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I recently completed HubSpot’s Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. FYI, this wasn’t my idea and it probably never would have been. ”Bootcamp” sounds way too much like a combination of hardcore exercise and total misery. Pair that impression with committing to making sales calls and the likelihood of me surviving this bootcamp was abysmal.  But, after several weeks of prodding by my Channel Account Manager, Barrett King, I enrolled despite the ominous program title.

I’m so thankful I did. Here’s what happened.

In my recent check-in calls with Barrett, I found myself saying different versions of the same thing over and over again: “I need more people to sell to.” Now, I’m sure, that’s not an uncommon refrain for many business owners, but I heard myself becoming one of those people I can’t stand listening to. We all know that person—the one that’s always complaining, but never actually doing anything to change their circumstances. I’m pretty sure Barrett wanted to send me off to bootcamp, just so I’d shut up and DO something. Either that, or because he really wants to see me succeed. I’m going to go with the latter.

I’ve been working hard these past few years to establish an enviable agency culture, build up a talented team of experts, and bolster my roster of client services. And that effort has paid off. But I had growth goals that looked like they were not going to be met this year. I needed a bigger pipeline.

So I laced up my boots and jumped into bootcamp with Dan Tyre, our fearless leader. If you ever have the chance to meet Dan, you’ll understand within seconds of meeting him how quickly he can motivate anyone. He’s so full of passion, energy, and enthusiasm that it’s actually a bit shocking at first, but once you get over the initial “What the heck just happened?” moment, you start to look forward to your weekly “fix” of Dan’s enthusiasm. It’s absolutely contagious.

My cohort consisted of women, or as Dan referred to us “lionesses”, at different stages of confidence and experience. Each week, we learned new skills and then paired up to practice what we learned through role-playing different call scenarios. But, the bootcamp did more than broaden my sales skill set. It gave me the tools, resources, and the practice I needed to build up my confidence.

It worked! By the end of the bootcamp I was thrilled to have some new prospects in my pipeline, but I also had some unexpected takeaways that I’d like to share.

Lionesses are awesome.

One of the guiding principles Dan taught us is that we are not selling…we’re helping. Interrupting people or bothering them by calling unexpectedly was something many of us were timid about. After all, we were all inbound marketers and this felt very UN-inbound.  But Dan reminded us that we weren’t “cold calling”…we were offering them help. These were “connect” calls, not “cold” calls. The scripts we reviewed, the tips we learned, pretty much the entire process was built around how we can be helpful. And being helpful is very "inbound."

I found that the other “lionesses” were also incredibly helpful to each other. We practiced together and gave each other frank and honest feedback. We encouraged each other when we were feeling defeated, and we celebrated our victories together weekly. I admired the other women’s resilience and commitment to succeed and I drew from their energy each week.  

Nothing happens if you don’t move.

By making myself commit to taking action, I made things happen. When I first started engaging with people on the phone that I didn’t know, it was awkward and scary. But, many of the calls were pleasant. Even if the prospect wasn't ready to talk about engaging with my agency I felt like I had opened a door and made a new connection.

Epiphany! All I really needed to do was to DO this!

After 8 weeks of bootcamp, I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. The answer was there with me all along. It wasn’t quite as easy as clicking my heels three times, but all I had to do was take action to make things happen. Being held accountable each week for doing the work was just the thing I needed to make it a priority and to move me past avoidance.

If you want to read more about the "nuts & bolts" of what we learned, read one of my fellow Lionesses, Carol Borque's posts here.

Being bold in one thing makes you bold all over the place.

I didn’t anticipate how energizing bootcamp would be. In addition to “boldly going where I’d never gone before,” I was now committed to meeting as many new people as I possibly could.

Since I was already on this journey, I decided to start investigating new networking opportunities. I agreed to conduct workshops and schedule a few speaking engagements, and capitalized on these opportunities to start developing relationships with new people.

In the eight weeks since the bootcamp started, I have met with no less than 50 new people and have scheduled three speaking engagements in my local business community. In addition, I’ve encouraged other team members to set and meet networking goals, widening our network and filling our pipeline. 

I’ve been responsible for bringing new business into the agency for 21 years. Even with all of that experience behind me, this bootcamp taught me new skills and unearthed a new energy and excitement for what I do. The program gave me a skill set that I was able to put into practice on Day 1, and have continued to use every day since.

HubSpot has been an amazing partner to me since 2011, providing resources, assistance and the tools I need to deliver the highest quality client services.  The Pipeline Generation Bootcamp is an invaluable resource and has given me renewed energy to grow my agency even further.

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