Welcome to the Inbound Reporting podcast, HubSpot Academy's new miniseries covering the ins and outs of good reporting behaviors.

Here, your hosts, Jorie Munroe and Nakul Kadaba will talk to the experts about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to the flywheel, goals, reporting and everything in between.

In this episode, join us as we chat with the VP of HubSpot Service Hub, Michael Redbord to talk about generating cross-team alignment with your business goals.

Check out the entire episode below:


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Each episode will be uploaded to this SoundCloud playlist, so make sure to bookmark and like so that you can stay up to date:

 

That was a lot of content to cover! Let's talk next steps.

  • Use this worksheet to conduct a SWOT analysis on your business goals.
  • Want a second opinion? Along with your business goal, Email your completed analysis to inboundreporting@hubspot.com. We'd love to hear from you!
  • Let's discuss! Stay up-to-date on all areas of inbound reporting and engage with other listeners of the series on the HubSpot Community.
  • Here’s the book Michael Redbord referenced earlier today: Start with Why. In addition, here’s the Academy Lesson on the Inbound Service Fundamentals.

Access Your Reports in HubSpot

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Check out the transcript of the entire episode below.

- This is good B-roll. This is the one they're gonna kinda turn their head like this and kinda do like the bird move.

- Woo-hoo! Ready? Hi, guys. Welcome back to the Inbound Reporting Podcast. My name is Nakul Kadaba of HubSpot Services.

- Oh, I'm Jorie Munroe, and I'm an Academy professor.

- All right, and welcome back guys. Today is episode four, where we're gonna be tying business goals into your process, and building internal buy-in with one's metrics. So, last time was a really good episode. We talked with Julian from your team--

- Yep.

- [Nakul] About actually structuring goals, what goals are, what makes them great, what are the best vestiges of the SMART goal format, what are the best vestiges of the OKR format, how to combine those into something quantifiable and measurable. But, really, we really didn't get a chance to actually talk about how you actually use this to apply to your individual teams and generate buy-in into that actual process.

- Right.

- Which is why we are here with, Mike Redbord!

- Mike Redbord! A true HubSpot superstar!

- He's another famous guy.

- All of our guests are super famous.

- All of our guests so far have been pretty famous.

- Yeah.

- And he's top of the list for me.

- There you go.

- He used to be VP of Support and Services, if I remember correctly. My boss, and then he hopped over--

- Also mine.

- Yeah, yeah. And then hopped over to become general manager of our new product suite, which is Service Hub.

- Right.

- Indeed. Hi everybody, thrilled to be here. Hey guys, 'sup.

- Yeah, so could you walk us through what that means? Like your new role?

- Like what do I do for work?

- Yeah, what do you do?

- So I guess--

- Tell us about you, Mike.

- I've been at HubSpot for a long time, nine and a half years now, and my trade-craft really, the way I grew up in the organization with the company when I started was a hundred folks, was really just with customers. I spent a lot of time working with customers. I then ran our support team. I then ran our entire post-sale support and success organization, right? And you know, through that, like man, did we just learn a lot at HubSpot. I hope if there are customers listening, you guys have learned to like parts to that service operation, and all that. But we just, you know, we learned what not to do, we learned what to do. We learned what worked, we learned what didn't. We learned how to change our goals over time and how to also just sort of bend the definition of those goals to the way it worked within the organization. There was just a lot that, I think, we figured out over the course of those, like, eight years or so. And so now what I'm trying to do is build the Service Hub product, which takes a lot of those learnings and really imbues them into a software product line, and takes those learnings and brings them, hopefully in an accessible and sort of easy to implement way to our customers. So, that's kind of a joy, being able to take some of those learnings, from that time period, and actually build a product that carries those forward. It's a nice thing.

- Yeah. I think it really worked out well for you, because you also came with just personal experience of just talking to customers every single day and then, you know, obviously putting it into a management perspective. It works well for us because we talked about business goals, I'm sure you probably did goal meetings, oriented meetings in your time as Services VP, as well as now, GM of Service Hub, and you know, today we wanna kinda pick your brain on what were the differences between those two, right? What were the differences of building internal buy-in cross-departmentally, right? As I'm sure many of our customers face that, when they have a business goal, and then talk about what are those reporting implications, that you think, right? How would you measure your success towards that business goal again, maybe on your team at Service Hub, versus what you guys see with Marketing, maybe what you see with services, sales, you know, et cetera, et cetera, right? Yeah, that's pretty much what I have .

- That's a good--

- Yeah, that's very much what I had, yeah.

- I think, let's start actually then, on your time when you were VP of Services. So, when you joined that team, how built out was that team, when you kind of took it over?

