The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

27. Building a Predictable Revenue Engine for Your Company w/ Mark Roberge

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we interview famous CRO, thought leader, and author, Mark Roberge.  

Mark was the first sales hire at Hubspot and helped scale that business from $0 to $100M.  During his time, he developed the key concepts that would lead to the “The Sales Acceleration Formula”, the foundational factors that help a company deliver predictable consistent revenue growth.

Mark walks us through his time at Hubspot, provides detailed insights into the factors driving predictable revenue growth, and breaks down the essence of his new framework centering around go-to-market fit.


One, two, one, three, three Fo. Hi Everybody, this is Sam Jacobs. Welcome to this week on the sales hacker podcast. It's going to be an incredible episode. We've got Marc Robers, the author of the sales acceleration formula, lecturer and a teacher and a faculty member at HBS and, of course, the first Ciro for hub spot that helps scale that business to over a hundred million dollars in annual recurring revenue. Mark's going to talk to us about the four key elements that go into a predictable sales model. That is, hiring the same type of person, giving them the same type of training, generating and producing the same type of leads and quantity of leads on a consistent basis and then holding them accountable to running the same type of sales process. And if you do those four things you can get to predictable revenue. We're going to dive into that and a lot more on the upcoming interview, but first I want to thank our sponsors. We've got air call. Air Call is a phone system designed for the modern sales team. Everybody needs a telephone system, I think, and they seamlessly integrate into your crm, eliminating data entry for your reps and providing you with greater visibility into your team's performance through advanced reporting. They can also, again, do implementation very, very quickly, so you can add new lines and minutes and you can use incall coaching to reduce ramptime for you new reps. so that website is are called that io for its sales hacker, and there you can see why uber done and Bradstreet and pipe drive, as well as thousands of others, trust air call for them, are critical sales conversations. Our second sponsors outreach. That is outreach DOT ioh the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth by prioritizing the right activities and scaling customer engagement with intelligent automation. Outreach makes customer facing teams more effective and improves visibility into what really drives results. So hop over to outreach dot io forward sales hacker to see how thousands of customers, including cloud era, glass door, Pandora and Zillo, rely on outreach to deliver higher revenue per sales wrap, and now on with the interview. High folks, and welcome back to the sales hacker podcast. It is your host, Sam Jacobs. I'm the founder of the New York revenue collective and I'm also the chief Revenue Officer of a wonderful little company called behave ox. But today we're going to have a very wellknown, noteworthy, herald it even thought, leader and revenue leader within the startup community, none other than Marco Berish. For those of you that aren't familiar with Mark's best selling book, the sales acceleration formula, or his work at hub spot, let me give you his brief background before we talk to mark. So mark currently is a senior lecturer in the entrepreneurial management unit a HBS, that is, Harvard Business School. He teaches entrepreneurial sales and marketing in the second year NBA program prior to his work at Harvard, he served as the svp of global sales and service at hub spot, where he scaled revenue from zero to a hundred million and he expanded the team from one, I believe that one was probably him, to four hundred and fifty employees. Mark was ranked number nineteen in Forbes top thirty social sellers in the world. He was also awarded the two thousand and ten salesperson of the year at the MIT sales conference. He's active with a number of startups, as you'll hear about, as a board member, as an advisory member, as an investor. I believe he's also talking about raising a fund, which I'll tell us about. And welcome mark. We're excited to have you. Jee Sam. Thank you there. That illustrious. Appreciate it. Certainly overselling here. Well, I'm a train salesperson in the in the mold of a young Robeart, and so I got to make sure I make you sound authoritative incredible. Thank you. Thank you. So for folks that don't know you and don't know the book, it's often useful to just get a little bit of background. Now you're a famous author, but originally you started off coming out of MIT and then working sort of in start up land. Give us a little bit about your background. I think you're trained engineer, so tell us how you ended up in sales and give us some of the the details from the amazing ride that you had at up spot.

