As with all other parts of a business, data is one of the foundations of any successful sales system. We plan, benchmark, and optimise with the data we can track throughout, ensuring our conversion rates and ultimately sales are predictable and delivering the growth we need. It's the basis of all our decisions.
In this episode we're joined by special guest Brian Moseley, Director of Sales at one of the fastest growing Saas companies coming out of Boston... Databox. We discuss the importance of data within the sales journey, how Hubspot uses data to fuel its rapid rise to the top, and where the future of data platforms are heading.
We have a special video recoding of the conversation:
Or you can listen to audio only:
In this episode, you'll learn:
- How the CEO and Sales Team at Databox are leveraging data to fuel their growth
- The importance of data within sales
- What made Hubspot so successful in the marketing space
- What the future looks like for data gathering platforms and how it will help your business
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Thanks For Listening!
Thanks so much for joining us this week. Be sure to join us in episode 9 where we will be discussing the problems Saas companies face in generating profitable sales, and why these 2 metrics determine if your business will succeed.
Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.
[00:00:01] Welcome to the Leadspeak podcast. With me, Alex Thackray.
[00:00:03] Hi, welcome to episode eight of Leadspeak. The podcast where we'll be talking about automated sales systems that you can build into your own businesses. Who am I? I am Alex Thackray, founder of Leadfreak where we build automated sales systems for many different business types; and we want to pass on some of the expertise and knowledge that we have to you.
[00:00:40] Now, today we've got a very special guest. We've got Brian Moseley from Databox who's the agency growth specialist with those guys. Four years previous at Hubspot, leading their sales teams before moving over to his Databox role. Brian, absolutely fantastic that you can come onboard for an episode of Leadspeak. I mean I know we've spoken quite a bit before and I'm really excited for what we're going to be talking about in this episode.
[00:01:06] Yeah, thanks for having me, Alex; happy to be here.
[00:01:08] Good. So in this episode we're going to be looking at the importance of data within sales systems and really we leverage data in all the decisions we make throughout the sales systems that we build. As you know as someone who works in the platform that we use, it's going to be really interesting to see Brian's insights into what and how they use data within their own sales and growth systems, why data is such a powerful mechanism to drive growth forward, and why you guys should be looking to implement these systems into your businesses, whether you use automated sales systems or not, why you should be leveraging data.
[00:01:47] We're going to pull on some of Brian's experience from HubSpot. So in those four years obviously Hubspot is breaking records in its own growth. So look we've got Brian who was part of that experience so we can hear firsthand what that was like and really what it felt like for Brian as well.
[00:02:04] And then, really interesting, we're going to be asking about the future of these data systems and these platforms that really look to pull in data from different platforms and allow us to analyse to the nth degree. Which really helps us to make those informed decisions. So we have data based decisions but really we need to pull out the key metrics of data within those systems to really drive us to those informed decisions, so really good episode. Stick around till the end because you bet, we're in for a ride.
[00:02:40] So Brian, let's kick off how are you doing?
[00:02:43] Doing great! I'm happy to be here, beautiful day here in Boston, from the home office today, and excited to talk data.
[00:02:54] Brilliant! Excellent! Let's crack on! So tell me about the importance of data in sales systems. You're in one of the fastest growing data platforms around, and great platform. So tell me about the importance of data in sale systems.
[00:03:11] So data has been around basically forever - the easiest, most simple example I can give is anything you want to improve has to kinda have a number on it, so any time you step on a scale that's like a small version of a report or using data to make a decision, you see the number on the scale and either it's too high or too low and you want to change it.
[00:03:33] So anything that you want to change or improve,you have to measure; and it has to come in some sort of reports. My background has been in sales and technology since college. I went to a small startup that failed after college, I went and worked for a more traditional sales role in the sporting good industry, after that start up, and then after that I went to New Zealand for a summer, I did something totally different, and I played ice hockey over there which was neat. And then when I came back, I worked for a - and maybe you can tell us about your taking a trip to New Zealand, you can talk about that at the end. And then when I got back, I worked for a marketing agency doing sales. And that was my first kinda like real intro to sales, and that's actually how I found about the Hubspot partner programming, that's how I got to Hubspot. But everything leading up to Hubspot, there was no data involved at all.