- Yeah, the state of play, the year at HubSpot was 20--... let's see, that was 2014 or so, that's when I took on that role, and the state of play was we had a relatively small support team, compared to where we are now, that was basically located primarily just in our headquarters office here in Cambridge. Our customer base was global, but we were really located here. We had, you know, the bits and bobs of like an implementation team and a success team, but it was very early and somewhat primitive, especially from a goal-orientation perspective. We didn't really have fine-tuned goals for each group, and that made it a little bit tricky to understand how all the groups worked together to deliver a seamless, frictionless customer experience. So, that was the really the state of play, and a lot of the work that we then did is figuring out, all right, how does each group become finely tuned? So each group began to take on goals and then sort of, you know, figure out how to achieve those within their own organization. But then across the different groups that I was looking after, part of the work was also how do those groups feather across each other, how do they share goals? How do I have a goal that I can actually communicate to an entire body of people who have very different jobs, right? We have like everybody from onboarding to customer success managers to support reps to even academy and other folks. And so, there was a fair amount of tying together of goals that we needed to do, in addition to kind of just taking each function and making it higher performing within it's own right.

- Yeah, so let's talk about that movement a little bit more. So, how did you help support the teams identify the goals that would be the most meaningful for those particular groups, for say like, academy versus support for example?

- Sure. Yeah, I'm a really big fan of sort of starting with why, right? Great book by that title, by the way. And you know, when I looked at each function, and you know, I really like that first principles approach. So, let's take support. Basically, that's a team that is there, ready for you as a customer when you contact us and, you know, they're the folks who say, "Hi, thanks for calling HubSpot. How can I help you?" right? And it kinda makes sense that a company would have that team, but if you really start with the basic, primitive philosophy of why we have that, it's because people need help in the moment. And if you begin to then weave that story of okay, people need help in the moment, what would be a valuable way to measure the quality of that help in the moment? Like, what's the right goal to measure that team by, in other words, of people needing help in the moment? And this is not, I think, a trick question. It's meant to be like deliberately almost overly simplified. And the answer is, oh, you would have a fast answer that was the right one.

- Right.

- Yep.

- Checks out.

- Give you a resolution.

- Yeah, and then you kinda stop there. Like, there's a lot more stuff that you could do, you know, entire white papers or PhD theses have been written on this but like, at the most basic level, the reason that we have that team is because people need help in the moment, and the way that you would deliver that mission well is basically fast and good answers. And so, you can begin to see how the thread weaves now. You've got the why, people need help in the moment. You've got kind of the basic guardrails of how you would structure the goals, and then you begin to apply actual metrics to those guardrails. So, in terms of someone needing help fast, you'd probably want to measure how fast do we get back to them. So, now you start measuring a time to first response. Or you'd want to measure well, how well did we actually resolve the ticket? And a good way to do that is to, I don't know, ask the customer. Have a survey.

- And so, once again, the thing--

- Did you like us?

- Yeah, did it work out?

- Did it work out? Yeah, yeah.

- And so the thinking doesn't need to be complicated. I think is you start with why, you end up with a pretty good set of what I would call primary guardrails on your goals, and, you know, for a support team, for instance, that really is speed and quality. There's lots of ways to measure them, there's a lot of debate, in fact, within the leadership support community about what's exactly the right way to measure this thing or that thing.

- Right.

- I'm quite a proponent of spending more time on the why, and trying to understand like, what is our raison d'être? What is our purpose? And then coming up with ways to measure that. But really pounding the why into the teams head more than the metric that you end up with at the end of the day.

- Yeah, and he's saying primary guardrails, Jorie. I think last episode with Julian we were talking about just saying metrics, but I think they're pretty much the same thing here of like MPS average time to response, right? Of the two examples that you gave, for example.

- Yeah, so HubSpot also looks a lot different than it did back in 2014. So, what were some challenges you found when, kind of setting these goals as the company was scaling around you?

- For sure. So, I think when you want to... Take the time to first response thing. You know, that I think, is a very reasonable and, in fact, normative way to measure a support team, but I mentioned before we only had a team at Cambridge and our customer base was global at that time. And we knew that there was a gap there. We were behind where we wanted to be in terms of delivering global support. And so, when you look at that metric, that metric was like really good between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm eastern standard time, delivered by our Cambridge team. Well, that's only a small chunk of the globe, right? And so, I think you have to start to then understand okay, we have this overall goal of delivering fast support, what are we actually capable of and what falls into the realm of the reasonable in terms of a metric for that? So, between 9:00 and 5:00, we should be really, really good. Maybe our response time should be two minutes on the phone and a few hours for an email or something. Okay, that's reasonable. But what about a ticket that comes in at 2:00am eastern time when, you know, we only have one person-- Excuse me. Working the overnight shift or something? And so, you begin to kind of flex the definition of those metrics. You still keep the spirit of them, we want to be fast, but what's like a reasonable way to understand in our operation today, what's the best we can possibly achieve? That's the way to measure it, to define a metric that a team feels like they can actually hit. And then meanwhile, on the backend, what you're doing as management or as leadership is trying to improve your operation so that you enable the team to do better over time. So, for instance, we opened up support in our Dublin office, we opened up support in Singapore, we made other operational changes to the way that we handle shifts. But meanwhile, we put metrics in front of the team that honored that guardrail of delivering really fast support, and we gave them metrics that we felt like were actually attainable. So, there's a bit of a psychology of this and, also, there's a part where leadership does its part, improving the operation, and individual contributors do their part which is actually hitting the numbers that, hopefully, are fair and reasonable and they can feel a sense of success against.

