[Now Closed] AMA: Channing Ferrer, SVP Sales Strategy & Operations

maggiebutler
HubSpot Moderator

HubSpot's SVP of Sales Strategy and Operations, Channing Ferrer, hosted a webinar in August 2020 focused on sharing the lessons he's learned designing sales teams. Click here to get the recording, or click here for the slides.

 

The Q&A with Channing below is now closed. Check out the thread for answers to questions like:

  •  What are the top 3 attributes or skills you hire for? 
  • How do you balance Sales & Account Management roles?
  • What were the greatest win and greatest lessons learned from experiments you ran?
  • My question is how have trained or incentivized Sales members to enter the data they need into HubSpot?

 

 

67 Replies 67
Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@SalesIsScience wrote:

What were the greatest win and greatest lessons learned from experiments you ran?


@SalesIsScience Two recent experiments come to mind. In one case we experimented with how we acquire partners. It lead to us transitioning our partner acquisition model to involve an overlay/specialist sales rep role. The other experiment involved how we engage with our customers/prospects via chat. We merged part of our support team with our website chat team and shifted the chat mentality to be more oriented to support. We engage with free users to teach them how to use our product better. Both experiments lead to pilots and then large-scale rollouts. 

 

What have you learned from the experiments you ran? I'm always looking for new ideas...

0 Upvotes
dhills
Contributor

First, thank you so much for taking the time to read my question and others!

 

My question is how have trained or incentivized Sales members to enter the data they need into HubSpot?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@dhills wrote:

First, thank you so much for taking the time to read my question and others!

 

My question is how have trained or incentivized Sales members to enter the data they need into HubSpot?


@dhills We leverage a mix of the carrot and the stick approach. Reps track basic deal data in HubSpot so they can clearly own a lead (carrot) and when they close the deal they track relevant deal details so customer success has a better chance at upselling (carrot since rep receives the benefit of this upsell). In addition, reps are asked to move deals through the sales process and they cannot send out quotes or do certain critical steps unless they enter key information (stick). 

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: How big is the frontline sales team? Asking because 20:1 shows you have a very big sales ops team which might also be doubling as sales team

0 Upvotes
Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: How big is the frontline sales team? Asking because 20:1 shows you have a very big sales ops team which might also be doubling as sales team


We don’t disclose our sales headcount, however we do have a fairly large sales team and a fairly large sales ops and sales strategy team. A group of sales ops supports rep requests and supports reps for deal closuers.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webainr Q&A: How do you get your founder/CEO to use CRM systems, update sales activity, participate in Sales Ops?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webainr Q&A: How do you get your founder/CEO to use CRM systems, update sales activity, participate in Sales Ops?


First, the founder needs to see the value in CRM hygenie and quality data. Make sure this is clear. Once it is, then have someone help him/her with data entry. The founder undoubtably has a lot on his/her plate and CRM data entry is going to be the last thing they want to do. Ask their admin, a junior sales ops resource or even maybe a sales rep (who joined the call w the founder) to handle the data entry. Dont put it on the founder to do....because it won't get done.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: What is a main piece of advice for someone that is starting a SaaS now?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: What is a main piece of advice for someone that is starting a SaaS now?


I am assuming your at the founding stage. If so, then I would start with determining your value proposition. This needs to be clear in order to build a sustainable business. You will need to have lots of conversations with customers and prospects to make sure it is clear. Once your clear on your value prop, then you can begin to build everything around it. Keep it simple and make it clear.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: Hi! We are on a small market but in a mature company and product. We are under 2m rev, so what would be the number of clients where a CRM makes sense as an investment?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: Hi! We are on a small market but in a mature company and product. We are under 2m rev, so what would be the number of clients where a CRM makes sense as an investment?


I would suggest a CRM is appropriate right now. You don’t need anything too heavy/complex, but if you want to continue to grow you will need to track your data so you can learn how best to grow. A CRM will help you to find opportunities to expand the market, take more market share or just retain customer better. I was the SVP of sales for a young company called C2FO, I joined when we had about $2m in revenue and we rolled out a CRM immediately. It was the best move we did.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webainr Q&A: When is the best time to redo a strategy? How do you know when the strategy is no longer working?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webainr Q&A: When is the best time to redo a strategy? How do you know when the strategy is no longer working?


