In the Harvard Business Review “The Science of Building a Scalable Sales Team“, Mark Roberge reveals the four principles he used to scale the sales team at Hubspot:

  1. Hire the same successful sales person every time.
  2. Train new hires in a consistent, measurable way.
  3. Provide our sales people with the same quality and quantity of leads each month.
  4. Work those leads with the same process every time.

So, how did he hire the same successful person every time?

“Most companies screen sales candidates on “gut feel,” which does not scale. I aimed to inject quantitative analysis into this normally unscientific process.

Before I held our first set of interviews, I drew up a list of twelve criteria that I thought would correlate with success in the sales role. The criteria were weighted according to relative importance, and the possible scores — on a scale of 1 to 10 — were defined precisely as to what each meant for that potential hire. The hiring began.

After 12 months, 500 interviews, and 20 hires, I hired a graduate student from MIT to run a regression analysis, correlating the interview scores to success in our sales funnel. This was the foundation of our own personalized predictive index. By repeating this analysis every 6 to 12 months, we continually fine-tuned the index to our business. Today, as we hire 5 to 10 sales reps per month, I sleep better knowing this process is established.

The key takeaway here is the process, not the actual results of the criteria. Each sales context is different. Each salesperson has a unique style. Some fit your context and some do not. The process helps to understand these differences. However, there were a few characteristics that were highly correlated with success that I believe will apply to most sales environments. These characteristics are prior success, intelligence, work ethic, and coach-ability. Coach-ability is definitely one that I missed early on and added in later as we studied our success profiles. Today it is the characteristic that I focus on the most on.”

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