I was at the opening day game for the Arizona Diamondbacks when I got the email from Dan Tyre, HubSpot’s Sales Director and member of the original founding team, informing me that my application to the HubSpot Sales Boot Camp had been accepted. My high-level understanding was this 8 week course would be an aggressive course where we would learn how to do warm, connect calls Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what was in store. After completing the course I’d love to share below what the HubSpot course was focused on and the outcome of my experience. There were 4 key takeaways from this class that I want to walk you through so that future sales Lions in the HubSpot Boot Camp can have the same Lion’s pride that I have as a new graduate.
#1: NO QUALIFYING. FIRST ADD VALUE.
What is a connect call? It’s essentially a reach out to a prospect that you have emailed in the past. The purpose of the call is not to qualify them as a sales lead.
I found myself thinking, “Don’t qualify?” But aren’t we supposed to, as salespeople, identify if these prospects are an ideal fit for our services? Yes, but the first step is to offer value and build trust. These calls are brief, 10 minutes max, and are intended to set up the relationship where a subsequent discovery call would be had.
I wasn’t sure how effective this would be but I thought I’d give it a shot, after all, I’m the student.
At StringCan, we calculated that to hit our goal of bringing on 12 new clients in 2017 that we needed to close 3 clients per quarter. To do that we discovered that we needed to be prospecting rapidly enough to send 74 cold emails on average per week, using HubSpot’s Sequences program. Sequences have been a game changer and if you’re not currently leveraging this magical feature you are leaving a lot of money on the table. Going against conventional assumptions, we can attribute substantial new revenue in the first two quarters of 2017 to cold email outreach.
Dan would start off each session by introducing a company, sharing their website, a LinkedIn bio, and some additional stats around the company. This could be a little stressful because in a perfect world you would properly vet a prospect and their company ahead of any reachout effort. But in this case it was be agile or die. We would roleplay with other team members with the idea is one person is the prospect and the other person is doing the selling. Sometimes the person pretending to be the prospect would be timid, other times combative, other times skeptical, or even friendly and open. The trick is to change up your approach for any given circumstance as the person doing the selling so that you can build trust, add value, and move the conversation forward.
My first week of bootcamp I added a multi-location swim school into my CRM and enrolled them in a swim school sequence. I made a connect call to them two days later with the intention of offering value. On the first connect call that I made we had an amazing conversation. I focused on establishing trust and rapport. A secondary call was immediately booked for two days later.
The discovery call went so well, having created a relationship and added value on the previous connect call, we booked a demo the following week. Talks are continuing with that client but if all works out we could bring them on for closing another $80k+ of new business to start.
#2: THINK ON YOUR FEET
For the last 8 weeks I’ve been scheduling connect calls with various touch points in my sequences. The beauty of the weekly classes is every Monday we work through different techniques and obstacles that might arise. In addition, I had a strong sense of accountability as I knew that if I did not come into each weekly call prepared I would disappoint Dan and the rest of my group.
Starting out the most important thing to nail down is your company’s statement. Who the heck are you and what do you do. Keep in mind, the purpose of this call is not to vomit information about your agency but you do have to articulate in a clear and concise manner why you are calling and what you can do to help.
When we did our initial run throughs, everyone was really sloppy. They started out talking way too much about themselves and less about the prospect’s company. It was basically a cold call from hell. Dan cleaned that up for us right away and I learned that an effective sales person listens at least 80% of the time.
In addition to drilling for conversations, we practiced effective voicemails. More often than not, you’re going to run into an answering machine – especially if the person you are calling doesn’t know you. The idea around the voicemail strategy is to leave a direct, concise, message around why you’re reaching out and that you want to have a call. No fluff. No additional contact info needed besides your phone number. And you say your name at the end. Done.
#3: YOU CAN BEAT RESISTANCE
Several of the calls I executed outside of the class resulted in a lot of resistance from the prospects. For example:
- Me: “I noticed there was a broken link to your blog page. I was curious if you were aware of that…”
- Prospect: “Yeah.”
- Me: “Got it. Do you need help fixing that? Is blogging something you guys would like to do more of?”
- Prospect: “Not sure.” Whew. Brutal.
Luckily Dan focused heavily on how to deal with this. Resistance on calls isn’t always a prospect who is angry or belligerent. More often than not they give you one word answers, as I alluded to above, or throw you mixed signals, kind of like when a spouse gets mad at you. One of the most painful calls I had was a woman screaming at me “Where is the concrete evidence! Where is the evidence that you will help me!” Such an awkward question, especially since all I had said was “We specialize in helping companies like yours…” I’m not going to lie, there will be quite a few rough calls but the whole idea of Boot Camp is that by week four you are starting to get the hang of things and generate a process that works for you.
#4: YOU CAN HELP ANYONE
In the middle of the course, we are required to set up a meeting with Dan and our HubSpot CAM. This is how it works:
You get on a Zoom meeting with Dan and the CAM. Dan throws you a prospect to study in 2 minutes and then you are instructed to do a mock call with your CAM who is pretending to be the prospect. You are then required to talk for 8-10 minutes while Dan assesses you. Once that’s done and you think you can relax, Dan has you do the same thing, only this time you have to leave a voicemail that goes no longer than 20 seconds. The purpose of this was to gauge where there might be weaknesses in your delivery or strategy on the call or voicemail. It sounds really intense but I found this to be one of the most effective parts of the course as it allowed personal time with Dan to give me some 1:1 advice.
The biggest takeaway I got from Dan in this session was that you can help anyone. Deciding if it’s worth it to make the help ongoing for any given prospect is worth debating with your sales team depending on budget and the type of company you are speaking to, but the reality is you can offer marketing value to anyone who is need of it. Whether our prospect is a CMO and an expert with inbound, or a COO and marketing laggard, we have the ability to enlighten our prospects on the connect call. Maybe it’s a broken link on their site, maybe it’s explaining the value of domain authority or the value of blogging consistently with content that targets buyer persons. Oftentimes as salespeople we can get really good at qualifying, so much that we write people off too fast in our discovery process.
At a minimum, even if the prospect isn’t a great fit, we’ve now given them a positive experience and created a potential referral source down the road. Ultimately the beauty of Boot Camp is that it jump starts your pipeline and gets you talking to people. Doing the connect call in tandem with email speeds up your sales cycle and allows you to do a little more diligence and build a stronger relationship with your future clients. If you’re selling inbound marketing services and are looking to elevate your sales strategy I strongly recommend you reach out to HubSpot and apply for this opportunity. The time invested was well worth it.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, Michael Wolgast