Develop a Hiring Process Early on for Top Performers
The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to Go from $0 to $100 Million
You’ve heard that making sales is “an art, not a science.” It’s a popular cliché, especially when someone’s trying to explain a failed decision in retrospect. When someone trots out that line, what they’re usually saying is that “it’s probably a science, but I haven’t figured it out yet.”
Enter Mark Roberge, MIT grad, current Chief Revenue Officer at Hubspot, and the man who’s here to tell us that building a winning sales team really is a science. Before he took over as CRO, Roberge was Hubspot’s SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services, presiding over the company’s rise from startup to $100 million revenue-generating giant and challenging conventional wisdom at every turn.
In his new book, The Sales Acceleration Formula, Roberge lays out his thoughtful, data-driven approach for developing a sales team that delivers exceptional results. Here’s a hint: It all starts with hiring the same successful person, again and again.
Read part 1 of our series on Mark Roberge’s new book below. Come back or subscribe to our blog to get notified when part 2 is published!
A Hiring Process Fit for Modern Sales
“World-class sales hiring is the most important driver of sales success.”
When Mark Roberge was hired by Hubspot in 2007, the company had only three other employees. That’s not an exaggeration. As the fourth member of the team, he truly got in on the ground floor.
When you’re part of a small team trying to accomplish something great, you naturally have many competing priorities. The quote above tells you exactly which priority Roberge put at the top of the list.
But it’s one thing to prioritize “world-class sales hiring,” and quite another to actually pull it off. To do so, Roberge put his MIT education to work, combining analytics, context, and common sense to build a hiring process that consistently identifies top performers.
How to Hire Your Perfect Salesperson
The first key is context. What do you sell, and who do you sell it to? A salesperson who’s great at high activity transactional selling might struggle selling a more complex product in a consultative setting. If you want to consistently hire reps that will turn out to become top performers, you’ve got to understand your own business and tailor your hiring process to match.
With the basics out of the way, you can move on to identifying the ideal characteristics of a salesperson in the context of your unique sales environment. Learn all you can about your top performers. Are your best people consultative, aggressive, or a mix of both? What tactics do your key buyers respond to?
For example, Mark Roberge identified these 5 traits of highly successful Hubspot sales reps:
- Coachability – ability to understand feedback and change behavior based on it
- Curiosity – ability and desire to ask probing questions from prospects
- Prior success – either sales results or ambition / drive at one’s endeavors
- Intelligence – ability to become a subject matter expert
- Work ethic – willingness to put in the effort to succeed