brent-learyBrent Leary is a leading CRM analyst, frequent speaker on Sales and Marketing, and an all-around great guy (in spite of being a Yankees fan). He stopped by HubSpot last week, and we couldn't let him leave without asking him five questions on Sales: 

1) What are the top mistakes you see small companies making in the Sales and Marketing space?

Not using process to their advantage: Whether it's not having a sales process or having the founder or co-founders become bottlenecks, companies need to spend less time throwing people at problems and more time identifying processes that scale. Not being efficient with technology and process can kill small companies.

2) Complete this sentence: The best sales people in the world …

The best sales people in the world are really good listeners. The skill of listening helps them sell more instead of pushing their own agenda, and they deliver what people are actually looking for. 

3) In your opinion, what’s the most valuable social network for salespeople and why?

For sales people I’d still say LinkedIn, mostly based on my own experience. On LinkedIn, I'm cool with sales folks hitting me up because it's a professional network and I expect it. I don't like being sold on Twitter or Facebook; on LinkedIn you know it's part of the deal when you sign up. 

4) You attend upwards of 20 conferences a year -- how do you see the best sales professionals in the world master an event? 

They take note of the information being shared at the event, especially the stories being told by customers, and use that information to build really meaningful interactions. Instead of selling steak knives with a schtick they build a helpful conversation that delivers legitimate value to potential customers. 

5) You say that in the subscription economy, customer service is as valuable as sales -- how so? 

Absolutely -- when you are creating a subscription business, you can't do it without a customer engagement strategy. In a product-driven economy, you would build a widget, you'd sell a widget, and when you had sold enough of the widget you would get people calling you to buy it. At that point you'd start figuring out how to manage the calls and develop working relationships with your customers on a scalable basis. Now, with the subscription economy, many companies are selling an ongoing relationship, so if you don't have a service model baked in at the very beginning it's really challenging to grow and scale. Customer expectations are ramping up: If your company is not able to meet them consistently, you will fail. 

Originally published Jul 14, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

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