[00:04:30] Actually that's not true, there was one data point, and it was called a lagging measure - which was sales at the end of the month. But what all those other sales roles missed was the leading indicators.
[00:04:44] So leading indicators are things like any activity metric: phone calls, appointments, meetings, number of deals created,opportunity sourced.
[00:04:52] Those are all things that are needed to achieve the end result which is the lag measure. So when I got to Hubspot, it was the first time that anybody had ever broken down the lead funnel and the sales funnel formulas. Okay eventually on a full rank, you need to close 8 deals per month. How do you do -well each deal was worth Five hundred dollars. That will get you your quota. And then backing that out - Okay, how many demos do you need to do to get one sale? Well you need to do 10. OK, how many exploratory calls or goal planning calls do you need to get to 1 demo? You need to do 10. How many opportunities? So at Hubspot our reps were booking 2 opportunities per day. Which mean they were setting up two phonecalls; two exploratory calls. And it was a science; you knew that if you could book two ops a day, and that was like the big thing, two ops a day, two ops a day. You could create two opportunities per day in salesforce, it was the CRM we use at the time. You knew that you were you had a really predictable chance of hitting your quota at the end of the month.
[00:06:04] Yeah, absolutely. So when I first started looking at the digital systems, Hubspot for me was almost revolutionary. I read some of their early materials and really the fundamentals around you know the funnel and the journey and it just opened your eyes to be enable to put that scientific process into into the art of sales. For me one of the key points is; okay that's working backwards from where you need to be so that would be in a sales system if we were looking at building say any kind of marketing funnel for a business as well, you can kind of look forward. You always need a benchmark, if you're looking to make improvements. So you need data to be able to tell you what that benchmark is.
[00:06:54] Where you build individual components of a system, then the data will allow you to improve those individual elements rather than - I've had a few conversations recently where it's trying to move people away from building a campaign and running a campaign without the system being in place because the next campaign even in if the first one works, the next campaign is going to be different. And you know you're starting from scratch you're trying to reinvent the wheel every time you look to run these campaigns. So the data really gives you that leverage to make those optimizations throughout the funnel and like you say and also then to be able to calculate what you need to be doing in order to generate the sales that you want to target.
[00:07:42] I think for me data is just the fundamental across any part of that journey. And as per any other system in a business, which is all backed by data whether its production, whether its finance, whether its management looking at industry stats, that's all data. So why is it not so prevalent in the sales and marketing channels which drive the business. It's the front end. Without sales, there's no operations or finance or management decisions. And so yeah, in fact data for me is just one of the key elements of this creative, possibly subjective arena within a business.
[00:08:24] Yes having sales solves a lot of pain points and other parts of the business I agree.
[00:08:28] Yeah. Excellent. So let's take a look at databox then, relatively new platform, but growth, growing phenomenally. Tell us about the journey so far with databox and how you used data in data systems within DataBox's owten growth.
[00:08:54] Sure, I could give you an example I am at my home office here and I've kinda converted my TV into into a databoard, a little data wall here. So yeah it's been a great journey. I came to Databox in 2017. Pete Caputa who founded the agency program at Hubspot, and built it to over a hundred million dollars. He became a CEO of Databox. He didn't found it, he didn't create it. We've been around for four - five years and - but he came in and he saw a real opportunity, and he had the vision to see that marketers today are flooded with information and what ends up happening is they end up choosing way too many metrics to track and follow and the reality is you can't improve 40 metrics every single month. And you shouldn't try improving 40 metrics every month.
[00:09:50] So Pete has known a lot of agencies that are trying to help a lot of businesses, and through those relationships he realised that like the monthly reporting was a huge pain point for agencies. So I had some agency experience and I will sort of - Pete built a lot of trust with me, at HubSpot he really did some amazing things and I kinda joke and say that if he started an ice cream stand, I'd go work there too. He's just that kind of a leader. So once he kind of explained the vision of where DataBox was going - how we could help you know hundreds of thousands if not millions of businesses, I was on board.
[00:10:31] So that's kind of how I get to Databox, and the way we use it is pretty simple. We use it as it's intended. We have a weekly and monthly meetings - where the directors and an exact team just walk through our goals, and it's not complicated, and it's not sexy. We have a data board that we pull up on a zoom meeting, and myself being Director of Sales, I'll walk through our sales goals. Did we hit our sales goal for the week? Yes or no? And are we on track to hit for the month? Yes or no? If no, why not? And what are the three things that were gonna do to fix it? So I think that's probably the biggest part that a lot of companies are missing is the cadence.
