The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 98: The Benefits of Working in Big Companies w/ Michelle Benfer

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Ep 98: The Benefits of Working in Big Companies w/ Michelle Benfer 

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" Series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to the revenue collected podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin you're listening to Is this a good time the show I asked revenue collected members some really basic questions. They have great answers. It's a short 15 minute conversation. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays. As you know, sometimes Fridays as you did know from recent episodes. Hit subscribe. So you don't miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is Michelle Ben for she is the head of north american sales at hubspot and we talk about the benefits of working in companies that are really well known and have a brand name and then we also dive into like new york city nightclubs in the early odds, but that's just for a really small select view of you. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers aligned sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with the business at any time on their terms, learn more...

...at drift dot com. Alright, let's do this. Episode 42. Is this a good time? Alright, Here we are. We have Michelle Ben for with us. She is the head of north american sales at hubspot Michelle. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for having me. So we we jump right in all meat. No filler. Want to get right to it. So I just told us the company, but tell us your current role and how you got here and kind of all the twists and turns along the way because you started your career kind of in fashion. Is that do I have that right? Yeah. Actually, technically I started selling cars. That was my first job, graduating college, but I don't have that on the linkedin. Okay, fine. So you obviously hit that one used car salesman you didn't want that? I'll tell you used cars were better than selling new cars. But that's a story for another day. But yeah, so I've had a bit of a circuitous paths into right now, leading a half of hubspot sales organization. But yes, I started my first job graduating college, I went to B. C. I sold cars for a little over...

...half a year. Then I moved to work in new york city at both harper's bazaar magazine, vogue magazine, both in the sales department and kind of just worked my way through overall media, fashion media in the sales departments. Throughout most of my twenties before I eventually made a transition into media tech, which was at AOL working for their subsidiaries called Patch, which were kind of hometown news websites that have launched. They were kind of a pet project of Tim Armstrong who was ceo of AOL an oath and formerly the first head of sales at google. So uh yeah I did that. And then then from there I moved into my first kind of senior director role of north America sales log me in in the boston area and then from there hopped on over to to have a spot as a VP. That's incredible. So you really made your transition to like top top leadership in that AOL to logmein jump. Yeah. Yeah that was my...

...like AOL was first time I was a director so I oversaw managers, had a team of about 50, moved to logmein team of about 60 got promoted to a v. P. There and then moved on to hubspot and there's a lot more people I oversee now. Yeah I was gonna say how many people do you ever say? How many people on the team is it like I can't share but it's in the hundreds. Okay fine. I don't want to I don't want to know anything of the secret sauce. Very cool. And there's a whole set of questions that I have for you as a new yorker wanting to know about during your fashion time, what places you were going and hanging out. But we're not going to go to that. We'll keep this all about sales in the later part. Well you know Bungalow eight, milk and honey. Those. Well we won't talk about we were in the same places at the same time shout out to disco at bungalow eight for letting me in and I liked him forever about what I did. I told I used to tell him that I worked for Amy's restaurant. I was a...

...restaurant manager at Amy's Restaurant and I think he believed me and he let me into bungalow eight shots at disco. Anyway, I'll get back to the pod for a second. So I always talk about luck and hard work being two things they both contribute to getting to where you are. I think a lot of people who are listening right now would love to be in a seat that you're in one day, right? Large company VP of sales head of sales like your about us, like what were pivotal moments in your career that either we're like really hard work focused or just like moments of luck that got you to where you are today. Yeah. You know, it's interesting. I am, you know, I mentor college kids. I have a lot of, you know, recent college grads who have worked for me over the years and there's a few pieces of advice that I give to them and it's a combination of, you know, the hard work, but also the luck. And I think one of the things that made me pretty lucky throughout my career, one was having some of those big names on my resume. I mean to be able to, I mean, still people ask me about vogue magazine and what was it like working there? And it...

