When I received an email inviting me to join the HubSpot Pipeline Generation Bootcamp, I decided to seize the opportunity without hesitation. Little did I know that this experience would completely revolutionise my understanding of sales. Initially expecting a typical sales training program, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an extraordinary session that went far beyond my expectations.
The bootcamp was a whirlwind of information, energy, and knowledge. To participate, we had to apply, resulting in a diverse group from number of agencies from all corners of the globe, each with unique experiences, backgrounds, and cultural contexts. This diversity became an invaluable asset as we not only absorbed Hubspot's expertise but also learned from one another. This made the bootcamp experience truly dynamic.
What truly struck me during the bootcamp was the fundamental shift in perspective regarding sales. Rather than viewing it solely as a transactional process, we were urged to embrace the ethos of helping others. The mantra of the training became "always be helpful," emphasising the importance of assisting companies in overcoming challenges and achieving their goals. This Power of Helping mindset completely transformed the way we planned, approached, and thought about sales. Every conversation we initiated focused on understanding the needs, challenges, and goals of the other person. It became evident that our solutions may not fit every problem, but even then, we could still be of assistance. Whether by offering guidance or connecting them with another reputable company, the act of genuinely helping others left a lasting impression.
The concept of "always be helpful" extended beyond meaningful conversations. It included sharing practical advice and immediate value at every opportunity. When approaching potential clients, I developed a habit of thoroughly researching their websites, blogs, and social media channels to identify areas where they could implement improvements right away. Often, I discovered that their websites lacked effective calls-to-action or links to relevant content. By offering these personalised insights generating immediate impact, without any additional consulting fees, I could provide immediate value and demonstrate a genuine interest in their success.
The world of sales has undergone significant changes, particularly with the shift from physical to online interactions. We learned that sales are ultimately about building relationships in the Digital Age, not merely selling to faceless companies. In the age of social media, platforms like LinkedIn became valuable resources for listening to the questions and concerns people raised. Engaging with them and offering assistance created an opportunity to establish a relationship based on trust. If the company aligned with our solutions, we would approach them for a "connect call," where we would share tips and insights to address their online queries or challenges.
Although the boot camp emphasised the importance of helping, it also provided a structured methodology for effective sales. The journey progressed through various stages, from the connect call, exploratory call, and strategy-planning call, to the proposal call and deal signing. The key distinction was that these steps were approached from a mindset of providing assistance rather than simply selling. Personalisation became paramount, as we realised the value of tailoring our approach to each individual rather than following a generic list of companies. Patience and flexibility played essential roles, understanding that the timing for a purchase might not align precisely with our own agenda. By embodying the "always be helpful" mindset, we nurtured relationships that turned customers into enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
When it comes to sales, there is a methodology to follow, and the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp enlightened us on the step-by-step process. It begins with the connect call, moves on to the exploratory call and strategy-planning call, and eventually leads to the proposal call and deal signing. However, the game-changing aspect lies in starting from a place of genuine assistance rather than a focus on selling. Personalisation is key, and it's crucial to avoid treating potential clients as mere entries on a list to be called one after another. Instead, patience and empathy become paramount as we prioritise the other person's needs and timeline. When we succeed in this approach, they become our most passionate advocates.
A major takeaway from the boot camp was the art of conducting a call. Rather than dominating the conversation with persuasive techniques, we learned to listen and understand. Prepared with thoughtful questions, we engaged in meaningful dialogue and embraced the power of silence. Pausing after asking a question or making a point allowed the other person to react and establish a connection. This created a foundation of trust, as humans naturally enjoy talking about themselves. Skilful questioning became the key to unlocking valuable information, uncovering hidden needs and challenges that may not have been evident initially. It was crucial to actively listen, repeat what we heard to ensure alignment, and make the other person feel genuinely heard and understood.
In the realm of sales prospecting, the importance of patience and consistency cannot be overstated. It is essential to give people ample time to consider their options before reaching out again, ideally waiting at least three days. The primary focus should always be on conveying our willingness to help. Follow-up emails can provide additional tips, useful resources, or relevant links that might assist them further. It's vital to personalize our outreach efforts, as the bootcamp emphasised the effectiveness of crafting short videos for initial outreach emails. I personally experimented with this technique and was thrilled with the results.
To summarise, here are my main takeaways:
- Shift from selling to providing value and being genuinely helpful to the customer.
- Embrace the power of listening, pausing, and encouraging the other person to share their thoughts and experiences.
- Even if you can't directly offer assistance, strive to find alternative solutions by referring them to others who can help with their challenges.
- Remain prepared, adaptable, and patient. A potential client's momentary unavailability does not equate to a permanent rejection. The timing may simply be off, and maintaining a positive relationship could lead to future opportunities.
- In the end, selling is not about Business to Business (B2B), it's about People to People (P2P)
Lastly, I was deeply impressed by HubSpot's commitment to practicing what they preach. The supportive HubSpot community and the organisations dedicated efforts to foster our growth were truly inspiring. These experiences underscored the invaluable lessons I learned throughout the eight-week boot camp. Through role-playing exercises, I gained confidence and explored various scenarios in a safe environment.
For agency readers, particularly those affiliated with HubSpot, I highly recommend reaching out to your channel account manager (CAM) to learn more about the Pipeline Generation Bootcamp regularly organised by HubSpot.