[00:11:20] I talk to people and say how often do you meet with your manager, and they say "oh we do like a quarterly review". I meet with my manager - Pete, every single week. And I meet with the rest of the team every single week. And I present to the entire company every single month. So there's no lack of transparency, and I think a lot of people are afraid to put that cadence of accountability in, because they're afraid to come to a meeting and say I missed a goal. And that's tough. Someone told me the only thing worse than hitting a goal, is not knowing if you're going to hit the goal or not. So it's something that no one you know if you if you miss a goal it's not the end of the world, and you know people don't get fired, and agencies don't get fired because you miss a goal one time. You get fired because you're not able to predict what's going to happen in the next month. And so what we say is like you're going to miss goals, and goals should be lofty. If you're hitting your goal every single month, your goal is not high enough. So you know it's about I think as great of a tool Databox is, and there's other tools that do what we do as well. I don't think there's magic in the software but the software enables you to put the process. I think what's missing in most businesses is the process, and the accountability for being able to set a target, and then predictably understand the right critical activities they need to do on a monthly or weekly cadence to make sure you end up where you want to be at the end of that month.
[00:12:56] I absolutely agree. Before Leadfreak I was in sales for engineering companies. So really quite complex. And it was so easy to see with all the other rest of the sales team is there is almost an accountability issue. So with data and with transparency. It just clears the mess then you become accountable for the numbers that you're signing up to with no data. And with mist in place,it's too subjective. It's too based on gut feel. And pulling data into the discussion - you're just reporting the numbers. If you didn'thit your target, you didn't hit your target. and what actions are you gonna take to put in place. It's no good saying we didn't hit our target, but customer X and customer Y - they said they were going to place an order. Or I feel they're going to place an order in the next week.
[00:14:00] Alright. Well we are emotional creatures. We like to think that we are smart, rational, logical, decision-making machines, but we are not. We are very emotional in all things we do, and I don't think enough people are self-aware to say - okay, I'm a human being, I make mistakes, and that's okay. That's why we need measures in place, and accountability in place, and systems in place, and process in place before we can even start to think about software really.
[00:14:38] Yeah. There's a whole thing about being both a pessimist and an optimist at the same time when you're in a sales role.
[00:14:46] Tell me more about that.
[00:14:48] The pessimistic with your targets, but your optimistic that you're going to land them all.
[00:14:52] So Pete Caputa said that the best compliment that he could give a sales person is that they are a curious skeptic. So optimism aside, it's are you skeptical that you can feel like you're going to hit your number? But you're skeptical that you're going to hit your number? Or skeptical that the prospect is telling you the truth and saying they're going to buy when they actually might not buy.
[00:15:16] Have you just overinflate the conversation to be able to report something positive. Well going back to data, data removes that. When you're just reporting the numbers, and you take in actions against the numbers that you see on the data boards. There's less the high beyond it.
[00:15:34] How again the CEO of HubSpot had a saying that I don't know that he created it, but I always credit him with it because it's the first time I heard it. It's that sunlight is the best disinfectant. So when you expose sunlight into your entire organization it tends to expose and disinfect problems. So if you're a CEO or an owner of a company, probably the best thing you can do is make sure that each department has at least two or three key metrics. Don't make it 20, and then have a list of top 10 company goals. And they're all numbers, and they're all measurable. And they're all specific, and time limited. At Databox we have a list of top 10 company goals, and we review those every month. And we know very clearly, and very predictably - are we going to hit our goal for the end of the year? Or not. And that's the only way we're able to make decisions and course correct.
[00:16:26] Yeah. And it's all leveraging the data that you can capture. So without it -
[00:16:32] It's all out there, it's all out there. There's no excuse anymore for- Oh we we can't measure this, everything's measurable now.
[00:16:39] Absolutely. I completely agree. So let's move away from Databox a little bit and look at your Hubspot journey then. Because like you said Hubspot certainly while you were there their growth rate online was phenomenal. They are credited with creating the online form.
[00:17:11] Are they? People actually say that. The World just gets bigger and bigger.
