A few months ago, our CEO, Scott, let me know there was an opportunity to enroll in a HubSpot pipeline generation bootcamp with HubSpot’s very own OG sales leader, Dan Tyre. Now, as someone immersed in the HubSpot world for so long, I knew the legend of Dan (it’s honestly hard NOT to know about Dan if you’re anywhere in HubSpot’s universe), but I was happy to jump at any opportunity to hone in on some new skills that could help Idea Grove grow better.
But wait...I’m not a salesperson. I am a marketer at my core. In fact, I actively avoid salespeople (sorry, I’m sure you’re all lovely!). I am also extremely introverted, so the idea of picking up the phone to call folks and try to convince them to listen to what I have to say lands precisely 100 miles outside of my comfort zone. Would this be a program I could be successful in? As an old sales-avoidant dog, could I learn these new tricks?
8 weeks later and the answer is a resounding yes.
I won’t spill all the proprietary beans, but I will share a few of the lessons I think are valuable for anyone wondering about their own sales capabilities.
Lesson 1: Introverts Actually Make Great Sales People
This was the most surprising lesson of all: being introverted doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in sales. I always assumed extroverts—usually described as outgoing and sociable—would make better salespeople than introverts, who are often plagued with awkwardness and discomfort in social situations. In fact, being an introvert is an advantage. Why? Because we are inherently good listeners, and listening is what ensures your prospect feels heard rather than just being on the receiving end of a sales pitch. Most introverts are also deep thinkers, so we can come to a call prepared with research and a true solution for the prospect.
Lesson 2: It’s About Them, Not You
As a marketer, this one resonates. In marketing, especially Inbound marketing, you should be focused on creating content that is helpful for your audience, not content that just talks about your product or company. Turns out this is also true in sales. Shifting your focus from how great and innovative your Thing™ is to how you can sincerely provide value will go a long way. In fact, spend some time talking about them before you even mention how your Thing™ can help. Ask questions about their goals, what’s keeping them from obtaining those goals, or even what they’re doing well to really tailor your positioning statement to fit that specific prospect.
Lesson 3: Embrace the Pause
It’s human nature, or, as Dan puts it, your “lizard brain” to be uncomfortable during a long pause on the phone and try to fill it. This trick (eventually) gets easier the more that you practice it in conversation, but if you really lean in to the empty pause when you’re conversing with a prospect it can pay off. It indicates that you’re listening and gives them a chance to answer your question thoughtfully. So, power through the discomfort and embrace the awkwardly long pause.
Bring it All Back to Sales Enablement
As a marketer, I understand that a primary function of marketing is to help sales be successful. We want to create and do things that get our message in front of the right audience at the right time so that conversion magic can happen and we can deliver leads. But what if we don’t know what sales is doing? When are they reaching out to leads? Which leads are they reaching out to? Do they have all the context of that lead’s journey to have the right insights before reaching out? How are they reaching out?
So many questions that, in my experience, most marketing teams can’t answer. I see a lot of disconnect between marketing and sales teams that is usually solely focused on leads. Marketing should be involved in your sales process planning, and vice versa. As HubSpot recommends, you might even create an SLA between your marketing and sales teams so that you can clearly define and standardize roles, goals, and processes strategically across your teams.
I didn’t quite know what to expect out of an in-depth sales training, but, upon graduation, I am armed with new skills and techniques to help us, and our prospects, grow better. And as a nice bonus, learning how to be a better salesperson has made me a better marketer.