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SaaS sales has done an amazing job on process and funnels. It’s what allows sales leaders to identify the right areas for business expansion, and also identify areas for individual coaching. As customer success becomes more sophisticated there’s a lot that it can (and should) be learning based on what works in sales.

Let’s walk through an example.

Here’s a simple framework that runs from on-boarding new customers to renewal.


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Diagnosing HubSpot’s first churn crisis

In 2007, HubSpot was 12 people in a garage with 50 customers. And we decided we were ready to scale. We hired 15 sales people, a dozen or so customer success people, and 6 months later we had gone from 50 customers to over 1000.

It was beautiful.

We were the rocket ship darling of Boston. And then…

Churn exploded, and that’s an understatement. Our churn wasn’t 3%, or 5%, in February of 2008, 8% a month our customers churned. Just to be clear, this is a completely unsustainable business.

And of course, the first place we looked was our customer success team. We measured each customer success manager on their install base and churn rate. We thought maybe one or two of them would have it figured it out and we can just have everyone else copy them. …


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How important is the seat you choose on the first day of school?

For me, that decision changed my life.

As a student at MIT back in 2005, I took a class on startups and sat next to an introverted student named Dharmesh Shah. A friendship blossomed into a business relationship and upon graduation Dharmesh and his co-founder, Brian Halligan, hired me as their fourth employee and first salesperson for their company HubSpot. It was one of the most difficult journeys of my life. Here are the ten sales leadership lessons I took away from the experience.

#1: Today’s empowered buyers dictate the sales process, not salespeople. Develop the buyer journey first and then design a sales process that supports it.

Circle the salespeople below. …

About

Mark Roberge

Senior Lecturer @HarvardHBS. Former CRO @HubSpot. Sales scientist. MIT quant. Family man. Author of Best Seller The Sales Acceleration Formula

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