that they pander to early high performers too much.

In a young company, your territory is either growing or shrinking.

If your territory is growing, that’s bad news. Your territory should be geographically getting smaller because you’re getting more prospects in a given area of marketplace. If your territory is determined by a specific vertical or market segment, look for this to get smaller as well.

Scale requires simplicity.

The world is a big place and there are lots of opportunities in the developed and developing world. As you grow and scale your team, you are going to begin to grow globally. I generally recommend that companies try to focus on the developed world first cause their sales process is similar to the sales process in the US. I have a 90/10 rule to decide where to grow (e.g. focus on selling in countries whose sales processes are 90% the same as the US). More developing countries may have vastly different sales processes and you’ll have to tailor your processes to meet these areas.

Canaries & Ratios

As you start to scale your company, you need pay close attention to proverbial “canaries in the coal mine” that could spell trouble for your company. These could include the following:

  • $$$ per Quota/Month
  • Reps Per Manager
  • Reps Per BDR
  • Reps Per SE
  • Reps Per CAM
  • CAMs per Channel Mgr
  • Reps per Sales Ops
  • Commission Stack $$$

As these begin to change, you need to do research to identify what is causing the change so that you can pivot in the appropriate way.

Hubspot’s Science to Building a Scalable Sales Team

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Conference Boston are brought to you by PipelineDeals. PipelineDeals is sales and CRM software trusted by thousands of companies to increase sales. Follow us @pipelinedeals.

By Mark Roberge, CRO of Hubspot

My mission when I started at Hubspot was to create predictable, scalable revenue growth. To create predictable and scaleable 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
    1. Build out and understand the buyer journey
  2. Sales Process
    1. Understand and align your training with the buyer journey to maximize their chances of success.
  3. Qualifying Matrix
    1. 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.

Everything You Need to Know to Master Sales Development

*Editors Note: Live updates from the Sales Hacker Conference Boston are brought to you by PipelineDeals. PipelineDeals is sales and CRM software trusted by thousands of companies to increase sales. Follow us @pipelinedeals.

By Kyle Porter, Founder & CEO at SalesLoft


At Salesloft, we’ve bootstrapped our company to $3 million ARR this year and we’re growing our team fast. One of the key ingredients to our growth is how we treat our sales development reps (SDRs). Below are the good and bad things that teams do when they’re building their SDR teams.

  1. Prioritization
  2. Hiring
  3. Training and On-boarding
  4. Process
  5. Compensation

Prioritization (Bad)

  • Treat sales development like lower class citizens
  • No time or budget allocated to SDR team.

Prioritization (Good)

  • SDRs are considered equal class.
  • SDR team is visible to CEO and executives.
  • Time and money is budgeted to the SDR team.

We make sure that people know that SDR is a priority for our team. We treat them on equal footing with our sales and marketing teams, and they report up to our CEO.

Hiring (Bad)

  • Hire anyone and believe they will fit in with the team.
  • Do not focus on culture.
  • Make exceptions just to fill seats.

I see this all the time. Companies will hire a person right out of college that isn’t a good fit for their company and doesn’t have the right qualities. Hiring alignment is critical.

Hiring (Good)

  • Culture as a top priority.
  • Hire top 1% of individuals in their field.
  • Hire reps who can punch above their weight class and have an entrepreneurial attitude.

We’ve listed out the top qualities that we’re looking for with our hires, and we’ll ask people questions that are relevant to these categories.

I believe that culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage you can have as a business. We look for people who are positive, supportive, and are self-starting. We’re looking for people that would classify themselves as being the top 1% of being positive, supportive, and self-starting.

Training & On-Boarding (Bad)

  • Hire reps and let them know what to do.
  • Ride along training

Training & On-Boarding (Good)

  • 1 on 1’s for one hour every week
  • Team environment
  • Defined playbook for quick ramp-up time
  • Significant phone call role play

If you email me, I’ll give you Salesloft’s playbook for success for new reps. Whenever a new rep starts, I’ll give them my cell phone number and have them call me. I’ll coach our new SDR’s.

Process (Bad)

  • Massive list buys
  • Spam blasts
  • Overloading transactional emails in marketing automation software
  • Reps with too many prospects

In the IT industry, there is massive turnover. Most email marketing lists that SDR ‘s work for really suck. Also, marketing automation systems often use transactional email systems to send out emails. These get market as Spam, Promotions, etc., and have terrible open and CTR.

Process (Good)

  • Find contacts from professional profiles
  • Use manageable chunks of prospecting each day.
  • Develop a rhythm and cadence.
    • This is going to be specific to your customer and industry.
    • Build a rhythm and cadence around your market.
  • Manage based on specific metrics.
    • Make sure everyone knows the KPIs.

LinkedIn is better than most. 27 out of 27 of our employees have accurate LinkedIn profiles. 3 out of 27 have accurate Data.com profiles. We recommend using LinkedIn to obtain accurate contact information.

Compensation (Bad)

  • Copied some other team’s compensation package.
  • Compensation packages are opaque.

Compensation (Good)

  • Pay reps based on metrics that are super applicable to them. For SDR’s this is demos completed.
  • Test and find the best compensation plan for your team.
  • Be transparent with new hires.