...was very much like the book devil wears Prada, but there's, people know it, right? There's a level of gravitas with big names and even AOL, was that intentional back? Because I never thought of things like that when I was straight out of college. Did you? You know, I didn't and so again, like I sold cars, moved to new york city, I waited tables if you remember the coffee shop in Union Square? I was in the restaurant industry, I worked at Tabla, so like Yes, of course, yeah. Wait now that makes sense while you were at bungalow eight? Okay, Yeah, I worked, I worked there and you know, I just kind of more networked my way into an internship at harper's bazaar and then from there network my way into a job at vogue, but it wasn't intentional, but at the same time I wasn't afraid, you know, I had been interviewing with Goldman Sachs with ESPN with a Good Morning America shows that just like a little bit of everything, but it helped, like those names really helped carry me.

And so I do think like I worked really hard, but that's where there's some luck. I got lucky that I got a job there instead of some no name brand at the same time, I think I ended up moving back to boston. I worked for this media group called the phoenix media group is kind of similar to the village voice. They had the boston phoenix kind of newspaper and it was small gritty and I learned that I really like to be a big companies and so you know, as you take that path, I think some of my advice and that luck came from big names and you know, in terms of like working at publicly traded companies has also afforded me some real upside my career across the board. So that's been great in any of these roles that you've taken along the way. Did you ever land in a place where a month into it? He said, oh my gosh, I'm so happy I worked for this person and not some other part of the organization. I can imagine. There's like somebody that must have said, you must have said, thank God, this is going to like, this is going to propel...

...me forward because this person is also a bad ass. I've worked for a lot of bad acids And I'd also say in my early days vote, you know, I would say the leaders, the women. So first of all, I worked with 95% women who are managing $100 million business, which is not something you typically come across. Right. And so that was pretty cool experience. But it was kind of machiavellian management, you know that management by fear and there were just some bosses who are scarier than others. And so there it was like sink or swim. And so back then they weren't investing in you, they weren't investing in your leadership skills, they weren't investing in your sales skills, it was like, figure it out. You need to have to figure it out factor other than your crowd. So yeah, I mean, I think there were people I definitely didn't want to work, I didn't want to emulate and others that I knew that I would have had a harder time getting ahead if I had worked for them. Nice. Well, I'm not going to ask you to name names, but it certainly is interesting. And did you ever look over the fence and say, man, I wish I was at a smaller place...

...where, you know, there's all this startup activity happening. I mean, there's all these unicorns being made, obviously you worked for several of them that were maybe at that stage when you got there. Did you ever look at and say, man, I wish I was kind of doing one of these smaller companies or what would that feel like? Yeah, I um so I have worked in like kind of scrappy er scenarios like, you know, Patch was, Patch was a startup that was really fun, but it was backed by A. O. L. So you got the big company benefits, you had the big company safety, but you still had that kind of startup atmosphere and I loved it. I would say I've just seen a lot of friends of mine who have gone to that supposed unicorn or what looked like it was a rocket ship and either it wasn't a rocket ship within the time they thought it would be and you know, they worked crazy hours and it was a really took a toll on their family life and only to find out they're not going to end up getting the payout after all. And so I'm more of the pre I. P. O. Post IPO scale up gal. I have a lot of...

...respect for the startup peeps though. All right, this is good. So right before by pos we'll get you in and we'll get weird up. Okay, perfect. Now now I know where we can fit you. I'll tell you from from the from the startup side of the fence. I always look at some of the big companies ago, it'd be nice to have like really unlimited budget, you know, never unlimited. It's never unlimited. It's your job changes from selling externally to selling internally to get that budget. So let me let me dream Michelle please come on. All right, so look, hubspot, we all know has amazing content when it comes to what to do in your job as a sales or marketing person. So I asked this question almost tongue in cheek because hubspot puts out so much content, I'm sure you're part of some of the contributions. That what would be a tactic that you point to that say like that listeners could implement tomorrow and what they do. Yeah, I mean, I don't know if this is too ubiquitous at this point, you know, definitely, it's like, I mean I'm still getting hit up by...