Yeah, for sure. I mean I studied Engineering Undergrad just because my parents told me continue that I'm good at math and that's what I should do, and really use that to early my career to move into writing code and then quickly fell in love with entrepreneurship. So I really just to this day consider myself more of an entrepreneur than a sales leader. I did a bunch of businesses in my twenties, ended up at MIT for business school because I love their entrepreneurial program and eventually found my way into hub spot, which was three people all the time, and there was a hole in their need for someone to sell and I was, you know, helping them along those lines. So that's how I ended up in sales. It was a bit serendipitous and not intentional and I was very lucky that when I jumped into sales we were going through sort of up pivotable moment for the field in general. You know, we saw a lot of companies moving from a field sales org to something that was inside sales oriented. We saw for the first time, marketing be able to step up to take a more proactive involvement in lead generation, and those two items made the use of data, the captured data in crm's and the use of science and process for the first time was enabled much more so than I had in the past. So that was really my good fortune and blessing was I was able to stumble into a field at a time where my unique advantages in terms of process, data and science were, for the first time, really well leveraged in the industry. was there a time when you joined hub spot where that epiphany sort of shown its light upon you or you realize that all of a sudden it's not as much art and sort of Schmoozing, but there is a science and a predictability that can be generated from the sales discipline. Yeah, our series be investor David Scott at Matrix partners really helped me see that uniqueness. To be honest, for the first two or three years I was certainly practicing it, but the only reason I was practicing it was because I'm a geek who was under a lot of pressure and when I get under pressure I need the data. So it wasn't like I was trying to set myself up for some sort of like storyline or book or anything like that. Is just how I was and I remember exactly the moment when it was at some sort of venture capital Holiday Party where I ran in a David and he said the industry just needs your perspective for the following reason, and it's great that you don't have a traditional background because we're at sort of a turning point. It eventually led it to a great article that he wrote on his for entrepreneurs blog, but I think nicely codified the thinking. That article led to a good foundation for the book and for, you know, me going out and and helping entrepreneurs. That, as hub spots started to blow up and as more and more people started to reach out to me and be like how did you do this? How can we do this, and I saw a continual pattern in the questions that people were asking me and the answers that help them the most. That really led to the foundation of the book and the inspiration and motivation to write it. So let's dive into that a little bit, because a zero to a hundred and you know, being the the human the man or the woman that can see that full sweep of scale is pretty rare. There's a lot of times that folks they are viewed as the builder from zero to ten or the person that can take it from thirty to a hundred, but it's really rare to see somebody that can sort of follow the entire trajectory all the way past a hundred million. So what are the elements that you describe in the book that helped you put a model, on a plan together that enabled that growth? Yeah, sure, so. I always joke that the mission that I had for myself was predictable, scalable revenue growth, and it amazes me to this day when I get on stage and talk about that mission, every venture capitalist eyes just light up. That's those are exactly the types of companies I want invest in. It's like something obvious for words, but for whatever reason that's an epiphany for investors. And so for the entrepreneurs out there, are the sales reps out there...

...who eventually want to go off and start a company and raise money, put that, those four words at the beginning of your sales and marketing strategy and it will work with the investors. Now what's more telling, I think, is the double click of the four tactics behind that strategy. And that really was the, I guess, blueprint for my sales machine that I wanted to build. And so those four elements were. Number one, hiring the same successful salesperson every time, number two, on boarding them in a very standard way that controlled the output of those reps coming out of on boarding, number three, providing them with the same quality and quantity of lead flow and demand Jan each month and number four, whole holding those reps accountable to the same sales processed against those needs. And so that was the logical machine and the components of the machine that I wanted to focus on. You know, when you lay it out that scientifically or just logically, it makes a tremendous amount of sense. Let's unpack the elements a little bit, one by one, but it occurs to me that if I'm thinking about a company and its potential for scale, I have confidence that if I design an interview process in a consistent way and measure the same qualities, I can hire the same people and I can train them. The one thing that I don't always have visibility on is can I generate the same volume and quality of leads consistently? Do you agree disagree? How do you think about lining up sales and marketing? It seems to me that marketing is almost if you can't do that, you can't do the other three things. Would you agree with that? I do. I would say all the four things I listed, the most difficult are the first one around hiring. Even with the detailed discipline that I brought to that after hundreds of hires, I still got it wrong like ten to twenty percent of the time. It's just really hard. And then I think to your point, Sam, the demand Jen the scalable demand Jin. It's just a continual battle because even when you figure out one channel, they all have ceilings on them and they all run out of steam or just can't scale to the revenue growth goals that you have. So it definitely is. It is a continual struggle and something that needs to be worked on when you're thinking about hiring the same type of person. Walk us through the evolution of the hubsbut interview process or because I think a lot of people struggle with what is the ideal profile of a seller, how did you define that? What is your ideal profile and what is the interview process or the grating mechanism that you used to confirm to yourself that you're hiring the same type of person? Yeah, absolutely, I mean so I'd have to go back to the first year, probably around our eighth hot the eighth higher than I made, and I had convinced the number one seller at a large public company in the Boston area to quit and join our company. And at the time we were still like twenty people in a garage across the street from might and I was just like this is amazing. I mean this is literally the top seller of an eight hundred person sales team. I can't wait for them to join our company and just teach us how to sell. It amazed me that months after the higher that seller was not our best seller. I mean they weren't the worst, but they weren't the best. And I was like, are you kidding me? We're twenty hacks over here and this person who year after year was the top seller of eight hundred reps, does not evolve to be our best seller. And that like really redirected my thinking on this whole like hiring formula and process was you know, as I took a step back and reflected, I was like wow, wait a minute, the context from where they sold, the where the company was literally running Super Bowl ads. Everyone in the country knew the brand, they knew exactly what that person was selling. It took a few minutes to just decide if there was a fit or not. That couldn't have been more different than the hub spot sales contact at the time, where no one knew what the heck we were. No one even knew what in bound marketing was. It took a long time to describe it, how it worked,...

