At Leading in Local: ILM 2013: Creating the Perfect Local Sales Organization

HubSpot SVP Mark Roberge provided four main points to frame best practices in sales training today at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local conference. This was the encore performance after Roberge’s highly rated appearance at the SMB conference in September in Austin.

Roberge is an MIT trained data scientist who transformed HubSpot’s own sales training by bringing science to selling. In other words, the age of big data meets sales force optimization. His outlook is framed from a set of expectations (and their outcomes) when he started.

These expectations and goals were all based on the general principle of achieving predictable and scalable revenue growth. The predictability is a play at being able to replicate what is otherwise a dynamic science with countless variables (individual strengths, corporate cultures, etc.).

Some of these initial assumptions were affirmed over time and others were debunked, but with equally valuable learnings.

Hire sales people with the same methodology
Train them in the same way
Provide them with the same quality of leads
Have them work the sales leads using the same process

The right person for every company is different Roberge admits. He espouses a few criteria to define, score and analyze. At hubspot he statistically examined all of the factors of successful reps and mapped them back to how they performed in initial interviews.

He found there were 5 consistent attributes: Coachability, curiosity, work ethnic, prior success, and intelligence. So for HubSpot and its unique variables and sales environment, these factors became central hiring criteria. The key is to determine what these are within each organization then apply.

A longstanding sales paradigm Roberge debunked is having new reps shadow seasoned reps. Bad idea he says, as it’s a great way to pass along bad habits. Every good rep does a few things very well and everything else mediocre. This will do more harm than good in a shadowing process.

Conversely, he recommends training all sales people with a similar process that allows them to be more consultative to prospects. And the secret sauce is forcing them to know the product, live the product, use the product. etc.. This will help them know the prospects’ pain points.

“That’s where sales needs to get”, he said, “to be the thought leaders in the space.”

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