[00:17:19] So tell me about your Hubspot experience. Because that must have been a fun ride. I mean, I know they must have been putting pressure on. But it must have been really like catching a wave - really surfing that attention.
[00:17:33] Yeah, you captured it perfectly. that's a great analogy. I was. It was a wild ride. It was phenomenal. I can't say enough good things about HubSpot. My two managers at Hubspot - Dannie Herzberg and Brian's Signorelli, shout out to them, Dannie is now a V.P. of Sales I believe, or Director of Sales for small biz at Slack. She has also worked for AirBnB, she's also has her MBA out on the West Coast, and Brian Signorelli is now a director of the sales partner program at Hubspot. I was very fortunate to be able to work under both of those people, and really fortunate to learn and really grew a lot at HubSpot. So yeah, what do you want to know?
[00:18:13] So tell me about how they leveraged data to drive that growth.
[00:18:19] It was within everything we did. I think that was one of the biggest differences as we had monthly sales and marketing meetings and called them smarketing, and it was just all the department heads would put up a PowerPoint and they'd run through two or three slides of my O.P. would get up there and talk about our MQL counts and he was obsessed. And Pete would talk about the sales, and Brian would talk about sales and they were all obsessed with it. they took it all very seriously, and you know I think you said it's like a pressure or something, but looking back on it and it was a very different time, I didn't actually feel a lot of pressure, and I say that because there was always a lot of confidence on the sales floor - because the marketing machine was was up and running.
[00:19:15] They'd been doing marketing for five or six years up to that point and it was really starting to work, but they were kind of being known for inbound marketing. So like the leads are really good, our sales process was very consultative. We sort of had the consultation of a very enterprise level solution with the price point of a SMB solution. So we really went through prospect goals, plans, challenges, time line, very thoroughly and the training for sales reps was excellent. So it's like going to you know - people at HubSpot say that HubSpot was like an MBA or master's program because you learn so much about not just your role, marketing, customer's success, sales, customer's support. You learn about other parts of the businesses too.
[00:20:00] So the way Hubspot used data you know they had business intelligence tools, like Looker, they had sales forecasting tools you know we used Salesforce now they on their own Hubspot CRM. And you know you just always had dashboards up on your screen and every everything you do all your promotions were based on numbers, very little there and sales was based on any like personal affects or like personality. It was all really numbers driven and I think that's a really good thing for sales org because it creates a level playing field. I mean it also gives you the exact steps that you need to get promoted to get to get where you want to go as a sales rep and it makes it very cut and dry and very clear and it's a very powerful motivator for that sales rep personality type.
[00:21:04] Yeah, I imagine it was a whale of a time. For me, leveraging the data aspect really - they say it takes pressure off because there's a pressure on that subjective that I mentioned earlier.
[00:21:17] And when you're just looking at the numbers, and the numbers are in place, and the numbers are telling you those key steps that you need to take to get to the end result that you want in sales, then it's almost a comforting factor. It's that you'd say if someone asked very quickly where are we now and where are we trying to get to - it's let me look at the data.
[00:21:43] Yeah, it's all about predictability. You know, can you predict to a reasonable delta, you know whether or not you're going to hit or miss and that's really what it all comes down to. How predictable are your activities towards the end result.
[00:22:02] So while you were there, what was the evolution of that data capture and data usage from the start to finish. It might not have changed at all. They might have said, we are good where we are at this time and it is the same when you left, but was it an evolution, did you see an increasing capability of extracting that data? Because if you look at where Databox is now, that's what Databox does. It extracts data from third party platforms and puts it in a nice data board and you're able to analysee those numbers. Did you see that evolution at Hubspot and then looking towards Databox, you could see that that was the evolutionary next step? Or was it more advanced than that already?.
[00:22:40] Yes, so I think with a - I can really, I think this applies to sales and marketing but specifically for sales, it's not about the number of metrics you track, it's actually - less is way more. Because you got to be able to focus on two or three things. And you can't focus on 10 things. You'll drop the ball. So you know, we focused on phone calls, emails, and meetings, like number of deals created. So those are like four metrics, and it's not complicated. Actually the simpler the better a lot of times and that's why I like my Mike Volpe or Kipp Bodnar, the current CMO, I'm sure he doesn't obsess over bounce rate or anything else. He obsess - I can tell you exactly what he obsesses over; Number of blog subscribers, number of leads, number of SQLs, MQLs, PQLs,and close won deals. And so I think a lot of people try to overengineer it and oversimplify, but to answer your question: no, the data extraction process, there was not a lot of evolution in terms of the data at HubSpot, things got better - like leads got more enriched where you would get more information about an individual lead, but in terms of being able to predict revenue and individual sales reps, sales manager, and sales director level, revenue forecasts - the simplest things that have been working for 10 years are still the things you should track.
