The Sales Acceleration Formula… by Hubspot’s chief revenue officer Mark Roberge, who scaled Hubspot’s customer base from 1 to 12,000 and its sales to 100 million from 2007 to 2013.
Most books on sales focus on the art of convincing your buyers to say ‘yes’. However this book breaks new ground by presenting the science of sales growth… a standardized and repeatable process built on tracking and experimentation… to ensure that a business can scale.
From his very early days at Hubspot, the author leaned heavily on his engineering background and mindset. Rejecting the conventional wisdom that sales is more art than science, he deconstructs the path to 100 million sales and shares actionable step-by-step advice.
Every business can develop its own flavor of his sales formula… outlined in detail in the book with actual examples and insightful commentary on how everything worked out… or didn’t.
The journey to what the author calls “scalable, predictable revenue growth” starts with hiring the right people, or the ‘sales hiring formula’. Then comes the ‘sales training formula’, and the ‘sales management formula’. And the final component is the ‘demand generation formula’.
The sales hiring formula
The most important part of the formula is the starting point: you need to hire the right people – get the right ingredients in the mix.
By tracking the success of sales people and correlating it back to the characteristics they exhibited during the interview process, the author developed a very scientific approach to hiring.
He actually found that commonly-perceived success characteristics – such as someone’s closing ability – are the worst predictors of a sales person’s success. But he also warns that each company should go through the same tracking and correlation exercise to identify the right predictive characteristics for sales success, which vary from one company to the next.
The sales training formula
The common “ride-along” sales training technique is NOT predictable NOR scalable. Because what a sales person learns from it depends highly on who they’re shadowing, and each ride-along can be very different from the next.
For example, your top sales rep could be milking existing relationships, so the new hire could get the wrong ideas.
Instead, the author devised an elaborate scoring card, tracking a sales person’s interactions with a potential client, and focused on improving the key success metrics.
The Sales Management Formula
After hiring and training your sales people, “effective sales coaching… is the most important lever to drive sales productivity”. The author established yet another metrics-driven approach to track a sales person’s productivity and diagnose any issues.
Instead of having a sales person drink through a fire hose of advice on all the different areas to improve upon, the author’s scorecard highlights the single most important sales dimension to offer coaching on, one at a time.
The demand generation formula
Finally, in order for sales people to shine, you need to generate demand. True to the Hubspot mission, the author declares that outbound marketing is dead… long live inbound marketing!
Outbound marketing efforts such as cold-calling are considered very aggressive and disruptive by potential clients who immediately disengage and completely shut you off.
Instead, Hubspot sales people are trained to be value-adding consultants. Recognizing which stage in the buyer journey a potential customer is, and offering help while nudging them in the right direction, like a well-trained and helpful guide.
Experimentation, tracking, and iteration helped Hubspot optimize its demand generation machine. Using technology and building a culture of testing is crucial for a business to stay ahead of this constantly-evolving game.
What does it all mean
The book is full of insights, real examples, and actionable advice from a practitioner. After finishing it, it will be difficult to resist thinking about putting its ideas to practice and developing your own predictable path to growth.