I joined the B2B sales ecosystem as a radio advertising salesman. The sales superstars that I admired in broadcasting achieved their success through building and nurturing a handful of key relationships. Business happened over fancy client lunches, golf outings and happy hours. Key sales activities happened in-person face-to-face.
Little by little, I became good at in-person face-to-face sales. In fact, I ended up in sales management, overseeing a staff of ten. Eventually, I parlayed my lunch-golf-happy-hour sales abilities into a new marketing agency that grossed more than a million dollars in just the second year.
In turns out, in-person face-to-face sales is fine if you are selling local radio commercials. For a growing marketing agency, without geographic limitations, this kind of legacy sales is limiting. While it got me from zero to one million, it couldn’t get me beyond.
This is where Project Lion enters my story.
In January my primary contact at HubSpot sent me an email regarding a new sales training initiative. He knew that I was struggling to find a way to take my business to the second million.
The ten requirements to join the first Project Lion class was designed to weed out all but the truly committed. Attendance at every session was mandatory. There was a six-hour weekly commitment. Inbound Certification and Inbound Sales Certification via HubSpot Academy were prerequisites.
Despite these requirements, I committed immediately. Here is why:
In 2007, the year Dan Tyre joined HubSpot, the company sold $255,000.
In 2010, the year David Weinhaus joined, the company sold $15.6 million.
In 2016, last year, the company sold $271 million.
David and Dan--two people that were critical to that revenue growth--were going to be my teachers.
Could these wizards of sales, these superstars of business growth, could these guys teach me how they sold HubSpot to 31,000+ customers?
While doing research in advance of my first Project Lion course I learned, to my amused dismay, that HubSpot doesn’t hire experienced sales people like me for direct sales positions. They prefer to hire applicants with only a few years of experience--enough to prove that they have the fundamental skill but not so much that they have to unlearn long-held bad habits and preconceptions.
My previous sales experience was not necessarily going to be a benefit, and in fact it might be a handicap.