[00:24:13] Have you taken that into Databox then?
[00:24:16] Yes so I do think it's changed a little bit since Ive been at Databox, we're a much more product driven company so - and we're also using more tools, so there are way more ways to communicate with prospects now than there was when I was in sales at Hubspot and the example is prospects can talk to us at Databox through- we use intercom for in out messaging we Drift for our website chat, we use HubSpot CRM to send out emails, we use Helpscout as our service hub, we use a lot of different tools, and so we do have to measure number of conversations opened and closed, number of helpscout tickets replied to, so I do look at a lot more of those types of numbers now. But everyone has a goal and you know we track them weekly and monthly.
[00:25:12] So I think that kinada nicely leads us to the future of data.
[00:25:22] You being at Databox and you're really out there in terms of pulling these data sources into these platforms and just so people are aware - we used Databox at every level of the automated sale system, so it is a matter of what aspect of that journey that we're taking our customers on, we compile data into Databox to show us a complete picture of that. As Brian says you know we dont necessarily want to be checking every metric that we can, because it is too much, and it's irrelevant but the capability is there to do it. Well, what's the future of Databox? Where are you looking to get doing in the next three to five years? Is there is there some magical place that we're all going to see in the next three years and you'll go this is what we've been working on for so long or is it again an evolution of what you're doing now, and just trying to refine what you're doing to make it better?
[00:26:19] Am I allowed to dream big here?
[00:26:21] Dream big, dream big as you want
[00:26:23] Have you seen the YouTube video that went around where the CEO of Google was making a phone call, they played a recording of a phone call of the artificial intelligence of the person setting up a haircut appointment over the phone?
[00:26:37] Yes I saw that.
[00:26:39] Well it was pretty cool, right?. So so something. Something like that is kind of where I see Databox is going. I think there is a there's a lot of leverage and power in bringing in multiple channels into oneplace. You can you can accomplish a lot there. So I think where Databox would be headed is in the insights and suggestions of that data.So data's great, but I heard a line, it's something that when they show a report to a client, the eyes of the client kind of glaze over and that's because human beings aren't meant to read numbers. We are meant to understand sentences and sentences that are backed with numbers. But not to be led with numbers.
[00:27:25] So in an ideal world a Google Analytics data board won't just say how many visits, sessions, goal completions, bounce rates - what your bounce rate was for a given month. Instead it'll say you'll type in your goal that you want ten thousand sessions, and you're typing where you are now you're a thousand sessions, and it will say OK based on we've analyzed your blog, we've analyzed your traffic over the last four months, here's what we recommend; Write five blog posts per week for the next 12 months, here are the 17 SEO changes to make, you need 36 back links per month, and they all need to be on websites with an authority of more than a MA scorer of fifty seven. So like just being more prescriptive with marketing, and literally spelling out very clearly to marketers what they should be doing. So were already starting to do that, in a sort of a cursory level on Databox right now, with our contents.
[00:28:32] So shout out to Kevin Kononenko, he's our content marketer, he does an awesome job. He writes a lot of blog post on like have a low bounce rate? Here's three tips on how to improve it. I think you guys Leadfreak contributed to some of those blog posts, and we've got a - there is a ton of - oh there's answers to everything out there, for if you want more leads, you can look up 20 different blogposts on how to get new leads. So I think what we have now is you can identify problems in your funnel and Databox will serve you articles on how to fix those things. So I think being able to make Databox the kind of like the University where you can go to plug in all your data and it will give you almost like a print out receipt. You have like literally maxed 12 tasks for the month, and even make it that into like your project management tool, that's where Databox I see the future of Databox, taking raw information and turning it into actionable insights and suggestions and recommendations which is really what marketing agencies like Leadfreak does. So if you're a company, and you're one of Leadfreak's customers; you don't pay them to produce reports, you pay them to produce results and so that's what I think agencies are really good at. They're good at being that recommendation engine for telling clients and advising clients on what to do next, and hopefully Databox can make that job easier,.
