The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 5 months 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 therevenue collected podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin you're listeningto Is this a good time the show I asked revenue collected members some reallybasic questions. They have great answers. It's a short 15 minuteconversation. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays. As you know, sometimesFridays as you did know from recent episodes. Hit subscribe. So you don'tmiss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is Michelle Ben for she isthe head of north american sales at hubspot and we talk about the benefitsof working in companies that are really well known and have a brand name andthen we also dive into like new york city nightclubs in the early odds, butthat's just for a really small select view of you. This episode was broughtto you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenueand increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customersaligned sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customerexperience where people are free to have a conversation with the businessat any time on their terms, learn more...

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

...half a year. Then I moved to work innew york city at both harper's bazaar magazine, vogue magazine, both in thesales department and kind of just worked my way through overall media,fashion media in the sales departments. Throughout most of my twenties before Ieventually made a transition into media tech, which was at AOL working fortheir subsidiaries called Patch, which were kind of hometown news websitesthat have launched. They were kind of a pet project of Tim Armstrong who wasceo of AOL an oath and formerly the first head of sales at google. So uhyeah I did that. And then then from there I moved into my first kind ofsenior director role of north America sales log me in in the boston area andthen 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 tologmein jump. Yeah. Yeah that was my...

...like AOL was first time I was adirector so I oversaw managers, had a team of about 50, moved to logmein teamof about 60 got promoted to a v. P. There and then moved on to hubspot andthere's a lot more people I oversee now. Yeah I was gonna say how many people doyou ever say? How many people on the team is it like I can't share but it'sin the hundreds. Okay fine. I don't want to I don't want to know anythingof the secret sauce. Very cool. And there's a whole set of questions that Ihave 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 Bungaloweight, milk and honey. Those. Well we won't talk about we were in the sameplaces at the same time shout out to disco at bungalow eight for letting mein and I liked him forever about what I did. I told I used to tell him that Iworked for Amy's restaurant. I was a...

...restaurant manager at Amy's Restaurantand 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 andhard 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 ina seat that you're in one day, right? Large company VP of sales head of saleslike your about us, like what were pivotal moments in your career thateither we're like really hard work focused or just like moments of luckthat 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 collegegrads who have worked for me over the years and there's a few pieces ofadvice 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 luckythroughout my career, one was having some of those big names on my resume. Imean to be able to, I mean, still people ask me about vogue magazine andwhat was it like working there? And it...

...was very much like the book devil wearsPrada, but there's, people know it, right? There's a level of gravitas withbig names and even AOL, was that intentional back? Because I neverthought of things like that when I was straight out of college. Did you? Youknow, I didn't and so again, like I sold cars, moved to new york city, Iwaited tables if you remember the coffee shop in Union Square? I was inthe 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, Iworked, I worked there and you know, I just kind of more networked my way intoan internship at harper's bazaar and then from there network my way into ajob 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 GoodMorning 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 reallyhard, but that's where there's some luck. I got lucky that I got a jobthere instead of some no name brand at the same time, I think I ended upmoving back to boston. I worked for this media group called the phoenixmedia group is kind of similar to the village voice. They had the bostonphoenix kind of newspaper and it was small gritty and I learned that Ireally like to be a big companies and so you know, as you take that path, Ithink some of my advice and that luck came from big names and you know, interms of like working at publicly traded companies has also afforded mesome real upside my career across the board. So that's been great in any ofthese roles that you've taken along the way. Did you ever land in a place wherea month into it? He said, oh my gosh, I'm so happy I worked for this personand not some other part of the organization. I can imagine. There'slike somebody that must have said, you must have said, thank God, this isgoing to like, this is going to propel...