- Right. Did you ever have problems, at least, in your support? And then I want to kind of transition to your current role in GM of Service Hub. You know, typing that organizational-lead goal into that teams individual metrics as you were talking about, because I'm sure there's always, in any organization, with any of our customers there's always a friction of, "Oh, I'm being measured on this, but I don't think I should be measured on this."

- Totally. Yeah, totally. I think that when you end up with a, "I don't think I should be measured on this," that's one type of problem where, perhaps, as a leader, you haven't started with why and you haven't communicated why that's so important. And sometimes, you know, the metrics that we as individual employees are judged by can feel unfair, and whenever that happens to me, at least, I say, "Okay, how do I like take off my hat of being me and solving for Mike, and how do I put on my company hat and think why is it this way?" And starting from that perspective can ease that somewhat. But I think when you have any metric, you do end up with this friction. I like to start with why and kind of work it backwards and really spend the time to help every single member of the team understand why we care about this, and that's part of new hire on-boarding, that's part of ongoing kind of management and conversations. But there are also times when there is legitimate friction and tension in the business between one goal and another. Just take the two goals that I just mentioned, it's quality and speed. I can answer every ticket in five minutes, but I probably wouldn't do a pretty good job. I might like send you a picture of a cat for something but I'm not going to give you the answer you want, right?

- Yeah, right.

- So, that's a core tension that I think people do feel, and navigating that, I think, is part of coaching, is part of management and, from time to time, editing the way those metrics work as your business changes either from within or exogenous stuff, that's a pretty important part in staying current with the way you measure stuff. Because, yes, we've totally changed the way we measure response time and support, for instance, going from a team that pretty much only did phone support back in 2010, 2011, to a team that nowadays primarily works over chat and much more modern channels.

- Right, right.

- So, was there ever a time, as the head of the team, either in your past role of VP of Services, or your current role, that you like set a goal and swung and totally missed? And what did that look like?

- Yeah. I'll answer that from the perspective of my current job, which is VP of Product. So, old job, VP of Services and Support where you have a lot of people, and now, VP of Product, where it's fewer people and just a lot of software under your domain. And I just think different kind of leadership styles and ways of thinking work differently, for better or worse, for different types of roles. And now I'm in a pretty different role, so I've been able to see that from both sides. So, I just described in the support world kind of how a set of, you know, starting with why and then coming up with kind of a set of guardrails and then wrapping metrics around those guardrails was really a good way to go. That worked well because the tools that are at your disposal in that type of function, are really people. You're managing people, and people are amazing because they're actually pretty flexible, and they can understand this kind of complicated nuance of okay, I have to do X but not Y, and I can make judgment calls about how to feather all that together and make it work. When you work with software and machines, machines are amazing, too, but they only know what you tell them, and so there's a benefit in my current role as a VP of Product who works with engineers and the software that we produce, to be exceptionally clear and almost more single-minded almost to the point that my old job junction, I'd find it almost silly. There's some comedy in saying, "This is the only thing that we must do." Everything else like second. But that type of leadership style and goal setting, it turns out, is much more powerful and effective in a world where you're working more with software than with people, because the software is less flexible. And if you just give it the one thing to do, it actually will do that exceptionally well, perhaps even better than people could, but giving it three things to do, it can't make the judgment calls about where to balance priorities and what do do first, second, third. I just sort of can stumble over itself. People are a lot, they have a lot more subtlety and sophistication to them than machines do. And so nowadays, I really try to, as a VP of Product, be exceptionally clear, say, "This is the hill that we must take. This is the only thing that we must do." And then you get a lot of like, "Oh, what about this? What about that?" It's like sure. That's not bad, I'm not maligning that, but it's not the thing.

- It's not the primary thing. I think I've seen that, at least from services perspective, on a couple of customers that I've worked with where I say, "Well, what is your business goal?" And they say, "Well, we only produce a widget." Or, "We have a software." Or, "We have..." some primary service. They say, "We have to just do this." Right? And the metrics may be one or two things as you, Mike, were saying, it's good, you need it, but it's secondary. And as a result, it kind of sets apart your implications for reporting to say, "Well, we're really just going to dumb down to this primary business goal." And then the metrics really are just going to add up to say it's just icing on the cake if we nail it.

