Gong Lets HubSpot Sales Reps “Go Back and Watch the Game Tapes”
As HubSpot grew rapidly, it needed a solution that would scale and support its coaching culture.
Gong not only helped HubSpot reduce new rep ramp time and increase rep productivity, but it also became a tool that gathers rich customer insights for different teams.
HubSpot opened its doors in 2005, pioneering the concept of “inbound marketing,” the notion that people don’t want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople. Instead, they want to be helped.
Over the past 15+ years, HubSpot has evolved into a marketing, sales, and service software platform that helps businesses grow. Its software provides front office teams all the tools they need to collaborate together and create a great customer experience.
As of 2020, HubSpot employs over 3,500 team members in 10 offices around the world and has nearly 80,000 customers in 120+ countries.
Since its inception, HubSpot has focused significant resources on both people and market intelligence.
People: Sales managers want to understand what their best reps are doing and replicate it across their entire team. They want to ramp new reps faster and set them up for success. They want to tailor great coaching to help teams sell more.
Market: The User Experience team wants to hear the unfiltered voice of its market and better understand how competitors are impacting its business.
Gong has empowered HubSpot to grow significantly in both people and marketing intelligence.
Let’s learn how it got there.
It all started with a pilot.
THE “RED TEAM” THREATENED TO QUIT THEIR JOBS IF…
Introducing a team to new processes and procedures can be challenging. Introducing a team to new software can be a nightmare. Creating accounts, setting up and managing training sessions, confirming all-team adoption and true learning is happening — all of it can be stressful and complicated.
HubSpot tries to bypass some of those obstacles by creating pilot groups to test new technology before it (a) purchases, and then (b) distributes to team members.
“These pilot groups or ‘red teams’ as we call them at HubSpot, help us not only evaluate a potential new software, they also allow us to create strong advocates and champions to help during the roll-out process,” Morgan Jacobson, HubSpot’s Principal Manager of Sales Strategy and Systems shared.
The Gong testing process was no different; however, the results were quite unique.
At the end of the pilot, Morgan asked the “red team” what they thought.
Morgan said he “knew Gong was a keeper when the team said they would literally quit their jobs if we didn’t move forward with Gong.”
Once HubSpot purchased, then began rolling out Gong, the word quickly got out.
“Once our team learned about Gong, it spread like wildfire and everybody wanted to use it,” said Libby Maurer, HubSpot’s VP of User Experience
Another team member said, “We knew Gong was working because people won’t shut up about it! People are constantly Slacking me to tell me what they love about Gong.”
That’s genuine. That’s authentic.
PEOPLE INTELLIGENCE: WHY HUBSPOT NEEDED GONG – SALES AND COACHING
The timing of Gong could not have been better.
Their current sales and coaching process was not sustainable.
“HubSpot has always had a coaching culture,” says Morgan. “It’s part of our DNA. Sales managers have weekly one-on-ones with reps to go through individual pipeline coaching and call reviews.”
Morgan’s job, in his own words, is “to reduce the friction typically associated with selling and a rapidly growing company.”
And HubSpot is just that — a rapidly growing company.
“We are constantly adding new products and changing methodologies,” said Morgan.
And with hundreds of salespeople over seven continents, coaching at scale was a huge challenge. “Uncovering coachable moments were nearly impossible,” Morgan shared.
In bringing on Gong, HubSpot was trying to solve two big issues:
- Reduce new rep ramp time
- Increase rep productivity
In a pre-Gong world, it was extremely challenging to understand if a new rep was actually learning the material. Are the new hire training and coaching concepts translating into good sales conversations? Are salespeople conceptualizing the product and services offered by HubSpot?
The same sort of uncertainty existed when it came to new product/feature launches. Salespeople need to get trained quickly, efficiently, and consistently. The sooner they are well-versed, the sooner they can start selling.
But it’s tricky to understand how quickly salespeople are adopting the playbooks and sound bites created for new product launches — especially pre-Gong. In fact, there really wasn’t a way to effectively track adoption.
Nobody really knew. No data existed.
According to Morgan, Gong equips sales managers with the data to understand adoption in seconds vs. hours or days: “With Gong, you can create a report in 2 seconds.” Annalisa Specter, Sales Manager for North America, Small Businesses, agrees. “Since adopting Gong, we’ve seen a significant increase in our productivity per rep. New reps are ramping up faster and getting over 100% quota within the first few months of their ramp.”
And adoption rates have been through the roof.
Kieran O’Flynn, Sales Manager for SMB in Mainland Europe said he has received more call recordings from his reps in two weeks than he did in all of 2018.
So, yeah. Adoption.