...and you could imagine that the seller that would succeed in that public company context, the optimal seller, would be way different then the optimal seller in the hub spot context. And it was that moment that I realized it is really dangerous to go to a conference and meet a sales leader from a different company and say hey, what are you looking for in a salesperson and copy that, because the ideal answer to that question is so correlated to your context, the stage of Your Business, the category maturity in which you're selling, the complexity of your product, the specific buyer, whether it's a marketer or an it person or a finance person. Are you selling in Europe or Asia or North America? All these things define your context and give you insight into your optimal sales higher. And so what I did was I took a step back and said, okay, well, knowing what I know about our contact, what would be the ten criteria that I think would be optimal for us? And let me clearly define what each one is. Let me try to take a stab at what a lower, medium or high score would be, so I can rank these people of like an aid to five or three on each criteria. And let me divise an any of your process to go at that and every few months make some hires, see how they do and ask myself, this person's crushing it, why? And am I adequately testing against that in my navy process? And this person struggling? Why? And am I adequately testing against that? And just set up a learning environment that's unique to us and overtime hone in on the ideal profile. And so I just continue to do that and it wasn't long before I had enough data points to actually geek out and run a regression analysis and try to put some stats behind us. So that was what qualities did you discover specific I guess I have two questions. One is, how many of the qualities were superficial, meaning they were on the surface visible, like they worked at this type of company, they had this type of experience, and then how many of them were character driffern qualities such as, you know, courage or ambition or something like that. Pretty much all of them were character at it. I can tell you the five that surfaced for us. They were coachability, curiosity, intelligence, prior success and work ethic. And so how do you how do you test for coachability? Let me just walk through the interview. Was Interesting Sam about the coachability was. That was a great example of one that I completely missed for two years. It was not in my opening thesis this and it took me reflecting time and time again of people who were great sellers who came in and I thought we're going to be a home run and didn't, and I just had to see the pattern and eventual that one rose to the top. So my interview in two minutes here is. It starts in the lobby when I shake your hand. It's just an opportunity for the seller that they recognize me. Do they have they done their homework? Did they ask me about my kids flag football game this weekend? It's not a chows Dauber, but it's an opportunity that they did the research and ask some good questions right from the start. I get into the room with them, I warm them up with like why you interested in in hub spot? Where you headed in your career as leadership? Is it selling bigger things? You know? I dive into their prior success in terms of I see her in Account Executive Acme Software Company. How many other account executives were there and where did you rank? was at a revenue bookings? Will your references validate that? And then we get into the meet and potatoes around the coachability. So I'll say, Sam, you know, let's roll play on a hub spot example. Let's pretend like a VPM marketing from a security software company came to the website last night, downloaded a knee book and it's your lead that you're going to fallow up this morning. Let's do it. I'll play the buyer, and so I watch if they sort of show up and throw up and just spend ten minutes telling me everything I could have read on the website, or they actually...

