[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
jennysowyrda
Community Manager

Thanks for getting this conversation started, @maggiebutler

 

@ShanePunt@GuyTaylor@dianalcont@AdamLPW@rikkilear@Krystina I thought you may be interested in participated in this conversation! 🙂 

0 Upvotes
MegInVA62
Participant

You answered questions about the characteristics you look for in sales / BDR. What characteristics do you look for in a sales manager? Do you look for a super-star sales person or are there other things you look for?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@MegInVA62 wrote:

You answered questions about the characteristics you look for in sales / BDR. What characteristics do you look for in a sales manager? Do you look for a super-star sales person or are there other things you look for?


@MegInVA62 Identifying a good manager is often very different from identifying a good sales rep. While there are some overlapping skills, managers also must have a unique set of attributes that allow them to get the best out of their teams. When looking for a good sales manager I look at a series of attributes (innate to the individual, hard to train on): Commitment to win, Intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and coachability. In addition, I will also look for a series of skills (trainable): organization, customer first mentality, active listening, challenger selling and closing mentality. The combination of these attributes and skills are what make a strong sales manager. 

0 Upvotes
JenBergren
Top Contributor | Diamond Partner

Thanks Maggie!

 

A question I see in groups a lot and am curious about myself is if there is a good way to judge when to introduce ops roles or departments to help sales teams, such as once the team has grown to a certain size, or other factors to use. As an ops person I would say "at the very beginning" but I realize that is not how most companies think!

 

I think people are looking for a magic number, like I saw one blog say once you have 100 people in your company you should have an internal RevOps department, and under 100 should have individual ops roles... I know there is no magic ratio but I would like to hear Channing's advice and experience.

 

Our agency is usually hired to help companies with ops later than ideally, so we have to clean up a lot of messes due to a lack of ops before us. So how can companies know they need to hire and/ or form ops departments before things get too messy and start breaking would be another way to phrase this 🙂

 

I signed up to get the recording, unfortunately, I have a conflict on Thursday. I look forward to watching!

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@JenBergren wrote:

Thanks Maggie!

 

A question I see in groups a lot and am curious about myself is if there is a good way to judge when to introduce ops roles or departments to help sales teams, such as once the team has grown to a certain size, or other factors to use. As an ops person I would say "at the very beginning" but I realize that is not how most companies think!

 

I think people are looking for a magic number, like I saw one blog say once you have 100 people in your company you should have an internal RevOps department, and under 100 should have individual ops roles... I know there is no magic ratio but I would like to hear Channing's advice and experience.

 

Our agency is usually hired to help companies with ops later than ideally, so we have to clean up a lot of messes due to a lack of ops before us. So how can companies know they need to hire and/ or form ops departments before things get too messy and start breaking would be another way to phrase this 🙂

 

I signed up to get the recording, unfortunately, I have a conflict on Thursday. I look forward to watching!


@JenBergren Thanks for your question. My suggestion is to discuss ratios and start early with hiring Ops. Today I talked about phases of growth and suggesting this hire in the $2-10m stage, but start w Ops at $2m and a handful of reps. Here are the slides - https://bit.ly/channingslides

JenBergren
Top Contributor | Diamond Partner

Thanks so much, Channing!

0 Upvotes
pinnacle1234
Participant

Looking forward to this...If you split Strategy and Ops into two teams, how do you define what success metrics are Ops and which ones are Strategy on the separate teams and what does this look like when they are one team?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@pinnacle1234 wrote:

Looking forward to this...If you split Strategy and Ops into two teams, how do you define what success metrics are Ops and which ones are Strategy on the separate teams and what does this look like when they are one team?


@pinnacle1234 I would say these are the success metrics in the split:

 

Strategy

  • Segment-specific sales performance
  • Ability to meet and achieve project-specific goals.

Operations

  • Achieve goals and timelines for annual planning
  • Keep the sales group aligned to FP&A guardrails
  • Minimize rep case queue inquiries

Let me know what you think about that...

bindiann
Participant

Hi Channing! Thanks for doing this! I want to know, what are the top 3 attributes or skills you hire for? 

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@bindiann wrote:

Hi Channing! Thanks for doing this! I want to know, what are the top 3 attributes or skills you hire for? 


@bindiann The top three I hire for are track record of initiative, analytical mindset, growth mentality, and I would add diversity.

Others that are important too: project managaement analytical experience, coding experience, stakeholder management

0 Upvotes
jeyso10
Member

What is the hardest part about working with marketing

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@jeyso10 wrote:

What is the hardest part about working with marketing


@jeyso10 The hardest part? Can't stand them 🙂 Just kidding, of course. I'd say tracking the SLA. We all know there are a lot of factors to measure it

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VanessaR
Participant

I've dealt with a lot of reps who don't like automation or feel like it's not a helpful addition to their workflow. How have you overcome this in the past?

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Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@VanessaR wrote:

I've dealt with a lot of reps who don't like automation or feel like it's not a helpful addition to their workflow. How have you overcome this in the past?


@VanessaR I've seen similar issues...my advice would be to show the value through data. Work rate, conversions, etc. But also don’t over automate. Listen to the rep to determine where automation works and where to cut back.

0 Upvotes
walterw
Contributor

Channing, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I want to ask about growing sales reps...