- Yeah. I think sometimes you know that there is... I'll use an analogy here, taking a hike or something. There's a destination you want to get to, okay? And there's probably a variety of ways to get there, but sometimes on that journey you encounter a big hill, right? And you realize that you must climb that hill. There is no other way to get to your destination other than doing that thing. And in that moment, I think it's really important to be clear that, yep, we have to do this thing. So, if there's a company that needs to be simple-mindedly focused on one metric in order to win it, I think that's worth it. Sometimes it can be like, "Oh, we could kind of like..." on that hike analogy, "We could kind of go through that forest or maybe over that stream." It doesn't really matter as much, right? Or there's multiple ways to get there, and that's when a more complicated or sophisticated set of metrics can really benefit you. But there are certain moments where you realize you need to just do that one thing and it's actually very, very freeing and powerful and effective to drop everything else and say, "This is the hill we must climb. When we get over that, there will be new horizons. We'll do new stuff, but for now this is the one thing that we must do." And I find that, especially when you're managing product and machines, that clarity has unusually high benefit as opposed to when you're managing people who can kind of understand the subtlety and understand, "Oh, we gotta go chart this course around that forest, through that..." They can handle that and process that in a lot better ways than machines.

- That makes sense. So, when setting that one goal, for example, how are you prioritizing what that one destination is? Whether that's in your current role or your past role, where, as a manager, does that inspiration for that business goal come in?

- My hope is that everybody watching us, as well as everybody working at HubSpot or any company really, is able to draw and extremely bright line between the work that they're doing and a business outcome that your CEO cares about. If you're working on something that you can't ladder into that, you might not be spending your time too wisely, or you might just not be doing a great job understanding why the work you're doing is valuable, right? And so, when I take a look at the support rep who does a ticket, it can feel like, "Ugh, another question to answer." I know that feeling, I've sat in that seat, I understand it. But at the same time, we believe, our CEO, Brian, our other co-founder Dharmesh, they believe that providing fast, good quality, best in class help is really important. And so, as you're answering that ticket, you should be able to draw that bright line from an email response that you're sending back to that, right?

- Yep.

- I think, as a leader, and often kind of a mid-level leader who's not a CEO, you end up with a group level goal, right? But you should also be able to ladder that back into some company level goal. So if you are on the sales team and you're a sale's manager and you have a certain quota roll up, and your quota rolls up into a chief revenue officer or an SVP of Sales, that path is pretty easy and the line is pretty bright. Sometimes, if you're in a more back office function as an HR professional or you run payroll or something like that, there's another jog in the line. But I think you need to really think about how does my CEO view my job? How is that important to the growth of the company? And if you can answer that quickly and kind of draw that line, you need to be able to do that. I would take that as homework from listening to this conversation and go to that right now because that's super important. Yeah, no, I'm glad... I guess the non-marketing sales service employees who come into HubSpot and start using it, may be having this problem where they're like, "Well, I'm in this platform and I'm using it for my business. I don't really know what I'm aiming it towards." So, that's a very good example of just saying, maybe step back and ask yourself why, as you have. Coming back to that, you know... We've talked about doing things like different analyses and meeting with team members. Have you gone about any of those things like analyzing those strengths and weaknesses? I don't want to necessarily just say a swat analysis, but it sounds like you've done vestiges of it already, in your current roll let's say.

- Yeah, I actually want to give you an example from my prior roll when I was running support--

- Sure, yeah.

- Because I think this was a clear cut one and it also happened to be one that worked out well, I think.

- Also, good. Also, pretty good.

- So, I think it becomes a good story. So, when I took over our support team, I immediately saw that we had amazing people. I thought the people on the team were exceptional. We'd actually managed to hire really good people, but other parts of our operation... That was a real strength. Other parts of our operation were a real weakness, like our systems were really bad and our globalization, like I was saying before, was really bad. Those were just things that we were not good at. And so, you know, I made a decision early on there that I think, it was probably more instinctual, than a thought out swat analysis, even though in retrospect I can apply that lens and it was the right one, I think. But the instinctual decision was, "Okay, we really need to double down on our people. We're really good at this. We're like best in class at this thing. Let's be exceptional, let's be number one on the planet at the humans that we actually hire into our support team." And we got really, really sophisticated and, I think, really best in class at that part of our operation. Meanwhile, the weaknesses that we had improved. We turned a couple of them into strengths, but I think our strength, our exceptional strength, and that one thing is a lot of what carried us forward, and I think it turned pretty well because we continued to have amazing human beings that actually deliver really good human style support. And yeah, if you call into HubSpot and you still have to actually push a button--

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- You can't like say, "I want to talk to support." But to me, I think that I would rather have, starting with why, I would rather have, as a customer, a great human being that I actually work with as opposed to the ability to talk to an IVR as opposed to push a button. And so we made some of those trade offs, where we really wanted to lean into our strengths, we wanted to get our weaknesses to a point where they weren't a detriment, but also not over-solve them because we sort of knew that was not our core competency, that was not what we were amazingly good at. That's not where we were going to win, basically.

- And how did you, I guess, connect that with other goals that other teams had. You mentioned a good example with sales of just saying, "It's pretty easy or linear." The map that they can do as sales manager or an individual contributor all the way up to how they're measured. How did you do that? How did those meetings go about?

