The Essentials of Mark Roberge’s Sales Acceleration Formula

Salomé Murciani
Salomé Murciani
Content Manager at NUMA
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Mark Roberge wrote this best-seller in 2015 when he was CRO at Hubspot. Being the 4th employee recruited, his main mission was to develop the sales team. To do it the right way, he adopted several successful techniques and processes. Here are our main takeaways from the book.

Hiring Acceleration Formula: decide what you want and go for it

Why it matters : Hiring the right talents for your sales team is a major key for success.

Do it now

  • List your top performers’ skills to know your current assets and the ones you lack.
  • Test those skills over your interviews and keep track of the candidates’ results. This enables you to compare it to their performance 6 months after you hired them and adapt your interview process. 

For instance, Mark figured that the best pick was someone with the following characteristics: coachability, intelligence (ie. the ability to synthesize complex information), proven track record, curiosity and work ethic.

  • As most talented people are passive on the market, go get them yourself and create your hiring company. Put your team’s best Linkedin contacts on a spreadsheet, set up a meeting and ask everyone to contact these persons of interest.

Stop it now

  • Passive referral program: if you wait for people to apply to your job offers, you will never get top performers applying.

Training Acceleration Formula: it’s all about buyers’ needs and process 

Why it matters: “Ride-along sales training are neither scalable nor predictable” according to Mark. The power of a sales team lies in the diversity of its profiles.

Do it now:

To let everyone identify their particular strengths, adopt a systemized process:

1. Buyer journey: “Starting with the buyer journey increases the likelihood that the buyer's needs will remain front and center during all aspects of the selling process”

2. Sales process: “Once the buyer journey is defined, the sales process can be created. The sales process supports the customer along his buying journey…”

3. Qualifying matrix: “The qualifying matrix defines the information needed from a potential buyer in order to understand whether we can help the prospective buyer and whether the buyer wants help. The information is gathered at various stages of the sales process. It is rarely gathered in the same order across different deals.”

Stop it now: 

  • Ride-along trainings leaving no time or space for the new hire to identify its own strengths and weaknesses.

Sales Acceleration Formula: coaching rather than strictly managing

Why it matters: to develop your team’s skills and performance, coaching is key.

Do it now:

  • Pick one thing to develop and work it out until you reach the right level.
  • Foster a coaching culture: create a safe space once a month to discuss the skills each member of your team needs to develop. Doing so, you both come to the meeting with axis of improvement and can invest this time to make a plan. 
  • Organize contests to improve short term performance. Run them in teams to foster not only competitivity but also team spirit.
  • Test and learn before giving a promotion: assess their potential by letting them manage one salespeople whilst coping with their own contributive work. Great contributors don’t always make great managers.

Stop it now: 

  • Overwhelming them with a long list of skills to develop, while some skills matter more. To define which skill to improve, identify where failure occurs in the sales funnel.

Demand Acceleration Formula: master the shift from cold calling to inbound selling

Why it matters: According to Mark, outbound is dead and sales depend on understanding how to create value for your customers, not harassing them with your product.

Do it now: 

Before sending leads to sales, identify where our prospects are in their buyer journey. For instance, Mark identified 3 recurring patterns for Hubspot’s prospects:

  • Corporates need to be well-educated at the beginning of the sales process, because they tend to have a longer decision-making procedure.
  • SMBs usually have a shorter and less complex buying procedure. The sales team gets in touch with them on the research stage.
  • The sales team waits for a single potential buyer to select a solution before contacting him.

Game-changer tip: The bigger the company, the sooner you need to get in touch with potential customers to make them aware of the problem, encourage them to reach for solutions and finally do your best to make them choose your solution.

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