Helping People Isn’t Just for Nonprofits
Sharen Murnaghan’s LinkedIn page features the line, “Always be helping.” When you look at Hubspot’s “About Us” page, you’ll notice their vision is to build a company where business is “empathetic, human, and personable.” Do these philosophies sound like they’re in alignment? She and Hubspot both believe that helping others is essential to business success, so it should come as no surprise that Murnaghan is Hubspot’s No. 1 salesperson.
When two MIT graduates, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, realized that customers weren’t responding to tried-and-true marketing tactics — and that Shah’s unassuming blog was driving way more web traffic than sites with huge marketing budgets — they created Hubspot, a marketing and sales software company. Most companies were forgetting about the human element of sales. Instead of helping people, these businesses treated customers like numbers, all in the pursuit of their bottom line. So, Shah and Halligan started a company that would do the opposite. They decided to help other businesses forge human relationships with their customers and create an “inbound world.”
Before joining their company, Murnaghan had a successful sales career in the publishing world, but she was ready for something new. She had an impressive amount of sales experience but almost no knowledge of digital marketing, an industry she knew was clearly on the rise. So, “armed with nothing but a desire to learn and a willingness to work hard,” she enrolled in a digital marketing course, got a certification, and eventually found her way to Hubspot. She started in an entry-level sales position, and, after putting in 12-hour days and many more hours on continued education, she became their No. 1 salesperson. She’s held the spot ever since.
But what got her there? She found success by using the same philosophy that Hubspot was built on. “People don’t want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople,” Shah and Halligan say of their empathetic approach. “They want to be helped.” Murnaghan’s interactions with customers hinged on her desire to help others, and she was determined to carry out that mission. Once, she connected a client’s daughter with friends in Canada after learning the girl was starting university there.
What lessons can we glean from Murnaghan’s and Hubspot’s success? Perhaps it’s this: Don’t forget about the simple act of helping people. Make this a priority above selling a good or service. As you shape and define your company’s values, hire people who exemplify them. Like Murnaghan, if they live your values, they’ll wow your clients, help grow your brand, and bring you both to the top.
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