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10 Hits From Sales Hacker Leaders

Sales Hacker Conference brings together top sales leaders to share strategies and insights on how to grow your business quickly and sustainability. We live-blogged for Sales Hacker Conference in Boston this past week, and we're very excited to share the wonderful sales hacks, hiring tips, and management strategies we learned.

Below are excerpts of and links to blog posts from last weeks talks. Additionally, we've organized each post into three broad areas.

  1. Sales hacks to grow your sales pipeline
  2. Tips on hiring sales teams
  3. Qualities of successful sales leaders

If you're interested in learning more about Sales Hacker Conference, check out their website. Sales Hacker Conference will host its next all-day conference in San Francisco on November 6th.

Sales Hacks to Grow Your Sales Pipeline

  • Your Customers Are Your Best Sales Channel by Emmanuelle Skala, VP of Sales at Influitive - Influitive are experts at seeking referrals from their customers and consider referrals to be a part of their sales process. Emmanuelle shares details about "surround selling" and referral hacks your team can implement tomorrow.
  • Prospecting & Understanding the Outbound Index by Peter Gracey, Founder and CEO of Quota Factory - the Outbound Index was developed to help outbound sales teams assess their success rate at discovering, qualifying, and adding new leads to a sales pipeline. Peter discusses how the Outbound Index can be used to diagnose and fix issues with your outbound sales.
  • How Datanyze Bootstrapped to $1M ARR with Just 1 Engineer and 4 Salespeople by Ilya Semin, Founder and CEO of Datanyze - Ilya comes from an engineering background and did not have prior experience with sales. He shares the top hacks and strategies he's learned bootstrapping his startup.
  • Getting Around Gatekeepers: The Key to Unlocking the Mystery by Jeff Hoffman, Founder and CEO of MJ Hoffman & Associates - Whether you are dealing with gatekeepers by design, or gatekeepers who have "volunteered" for the role, learn how to work with gatekeepers to find success.

Tips On Hiring Sales Teams

  • Hubspot’s Science to Building a Scalable Sales Team by Mark Roberge, CRO of Hubspot - Mark has grown the sales team at Hubspot from one salesperson to hundreds of specialized sales staff. Mark is an expert at hiring great salespeople, and he shares his strategies for building your sales staff from the ground up.
  • Everything You Need to Know to Master Sales Development by Kyle Porter, CEO of Salesloft - Salesloft takes a unique strategy with Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and prioritizes their development. From hiring, to training & onboarding, and compensation, Kyle discusses how he's bootstrapped his business to $3 million ARR this year alone.
  • How ToutApp Grows High Performing Reps From Scratch by Tawheed Kader, Founder and CEO of ToutApp - ToutApp specializes in growing its' sales reps skills and often hires people with no sales experience. Tawheed talks about what he looks for when hiring a salesperson at ToutApp, and how you can identify salespeople that will fit your unique company culture.
  • All's Fair in Love & Sales: How to Hack the Sales and Marketing Relationship by Cece Bazar and Blake Harris, Sales & Growth Strategists at OpenView Venture Partners - Sales and Marketing can sometimes have a contentious relationship. Learn how to keep a strong relationship between your sales and marketing with these helpful hacks.

Qualities of Successful Sales Leaders

  • Top 10 Qualities of Great Sales Managers by Matt Bellows, Founder and CEO at Yesware - Matt was recently profiled in the New York Times about his struggles serving as Yesware's CEO and sales leader. Matt describes the 10 qualities he looked for when searching for a sales manager. 
  • What Sales Teams Must Focus On to Scale to Nine Figures by Mike McGuiness, SVP of Global Sales at SmartBear - Mike scales businesses that sell products to enterprise level customers. Mike spoke about the qualities and conditions necessary for your sales team to grow to nine figures in annual sales.

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.