Welcome back to the From Vendorship → Partnership podcast, Season 2: Seller’s Journey!
This season, we’re talking to B2B sales leaders about their experience building winning processes, coaching & scaling teams, and partnering with customers.
Our guest this week is the one and only Mark Roberge:
⛰️ Co-Founder at Stage 2 Capital
📚 Author of the best-selling The Sales Acceleration Formula
🎓 Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School
📈 Former CRO at HubSpot Sales
He has a ton of incredible sales insights to share (way more than we could cover in 20 minutes!) Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts, and get the highlights from our conversation below.
🔮 What are the trends you’re seeing in B2B startup sales?
"I think product-led growth is an extraordinarily disruptive business model for software," Mark says. “If you’re in a category that PLG is aligned with, you have to do it."
Mark thinks we’re only in the “first of nine innings” for PLG. If you’re an early stage startup aligned with PLG, he recommends jumping right in and trying it. Hire a couple of salespeople who are almost like CSMs – they can call users to unstick them and get valuable feedback for your product team.
And even if you figure out that PLG doesn’t work for your company, you end up with a very easy-to-use product!
📖 What are the key components in a repeatable sales playbook?
There are two main “buckets” required in a sales playbook:
This is how you understand whether a prospect is going to buy. Examples of qualification frameworks are BANT and MEDDIC – Mark recommends starting with a common one like these and customizing it for your company and sales process.
A sales qualifying matrix is only one side of the coin – your team also needs a customer success qualifying matrix to ensure the customer succeeds after they buy your product. This includes things that sales teams need to do to set the CS team and customer up for success.
Mark includes five key components in his sales playbooks:
- Buyer journey – how do you talk about the problem you solve at the awareness and consideration stages?
- Prospecting guide – how to do customer outreach, get meetings, etc.
- Discovery guide – questions you might ask at each stage of the discovery process
- Presentation guide – examples of pitch decks / resources to tailor for each buyer
- Success guide – the onboarding & customer success process
💡 Lightning round: Mark’s fast sales tips
- Helpful sales resources you recommend? Sales Impact Academy (SIA) and Winning By Design
- Which other sales team do you admire? Asana – they’re doing PLG really well.
- The most challenging part of scaling sales at a startup? Convincing your board that retention and customer engagement are more important than revenue.
Mark Roberge is Co-Founder at Stage 2 Capital, the first VC fund run and backed by go-to-market executives. He is also Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School. Prior to these roles, Mark served as Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot where he scaled annualized revenue from $0 to $100 million and expanded his team from 1 to 450 employees. Mark is the author of the bestselling book, The Sales Acceleration Formula, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Boston Globe, TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, and other major publications for his entrepreneurial ventures.