...sales reps and just such a traditional bland, repetitive vanilla manner and I do think personalization, you know, winds, I do think crafting a message wind and I mean I oversee a high velocity business inbound generated business, but like you still have to be a human and so being empathetic, putting the customer first running a good sales process, not pushing for the for the end of month, but being savvy enough to have teed it up for the end of the month, right? Those are balancing that craft is I think pretty important. And then the second one I just add is like, you know, again maybe ubiquitous, but like feedback is a gift. And I also think during the sales process rep should be consistently asking like how am I doing? You know, like was this a beneficial meeting? Was this effective? You know, and I think the more that you let them know like you're trying to do your best work, I...

...also really like the tactic when you're in a sales call to say, I would love to hear your recap of what we went over. What were the highlights, you know, what are some areas that give you pause and you actually have the prospect sell you back And that's because then you get to really here, in their own words, what they heard and you don't assume you don't just jump to next steps, they have to sell you back what they liked and also what they still have questions about what they heard, right? Because I can't count the number of times that I've thought a deal was in a certain place and then they come back with a question like it's clearly not in that place because they're asking that question Right integrated to this. I mean literally we talked about that but of course who knows what they heard? I love. That's a great one. Perfect. I don't know if there was any recent blog post about it. So we'll see any key positions that you're hiring for. Yes, actually just just got an offer accepted for the head of North America's small business sales, which is our largest sales team. So that one's good. We have some director roles...

...available. We are still continuing to grow like we're still in hyper growth. So in sales, director roles will have more VP rolls coming, especially in the next 12 months. And would you say, look, I mean, I feel like hubspot is one of those places that if you want a career in sales, go work at home spot for two years. Right. Is it still one of these places where it feels like it could be like getting a master's degree in sales where the education is just second to none. I mean, I would say yes on the sales front. Yes on like just even understanding, you know, an organization investing in leaders. I mean we do programs for our top managers. We give them classes at Harvard and MIT. We give them a olympic athlete as a performance coach. I mean we invest in the people who really want to bring their best work so Yeah, I would definitely say so that's great. But they Don't say don't say for two years, safer, safer. five. So uh yeah, fair point. But like there's so many options for people because like going into sales is actually like a career...

...path out of college now right? It probably wasn't when you and I went to school but it is now and I mean like that's got to be a top one of the top three places that you want to land to just learn SAs like here let's go here, get your, get your degree in SAS and then go do something that you want to do or start your own company or whatever. So anyway at least that's the outside looking in Alright. Any shoutouts? Either people who you love their content yourself for up and comers that are yes, some can be from your team but let's not make it entirely hubspot people. No, no, no, I'll stay with my friends at gong. They've always been awesome. I think they're putting out just like killer content in the best parts are just, they're insights on how to run better deal. So I really like that there's a pretty cool company called set sail I think similar, there are a lot more earlier stage similar to God, it's on deal insights and like triggers for...

...like what's the right behavior and what to do next in the sales process. So I think those guys are doing some pretty cool stuff. I got a good friend over at pro core, they just went public in the last few days out of santa. Barbara nick Hartley is running their international business. All those teams are doing some pretty interesting stuff, Very cool, very cool. Well all of the questions previously asked for everybody else and then there's the question for me and we may have already went over this, but I am a restaurant person. I've been involved in the restaurant industry forever, where should I eat? It could be in boston, could be new york, could be whatever an exact coffee shop because that's closed. Yeah, I know. Isn't that sad? I would right now it's the most offensive thing, it's a bank. So I, I just went to meant on in boston, I would highly recommend recommend meant on. Also if you're looking for just super, super, super healthy, delicious food on Nantucket. I love the beat, that's my go to Nantucket for lunch, I love it. So we got, we got a summer spot, this will go up probably like june and we'll be...

...hearing about all people be listening from Nantucket, Go check out the beat. That's great, Michelle. Thank you so much. This has been so much fun. I really appreciate you coming on and uh I'm so happy to be connected. Likewise. Thanks All right. That is our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, rate and review in the Apple podcast or Spotify absent into some friends and make sure to smash that subscribe button. Next time you'll be hearing from me, we are going to be doing episode 100. We've got a special guest lined up for that. So really excited. A reminder. This episode was brought to buy drift the new way businesses by for businesses you can learn more and get the conversation started at drift dot com. I had a lot of fun today. Hope you did too. Go brush your numbers, say something. Mhm.

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