Women in Sales Blog

Gushy Post on 7 Years at HubSpot & How Getting into Sales Changed my Life

Posted by Jul 31, 2017 1:29:43 PM Ali Powell


As of tomorrow I will have worked at HubSpot for 7 years of my life.
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That is a long time. I can’t think of anything else that I have done longer than that. I can’t think of anything else that I have done a better job at either.

I can confidently say that I am a pretty good sales rep because of my experience and time at HubSpot. I will forever be thankful for what I have learned so far and hope to learn in the years to come from working at a scaling company.

Little did I know that 7 years ago being a part of HubSpot would change many parts of my life.

I am very grateful for my job at HubSpot. 7 years at one company is longer than the time I was in high school, longer than the time I spent in college, AND longer than any job I had before landing a sales job at HubSpot. I am thankful that everyone who interviewed me back 7 years ago saw something in me that said yes, let's take a chance on this one.

A lot of things have happened in 7 years while working at HubSpot (personally and professionally). Some I am proud of and some I am not proud of. But in honor of this amazing achievement (Yes I think working at one company for seven years is an achievement) I wanted to look back on what I have learned.

Sometimes it is hard to take a real honest look at things you have done in your life and to sit back and be proud of yourself.

I thought I would look back on these 7 years as a way to thank HubSpot for being my employer and for getting me into this thing called sales that I love. I am so thankful to be a woman working in sales at HubSpot. I hope for many more successful, challenging and fun years to come. HubSpot is a place of many firsts for me. I hope there are many more firsts at HubSpot for me to come in the years ahead.

Here are some of the things that I have done at HubSpot over these past 7 years that I am proud of and here are some lessons that I have learned in the past 7 years on this Rocket ship.