...me forward because this person is alsoa bad ass. I've worked for a lot of bad acids And I'd also say in my early daysvote, you know, I would say the leaders, the women. So first of all, I workedwith 95% women who are managing $100 million business, which is notsomething you typically come across. Right. And so that was pretty coolexperience. But it was kind of machiavellian management, you know thatmanagement 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 investingin you, they weren't investing in your leadership skills, they weren'tinvesting in your sales skills, it was like, figure it out. You need to haveto figure it out factor other than your crowd. So yeah, I mean, I think therewere people I definitely didn't want to work, I didn't want to emulate andothers that I knew that I would have had a harder time getting ahead if Ihad worked for them. Nice. Well, I'm not going to ask you to name names, butit 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 thisstartup activity happening. I mean, there's all these unicorns being made,obviously you worked for several of them that were maybe at that stage whenyou got there. Did you ever look at and say, man, I wish I was kind of doingone of these smaller companies or what would that feel like? Yeah, I um so Ihave 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 yougot the big company benefits, you had the big company safety, but you stillhad that kind of startup atmosphere and I loved it. I would say I've just seena lot of friends of mine who have gone to that supposed unicorn or what lookedlike it was a rocket ship and either it wasn't a rocket ship within the timethey thought it would be and you know, they worked crazy hours and it was areally took a toll on their family life and only to find out they're not goingto 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 andwe'll get weird up. Okay, perfect. Now now I know where we can fit you. I'lltell you from from the from the startup side of the fence. I always look atsome of the big companies ago, it'd be nice to have like really unlimitedbudget, you know, never unlimited. It's never unlimited. It's your job changesfrom selling externally to selling internally to get that budget. So letme let me dream Michelle please come on. All right, so look, hubspot, we allknow has amazing content when it comes to what to do in your job as a sales ormarketing person. So I asked this question almost tongue in cheek becausehubspot puts out so much content, I'm sure you're part of some of thecontributions. That what would be a tactic that you point to that say likethat listeners could implement tomorrow and what they do. Yeah, I mean, I don'tknow 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 traditionalbland, repetitive vanilla manner and I do think personalization, you know,winds, I do think crafting a message wind and I mean I oversee a highvelocity business inbound generated business, but like you still have to bea human and so being empathetic, putting the customer first running agood sales process, not pushing for the for the end of month, but being savvyenough to have teed it up for the end of the month, right? Those arebalancing that craft is I think pretty important. And then the second one Ijust 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 consistentlyasking like how am I doing? You know, like was this a beneficial meeting? Wasthis effective? You know, and I think the more that you let them know likeyou're trying to do your best work, I...

...also really like the tactic when you'rein 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 pauseand you actually have the prospect sell you back And that's because then youget to really here, in their own words, what they heard and you don't assumeyou don't just jump to next steps, they have to sell you back what they likedand also what they still have questions about what they heard, right? Because Ican't count the number of times that I've thought a deal was in a certainplace and then they come back with a question like it's clearly not in thatplace because they're asking that question Right integrated to this. Imean literally we talked about that but of course who knows what they heard? Ilove. That's a great one. Perfect. I don't know if there was any recent blogpost 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 NorthAmerica's small business sales, which is our largest sales team. So thatone's good. We have some director roles...

...available. We are still continuing togrow like we're still in hyper growth. So in sales, director roles will havemore 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 careerin sales, go work at home spot for two years. Right. Is it still one of theseplaces where it feels like it could be like getting a master's degree in saleswhere the education is just second to none. I mean, I would say yes on thesales front. Yes on like just even understanding, you know, anorganization investing in leaders. I mean we do programs for our topmanagers. We give them classes at Harvard and MIT. We give them a olympicathlete as a performance coach. I mean we invest in the people who really wantto 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 goinginto sales is actually like a career...

...path out of college now right? Itprobably wasn't when you and I went to school but it is now and I mean likethat's got to be a top one of the top three places that you want to land tojust learn SAs like here let's go here, get your, get your degree in SAS andthen go do something that you want to do or start your own company orwhatever. So anyway at least that's the outside looking in Alright. Anyshoutouts? Either people who you love their content yourself for up andcomers that are yes, some can be from your team but let's not make itentirely 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 killercontent in the best parts are just, they're insights on how to run betterdeal. So I really like that there's a pretty cool company called set sail Ithink similar, there are a lot more earlier stage similar to God, it's ondeal insights and like triggers for...

...like what's the right behavior and whatto do next in the sales process. So I think those guys are doing some prettycool stuff. I got a good friend over at pro core, they just went public in thelast few days out of santa. Barbara nick Hartley is running theirinternational business. All those teams are doing some pretty interesting stuff,Very cool, very cool. Well all of the questions previously asked foreverybody else and then there's the question for me and we may have alreadywent over this, but I am a restaurant person. I've been involved in therestaurant 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 recommendrecommend meant on. Also if you're looking for just super, super, superhealthy, delicious food on Nantucket. I love the beat, that's my go toNantucket for lunch, I love it. So we got, we got a summer spot, this will goup probably like june and we'll be...

...hearing about all people be listeningfrom Nantucket, Go check out the beat. That's great, Michelle. Thank you somuch. This has been so much fun. I really appreciate you coming on and uhI'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 theApple podcast or Spotify absent into some friends and make sure to smashthat subscribe button. Next time you'll be hearing from me, we are going to bedoing episode 100. We've got a special guest lined up for that. So reallyexcited. A reminder. This episode was brought to buy drift the new waybusinesses by for businesses you can learn more and get the conversationstarted at drift dot com. I had a lot of fun today. Hope you did too. Gobrush your numbers, say something. Mhm.

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