The Sales Acceleration Formula


Hello and welcome back or welcome for the first time!

It is here where we continue the pursuit of growth in both the personal and professional realm by primarily reading and discussing books. The book list that we are working from consists of recommendations from either close friends or from family, coach or other well-respected parties.  Sometimes it is a simply a reference to a book from within a book which sends me running into (cliche run!)  my hot little hands so that I may plant the seeds of wisdom into my fertile mind.

This particular book comes by way of a recent chance meeting at a local networking group, Triangle Sales Think Tank, which is a spot where some of the prominent local sales folk may meet and from time to time offer exchanges of brilliance.

In one such exchange with Lawrence Harte, who is a serialpreneur,  did the get to know you dance, and while we did our verbal twirls and plies, he talked excitedly about this book. For some reason, the title failed to stay in my mind and I am quite sure I asked for the title a number of times.

A bit later in the meeting Lawrence was referred to by one of the very perceptive members of the group (Linda Gutin) as being one of the smartest businessmen that she knew.  As far as I could tell, this was genuine praise.  I must read this book and I must read it now!

And so now I have, and now I shall regale you with some of the nuggets or perceived insights that I received from this book.

A worthwhile side note is that the foreword for this book is written by Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling. This is important because, as far as I can tell he has quite a following and according to Wikipedia pioneered consultative selling.  This was a book recommended to me by Cisco sales managers when asked the question where can I learn more about sales.   AKA the guy has some clout!

Further evidence or at least finger pointing to the worth ideas contained on the pages within this book!

Who is Mark Roberge and why do I want to read this book?

Mark Roberge is one of the initial members of Hubspot, a company that went from $0 to $100 million in a relatively short period of time.  He is an MIT grad.  He was the first sales manager for Hubspot.  He had no sales experience and was a self-proclaimed “Quant” (data specialist)

This book outlines how he sought out his salesforce, and how he developed practices and processes to develop the team.  How what and why he drove his teams to success along with recommendations for others in achieving what he calls a predictable and reliable way to run a sales team, as well as generate sales revenue sustainably.

How does he accomplish this?

In part one he gives us the sales hiring formula.  He also prefaces and ends this section with a YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) , this is what worked for me, of course suggesting a similar formula may work for you.  Read as: season to taste, or tinker till satisfied.

Immediately you run into his first finding when seeking characteristics of a successful salesperson.  His regression analysis found that the characteristics traditionally sought after such as closing ability and needs identification had the worst correlation with success!  This is bookended by preparation and adaptability.  This may be some great news for some of the people out there who are terrible at closing and or needs analysis.  Of course, it may not be such great news if you are working on your closing and developing your needs analysis skills.  Oh, the ever-changing landscape of the workforce and skills that are needed.  Could you imagine the world flipping on its axis and the sun rising from the west?!

Mark is adamant about tracking everything and utilizing data that he gathers to drive his next steps.

He also highlights his primary candidate criteria, or as I like to read it, who I’m up against.  This section bothers me a little bit, if you focus on certain criteria which follows a particular trend, then how will you fall upon the rare gem, the outlier who has the potential to shift the trajectory of your companies future.  You could also read this as, “I don’t think that based on the supplied criteria I would have made it through the door”.  Of course, he does have SOME criteria that will allow for a miscreant or two to slip through the cracks.  Go underdogs!

So he has his hires, now he needs to train them.  I will not go into to much detail on this one.  Suffice to say one of the modules he provides is he has each salesperson create and run their own successful blog.  Interestingly enough Hubspot also has a free course to learn more about blogging, should you succeed in completing this course they will provide you with a certificate of completion.

He also provides some keen insights as to looking for the right sales manager.  He mentions reading a number of management books to no avail.  It is not until he begins reading books about leadership does he believe he is retrieving useful insight.  Luckily for us he also provides us with a list of these useful books:

  1. Defining and Developing Your Leadership Style:
    1. Discovering Your Authentic Leadership (assuming this link as the link from this book did not work for me.
    2. Building an Authentic Leadership Image (WordPress messing with me and link application..user error?)
    3. Twelve O’Clock High  – This is a movie, you can watch it!
    4. Forceful Leadership and Enabling Leadership
    5. Ongoing Feedback: How to Get It, How to Use It
  2. Providing Positive & Negative Feedback to Subordinates
    1. Feedback That Works: How to Build and Deliver Your Message (Ideas Into Action Guidebooks)
    2. Giving Feedback to Subordinates
  3. Successful Mentoring and Coaching
    1. Sales Coaching: Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach
    2. Seven Keys to Successful Mentoring [Paperback] [2009] (Author) Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), E. Wayne Hart
    3. The New One Minute ManagerOne Minute Manager
    4. Succeed: How We Can Reach Our GoalsSucceed How We Can Reach our Goals
  4. Managing Conflict:
    1. Managing Conflict with Direct Reports by Popejoy, Barbara, McManigle, Brenda J.. (Center for Creative Leadership,2002) [Paperback]
    2. Managing Conflict with PeersManaging Conflict with Peers
    3. Managing Conflict with Your Boss
  5. Managing through Change:
    1. Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change
  6. Building and Developing Your Team:
    1. Good to Great Chapter 3: First Who then What 
    2. Raising Sensitive Issues in a Team
    3. Building Your Team’s Morale, Pride, and Spirit
  7. Active Listening:
    1. Building Your Team’s Morale, Pride, and Spirit

One or two of these books is bound to make it onto my list!

His finding is such that he begins to refer to the sales manager as the sales coach.  He provides his guide on metric-driven sales coaching.  He continues with how his compensation plan is initially created as well as how it evolves.  In short, it is not different from any other training these days.  Identify desired behaviors and reward accordingly. Of particular interest  in the sales coaching, he was able to drive organic adoption of process changes.   I will leave it to you to read more!

And as far as this review goes:

If you are not currently familiar with todays sales landscape, this book will set you straight..  If you are not familiar with the SAAS terminology, this book will provide you with some solid background.  You’re are not familiar with inbound sales?  Marketing? You need to be!  After you read this book you will be.

The sales landscape is changing and in the blink of an eye, it may have already happened.

Many of the ideas and principles that I read in this book I had also recently heard on the following two podcasts:

  1. Linking into Sales – Jill Rowley Episode
  2. Rory Vaden’s Recent The Action Catalyst Episode with Dr. Jonah Berger

How is this book rated?  What is the scale?  I rate this book on a timely to misses the boat scale.  If you read this book and become current with sales along with the mechanisms and motivators than it is timely.  If you don’t then you stand a chance of missing the boat and will end up as the saying goes, swimming with the fishes.

If you have read this book or are planning too, please leave a comment below!

Also, if you have read this book or any others on the upcoming or recently read list, please let me know!  I am seeking interested parties for an opportunity to create an ongoing podcast or mastermind group to facilitate mutual perpetual growth!
The Sales Acceleration Formulasales acceleration formula review Brandon Handley

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