In 2008, the HubSpot sales team had grown large enough that I needed my first sales manager to help out. Was it best to hire from the outside or promote from within? Tough question.
I went with the latter. My gut was telling me outsider leaders would not succeed in our system without spending some time on the HubSpot frontline themselves. I also hoped that a "promote from within" culture would attract highly motivated talent that had limited growth potential at their current companies.
Today, we have 18 sales managers running the frontline, all promoted from within. However, there were four milestones we challenged leadership candidates to achieve before being awarded the seat:
Consistently exceed goal attainment targets in the funnel.
Pass a set of certifications demonstrating well-roundedness across all stages of the buyers' journey.
Complete the HubSpot sales leadership curriculum.
Own the next sales requisition. Hire, train, and develop the new hire for their first four months while maintaining goal attainment as an individual contributor in the funnel.
I get the most questions about number three, the sales leadership curriculum. I have shared the curriculum with some of you, but so many have asked I figured it would be useful to post here.
Prior to creating the curriculum, I must have read about 50 books and articles on sales management. During that process, I realized it was not sales management I was after but, instead, sales leadership. I also realized that the sales leadership best practices I found most applicable were not that specific to sales and could be applied across almost every function.
In addition to the readings, we complemented each topic with real-life situations often encountered by sales managers at HubSpot. We role-played these situations after each reading as an attempt to bridge the "academic" exercise with real-world applicability.
The publications I went with in 2008 are listed below, grouped by topics I found most important to the HubSpot sales leadership context. The list is not perfect. In fact, some of this reading is somewhat outdated. But perhaps it can serve as a starting point for many of you.
*Succeed was published in 2010. We read the ebook from 2008-2009.
Beyond this list, I'm sure there are hundreds of sales leadership or general leadership works that people use in training their own managers. It'd be great if folks can share them in the comment stream below.
Originally published Feb 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017