...dive in with good, curious questions and listen and and some nice following questions around developing my pain. I test them hard on Seo or in ball marking to see if they did their research and learned and then, most importantly, I stopped the and the role play five minutes in and say hey, Sam, how do you think you did self? Assess if you're like I was awesome. I'm not really that psyched about your you know, your ability to look internally and reflect and see how you could have improved versus. If you say some good things and some critical things on how you could improve, that's great. And then I sit there and coach you. I tell you one good thing you did well and one area of improvement. I'll coach you for a few minutes and I'll have you redo the role play. And so almost everybody screws up the second one. But you can just observe how they're taking the coaching, whether they're able to apply anything. And Gosh, if you can move the Neil even just a little bit in that fifteen minutes, imagine where it's going to be like spending a day, week and month with that individual. And so that's really a quick summary of the process. I use with the big asterisk that those five criteria were unique to hub spot at that time, and just be a little careful around copying every piece of it and think really hard about the iterative process you should go through to develop your own unique cairent formula, and I think it's good advice. I think, not to undermine that last part of your statement, but I think coachability is pretty universally I think coachability and curiosity and then, correspondingly, empathy are just natural broad traits that are going to determine success for a lot of folks. Let's see the people on this podcast like, in start, Dobson and B tob contact. Absolutely, I agree. So moving on to training them and on boarding them in the same way, I've had the unique pleasure of spending some time with Andrew Quinn. How early did you invest in this separate training and enablement, however you want to call it, but somebody that was not the whose only role was to train the new class of reps and then to make sure that they on boarded in the right way according to the ramp model that you determined. Yeah, and Quinn was was my individual and he's a rock star and I couldn't have done half the stuff we did without I mean was amazing, such a blessed find for me. There were three what I'd call non quote of carrying overhead rolls that I think are critical in setting up your team that you have to add some point, make a decision when you're going to do it and make a case to your head to say at your cel or whoever, to spend. The three roles are recruiting, training and operations. You know those are critical roles, like metrics. I went after recruiting first just because it was, like I thought that was the more difficult one, to be able to go after passive candidates. The onboarding for second in the operations was third all of them. The recruiting probably happened in year one. We're training probably in year two and operations probably we quickly following. I don't know in hindsight if I would change that order. He's that's a tough one because they're all pile but that was really round the time when I was doing it. I had to just you know, when you're an archpitter and your start now, you got to do the eight hours a week, so you've got to fill in the gaps and I was able to put together a reasonable training curriculum on my own. It was a at least a be and got us by and I remember how I going. was tough on me and maybe hearn the right to make those hires and kind of cut deals, of like I had a certain revenue a team at rate that I can make the higher. So that was roughly when we put it in place. Make sense and I guess few more questions on that. Was the training and enablement person. I guess that's your too, but you know, at some point did you feel pressure to put a quote occurring person into head of training or did you find a specific skill set and that was different than somebody that you were taking off the sales floor when you put them into that enablement role? Yeah, I tried external all the time. I don't think it's a bad call to go with someone internally, but that's a tough shift. Number One,...