  • I was one of our 1st BDRs. There were only a few of us at the time. We failed, we succeeded and we learned. Being a 1st BDR or SDR at a company is a HARD but amazing job. I would highly suggest anyone considering joining a company in sales to start out in the BDR or SDR function to get their feet wet, learn the ropes so when you do become a quota carrying rep you are really ready.
  • I helped build out our 1st BDR program that has expanded over the years to our international offices. I am so proud and thankful to have been one of our first BDRs. I remember the interview process and the hiring process. I was so so so scared I wouldn't get the job. I didn't know if I was worthy of it. I would try so hard in that job and that is what I did. Lesson here is that if you end up getting that foot in the door work your butt off. Work long hours, get there first thing in the morning and stay until the last person that day. The 1st year of your career at your startup is important. Show that you care and do the best job that you can.
  • I became our 1st BDR manager. When asked to be our BDR manager I was taken aback. I really wanted to sell but I knew that I could help our bottom line and help the BDR program expand if I took on that challenge. Lesson: When someone asks you to take on a new challenge that is for the growth of your company do it. Don't say no, always say yes even if you are scared to do the job.
  • I created training programs that our company uses today. I loved the aspect of BDR management that was TRAINING. Training and helping people around you in the early days and as you grow is very important. You must document process and come up with metrics early and often. Look at the data and realize what is working and what is not working, make changes quickly.
  • I have worked for so many smart people that I am so thankful for teaching me along the way. I can't name them all so I will not try to. But, thank you to every single person I have worked with at HubSpot so far. You have left a spot on my brain and my heart. <3
  • I made so many close friends that work at HubSpot still today and some that don’t. Those relationships and time with those people are what I will look back on. The relationships that you make at your startup over the years will bud into new job opportunities. They will bud into life long friendships and people that you can confide in to help you. Those relationships could lead to new things in the future so always do the right thing and don't leave bad blood. Do the right thing and stay humble and nice to people. Make sure you stay in touch with the people you think are smart because one day you might want to work for them, have them work for you or be able to pick their brains.
  • I actually fell in love at HubSpot with a man that I had an amazing 6 year relationship with. We are no longer together — but I am thankful for our time together and don’t think either of us would be where we are today personally or professionally without that 6 years together. LESSON HERE- you can have office romance and it can be a great thing! Find someone that you can share this time with. One of the great things about where you work is that you likely have people around you that are similar to you. Take advantage of that and if that leads to a relationship be open about it if it really gets serious. People will likely be happy that you found each other. Be smart about office romance but don't cut it out all together because you could find the one :)
  • I became a real live sales rep with a quota! Wow, was I excited the day I found out I was going to be an account executive. I watched some of my friends and colleagues who had started after I started as a BDR advance to a sales rep. I was sad and wanted to be one too. I was worried I wouldn't become one. Have faith and keep trying. If you get denied the AE role keep asking questions and learn as much as you can from people around you and why you didn't get the job then. Work on those skills and try, try again.
  • I watched our quotas go up and up over the years and actually was able to hit and exceed those quotas over the years too. As your company grows you will think back on what your quota used to be and what it is now. YIKES, how did we do that!??! Go with the flow and take it on. You will be okay.
  • You will likely not have territories when you start out as a sales rep early on in an organization. Over time that will change. Figure out what you want early on in those days. For example) I knew that I liked working with high tech, software companies. I knew that I was good at that and did well working with advanced marketers. I put myself in a position to get really good at that persona and ended up getting silicon valley as my territory. I never looked back.
  • I worked my way up from BDR to AE to all the steps in between to the top role we have in our sales org at HubSpot which is called a Principal 3 Inbound Growth Specialist. The lesson here is that I made it all the way up the sales ladder that I never thought I would never be able to climb. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that believe in you. You will climb that ladder if you want to.
  • We went public! I was actually working at company that had an IPO. Very cool to be a part of that. I will never forget that experience. And again, I will always be thankful to have been a part of that.
  • I learned perseverance and hard work do pay off. People say that hard work and success together is a myth. No way! I say they do work hand in hand. If you work hard, you learn faster. As you learn you become better. When you become better at your job you see the results in form of success.
  • Working hard and working smart are 2 different things. Don't just work hard to work hard. Do smart work that gets your further than if you were just working a lot to work a lot.
  • Get good at one thing and one thing alone. Become really, really good at one thing and one thing alone. Be known for that one thing. It will help you and you will be known as the GURU on that one thing.
  • Stand out from the crowd and be yourself. Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself. Don't try to be someone you are not. I mean this in your work on the phones and in meetings with prospects but also internally in getting to know people in your company. I am who I am and if I try to be anything else I fail. Be yourself and that will help you get further in your career.
  • Helping and providing value to your prospects and customers is WAY more important than being motivated by just making money. People always ask in interviews, "what motivates you?" You are supposed to say money if you are interviewing for sales. I think that stigma needs to go away. Sure, money comes from being good at sales but being good at sales comes from wanting to help your prospects and customers. Be someone who is always trying to help your prospects and customers, money will come from that.
  • I grew personally and professionally in 7 years. This would take a book to explain everything I have learned professionally and personally. I guess my advice would be to stay awake. Be alive when you are at work and if you ever feel like you need to take a second away do it. Be in the moment when you are doing your job so you put your best foot forward.
  • I was and am still part of something bigger than I could have ever dreamed of being a part of. If you are looking into startups and companies to work for make sure you think about what you want in the long term. Do you want to be there for a while? How long do you want to work there and why? What do you want out of this job? Will the company and their mission provide you joy for days and years to come?
  • I found a job that I really truly love. Love what you do. Everyone says it. But, really as you get older you really start to realize why this is important. What is the point of waking up everyday not wanting to do what you want to do. Love what you do. This goes back to picking a profession and a company that you believe in what they do. That way you will wake up happy and wanting to do your job.
  • I got out of “corporate America” for a startup and now we are a big company — but guess what? I still love what I do! That goes to show that picking a company that you believe in the product and really believe in what the company solves for is a big enough mission to carry you on for years to come. Important lesson there is to pick companies with missions that you believe in. If you want to be somewhere for a long time that will be important. Pick to work at companies where you see their mission and vision being one that will last.
  • I started at a company that had less than 100 people and now has thousands. That is a huge growing experience and learning experience. I have learned so much from watching HubSpot go round and expand over the years. Take it all in and don't take one day for granted. There are so many talented and smart people surrounding you so learn everyday from what is going on around you.
  • Keep your eyes wide open. Learn everyday from what is going on around you. But also share what you learn so others don’t have to recreate something you already learned how to do. Sharing is important in helping a company to grow the right way.
  • Women can become moms and men can become Dads while still being successful. I have watched their careers soar at HubSpot. I have watched people become parents and I love it. It shows me that being successful does not mean that right when you become a parent you are no longer deemed worthy of working. Working parents exist and companies like HubSpot make it easier.
  • I learned about what it takes to make a company stay successful through the ups and the downs. Your job and your company will have good months, bad months, okay months, good quarters, bad quarters, okay quarters, etc... Learn to be okay with that and learn from those things.
  • Your product will change, get better, and evolve over time. Learn how to change with your product as your company changes.
  • Don’t stay stuck in the way you do things. As your company grows you will have to change with it. You must be okay with change and embrace change. If at some point you no longer like the job or don't see yourself being okay with those changes you should walk away. Knowing when it is your time to leave is a good thing.
  • I found a family of friends in my colleagues that I am so thankful to have in my life. Some of my closet friends are HubSpotters. I am so happy to have met so many amazing people along the way that I genuinely care about.
I created financial stability for myself as a single woman. This is a doozy for me and really gets me.