SOUND COACHING + REP SELF-IMPROVEMENT
Reduce new rep ramp time. Check.
Increase rep productivity. Check.
High rep adoption rates. Check.
Since implementing Gong, the HubSpot Sales team has been firing on all cylinders. The data speaks for itself.
Morgan believes Gong has also helped with the soft “people intelligence” side of the equation.
Gong helps his sales managers understand what their best reps are doing and empowers them to replicate this success across the entire team. “Gong makes it simple to tailor our coaching to help our team win.”
“Similar to professional athletes, Gong allows our sales reps to ‘go back and watch the game tape,’” says Morgan.
This means salespeople are constantly self-evaluating, freeing up sales managers to focus coaching on what matters most. Ultimately this leads to healthier, mutually-beneficial, professional relationships.
Bonus: this often translates into more sales. #EveryoneWins
Nora Hanagan, MidMarket Senior Sales Manager at HubSpot adds that Gong is not just benefitting new sales reps:
“I’ve found Gong even more valuable for my experienced salespeople. Many of my veterans haven’t listened back to their calls or done an in-depth review in years. By listening to their own calls and other teammates, they’re picking up on any bad habits they formed on their own, while also learning new sound bites to incorporate into their conversations.
As a manager, it can be difficult to know exactly how to help make a good rep great, but Gong is finally giving us the insight to do just that.
Nora Hanagan | MidMarket Senior Sales Manager, HubSpot
Sales managers at HubSpot are reporting team members using Gong data to constantly learn — and get better.
“In the discovery call, I only spoke 42% of the time but in the demo, I spoke 65% of the time. Do you think that’s ok because it’s a demo?”
“I went back to the closing section to see what I did wrong. I didn’t ask enough questions”.
Using Gong insights to guide and inform self-reflection is helping HubSpot sales reps get better every day.
And managers are cashing in on the benefits in real-time.
One HubSpot manager said that Gong makes call reviews digestible for managers and actionable for reps — the ability to annotate, pause, and highlight different ways to improve discovery, all within a certain window of time, is priceless. Feedback is actionable. Coachable moments are immediate.
MARKET INTELLIGENCE: GONG HAS DEMOCRATIZED HUBSPOT SALES DATA
Sales reps are on the front lines with prospects and customers who are constantly sharing information about the competition.
It can be challenging to know which competitor is the “new shiny object” and which one is truly a threat.
When a new competitor comes onto the scene, it can feel like they are all over the place. Sales reps here the name of this new company once, then twice, then suddenly it feels like every prospect is talking about them.
The next thing you know, sales managers are hearing some version of the following during team meetings: “We are literally hearing about ‘competitor X’ on every single call! We have to address this ASAP.”
Sometimes perception and reality are not the same.
Morgan loves that he can easily search “Competitor X” in Gong to find out how often its name is being referenced in calls. In many cases, while it may seem as though that competitor is making a lot of noise, the data says otherwise.
Having these data at its fingertips prevents HubSpot from “sprinting down rabbit holes.” It prevents the team from completely overhauling its competitive strategy to address a competitor that is really not a threat.
“Gong has democratized our sales data,” says Morgan.
PAIRING DESIGN WITH GOOD DATA
Learning about your competition helps salespeople be more prepared for prospect calls.
But you know what else helps? Good design and a killer product.
That’s where Libby Maurer, HubSpot’s VP of User Experience, and her team come into the picture. Design is more than layout and font. It’s more than white space and flow. Way more. Libby believes “you really have to pair design with good data in order to solve the hardest problems for customers.”
The UX team at HubSpot is “a little non-traditional.” It focuses a lot of its design on empathy-building — really understanding what buyers or customers are talking about when it comes to HubSpot. This — along with research and analytics — plays a huge role in the team’s day-to-day as it considers functionality, features, and ease-of-use.
And, according to Libby, Gong provides the “good data” HubSpot needs to create better products and services for its clients.
Gong allows HubSpot to hear the unfiltered voice of its market, to better understand how competitors are impacting its business.
Working with Gong is a game-changer. It enriches the customer data we are able to use for our design process.
Libby Maurer | VP of User Experience, HubSpot
Gong helps understand how salespeople are talking about HubSpot and how customers are responding — what they are reflecting back. When developing new features, the UX team then incorporates that data to strengthen the information it already has from customers.
Gong also helps track and pinpoint trends and user behavior. The UX team is no longer reactive. Instead, thanks to Gong, the team is out in front of product development and product strategy.
Here’s how Libby summarizes her experience with Gong thus far:
“Gong is like a super-power: So much information and functionality that we can leverage. It’s just … awesome.”
And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility.
Thanks, Team HubSpot for being responsible.
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