...you're pretty early and then and you have to take a top performer out, which is tough. And the other thing is I'm not sure I see a huge overlap between my top performers and this skill I'm looking for in that trainer, because the top performers typically are, you know, they're they're very motivated by money per se, be a little aggressive. Often time they're not necessarily the best teacher. So it's a really hard hire because you need to find someone that certainly understands, is probably even done it themselves on the front line, but is more motivated by the coaching and teaching and as actually quite good at it. So it's lucky with Quinn. I mean he had a multidecade career in selling, but he's just found that, like you know what, I don't like it as much. I don't like the pressure account in quota, I don't like being on the road. I Love Coaching wraps and I'm damn good at it. And so I just got lucky and maybe that is a little bit of a blueprint on what you could look for is there are people who have evolved in their career and, you know, don't want to be out there selling mill and to our deals and chasing quote every quarter, and they're quite skilled that the craft of selling and teaching the craft of selling. And that's what I found with Quinn. And did you find any tricks or tips in the onboarding program and he types of learning modules, as it sort of like, well, you Gott, you have to figure out how each person learns and then develop a program specific to them. Or what really worked for you when you were thinking about on boarding effectively yeah, there are two things that stood out, and especially as they went out and coached many companies, to common stakes that I saw and make. The first was over a line on what I'd call ride alongs or rep shadowing as part of training. You know, like Hey, Bob, welcome to the company. You remember Susan, our top Rep from the interview process. Your trains going to be sitting next to her for a month and you know, it's like you know this well. Sam Too, is like even your best reps have bad habits and few best reps are good teachers. And so that seemed like a formula for disaster of like, you know, having a rap learning from another rap and just misinterpreting what best practice was and potentially losing out on kind of leveraging their own strengths in the sales process just because they didn't see this one wrap using those strengths and how they sold. And so instead took a step back and said, listen, by job here is to craft some sort of hodified blue print that in provide a guidance to reps on how to navigate this process while at the same time allowing an amount of flexibility for them to sort of make it their own within those boundaries. That also proved to be a really nice sort of quantification opportunity where Quinn and I developed a certification around, say, like twenty to twenty five checkpoints on skills that we wanted them to have mastered or behaviors we wanted them to have mastered by the end of the thirty days, and letting Quinn certify those people against those capabilities. That's just a big opportunity. Is like, listen, if you put that in place and over time you're able to validate that those certification scorers correlate with long term success, then you've now created a really quick learning opportunity for you to check that your hirings not falling off within thirty days of the higher as opposed to having to wait six months. And, oh by the way, if that certification score doesn't correlate with long term success, I'd really question the effective is. You're on boarding and what if telling you about preparing people for the job. That was one big one was just the quantification piece and setting up the situation, where as opposed to on boarding. The second one was how much time is spent on product training versus buyer training? I thought that a lot...

...of on boarding processes spent a lot of time on product training, which is fine, but not enough time on the buyer training. You just you just use just shot an Arrow through my heart exactly what's happening right now. Exactly. I mean. It's like I would much rather have my reps being a plus and understanding the buyers perspective then an a plus on every friggin advanced feature that my product and down. I mean the way we did it was every single rap spent most of their time and training creating their own blog, using hub spot, creating a social media following ranking in Google, setting up an email markinnur training campaign, building landing page, his doing the job of the buyer. They would eventually sell to feeling that pain, building confidence. The techniques worked and then they were just such a more powerful cellar when they get out there. That was the other piece. was just an under investment in weight, in buyer training versus product training. I think that is that's worth the price of admission for this podcast just to put put a stamp on that. We can spend a lot of time talking about the right type of lead and some of the mechanisms that you use to align sales and marketing. But for this audience I also think it's important to dive into a little bit of process. So you know, you were a new at some point. You are not. At some point you had experience as a sales manager and sales person just by dint of the fact that you had been there for a while. But did you copy and embrace, you know, did you read a bunch of books and say, okay, we're going to do sort of Miller hymen, or how did you work out what is the sales process appropriate for hub spot and what are the key elements of it? Yeah, I mean I did go out and take meetings with the salespeople and executives at Miller hymen and Sandler and huthway and all those places and I learned a lot from reading about their methodologies and talking to their people. I mean they are just experts of the craft. The only beef that I had with it was because they were trying to build scalable businesses. They had sort of off theeself methodology and as I look at them, I was like, you know, half of that really applies to us and will be helpful, but the other half is just going to confuse my wraps. Can I just take this piece? And there wasn't a lot of like configurability and customizability and flexibility along those lines, and so because of that, I just never took the plunge and committed to one. But I did leverage all those discussions to build out our own. So I think that gets back to just a theme that I think you're probably hearing through this process that I'm really believe as a philosophical belief in sales is like so much of this is context driven and so much of this is just understanding what is unique about your context and building everything from who you hire to how you compensate, to the sales playbook and process you develop, to the type of demand generation you decide to invest in execute in around that context. And so that that's essentially what I did was, you know, took the bits and pieces that we're highly applicable and built out our playbook from scratch. One of the things that I think about as I read the book and as I listen to you speak is time. And you know, if you're going to figure out what is the ideal hiring profile for somebody, to your point, you need to establish what your scientific method, you establish the hypothesis on what you think the qualities are, and but then you need time. You need time to evaluate whether you were right or not and then adjust, and that takes time. And so you know that can be months, that can be six, nine hundred and twelve months. How did you deal with sort of it sounds like you know, as the company was growing, there was a certain amount of information that you knew in a certain amount of information that you're testing for but didn't yet have data around. How did you deal with that ambiguity? was that a problem or an issue, or was it just...