[00:30:04] And does that translate it into voice? In AI? Because what I imagine it would really be nice if my Alexa echo on the desk and we just dialed in my Databox meeting participant.
[00:30:19] Exactly. Yeah and it's like you know - Alexa what should I do today? You know, Hi, Alex, write five blog posts. I think we'll get there.
[00:30:32] That's certainly well it kind of levels the playing field for us because if you start giving insights like that, agencies that people work with they really need to step up their game so they're not just a doer so it's again a conversation I've had a few times recently is okay, you can give us strategic insights, What can you do? The conversation is going to change it to No, I'll give you the strategic insight, because I got Databox, you just need to do it. But obviously there's a limited value when you're just told what you need to do. So agencies that can step up.
[00:31:06] Yeah I do think it's going to force agencies to step up their game but I think that's a good thing. I think agencies, there's a lot of really strong agencies out there that do great work strategically and on the on the on the strategy side and the implementation side but I also think there's a lot of agencies that are resting on their laurels a little bit you know they've done websites for so long and all they do is websites or all they do SEO and you know they are order takers essentially. And it becomes commoditized and as software continues to eat the world, there will be there will never be a lull in other softwares that can automate those jobs. So agencies need to start moving is upstream, they need to start getting a better understanding of client goals, and they really need do they need to start building a more predictable models based on specific client targets, and specific services. These days of agency generalists are fading.
[00:32:11] I completely agree. So coming from an engineering background, one thing that I was pushing where we were previously is this whole term of servitization. So you know, you manufacture a product, it's a commodity because you have so much competition in this global market place, that it is a commodity. So what the next step is servitization and that's where you need real value from. That's where if you were looking at it from a manufactured aspect that's where the profit. Profit is not in the manufacturing any more it's in the post delivery services, which is the strategy is that additional value. It's the creativity. It is something that can't commoditized by software and it can't be commoditized by other agencies.
[00:32:59] Exactly. Excellent. Brian, I know you're going on a holiday, and I have taken far too much of your time already. A huge thank you from me for joining me on Leadspeak. It's a privilege of ours to have you on board. I'm sure we're going to be speaking again soon. Have a great holiday, and we'll catch you when you're back.
[00:33:21] Sounds great Alex. It's great talking to you as always. I appreciate what you and your team have been able to do and if anybody out there listening is trying to get a handle on what kind of data they should be pulling and measuring Alex's team, they're super consultative. And you know, they're very very helpful so they'll help you lay out a plan to get to your goals. It's great talking to you Alex, I hope you have a great time in New Zealand.
[00:33:47] Cheers, Brian! Thanks a lot.
[00:33:56] So that was Brian Moseley agency growth specialist at Databox, previously of HubSpot. I am amazed at Brian's input there, for me it just goes to show the importance of data within sale systems and as Brian put it that predictability is what is most important. It's not about hitting targets obviously that's very important but having that predictability around being able to see into the future and forecast into the future to give the business some certainty is its hugely important for businesses really looking to grow.
[00:34:37] So if we look at our automated sale systems and we create a system of individual components that drive our prospects through to becoming customers. If we are confident in how good that each of those elements converts from one place in the journey to the next, That gives us that predictability. If we know that our stage one has a conversion rate of 50 percent, we can then accurately say that okay from this stage we know from experience and from the system and data that we've got in the business at stage 2 we're going to get 50 percent conversion move in stage two to stage three we have a conversion rate that we know we can achieve with the audience that we're targeting. In a new lead through to converting into a customer, that is that predictability model.
[00:35:43] Okay, I'm going to leave our data talk there. Thank you for joining us. I hope you enjoyed listening to Brian there giving us some real valuable insights into data within sale systems. Join us next time we're going to be looking at automated sales systems for subscription based businesses and the problems for those types of businesses have with regards to their sale systems. It's going to be a really interesting episode. We're going to look at some of the fundamentals of SAS businesses. Join us then, and if you have any comments it would be great for you to put them on the end of the post. Get in touch through social, we'd love to hear your feedback on how you're enjoying the Leadspeak podcast and it has been great to have you, and we'll see you then!