Welcome to the Secret Sauce, a series by the Crystal team where we have deep-dive conversations with fast-rising sales leaders to learn about the most unique, potent ingredient to their success.
Alex Hanbury is a sales leader at Drift, having sold more than anyone in company history (it took us a while to pull that statistic out of him), which helps over 50,000 businesses engage with the right customers and accelerate revenue. Alex was employee #37 at the company (now over 600 employees) and was recently promoted to a leadership position building the sales mid-market and growth teams for Drift’s London location.
Rising quickly through the ranks, setting new records, and thriving at a rapidly-growing SaaS company is no easy task, so we wanted to know his secret sauce…
With his experience as a top sales performer for companies such as Hubspot and his current role, he has mastered the art of building authentic relationships with his clients and higher conversion rates with his prospects.
Alex compares the sales motion to a marathon. Many reps focus on the first half–the outreach, demo, negotiation, education– but lose steam in the second half–aligning internal stakeholders, getting approvals, moving paperwork along, etc. There’s a good reason for that: The first half is exciting and opportunistic, while the second half often feels like a grind, with crucial but more mundane hard work.
Alex sees opportunities in the grind, so he puts a heavy focus on the second half of the marathon, and results speak for themselves.
In the second half of the deal cycle, Alex views himself as a “close consultant” brought in to help solve a specific problem and get internal buy-in to make a change.He recommends going through the customer’s buying motion and establishing their process while suggesting things you’ve done in the past that you can then build into the motion. It’s a mindset that he has internalized as his own personal framework for building long-term client relationships.
Sometimes, reps don’t fully understand just how many steps there are between a “yes” and getting the contract signed. After that initial yes, you’re barely halfway through the race. Maintaining velocity here is crucial – as champions prioritize a million other things, sales reps must keep the momentum going.
The big challenge at this stage is enablement– how reps sell customers on bringing everything to life: onboarding, training, bringing reps up to speed on how to use the solution, etc. Reps must prioritize walking customers through that process, however time-consuming it may be. For this, team selling– bringing in people like customer success and onboarding managers– is most impactful.
If reps focus primarily on the first half of the sales motion, neglecting the importance of the second, then all the work involved is for nothing. Remember, the sales motion is a marathon, and a special emphasis on the second half is where the magic happens and when real connections, friendships, and closed deals are made.