...something that you know? It is what it is. Yeah, I mean it's a huge problem. I mean, as an entrepreneur we're constantly trying to figure out how can I learn faster and more accurately with less time and less money? You have to constantly been asking yourself that and say I'm your poking and one of the more difficult areas we're just that learning curve around hiring. It's so hard because you honestly, I did not know whether a rep is going to work out until nine months and even years into it, where the my managers would be like this and that higher. I made bad high. Then it's not working out and then a year later they're one of our top reps. that happens all the time. Happens all the time, and so I don't know what to say there. You know, I freaked me out. What freaks me out most is I just don't know for such a long period of time. The only thing that I kind of was able to get inside on was I would tell those managers, okay, do this for me. Go in and like be very prescriptive about what the specific skill you want to work on and develop with them that you think will be most helpful to them. Craft, agree a coaching exercise around that skill and around the learning preferences that you perceive from that wrap, and just work on them for like two or three weeks on it, and then let's ask ourselves. Did they improve and was the improvement sustained? And so if other answers are no to those questions, then we'd probably need to move on this and it's not working out. But if we are able to improve them and sustain it, it might take longer, but I think we'll get there over time. And so that was like the only early indicator that I could see. That help me learn fast. Yeah, which speaks to the coachability point, which is if you can sense some coachability early in the interview process and you know not to put to find a point on it. But if they're not dumb, if they're smart and they're coachable, then there's probably upside potential. So, Mark, you were at a hub spot for all those years. You got them past a hundred million and then ultimately you moved on to HBS. So tell us a little bit about some of the new work that you're doing. I think you mentioned to me that you're working on some new concepts. Talk to us a little bit about that. I'm sure they're interesting and I'm sure you're leveraging some of the recent conversations and interactions that you've had. Yeah, so just really blessed that this opportunity came my way. I mean, as you can imagine, what's happening in business schools is there's a huge appetite these days for entrepreneurship, maybe away from bank in a little bit since the o a crisis, and because of that, many schools are trying to diversify their faculty and offerings aligned with entrepreneurial tasks, selling being one of them. So hps is just a phenomenal opportunity for me, not just to build out the sales curriculum there, but also because so many business schools look to them for the curriculum. They'd like to teach it their school. It's just a great opportunity for me to influence how selling is taught at many schools across the world. The other great thing is it just gives me, and they actually encourage continued involvement in practice. So I get to the hundreds of data points at every year, whether it's as an investor, advisor, board member, students that I'm working with, etc. Around the insides of sales and marketing functions and try to step back and do some pattern recognition to the big thing I've been seeing lately as I've been continuing to look in the start up phase, reflecting on some of the guidance I made in the sales acceleration formula, and I think there's a big void today around entrepreneurs who successfully navigate the lean startup methodology, arguably founded by Eric Reese, develop mvps, remain agile, create prototypes, fine product market thing, but I think they're just a huge confusion at that point by both entrepreneurs and investors of like what do I do next? And I see many organizations just be like go fast, higher, twenty reps...

