HubSpot utilizes an internal product team model to drive faster revenue growth for HubSpot. Our product teams drive HubSpot’s go-to-market growth by removing barriers to value, making our reps and partner ecosystem hum. (Want to know more about our internal product teams? Check out this blog post). This approach is unique as it focuses on solving for long term scale and builds strong partnerships between go-to-market teams and product teams. This sounds great, but what does that really look like in practice?
Let's focus on one area, lead management, as an example use case. (What is lead management? Lead management is the act of getting a prospect early in their sales discovery journey over to a sales rep to take them through the sales process.)
The Business Challenge
For HubSpot, we define successful lead management as getting the right lead to the right sales owner at the right time. We have found this directly correlates to revenue.
A Product Drive Approach
To solve these challenges, our team, called Flywheel Product (called Flywheel because “we spin the GTM flywheel faster!”) comes into play. HubSpot pairs business challenges with product teams. We don’t have stakeholders, we have business partnerships. We aren’t “ticket takers”. We collaborate with the business on addressing customer challenges. This allows us to approach business problems with a product-led approach, apply best practices from other domains, solve for the long term, and apply fresh perspectives to old challenges.
For the Right Owner challenge, we leveraged best practices from Lead Nurturing and applied them to Sales. We took Marketing’s rigor around experimentation and developed a framework to A/B test our lead routing outcomes. This fresh approach proved valuable when experiments we thought were no-brainers led to poor outcomes, and those that seemed like minor tweaks led to huge wins.
For example, we were really excited to use a popular sales rep property used to assess quality for lead rotation. We assumed this would lead to less marketing qualified lead (MQL) rejections, improve rep efficiency, and a better customer experience. The A/B test concluded the opposite. We were shocked that the control outperformed the variable. Our intuition was wrong. It turns out the property had some backed in assumptions we didn’t know about. The property was a great indicator of quality once there was usage on a demo or free portal, but at the point of lead rotation, there was typically no usage yet. Without partnering with the business to create the A/B test framework, we may not have caught our mistake. This could have been costly for our customers in terms of a bad experience, our reps in regards to increased pressure in attaining their quota, and lost opportunities for HubSpot.
However, we didn’t stop our exploration into the Right Owner challenge there. We used our expertise in data modeling to create representative sales territories to mimic territories we were experimenting with. For example, we found that our North America mid-market territory performed similar to our Nordic and LatAm territories when we multiplied them by a factor. This allowed us to launch pilots with confidence and know a pilot in a given territory truly unlocked new value ($) and wasn’t just noise.
Our unique approach of pairing product and business teams doesn’t guarantee success, but it allows us to adjust our approach as go-to-market strategies evolve and make business decisions with much more confidence. We are only able to do this because our product team is given the space to solve for the long term. We would never have been able to develop an experimentation framework for lead routing if we were a “feature team”, pulling request tickets from a queue.
Following a product-led approach allowed us to better solve for the root problem. It takes effort for cross functional teams to align on their overarching objectives, goals, and keep their priorities in sync. However, at HubSpot we have found this alignment and focus is worth the cost. And given the current macroeconomic climate, alignment and focus are more important than ever to driving results.