- So, a big part of, I guess, the business problem that we had in the time I was taking over the support team, was that we were trying to spin up a bunch of other customer service style functions. We were trying to spin up an implementation team that delivered great setup. We were trying to spin up a CSM team that could actually help customers with long-term business goals and be a real relationship partner. And what we discovered as we built those teams was that they were just getting sucked into the support quagmire, right? They were getting pummeled with questions from customers who either weren't getting the right answers from support or weren't getting it in a timely enough fashion. So, it wasn't fast and it wasn't good. And so we said okay, we started with why for the team itself. We said, "What would this team need to deliver to be good at what they do?" Just in a very simple way. And then, "What is the benefit that that, if we achieve that, that that would bring to these other teams?" And a lot of that benefit was in moving work off of their plates so they could focus on their jobs and not kind of get sucked into this other thing that sort of wasn't their job, to a degree. And so, the way that we laddered it all, or kind of pieced it all together, is that support was going to be the reactive heartbeat of the organization and then these other groups, our on-boarding teams, our customer success teams, were going to be the more proactive parts of the team. And yes, it would be kind of an 80/20 mix. Sometimes, support would do something proactive and sometimes the success folks would do something reactive. But really, we wanted the bulk of their work to be one place or another. So, we tried to fit together those goals, again, through sort of simple, start with why style logic, and then we move to wrap metrics around it. And so, you know, we wanted then our on-boarding team to have a certain pace of on-boarding and quality and deliver certain usage numbers. We wanted our success team to deliver certain customer success numbers, right? And then each function had its role. Those roles themselves fit together like good puzzle pieces to deliver everything the business needed, hopefully in a contiguous way for our customers.

- Chuck-full of analogies today.

- Love it.

- This is great. Yeah, this is really good. 

- So, one thing that we've talked about too, so we're making this transition from a funnel-centric world to a flywheel-centric world. So, it's no longer okay to let services and support fall to the way side. Whereas, in the ToFu, MoFu, BoFu-- nailed it-- model, you could, right? Because it was really marketing and sales centric. So, when you took over kind of the services team, how are you setting goals and how are you having those conversations and connecting with marketing and sales to make sure you are also aligning with the other departments at HubSpot.

- Yeah, such a good question, and it's something I actually spend a lot of time on when I coach customer success leaders at smaller companies. So, there's a lot of their conversations like, "Oh, how do I make a better support team? How do I make a better implementation team?" I say, "Look, that is actually kind of a solved problem." Like there is a playbook and you can figure it out. Where you really need to spend your time is on building the bridges to other parts of your organization because, especially with customer experience, when you try to look at the customers' entire journey through marketing and sales and service, it's the sum of all the parts. It's not just your individual thing. And so, if you're a leader in marketing or sales or service, anything that really creates customer experience, you need to build those bridges. I really recommend that, for instance, for service leaders, who are working in customer success or account management or project management service delivery, reach across the aisle. And it can often feel like it's a reach and you're going somewhere you're perhaps uncomfortable. Reach across the aisle to your sales leader and figure out how do they sell? What are the expectations they're setting? And start to put together the entire picture of, when you get a new customer and things go well, what did the sales team do to precipitate that? When it doesn't go well, what went wrong? And then you can begin to edit together, as a partnership with that sales leader, with the services leader, like the compensation plan or the way you do training for reps or the way that your sales collateral works to set the right expectations. I think that when you look at the customer experience in a flywheel world, every single little thing that you do matters, sure, but the things that really matter is kind of the handoffs between those departments, and the alignment between them because if customers move through marketing and they feel one thing, and in sales they feel another, and in service they feel another, you can deliver three good atomic things, but that's not a customer experience. That's like three chunks of experience.

- It's three random things.

- Yeah, and it's not going to be brilliant, right? And so, a big, big part of making exceptional customer experience in a flywheel world at scale, is those leaders having really good relationships with each other and being able to work... Read from a common kind of crib sheet, right? And if you can't, as a service leader, get up on a white board with your sales leader and draw the same experience and agree on it, if you can't stand up with your marketing leader and your marketing leader and your sales leader can't do the same thing of what you want for your customers, like you are doomed. It is never going to work.

- Something is going wrong.

- You're just doomed.

- You have no chance. And if you don't have the knowledge of how each other's teams work, you don't have the knowledge of what the outcomes you want are, if you don't have the knowledge of the way that the goals work and the why behind them, it's just never going to come together. So, I think the time is really well spent in a flywheel world working with each other cross functionally, and that time is arguably even better spent than time spent working in your team kind of getting the last mile of goodness out of them.

- Right.

- That makes sense.

- So we talked a little bit about how, for example, you used the support, your analysis of your support team way, way back when to say, "Well, what's the why behind it?" Well, we want to give a good answer and we want to give it quickly, right? So, because this is a reporting podcast, what are the reporting implications of doing that kind of analysis, or similar analysis, towards achieving that business goal? So, from the individual contributor level, all the way up, what do you have to think about in terms of collecting data? Is it just beyond those two things in that example?