...and let's start triple and revenue and double and revenue, and that leads to a lot of issues down the road and I think that what I've been working on is trying to codify a framework that organizations can follow that you might describe as finding go to market fit, once you find product market fit, and there's essentially three stages to it, which is customer success, then unit economics and then growth and mote. So how can you prove and develop the ability to time and time again, sign up dozens of customers every month or quarter and have eighty percent of them realizing the value that you pitched them on within a few months and once? How do you do that? Yes, so the biggest thing there is many organizations will measure the success of that based on whether people are canceling and churning or attaining and in a lot of context that metric is a significant lagging indicator to actually what's happening. So the first step to actually do that is to do some self reflection on your own offering and decide what is your leading indicator to customer success that can be observed within the first month or two of a customers life, and in the industry a lot of businesses refer to that as the Aha moment. For dropbox, it was one file, one folder, one device. For Slack, it's two thousand people on a team that are collaborating. For hub spot, it was the usage of five or more features out of their twenty five feature platform. These are all things that could be observed within the first month or two of usage and once that's identified, measure the heck out of it every month to see that you're getting better and run a bunch of experiments on how to get better, which range from the customers you choose to sign up, the expectations you set during the sales process, the onboarding techniques that you use to on board them and any sort of product enhancements, whether it's in APP messaging or ease of use on the UX, to help customers get to that metric fast enough. So just not enough organizations. They skip that step and jump to measuring, you know, revenue, top line revenue, as their key to success and I just think that's an easy metric to go after and completely bandaid an enormous deficiency of creating customer value by don't disagree with you at all. In fact I'm our minded. I think the sales source one was do they build a dashboard? Right, right, yeah, there are a moment so that you need to focus first and then and then you can move on to UN economics once you've nailed that and you new economics. At that stage that's when things like your complan design, your pricing model, scalable demand Gen tactics really become critical. But I wouldn't recommend working on those in the first phase. And so this model provides a clearer picture of the milestones we need to go through and what aspects of the sales machine development matter most of each stage. Tell us about the key parts of sort of the last stage, which is growth and mode, and you obviously I know what you're talking about when you say Moh, but a lot of people might not. So walk us through what the concept of emote means for a business. Sure, so it's a barrier to entry and as I reflect on different businesses that I've met over last couple of years, that got to tend to and got the twenty million and then completely flat lined. A lot of times it was because of a lack of mote development. And so what that means is great, you figured out customer value, you found product market fit, you're doing it in a profitable way with great UN economics. You're scaling fast, double and revenue every every year. Guess what, copycats are coming. So you got to ask yourself if too really smart engineers from Google quit their job and raise ten million bucks from sequoia and built exactly what you have, why do new prospects still buy what you have and that what they have, especially if they sell it cheaper? And so you know it's a difficult thing to do, but it could...

...be anything from a network of fact to benchmarking features that you provide to even, like in hub spots case, like the creation of a category inbound marketing and the association that we were the best and you should come with us. There's just ways to develop that bear to entry, that are very difficult for people to copy and it serves as a sustainable advantage. And I usually I put it last, just because sometimes the growth contributes to that mode and at the same time, it's advisable to take time to build the mote, even if it comes at the sacrifice of accelerated growth. So if I had to choose, if I'm talking to copy it like, yeah, we can triple our revenue this year or we can double our revenue but take the RD cycles and time to develop a mote around it, I would choose the ladder. So that's what I mean by Moe and and the things that come into play during the growth and mode stage are some of the stuff we've talked about today, which is the scalable hiring process and on boarding process. Oftentimes it means looking at multiple segments within your business and running those is slightly different motions. Like if you're selling to SMBS and enterprises or if you're selling to healthcare and finance, you may have to look at bifurcating your overall sales motion to be customed to each one of those segments. So those are some of the things that will come up at that stage. That's very helpful. One very specific question, just because you just brought it up. Do you prefer, if you had to choose between segmenting by size of customer, meaning enterprise versus s and be or by industry, vertical. What would you choose? Yeah, again, context is kated such an interesting question, Sam, that it was the fifth case that I wrote at HBS about a great company down in you are called view the space bets really complicated sales deployment decision. There is no universal answer. They're the only thing I could say is you want to drive of that decision based on commonalities in buyer behavior, and so the mistake that I see across the industry is jumping too quickly into a geographic segmentation just because that was our roots as a field. The only way to sell was to shake hands with people and see people and it's just logical to cluster your reps around the prospects that they want to go after. And that's still the case if your sale process requires a lot of handshaking and in person meetings. But those are declining and so you have more options like size of company or vertical, or you can do size of company and then vertical. So the way I drive that decision is based on where I'm seeing the most commonality in buyer behavior and the difference in across those segments, so that I can specialize my reps around that behavior. Yeah, makes sense. We're almost at the end of our time together. Mark. Give us a quick update. First of all, thank you, because this has been exceptional useful, but tell us what you're up to now so we can start, as a global audience, figuring out if we can help you in some way and tell us what you're up to, because it's pretty exciting. Yeah, I mean we're in the early phases. I almost don't want to go public, but we can talk about it Sam. So I'm looking to double down on the investment side and we're putting together we're in the early phases of experimenting with whether a go to mark get fund would work, meaning backed by go to market professionals helping organizations at that go to market stage, and so it's really just a nice continuation of all the work that I've been doing. It's going quite well with our early discussions, and I think the way you can help is if you know of organizations that you are setting up their go to market capability or maybe struggling a little bit, just continue to reach out and I may have more resources at my disposal to help along those lines. That makes perfect sense. Very sort of last question, as I call it. We like to follow the bread crumb trail. So when you think about influential people or books or content...