Being a single woman (now) I never realized how much creating a good financial spot for myself would be so important in my life. If you want to create financial stability in your life so you don't have to worry about money sales is a good way to do that.

  • I moved and bought my own home. I had been a part of a purchase of a loft in Boston with my ex boyfriend. I thought that was an amazing thing we did. BUT, buying my own home, on my own in a new city really hit me. I did this and wouldn't have done it maybe without HubSpot.
  • I work remote from Charleston, SC now as one of our remote employees. Over the years we have always had our HQ in Cambridge, MA. As we have grown more and more employees are moving away from Boston and we are allowing remote employees. I am happy to be one of them and hope to help form this remote work program for HubSpot from things I am learning.
  • I started the Women in Sales group at HubSpot. I also started a couple of side projects called the Women in Sales Slack channel, Women in sales Podcast and my blog Women in Tech Sales.
  • I learned that being a woman working in tech is something that is worthy of and that I feel motivated to encourage more women to become a part of.
  • I learned that there will be ups and downs in sales and you need to be able to ride that wave. Sales is a TON of ups and downs. If you can't handle that, you probably won't make it for the long run.
  • No one is going to motivate you. You have to be able to motivate yourself. Motivation has to come from yourself.
  • Really caring about how your product helps and solves problems is what has gotten me this far. I care deeply about helping my prospects with their problems and that leads to sales.
  • Learn the competitive landscape because it will help you to sell smarter and better than your competitors. You will win happier customers by doing this as well. You will learn how to sell GOOD FITS instead of just anyone who wants to buy your product.
  • Learn your product in and out. Don’t just be a sales person, be someone who is truly trying to solve the prospect's problems and that will lead to good, smart sales not just sales that make you money. There is a difference in getting GOOD FIT customers in and just getting customers in.
  • I have been at the top of the charts most months. But, some months you won’t be and you have to learn to be okay with that. I will never forget the first time I didn't hit quota. I cried and actually didn't go into the office for like a week. I told my boss that I needed some time off to think about if I would really be good at this. I finally pushed myself back into the office. There will be months where you DO NOT HIT YOUR QUOTA. You have to learn to pick yourself back up and brush the dust off. If you can't do that you will do worse and then you won't hit your quota. Stay confident even in your down moments. Prospects can tell.
  • Help others around you. Always and always.
  • I went to Presidents club.
  • I found confidence in myself as a person.
  • I now know that I have value in an organization. I am aware of my strengths and my weaknesses. I know that I have value as a sales person and what I have learned at HubSpot. I knew that my skills are an asset to HubSpot and to any other company I might work for in the future.

If you are looking for a company to join that truly is amazing you should check out our job postings here. I would love to have you join us at HubSpot if you think you are a fit for any of the roles. Also, we are in the need of sales reps so if you enjoyed my story you should reach out to me as we are growing fast and need A PLUS sales hires! Check out the sales roles here.

Also, if you are a woman working in sales join the Women in Sales Slack channel here. If you want to listen to the Women in Sales Podcast you can do that here on iTunes. If you want to do an interview with us on your role as a woman working in sales please fill out this form.

Topics: woman in sales, WOMEN IN SALES PODCAST, sales jobs, women who work in sales

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