The Sales Coach: Ben Sabrin

Nova Sales Coach Ben Sabrin

Beginning this week, we will be featuring a sales leader in the tech industry share their experiences with our readers.  Ben Sabrin kicks off this weekly column. Ben is an entrepreneuer, a large enterprise B2B sales leader with vast experience in complex technology sales. Ben was a key member of the team that built JBoss.  JBoss was acquired by RedHat for $350 Million in 2006.

Ben – Welcome to The Sales Coach column. Tell us a little bit about how you got into sales and what you like about sales?

I always knew I wanted to sell something even starting as a kid when I worked in retail. That said, I can only sell and lead teams for products I really believe in.

What would you say is the key to leading a sales team as opposed to being an individual contributor?

Leading is not about you. It is about how you can make others better. The key to being a great leader is knowing that everyone is different, learns different and responds to different motivational techniques. Good sales people are unique. They are never satisfied – which makes it harder to manage, but a characteric you don’t want to suppress as you want that same behavior out in the market.

You crushed it at JBoss and its subsequent acquisition by Red Hat.  David Skok has written about how JBoss rose to the top and your contribution. What worked well there?

We had an amazing product, community and team. Individual contributors on that team now hold a lot of impressive roles throughout the industry. We had a great sales process, amazing partnerships with marketing, support and product. Sales can only crush it when the entire business is aligned. We had great leadership creating the alignment we needed to succeed.

You’ve had a lot of enterprise sales leadership roles at successful startups. Can you speak about your sales approach?

First, you have to have a great product in a big market. JBoss was the developers choice as was MongoDB. You then have to hire amazing people who can help shape the culture and process. I would say people and product are the two most important recipes for success.

What have you seen in your experience as things that don’t work in scaling sales teams?

When you don’t have product market fit you can’t just add people and expect to sell more in a predictable way. If you don’t or can’t invest the time / resources in the sales and marketing platform you can’t scale effectively. You need data to scale in a fast efficient manner.

Our readers are enterprise B2B sales leaders and managers that do a combination of inbound and outbound selling. Do you have any advice for them?

Make sure you have product market fit and data before you start to scale your organization. The first impression a buyer has with your company is very important so make sure everyone is capable of having good intelligent conversations.

That’s it for this week folks. In our next edition we will be interviewing a sales leader that helped scale salesat a B2B SaaS startup from $0 to $10M ARR.

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