Meet Aleksandar, a Principal Account Executive and Team Lead on the emerging markets sales team (Central & Eastern Europe and Middle-East & Africa regions) at HubSpot Dublin. Prior to HubSpot, Aleksandar worked in IT services and solutions in London and Kuala Lumpur, starting his career in consulting, strategy, and operations before taking on a direct sales role at HubSpot in July 2016. We asked Aleksandar a few questions about what it's like working on the emerging markets sales team at HubSpot where he covers the Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) market. Here's what he had to say…
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and journey to HubSpot?
I left my home in Serbia in 2008 to study economics in Italy, before moving to Spain to undertake a masters in management. Like most graduates at that time, I was aiming to land what I considered a “smart job” - a career in investment banking, finance, or consulting that I believed would give me the best experience and allow me to earn the most money. And so I began my career consulting back in Serbia and then moved to Malaysia. I then worked in pre-sales consulting, strategy, and corporate development roles at an IT services and solutions company, DXC Technology, in Kuala Lumpur and London. Finally in 2016 I moved to Dublin to take on a sales strategy and operations role at HubSpot. It was a great opportunity to see how a fast growing SaaS business works, and learn from some of the smartest people in the company. This move really opened my eyes to all the opportunities, benefits, and excitement that comes with a career in sales, particularly at HubSpot. I spent two years in sales operations, and then made a move to HubSpot’s direct sales team and never looked back.
Can you tell us more about the CEE sales team at HubSpot?
The people on the CEE team are smart, driven, self-motivated, and hard working... what you’d call a group of “go-getters”. While each of us has our own individual goals, it’s good to have ambitious colleagues to inspire you and help you push through difficult times. We come from different backgrounds and countries, and this diversity helps us learn from each other and find the best ways to work our market. We work hard but we like to unwind together too. You can find us hiking trails, running marathons, and exploring the beauty of Ireland together. We also love trying out the great pubs and restaurants that Dublin has to offer.
What makes a role on the CEE sales team unique?
The growth opportunity on this team is huge. The CEE region at HubSpot includes all countries from Greece in the south, to the Baltics in the north, and from Czech Republic on the west to Russia and the former Soviet countries on the east. Most of these markets are emerging, and the majority of companies there are just starting their digital transformation journeys, which often includes digitalization of their marketing, sales and customer service departments. Naturally, these companies need software tools to accomplish this, and HubSpot is uniquely positioned to help them do this.
Since I joined in 2018, the team has seen more than 4x growth, (and we're still growing) and reps from our team are regular President’s Club qualifiers. There are huge opportunities for hardworking sales reps, and ultimately that keeps me motivated every day.
What are some of the unique challenges you face in your role, and how do you overcome them?
With great opportunities comes great challenges. The fact that we cover so many countries means we get the opportunity to work with a lot of companies at various growth states, be it small businesses or larger corporate organizations. It can take some time getting used to having to adjust your approach depending on who you’re speaking to, but practice makes perfect.
Another challenge that most salespeople face is deciding where and how to spend your time. At HubSpot we work on monthly targets, meaning it’s important to have a healthy pipeline of opportunities with good fit companies to close larger deals if you want to over-achieve. Consistent sourcing and prospecting good fit accounts is how I overcome this challenge.
Another key challenge comes from the fact that people in our market are used to doing business in more traditional ways such as face-to-face meetings. Working on an inside sales team in Dublin means that I need to build trust and strong relationships with key HubSpot partners in different countries, and learn how to collaborate with them so that I can lean on them when necessary.
In my opinion prioritization, focus, and commitment to execution are the key to overcoming these challenges.
What attracted you to (and keeps you in) a career in sales at HubSpot?
There are a few things that really matter to me in my personal and professional life. The first is freedom and independence. While we have monthly sales targets assigned by sales management, we are pretty much in control of how we are going to achieve those goals. As long as I build trust with my manager by doing my best work and achieving my goals, they don't interfere with how and where I spend my time. I’m accountable to myself first, and take full ownership for my success and failures alike. This might sound scary, but once you realize you're in control of your success, it becomes very empowering.
Second, earning potential and career progression are very important to me too. Sales commission at HubSpot is uncapped, meaning the more we sell, the more we earn. Stocks compensation is generous too, not only when you first start, but with every new promotion too. When the company is doing well, employees are doing well too.
Third, when it comes to promotions and career progression, things are super black and white. If you hit your promotion metrics (tangible and concrete targets), you get promoted. There is no subjectivity or politics involved. I love this. And with the current growth we’re experiencing, there are plenty of opportunities to move into sales leadership roles too. I believe the sales role at HubSpot is as close as it gets to running your own business but with the support and security that comes with a corporate environment.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in sales on the CEE team at HubSpot?
Not every sales job is the same. It's very important to get to know yourself first and what you really want from your career. Be honest with yourself. What motivates you and what do you enjoy doing? Sales at HubSpot is a highly rewarding but equally challenging job. So take time to do your research. If you would enjoy a fast paced sales role where you can take full ownership and responsibility for your own success, HubSpot is the right fit.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in sales?
Work-wise, I’d probably be starting and running my own business. I’ve always had this dream and think my current sales role is a good preparation for it. Other than that, I love to travel and discover the world, new cultures, food, and music. I also love outdoors activities and endurance sports such as swimming, cycling, running, hiking, and triathlons. I’m naturally competitive, and I guess that’s why I enjoy sales so much now.