- Yeah, I would start would those. You want to start with the core metrics. As you go to set up your measurement rig or however you want to think about it, start with the core metrics, and you want to get really good at measuring those, I think, because those are what's going to make you successful. Along the way, there's going to be lots of other stuff, lots of like exploratory analysis that you could do, but if you can't measure your core, you're never going to achieve that and you're going to fail, right? And so, I think that if you're in support, say you want to measure fast response, you should have some sense of what you think that ought to be, and say it's like, "Oh, we want to get back to all of our tickets within, you know, two hours," or whatever it is. First response out. Then you can begin to look at, all right, how does that roll into my managers? Do different managers, when I cut that data by their teams on a human basis, do they have different response times? One manager has a response time of five minutes and another one has a response time of six hours. We're doing something different, right? Or, perhaps their teams are different or they're located in different places. There's some difference in the way that those teams are operating. I think cutting it by organization, if your team is big enough, is really useful. I think cutting it by the type of customers that you have, and are we serving some type of customers well and others not well? If you're in a marketing function, are we serving one persona well and another not well? And there's various ways to cut it sort of from an external perspective of whom you're serving as opposed to an internal perspective of who's doing the work. So, I'm a big fan of unpacking that high level metric like that. Understanding where you're doing well, where you're not, and then hopefully that leads to a productive conversation around best practices, and what's successful and what's not. And you can use that metric to drive discovery of how to, basically, better achieve that metric because there will be certain people and certain segments where you're winning, and certain people or certain segments where you're losing. You want to improve the parts where you're not doing well, of course, but the think you really want to get out of that as a leader, is to understand what works, what's the playbook, and what doesn't, so you can begin to run a more consistent and, I think, more successful operation at scale.

- Right.

- That makes sense. So, how have you brought some of those learnings from your time as the VP of Services to now transitioning into VP of Product for a new product line which, I believe, just hit one year service up?

- It was one year.

- Congrats. That's so exciting.

- Happy birthday to me.

- Yeah, I was about to say you're one year old.

- So, how did that translate with this kind of completely new team and new service line?

- Yeah. I think that one of the ways that I really like developing product, and I think we have at HubSpot over the years done a good job of this, too, is to have an opinion and reflect that opinion in the product. Don't force people to conform to it, but have what I call sane defaults that reflect that opinion. So, for instance, when you pop open Service Hub and you go to the service dashboard, some of the reports that are in there are going to be things that we discovered were very useful over the course of that journey that I was talking about probably 20 minutes ago. So we have, for instance, the number of tickets you've had by day of week and then last week. We have the response time, first response time in there because we believe that's important. I believe it's cut by who did the ticket because it's a nice way to start looking at it, especially for small teams. So, I'm a fan of taking those learnings, putting them into software, which is good at doing that kind of one thing over and over like we talked about before, and then having those just be these subtle suggestions in the form of defaults of the right way to measure your stuff, right? Over time I think, or I hope, our customers of Service Hub will come up with their own ways to measure and innovate and I'm watching them for the smart thing that they figure out next, but for now, I think starting with some sane defaults that are based off of our own experiences is a really nice way to take some of those learnings and subtly suggest them, not force them on folks, but subtly suggest that perhaps this is the right way to get going. We've seen that be a reasonably successful pattern because I think for HubSpot, at least, and perhaps other people that sell products, your customers trust you, right? And they trust that you sort of have a perspective and the reason that they buy from you is partially because of that perspective. So, we've seen this be a pretty good pattern.

- That's awesome. So, do you find that the way that you're aligning with other teams is very similar now that you've moved to product? Or is it completely different, kind of it's own rodeo?

- It's not completely different because each team still wants to feel the same way. So, for instance, when I was running our success organization and I worked with the sales team, a lot of that was about demonstrating to the sales people, we're on the same side, we both want to make a ton of money and grow the business. But sales people still, that's still their goal.

- Yeah, yeah.

- So me, as a product person, that's the same thing. In fact, this morning, right before talking to you guys, I went and I talked to our sales execs about some of the things that are going to be coming up for inbound conference and coming out next year. And I demonstrated how that was tied back to the feedback that the sales team brought us. So, I still think that, for instance, when working with sales, it's really important to align and, you know, show them you support them, they're not out there on a ledge by themselves, the company is behind them and their ability to hit their number. But the tools that you have at your disposal in a different seat, as a service leader or as a product leader, are different and so you kind of tell the story and you make them feel that thing in a different way. But hopefully, you actually are supporting them and it's just a matter of kind of telling them about the work that you're doing with their lens on, right? So, I don't think it changes that much, but if I didn't understand their goals, their motivation, and their why, I would have given you a very different answer.

- Right, right, right.

