HubSpot aligns sales and operations with CommercialTribe to put the measurement of development of their SMB sales team on auto-pilot.
HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales software company. Founded in 2006, the company has grown to serve over 34,000 customers in 90 countries and employs nearly 1,800 people across seven offices, with hundreds of sales team members worldwide.
HubSpot is renowned for its strong company culture and commitment to promoting from within, which has been key in supporting the significant growth the business has experienced over the years.
The Challenge: Developing a Young Sales Team as They Sprint for Monthly Quotas
Mike Pici, Director of Sales for HubSpot’s SMB sales team, oversees eight frontline managers, who each manage around ten sales reps. The team is mostly made up of young sellers led by a group of first-time millennial managers.
If you think that the sprint to the end of each quarter is a challenge, get this: Pici’s team operates on a monthly quota system. His team of roughly 70 sales managers and reps reset the clock every 30 days. This pace makes it very difficult to spend time developing junior employees and first-time managers because everyone is working to get to the finish line and hit the number.
As HubSpot continues to broaden its platform with innovative new products, Pici’s team needed to evolve their process. It became increasingly essential to be able to conduct high-quality discovery calls to ensure reps understood prospects’ needs and could accurately position HubSpot as the solution to their problem. As the business continued to grow rapidly, this discovery call—the Inbound Growth Assessment (IGA) in HubSpot vernacular—increasingly became an area of focus as a vital step in the sales process.
Mike Pici is a new breed of sales leader. Though his team works hard and he deals with the constant pressures of reaching monthly quotas with a young and developing sales team, he is still committed to carving out time to develop his people. However, like many sales leaders who believe in development, Mike continually grapples with having to re-invent the wheel on where and how to develop his team.
Channing Ferrer, the VP of Sales Operations & Strategy at HubSpot, was experiencing Mike’s pain from the other side of the office. Channing and his operations team conducted a study to determine the fundamental attributes and skills of a successful HubSpot sales rep. While he knew that attributes and skills were indicative of what makes a great sales rep, he did not have a mechanism with which to measure an individual’s strengths and weaknesses against these parameters. Nor did he have a clear path forward to coaching and developing the skills the team needed to gain the attributes and skills they needed to be successful.
Both Mike and Channing needed a systematic approach to pinpointing skills gaps, coaching for improvement, and measuring progress.
The Solution: Establishing a Sales Team Development Program
When HubSpot partnered with CommercialTribe, they found a solution tailor-made for developing sales teams.
Working with CommercialTribe, Mike focused the development of his sales team on improving the IGA. The IGA was a relatively new piece of the sales process, as HubSpot has been shifting from solely selling marketing automation to including their sales platform in the product mix. The IGA intends to frame a bigger customer problem and how HubSpot’s broad solution can address that pain.
CommercialTribe worked with both Mike and Channing to develop a customized assessment map that accounted for what Channing knew were attributes of a successful HubSpot sales rep with what Mike cared about specifically for running a successful IGA.
This calibration exercise also built trust between Mike and Channing’s departments to ensure that the attributes were correct and the assessment would be adopted by all parties.
Within two weeks after the assessment map was built, the sellers on Mike’s team had submitted a live recording of an IGA call for assessment.
CommercialTribe’s baseline assessment returned results that confirmed Mike’s hypothesis that there was room for improvement on the IGA call. While the team overall was certainly market ready, there were specific areas that, if improved, could make a significant impact on conversion rates at the top of the sales funnel.
Now it was incumbent upon Mike and his managers to take action. The baseline assessment produced insight into where to coach, but now they needed to put those insights into action during team and 1-on-1 coaching sessions.
CommercialTribe provided coaching guides for Mike and his management team to formalize coaching interactions with a clear and constructive agenda. The coaching guides led managers through the agenda to review the baseline assessment with their reps and align on what makes a great IGA. They would then discuss what the rep did well and where they could improve. Last, they would discuss and agree on actions that they could take to close the skill gaps.
Managers also used CommercialTribe’s “highlight reel”, which contained a different seller demonstrating a given attribute from the assessment map in 1 to 3-minute snippets. Sales reps and managers were able to view and return to the highlight reel on their own time and during coaching sessions to reinforce what an excellent IGA should look like.
“The value of the unbiased 3rd party assessment was huge,” describes one of Mike’s frontline sales managers. “Separating the assessment from coaching allowed us to coach constructively and focus on the fundamentals of great sales conversations by getting back to the basics, like focusing on why setting an agenda matters.”
“Perhaps one of the most surprising and rewarding moments for me,” shares one frontline manager, “was when a veteran rep who was very difficult to engage in change responded positively to the experience and we were able to open up a new coaching dialogue.”
Simply put: Mike’s team got better at delivering the IGA.
More specifically, the team’s IGA improved by 22% overall. The team saw huge gains in setting an effective agenda, focusing on differentiation, and delivering an insight. Mike used this opportunity to pause and celebrate with his team, calling out a few cases of exceptional improvement. One team improved by a whopping 44%, three sellers received perfect marks, and five achieved over a 50% lift in their IGA delivery.
The Result: Sales Team Development on Auto-Pilot
Channing and Mike expect to see this improvement show up in his team’s ability to build early-stage pipeline, an area that is hard to get management focus on given the monthly quota system at HubSpot.
“By providing them with clear insight and direction, busy sales managers can now see where and how to coach the key behaviors that move our pipeline forward,” says Ferrer.
The development of a sales team doesn’t begin and end within a quarter but is an on-going commitment to continually improve. “Once I determine where we want to get better, there is a system that puts the measurement of development of my team on auto-pilot,” says Pici.
With the Inbound Growth Assessment call clearly improved, Mike Pici will now turn his attention to the next development area for his team. A quarterly development calendar has been built using a menu of interactions, including not only developing how his reps interact with customers but also how his sales managers interact with their teams.
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HubSpot is a leading inbound marketing, sales, and CRM growth stack. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 34,000 customers in more than 90 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. HubSpot Marketing includes social media publishing and monitoring, blogging, SEO, website content management, email marketing, marketing automation, and reporting and analytics. HubSpot Sales enables sales and service teams to have more effective conversations with leads, prospects, and customers. HubSpot CRM helps sales teams organize, track, and grow their pipeline. All three platforms integrate right out of the box and are available for free to start.
CommercialTribe is the standard SaaS platform for developing and coaching sales teams to improve performance. We create an environment to unlock the potential of every rep and manager to get better—every quota carrying year—by intelligently observing reps in multiple selling scenarios, constructively assessing their behavior, and providing managers with clear coaching paths to close rep development gaps—and improve their coaching skills.