Strategy is a set of choices you have made. These choices need to continuous evolve and change as your business changes and your market changes. We look at our strategy every year and make changes to it. I would recommend a regular evaluation and and regular adjustments. Just keep in mind, Strategy is important, but company alignment is critical!

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: Does it make sense to hire BDRs already in the Founding stage?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

Question from the webinar Q&A: Does it make sense to hire BDRs already in the Founding stage?


Probably not. However, it depends on your business model and target market. The reason I would lean away from it is you want your team to be as close to the value messaging as possible. You need to learn what is working and what isnt working so you can adjust your positioning and messaging. Also, go after specific logos, not just broad sweeping acquisition. Get your CEO involved in logo acquisition (brands that other companies in your target market will recognize and follow). You only need a few of them.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: Is it always a mistake to hire a head of sales already in Founding stage?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: Is it always a mistake to hire a head of sales already in Founding stage?


I would recommend hiring a person who can sell. They could easily be a player-coach role (meaning, start out selling but then transition into a head of sales). In the founding stage you need people who will roll up their sleeves and do the hard work. This includes prospect outreach, demos, data entry, workflow creation etc. Often a head of sales wont want to do that work. But if they are ok doing the tactical things that drive sales AND they have the skill set to lead a team then go for it!

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: What are ways to mitigate an organization from progressing too fast through the phases you defined? ie, Smart ramping up or tempted to operate bigger than we really are?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

Question from the webinar Q&A: What are ways to mitigate an organization from progressing too fast through the phases you defined? ie, Smart ramping up or tempted to operate bigger than we really are?


Use the guide I outlined as a check-the-box map. Make sure you have done each thing before you move to the next Phase of growth. If you move their too quickly and miss a step then you will risk the long term success of your business. Make sure you don’t miss any steps. That said, many of these steps can happen quickly with the right focus on them.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: We are small startup biochemical company in Oklahoma. Any advice on how to find good sales representatives?

0 Upvotes
Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

Question from the webinar Q&A: We are small startup biochemical company in Oklahoma. Any advice on how to find good sales representatives?


Hire remote employess. Now is as good a time as any. Remote hiring expands your target market. Then look at some of your competitors and see if you can pull some reps over to join your organization.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: Also any advice on whether we should have sales reps in areas that we do not have offices but there might be a lot of potential customers?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

Question from the webinar Q&A: Also any advice on whether we should have sales reps in areas that we do not have offices but there might be a lot of potential customers?


I am a fan of hiring remote reps. It takes a bit of enablement work and more travel (once Covid ends…), but I think it is very doable. The 2nd part of your question (reps near customers) depends on if your product is a high or low consider purchase. If high, then in person near customers makes sense. If low, then consider an inside/zoom-based sales team and location doesnt really matter.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: What are the best tools for small businesses to train newer sales team members?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: What are the best tools for small businesses to train newer sales team members?


It's less about the tools and more about what a new rep needs to know and when they need to know to be successful in your business. Once you know that you need to figure out how do you want them to learn those things. Choosing tools is more a function of how quickly the information and/or skills being taught are going to change. If you have a high rate of change it's going to be VERY hard to keep content inside a tool current. In that type of scenario I would rely more on people than systems. If your business has a slow rate of change and content stays evergreen for at least 12 months you can effectively house learning content in an LMS or in enablement tools like Brainshark, MindTickle, HighSpot, etc.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: What is SER/BDR function?

0 Upvotes
Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: What is SER/BDR function?


SDR = Sales Development Rep; BDR = Business Development Rep. Both are essentially the same thing, they help with prospecting and setting up meetings for the account executive.

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from the webinar Q&A: How should one go about setting up a system of record if they haven’t already?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee


Question from the webinar Q&A: How should one go about setting up a system of record if they haven’t already?


System of record” is similar to a CRM and could be the same. But you need something to get started. Could be Excel, or something very basic to get going but don't overlook this step. Your longer-term CRM can come later, but start tracking data as early as possible.

 

0 Upvotes
HubSpotMod
Member

Question from webinar Q&A: How do you measure that all-important alignment? How do I know when my vectors are aligned?

0 Upvotes