- I would have said, "No, it's totally different." But no, I'm talking to them, it's the sales persona, and I'm trying to encourage them to feel supported, accelerated, and like we're going to win together. So, that ends up in a similar kind of presentation and conversation.

- Yeah, regardless of whether you're VP of Success or VP or Product, in this case, you know? It's a different angle, is what I was hearing.

- Yeah, it's a different angle on the same problem.

- On the same problem.

- I'm a fan of kind of thinking about... Most problems are somewhat complex. You can be reductionist about it, but they're somewhat complex and they're kind of three-dimensional and they, you know, they have some nooks and crannies to them like a good English muffin, right?

- Sure.

- You can look at it from one angle or another, but only by viewing the problem from multiple angles do we get a complete sense of the whole. Otherwise, you get this two-dimensional, overly simplified thing. When you understand the problem really well, when you see all the nooks and crannies, and you really get it, then I think it's useful to kind of do the start with why, kind of reductionist thing again, but when you look at the problem from different angles you're just seeing a slightly different cut of the same thing and once you realize yes, this is all the same thing and I'm just viewing it from a different angle, that can simplify a lot of your logic, it can simplify a lot of your business thinking, hopefully simplify your metrics and allow you to move more agilely faster as a whole business unit.

- So, when you encounter a roadblock and you need to kind of examine the problem from different angles, how much time are you spending kind of analyzing the problem itself versus seeing if you have to go directly up the hill, for example, or take a different route and see if there are different ways around it?

- I'm a really big fan of making sure that you identify the problem before you move to a solution. I think that a lot of the challenges that we have as business people trying to communicate to each other are often our we really want to have the solution, we want to be the person who walks into the boss' office with the answer on the piece of paper. That's a fine motivation, but it often leads to misalignment when someone says, "Oh, this is a solution. Just do X." And it's like, "I don't know. Is X really the right thing?" Often that discussion, that problem there of disagreement, is because you never agreed on the problem. X might be a good solution or not, but if you spend 90% of your time on defining the problem and what you're trying to do and why, and you get super aligned on that, the answer and solution should just sort of be, as I like to say, it's just work, right? And there's not a lot of disagreement. The path might be long, but it's relatively simple. There's not a lot of decision-making along there. And I think when you align on the problem and you really understand that deeply, that's when you set yourself up for solutions and changes that are effective and, also, reasonable friction-free from an implementation and rollout perspective. If you are trying to roll something out and nobody understands why you're doing it, it's going to be impossible. Or, if they only understand half of it, half the people you're talking to do and half don't, it's just not going to work, right? And so, I like to spend 90% of the time on the problem and 10% of the time on solution and, frankly, I find that, at least for me personally, as a leader, the folks that are closer to the problem, once we all get a shared understanding, the folks that are closer to it, not at the VP level, but at the manager level or the individual contributor level, they're actually the ones that are gonna come up with the best solution. And once we all understand the problem, it should be easy-peasy, comparatively, to come up with a solution.

- And the takeaway from that answer is what we've heard on episodes one and two: friction-free, right? Perspective. To ease that friction and force from the flywheel when we had Kyle and Adriti kind of explain it to us. He's like, "Well, that could be something that we report on," for example, if it's providing a friction-- Or if it's not, I should say. You know, so you can identify it as a problem, right? As part of the problem, that it's friction.

- So to kind of bring the flywheel into it, I think what you said earlier was really interesting in terms of staring with why because in some ways this could be a way that you translate what the flywheel on an abstract level means to almost like the individual contributor level. They don't need to know the nuances necessarily of the flywheel, but it's important they get the kind of core concepts. So, how often are you reaffirming your why with your team? How often are you going over that sense of purpose? "This is our direction." Versus kind of understanding that they reasonably get it.

- The glib answer to that question as like a senior-ish leader is that's all I do, right?

- Yeah.

- When I have a one-on-one with my team, I know what their metrics are, right? I don't know all the things that we're tracking. I can go look at those on a dashboard and I do like on a Monday morning or whatever. But when I actually spend time with people, I don't really want to talk about a metric, provided, especially provided, stuff's basically going well. I want to talk our motivation and make sure we're on the same page. I want to spend 90% of the time talking about the problem not the current solution. I'm not interested in project management, I'm interested in vision management and making sure we're all aligned. Like I want the people on my team to be able to make decisions that I would be really proud of and that are, frankly, smarter than what I can come up with. And the way that we do that is by aligning on vision, right? And so, that's almost all the why, and, you know, it's part of just the way that I, personally, like to manage and I think a lot of us do at HubSpot, too, which is like have the why, have the metrics, but really work the metric backwards into the why, and talk about the reason that we're here, what we're trying to do from a mission standpoint. And I would encourage all of you guys watching, too, to think about it that way because it's much more motivating and you actually get better metrics-based outcomes when people believe in the thing that they're doing, as opposed to just trying to make the scoreboard go higher and get a better metric. Like that kind of mission-driven belief system is an incredibly powerful motivator, so it's where I spend almost all of my time as a leader.