...that's really impacted you could be recently, like the book you're reading right now, or somebody that really mentored you. Give us some names of people or books or pieces of content that we should know about as we pursue self improvement and and evolution of the sales discipline? HMM, yeah, I would say I'll go back to some like really old school stuff. A question I often get from my students is, listen, I have no background in sales. How do I learn to sell? Knowing the sales hacker community, I know a lot of folks are still selling or in their other stages of their sales career. So there's a three book sequence, two of which are quite classics. One, Jeez, it's got it. I visit eighty years old, how to win friends and in people by Dale Carnegie. It's really funny to read about the early sales of typewriters and it's also equally amazing how applicable they are to modern sales professions today. So dig into that one. The second is not quite as long as a class older the classic, but it's still a classic and that's been selling by Neil Rackham. I still think that Neil was the forefather in thought leadership around codifying the process of understanding the buyers perspective, reframing that buyers perspective would such as critical and important skill and selling and just helping the buyer to prioritize the challenges there ahead of them to make sales move faster. And then the final one is the is the more near term classic around the Challenger Sale. I think they've done an equally good job of helping to redefine modern salesman person ship in terms of defining problems, help customers understand those problems and telling presentations according to what you find. So that's kind of like my three pron classic on developing belly to belly sales skills. That's awesome. That's great. Last question and thank you again so much for joining us. If folks want to reach out to you, for example if they've got ideas about companies that need go to market assistance or they just want to pin you, are you open to that? As there are a channel that you prefer to prefer Linkedin. You prefer email how and is that okay? Absolutely. I mean it's how I stay in touch with the industry. I make as much time as possible to help. So two ways are linkedin's great or on my faculty page at HBS. We can just google my name and HBS. There's an email about in there. You can send me a note. They're that's awesome, mark. Thanks so much for your time. I was great speaking with you. Than Use them high folks. It's SAM's corner. Marc robear's dropping knowledge on the sales hacker podcast. The great thing about talking to mark is just the specifics and the details. He's done it so he can dive into detail and really give us some actionable advice. Couple things jumped out at me. One of them is around the interview process. So I think coachability is a widely and off discussed paradigm for thinking about potential success, and what mark mentioned is that he specifically deploys a sort of a coachability module into the interview by jumping into a role play, watching how the candidate responds and then stopping midway, giving feedback and seeing if the person can respond to that feedback. And that's one mechanism to demonstrate coachability and if they can react really positively and moderate and adjust their behavior in the context of that interview, then there's a high likelihood that they will be successful at other points in their career. So that's kind of one really interesting thing that he mentioned. The second when it comes to training and onboarding, which is near and dear to my heart, an over emphasis on product training and an under emphasis on buyer training. And I think if we're all going to be building really effective training and on boarding programs, first and most important is understanding the buyers perspective in the buyer journey, empathy, understanding where they come from, what their motivations are. Let's spend a lot of time teaching our teams about how the buyer thinks, what they do day to day and what their key paining points are, and also teach about the complexities of the product and how it works.

So this has been Sam's corner and we also want to thank our sponsors. As we depart from you, this the weekend sales hacker podcast. So if you're interested in learning more about the show itself, see upcoming guests, play more episodes from our lineup of sales leaders. First, I encourage you to go to sales hackercom and head to the PODCAST TAB. You'll also find us on itunes, Google play or anywhere that podcasts are performed. If you enjoy this episode, share it with your peers on Linkedin, twitter or elsewhere. And if you want to get in touch with me, you can always find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs or on Linkedin at linkedincomas in slash Sam f Jacobs. Professional correspondence probably better on Linkedin. Twitter has more potentially offensive ramblings. And then, finally, shout out to our sponsors. It's air call, your advanced call center software, complete business phone and contact center, one hundred percent integrated into any crm and outreach, a customer engagement platform that helps efficiently and effectively engage prospects to drive more pipeline and close more deals. I will see you next time,.

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