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Ep20: Mark Roberge, Managing Director at Stage 2 Capital and Former CRO at HubSpot

The Kiss of Death

Episode Summary

"The kiss of death," is how Mark Roberge describes an unaligned sales and marketing team. In episode 20 of our Datavana Podcast, Mark Roberge (Managing Director at Stage 2 Capital and former CRO at HubSpot) discusses the importance of focusing marketing and sales’ tactics and strategies to more effectively corner the market. "If you don't have Sales and Marketing completely aligned some competitor is going to align their’s first."

For Mark, every single outreach and customer touch point needs to add value in order to close in on leads and prospects faster. As well as valuable messaging and content, time is vital too, "Increase your sales velocity by 20%, call leads within minutes". According to Mark, getting the customer to talk often and early at the beginning of a relationship increases rates of success.

Mark also talks about tapping into closed loss accounts, getting the most out of each lead, and how best sales practices result in more conversions.

Ep20: Mark Roberge, Managing Director at Stage 2 Capital and Former CRO at HubSpot
Name: Mark Roberge
What he does: Managing Director
Company: Stage 2 Capital
Noteworthy:
- Prof @HarvardHBS
- Former CRO @HubSpot
- Author of Best Seller "The Sales Acceleration Formula"
Where to find Mark: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

Callable Leads

"We knew for every 200 inquiries on the website, every 200 form fills that happened in a month on the website, we knew that a hundred were callable leads. And we could dig into that based on certain verticals, like between 220 and 2000 in employee size in the US. So great that's an MQL. And then we also knew that if we deploy a salesperson against them and they follow the playbook; they'll connect with half of them and they'll turn 30% of those into an opportunity and close 25% of those for a $10,000 ACB contract."

Selling Conversations

"The salespeople that succeed most are those that get the buyer to talk the most in the first conversation and open up. And when you have a buyer that shows up to a call for a demo request, you are contradicting the best practice of sales, because the first call should be about learning about the buyer. But the buyer thinks that the call is about learning about the product. So I much prefer this as a best practice consultation."

Selling on a Ticking Clock

"You need to call leads effectively. And that means every lead needs to be called within an hour. Some people say 10 minutes, some people say 30 minutes, but let's just say it's an hour. And then the other part of the data suggests that all leads need to be called frequently, right? So let's call three times in the first week. Let's call six times within two weeks. Let's call nine times in the first month. That's not hard to operationalize in a dashboard. Just show me all the leads that were created more than an hour ago that haven't been called."

All in the Same Boat

"If you tell a sales rep that their job is to call the inbound leads that marketing produces and hit a quota, when that sales rep misses that number, they will blame marketing. They will blame that there weren't enough leads. The dialogue has to be, 'You are on the inbound team as you know, but we can't have a dependence on marketing.' You have to set up that accountability so that they don't, they can't blame marketing."

Outbounds of an Account Executive

"Outbound as an account executive is different from outbound of an SDR. Outbound by an SDR is around 15 dials against one contact. It's about $80 a day. Outbound of an account executive is far more strategic. It might be spending an hour on a website or a public equity call, or something very strategic like a beautifully crafted email. An email to the C-suite is a much more strategic, personalized and customized outbound method."

Key Insights

  • The importance of marketing and sales alignment. While talking of his own experiences, Mark emphasises what a critical error misalignment of sales and marketing is. Mark calls it a “death wish”. Companies that aren’t aligned run the risk of their competitors out-coordinating them and potentially lose customers. "If you don't have these groups completely aligned some competitor is going to align theirs. Almost all buying journeys start in an area that's owned by marketing and progressed to an area that's owned by sales and then eventually to customer success and account management."
  • Quick and helpful. Depending on how valuable a lead is determines how quickly and how often they need to be chased up. Mark says the research backs it up, and for him, it’s a matter of minutes. But as well as being quick to the draw, all communication should be meaningful and resourceful for your prospects. "Every single outreach needs to be value adding, it's not just the elevator pitch on the business. Providing ebooks, blog articles, case studies, and observations on the business is helpful!"
  • Firmographics before CEOs. "The MQL should be hyper-focused on the firmographic of the company and have very little to do with the title of the lead contact." The Firmographics of a particular company are far more important than the name of some hot-shot CEO, according to Mark. He explains that even if a big name were to come through as a lead, it is probably just an intern ‘pulling the strings’ on behalf of a CEO. So it’s better to focus on the company first because, “the MQL should be on the company, not the contact."
  • Closed Loss Accounts. One of Mark’s greatest strategy insights for sales teams finding new leads is to dive back into those closed loss accounts. Depending whether enough time has passed and there's no bad blood, Mark considers this a suitable market area and one he encourages his own team to prospect in. "Sometimes one of the best places is going back into your closed loss accounts. That's something we don't do well enough. You know, if you close 20% of your pipeline, you're doing pretty good. That means 80% of your pipeline didn't close. And if you go back to that nine months ago, wow! There's beautiful magic in there. That's where I like my folks to prospect."

Top Quotes

[08:20] "The first step is we need to get sales and marketing in the room together and decide two things. Number one: what is a call of a lead? What's a lead that counts and how much credit do we get for that? Number two: what is sales going to do if we find one of those? What's our end of the bargain?"

[18:10] "Every single sales outreach needs to be value adding!"

[25:33] "The MQL should be hyper-focused on the firmographic of the company and have very little to do with the title of the lead contact. Focus on the company first. Because the MQL should be on the company, not the contact."

[28:53] "I don't know the exact percentage a sales rep should be prospecting, but if we could make it a percentage I would say on average 10 to 20%, but that's going to be highly circumstantial. Like, how difficult it is to get their attention in an outbound manner? And there are a lot of factors that go into that. Let's just call it on average from 10 to 20%"

[30:59] "A beautifully crafted email to the C-suite is much more strategic, personalized and customized."

[31:06] "Sometimes the best place is going back into your close loss accounts. That's something we don't do well enough. You know, if you close 20% of your pipeline, you're doing pretty good. That means 80% of your pipeline didn't close. And if you go back to that nine months ago, wow. There's beautiful magic in there. That's where I like my folks to prospect."