- Also, I'm sure it adds a lot more substance when you do get reports of teams' performance because then you would have spent so much time doing all of these one-on-ones and meetings and whatever other gatherings that you have with your team, and saying, "Well, I know why that's the way... Or, I have a better idea of why that's the way it is." Yeah, it gives some serious context to you to say, "Well, I know this is part of the problem or I know this was a good problem that we were able to solve."

- Yeah, like when you're a leader and you're presenting you know, maybe at an annual kickoff or quarterly review to your team and you're doing an all-hands meeting, there are certain slides that you know the team is gonna love and there's certain slides you know that they're not going to like, or certain topics and all that. And, when it comes to presenting metrics, you do want to present some numbers to produce accountability and demonstrate that the business is growing or whatnot, but I think as a leader, you know before you walk into that all-hands meeting, "All right, this is the slide people are going to clap at and this is the one they're gonna kind of turn their head like this," kind of do the bird move from that Disney movie and be like--

- I think I did that at one of your meetings. And I'm sure. And you kind of know that as a leader, and I think it's very hard to actually cut out the stuff people kind of squint at. But generally speaking, the stuff people are excited about and where you get that like round of applause you didn't expect on a chart, right? When you present that is when that chart represents more than just the chart. Exactly what we're saying here. Where that represents a reason, that represents a human-based outcome, that represents a change that we, as a team, have endeavored to make and succeed at that. That's a very different thing that one line crossing a goal line on a line chart, right? And I think the more you start with why, the more you get the former, the more you get the excitement, the motivation, and the drive, and, frankly, the less you get the latter where people are just like, "Yeah we're trying to get that line over that line." Which is just, that's not a sustainable, successful way to operate, I don't think. You can do that sometimes, sometimes it's necessary. It's a judgment call whether you have time to, you know, do all the stuff that we're talking about, but, you know, the core things you must because those are the must-wins, those are the things that you need to get the team really motivated about.

- Right.

- That makes sense.

- Yeah. Oh, go ahead, sorry.

- Go for it.

- I was going to say--

- I feel like I'm doing all the questions. Yeah, yeah. No, no, no worries. I was going to say we are just about out of time, but there's a lot of takeaways, I think, from this. You know, obviously, a couple of resources that, in addition to this podcast episode, I think an audience can take into account when thinking about business goals, but more importantly, as what we talked about with Mike here, translating that into action or a process with your team. What are the challenges you gotta think of? What's the actual map? Is it going up a straight hill, to use your analogy really poorly? Or, you know, is there a way to go around it? Is there a cave that you can go under? You know, can you go about it another way? And why, right? Getting to that point where you are adding further context to your reports later to show progress against your business goal and your metrics, whether they're individual, team-based, whatever, what have you.

- Totally.

- So, like I said last episode, we do have an episode on business goals, or several lessons on business goals that we encourage you to check out. We'll add those to the lesson notes.

- Definitely. And I also do want to do a shameless plug because you've had an entire lesson on Academy, or multiple about the inbound service framework.

- [Nakul] Yeah, that's true.

- [Mike] Yeah, it was a thrill. I basically took like a lot of the learnings and, you know, as I was moving from working full-time, like 24/7 on our service team onto our product team, I kind of took a moment to take all of those learnings and put them into an Academy lesson called The Inbound Service Fundamentals. And I think there's a lot of cool stuff in there. Some of it has to do with goal-setting, as well, and a lot of it has to do with sort of why of what your customers want if you want to deliver better service, spin your flywheel faster. All that. 

- Definitely. So, if you want to learn more about how Mike here thinks about inbound service and how to excel really well, check that lesson out. And then, also if you're more interested in some service sub-content, I know Adriti's got a ton of lessons that will walk you through the product line that Mike here is helping create and support.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- So, I think with that...

- The only other thing that I was going to say, so last time, obviously, we went through the inbound goals calculator as an asset for everybody, so this time we have a swat analysis document, similar to the approach that Mike has taken with both of his teams, whether it was services and support or, you know, product, which is what he's doing now, to try and address, you know, what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with regards to achieving a particular business goal or key metric, right? If you want to put it on a team level, for example.

- And as you guys heard, I'm a really big fan of identifying those strengths and really doubling down on the things that make you special. I think it's very easy to get obsessed with the T part of it. "What are the threats? What are the things we need to panic about?" Well, there's gonna be stuff, right?

- Sure.

- But the way that you win is often by doubling down on those strengths and making that into something truly special and remarkable about your business.

- It's glass half full. I like that.

- Optimistic.

- Yeah.

- And if you do want a second set of eyes on the swat analysis after you fill it out... It's set up like a matrix, feel free to email it to inboundreporting@hubspot.com

- That's all the time we have today. So, Mike, thanks for your time.

- My pleasure.

- And thanks for tuning in.

- It was great having you.

- Thank you, guys.

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Originally published Oct 9, 2019 9:00:00 AM, updated October 09 2019