According to HubSpot’s David Weinhaus, he and his colleague Dan Tyre are a perfect pair: David leads with his mind and Dan leads with his heart. Both are leaders in B2B sales.
Tyre joined software company HubSpot in May of 2007. He was the sixth employee and led the recruiting, training and growth of the HubSpot sales teams. Nowadays he speaks regularly on the importance of attitude, especially in the challenging world of B2B sales.
Dan is fun, gregarious, clever and full of energy. He is the guy that you want to hang out with at a party.
David Weinhaus, on the other hand, is cerebral, calm and warm. He joined HubSpot in 2010 and is a sales enablement superstar. Thousands of marketing and sales professionals, like me, first became aware of David through his work with HubSpot Academy.
David and Dan now lead an important, heretofore undercover, HubSpot initiative, known to me only as Project Lion.
More about Project Lion later.
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.
Project Lion is broken up into two parts. One, which covers the top of the sales funnel, is taught by Dan Tyre. The second part, covering the middle and bottom of the funnel, is taught by David Weinhaus. Each part consists of eight one-hour sessions, in small group format, with four to six participants.
The single thing that I wanted to get out of this experience is the ability to sell big money deals, with no geographical restrictions, by doing it via email, phone and web conference. Selling electronically, the ability to prospect, qualify, explore, excite and close new customers across the world from the comfort of my office (and often my home) would allow me to take my business to the next level--to that second million dollars and beyond.
I knew that three things would happen when I could transition my sales efforts from an in-person face-to-face experience to one that happens electronically:
I could talk to a lot more people per day. Back in my old sales days, five appointments was a productive day; two before lunch, one at lunch and two after lunch. However, if I didn’t have to drive around town to make appointments and didn’t have to block off an hour for each call, then I could have five productive sales conversations before my second cup of morning coffee.
My market of potential clients would be much bigger. This is obvious. Anywhere there is internet there are potential clients.
My firm would become more specialized and get better at what we do. Using in-person face-to-face sales, in a small place like Oklahoma, it is difficult to focus on just a single business vertical. However, selling electronically would allow me to focus on just handful of business verticals that we are already good at serving. As we serve more in our specialty verticals the better we get at serving them and the easier it becomes to sell to others. It is a continuous cycle of improvement and refinement.
I attended my first Project Lion course in January and completed my last course in August.
It is the best sales training that I have ever experienced.
In June I closed my first client sold entirely electronically.
Thank you David and Dan.