 

How do I know when it's time to split a rep function into a rep AND a sdr? I haven't done this well in the past so I figured I'd ask...

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@walterw wrote:

Channing, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I want to ask about growing sales reps...

 

How do I know when it's time to split a rep function into a rep AND a sdr? I haven't done this well in the past so I figured I'd ask...


@walterw Look at your CAC. Look at your demand. Look at what your rep does each day (hours spent on X, Y, Z). We do this regularly and recently removed SDRs from a segment since CAC was too low, reps were self-sourcing just fine and demand was high.

0 Upvotes
LFarabaugh
Member

How do you balance Sales & Account Management roles. Do you add one before the other? How do you best incentivize sales people to keep hunting rather than hold on to accounts, if you do have a separate AM function?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@LFarabaugh wrote:

How do you balance Sales & Account Management roles. Do you add one before the other? How do you best incentivize sales people to keep hunting rather than hold on to accounts, if you do have a separate AM function?


@LFarabaugh There are 2 approaches to this question, I will lay out both.

 

1) keep your sales reps hunting and only pay them on new business (plus maybe the first 90-180 days of upsell)

 

2) Pay sales reps on new + customer selling. If you do this and you see your reps selling too much customer selling you can always adjust comp to be overweighted toward new and underweighted toward customer selling.

 

Personally, I gravitate toward the 2nd option and pay reps on both. This creates continuity for the customer and helps enforce reps sell good deals. But it often depends on a lot of variables.

 

Do you think either of these could work for you? Let me know if you have questions about these approaches.

0 Upvotes
AmandaRomeo
Member

Is there an org chart that you can share for Strategy & Ops team at HS?

maggiebutler
HubSpot Moderator

@AmandaRomeo wrote:

Is there an org chart that you can share for Strategy & Ops team at HS?


@AmandaRomeo  - here is the org chart for Channing's department.

 

maggiebutler_0-1597670872059.png

 

 

0 Upvotes
SalesIsScience
Participant

Any specific strategies for the upper right products in designing specific sales processes to accelerate close?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@SalesIsScience wrote:

Any specific strategies for the upper right products in designing specific sales processes to accelerate close?


@SalesIsScience The first thing I would say is stick with the 'rigid pricing' approach. Often companies begin to negotiate too much when in the upper right quadrant of the GTM operations spectrum and it slows them down. In addition, I would recommend having a very clear sales process. Make sure your reps are following the steps, doing strong discovery and walk away early from bad deals! These 2 things sound simple, but can be hard to implement effectively. Become maniacal about both.

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SalesIsScience
Participant

As you are in the upper areas of founding stage 2, what key strategies would help you push into phase 3 the most rapidly.

0 Upvotes
Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@SalesIsScience wrote:

As you are in the upper areas of founding stage 2, what key strategies would help you push into phase 3 the most rapidly.


@SalesIsScience I believe your referencing the transition from "Phase 2: Early" to "Phase 3: Growth". The steps outlined in phase 2 are critical to move your business forward. I would recommend prioritizing the decision on your GTM strategy. It is very hard to accelerate growth without a clear GTM strategy. Once you have this strategy in place then everything else with more easily follow. 

 

I know I touched on building GTM strategy in the presentation - let me know if you have a specific question about your setup I can answer.

0 Upvotes
LFarabaugh
Member

Do you see any differences in what needs to be done by stage for a professional services company as opposed to a product company?

0 Upvotes
Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@LFarabaugh wrote:

Do you see any differences in what needs to be done by stage for a professional services company as opposed to a product company?


@LFarabaugh These stages and action items apply to all industries. Howwever, as a professional services company you will want to think about different KPIs, different sales incentives, customer growth/retention incentives etc. The general action items are applicable, but the metrics you use to drive the business will vary greatly. 

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SalesIsScience
Participant

Talking about quota strategy and impacts of missing it.  In your recent blog post, you mentioned the value of considering whether to modify or eliminate quotas. With so many reps in most organizations, being below quota, or as I prefer to plan, how long do you recommend keeping these underperformers apart of the team?

Channing-Ferrer
HubSpot Employee

@SalesIsScience wrote:

Talking about quota strategy and impacts of missing it.  In your recent blog post, you mentioned the value of considering whether to modify or eliminate quotas. With so many reps in most organizations, being below quota, or as I prefer to plan, how long do you recommend keeping these underperformers apart of the team?


@SalesIsScience The first thing I would recommend is build a culture of winning. Set your quotas so you have at least 50% of your reps hitting the number. Many sales orgs assume reps will hit 80-90% of quota. I asume reps will hit 100+% of quota. This builds that winning culture.

Next, determine a plan to manage out low performers. It is inevitable to have some and you are better off managing them out as efficiently as possible. At HubSpot, we have setup a metrics driven performance plan. Reps who are below 70% of their trailing 6 month quota threshould go on a 90 day get-well plan. If they dont move above 70% then they are moved to a more stringent 30 day plan and subsequently moved out of the business. This approach to performance management has worked very well for us and created a very consistant philosophy on performance expectations for reps and for managers. 

 

What is your take on that - do you think those timeframes and percentages make sense? Would you change anything there?

0 Upvotes
SalesIsScience
Participant

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