Crushing the AE Role in Year 1 at a Billion $ Scale-Up w/ Carl Ferreira

#37: Listen as Carl Ferreira, a Senior AE and Rising Star President’s Club winner at HubSpot, details his best practices on how to crush Year 1 as an AE. We discuss the mindset needed to succeed quickly as a new AE, getting product knowledge creatively on your own, building a personal brand, owning your unique background, and building a culture of intrapreneurship and ownership at a scale-up sales org.

Important Links:

Carl Ferreira’s LinkedIn Profile

Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:

Mindset Is Key (2:12)

  • A mistake a lot of new reps make in the beginning is they’re kind of timid. They go in with an attitude of “Hey, I’m the new guy/gal,” and not with a mindset of just diving in and not looking back.
  • They don’t want to ruffle any feathers or cause any waves.
  • Carl is not one to subscribe to the “new guy” mindset. In his mind, he’s not new: he knows how to sell, and he knows he’s good at it. The company hired him for a reason, and he’s not going to wait.

Gaining Product Knowledge (4:34)

  • Carl explains that real product knowledge comes from being obsessed with the product and not from the onboarding process. You want to put in more effort to build that foundation on the front end. 
  • New reps shouldn’t lean only on their SE (sales engineer) and team members if they want to fast-track product knowledge. Carl really tries to test himself and find the answers before asking someone else. 
  • You learn so much more by doing than being told. 

Building a Personal Brand (8:58)

  • For new reps looking to grow internally, Carl recommends building a brand presence even if it doesn’t directly help you close deals.
  • LinkedIn helped set Carl apart and allows others to keep up to date with what he’s doing. He also made it a point from the very beginning to meet people in other departments and have meaningful conversations outside his comfort zone. 
  • Taking the initiative is key. You care the most about your career, and you’re the one who needs to control it.

Owning Your Background (14:40)

  • This starts with confidence. Change your mindset, and don’t be afraid to share your past experience. 
  • Carl once viewed his limited experience as a weakness but now sees that as his X factor. He’d been selling in a niche which meant he had experience in an area not many people have dealt with. That set him apart.
  • He urges listeners to eliminate limiting beliefs and ask themselves what makes a company lucky to have them on a team? You have to have that story ready to go at a moment’s notice because the goal is to stand out. 

Building Intrapreneurship Culture (19:15)

  • Carl shares a few tips for managers looking to set employees up for success. 
  • First, don’t let weird or different make you throw out a resume in favor of a tried-and-true applicant. Look for stories of adversity or gaps in resumes that might clue you in on the applicants’ X-factor. 
  • Carl also attributes much of his success to his manager, who understood his specific needs as an employee. He does his best work when he has room to move, fail, and learn.
  • Managers should also focus on competency transfer rather than knowledge transfer. All too often, companies put more emphasis on gaining knowledge than using, failing, and learning from it.