July 15

Kyle Jepson on Being Authentic: Being Yourself is Your Most Powerful Self


Kyle teaches free online courses at HubSpot Academy. He has created certification courses on inbound sales, sales enablement, sales management, and HubSpot’s sales software. His videos have garnered a combined 2.2 million views in the past 12 months alone. He is a husband, father, and aspiring paperback novelist.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on the No Limits Selling Podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies, and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you. Do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30-days guaranteed not only remove it but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you too much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes. Click on it to find out more. All right, let's get started.

Umar Hameed 0:41
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast. Now in video two. Today I'm being joined by Kyle Jepson. He works for HubSpot. He's an inside Sales Guru. Kyle, welcome to the program.

Kyle Jepson 0:55
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Umar Hameed 0:56
Just before we went live, you were talking about I asked you the question there. You know, have you always worked from home? He said no. Before the pandemic, I used to work in the office? Because I thought continue that thought.

Kyle Jepson 1:08
Yeah. yeah. So I've got three young kids at home, my oldest is seven, he's actually doing zoom first grade, just around the corner from me here. And I always thought, if I worked from home, I would get nothing done. The kids would be touching the keyboard and the mouse and the screen and wanting me to play with them and needing me to look at things and I just assumed productivity would be zero. But then, you know, March 2020 hit everybody was forced home. And for the first few days, week or two, it was very strange. The kids wanted to touch everything and see everything. But they've quickly learned that my work is not that interesting to watch, I spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen, a lot of time on zoom calls. And now they may mostly, leave me alone. But the thing is, I found I actually really love working from home, because I can if my you know, my five-year-old daughter draws a picture, she can just hold it up and show it to me and I can tell her it's beautiful, and then go back to work. Where is that something I would miss if I was at the office, you know, and so, and we lunch together, and it's just I'm finding this fluid arrangement where I can focus and get as much work done as I ever did before. But I'm also in some sense present. My kids know I'm here. They can show me things. They can ask me things, you know, they can practice their somersaults in the background, and I can give them a little applause and then just keep working. And I really like that.

Umar Hameed 2:27
And also, you know, you can like you land some more sales, the kids are doing somersaults in the background. Once I was doing this presentation to land, a corporate gig, and one of the ladies came back from maternity leave just for this meeting to see if I was the right fit. And somewhere along the meeting, I said, Oh, could I hold? And I had this baby snuggling my neck and how could they say no, I used a baby to land an account. I feel so dirty.

Kyle Jepson 2:53
Yeah, well, and I have to say, for the first, I don't know, a long time, two or three or maybe four months of work this working from home period. I was always Okay, I'm going on a zoom meeting everybody quiet everybody out, you know, nobody in this room. And inevitably, you know, it was impossible to keep my family completely I was shot. I live in a small Boston apartment. Someone's always wandering through the living room where I work, right. And I nobody has ever offended to see a child as it turns out, right? I don't know what I was afraid would happen. I don't know if I thought people would say, Oh, this is so unprofessional or Oh, how dare you know, children should not be seen or heard on zoom, you know, but it turns out everybody's just everybody waves everybody's so happy to see a kid. And I don't know if that's because we're all in this together. And we all sort of get it that none of us chose this arrangement. But here we are. And so there's a higher level of empathy. Or maybe people are just nice. Maybe people are just decent, naturally, and either way is good for me.

Umar Hameed 3:54
I think the resist, we have this sense of who is supposed to be like, I need to put up this front. And it's true for you, Kyle, like, you know, I need to be professional, my kids can't be in the shot. And before the pandemic, if a kid did come on the shot more than once. The other person on the other end would have gone, you know, kids should be seen and not heard and what's going on here. But now that we're all in the same boat, it's like life happens. And we've let our guard down. So it's gonna be really interesting. For companies like HubSpot. It's like Do we want our employees back in the office number one because lots of companies like we can reduce our space dramatically with save like a ton of dough. Number two, do employees want to go back and the employees that choose to go back? Will they change their mind after two weeks? It's like no, it's not as cool as I thought it was. I'm not sure what's going to happen. What do you think is gonna happen?

Kyle Jepson 4:44
I don't know. So I HubSpot has offered its employees sort of three options instead of just a binary at home full time or in the office full time. There's this third option called flex where you plan on not coming into the office more than I think it's one or two days per week. And so in that instance, they are going to have some number of desks that are hotel desks, right? You, you sign up and say I'm coming in this Wednesday, have a desk ready for me, and you come in on Wednesday and they have a desk for you, it might be a different desk than when you came in last Thursday, or whatever, you know, and I've signed up for that. Our offices aren't reopened yet. So I don't know what it's like. But I think it'll be interesting too, to fill out this new world of fluidity at work, I will say, I have missed certain things about being in an office, my team has hired several new people in the past six months. And it's hard for me to get to know these folks. Right. I've been at HubSpot nearly six years now. And so I have lots of relationships and connections and I am fine. You know, reaching out to people over slack or whatever, to get information. But I can imagine as a new person out a company, trying to get to know anyone trying to navigate the organization will be very difficult in a fully remote situation. And I mean, HubSpot and other companies, I think HR teams are thinking deeply about this and try to figure out how to overcome it. But I mean, there are just so many relationships I have, because I met someone in the lunchroom, right? Or we happen to attend to say meeting together in person. And afterward, we struck up a conversation. And it's really hard to replicate that in a remote setting, you know, you have a team meeting over zoom, there's none of that. If you're the first one in the room, people trickle in, and you can ask them how their day is going. Right? Kind of everybody shows up at that start time the meeting goes and then everybody disappears when it's over. And, and, and so are they there are these little social interactions that I think are actually really important for our professional growth that are now missing. And I don't know how we overcome that.

Umar Hameed 6:40
And not only professional growth, but human growth, that human connection, we're in the same boat. So tell HR that Umar said that they have to do Zoom mixers.

Kyle Jepson 6:51

Umar Hameed 6:52
And in that one is like there is no agenda other than some storytelling, and then breaking up into rooms and swapping around and showing pictures of your kids and sharing at home horror stories like totally brilliant.

Kyle Jepson 7:05
Yeah, yeah. And I think there's room for zoom, or maybe some zoom contender to figure out how to allow organic side conversations, right? Because I mean, I have been in mixers and things but what invariably happens is, is one person is talking and that's the only person who can talk right? And you could like break everyone into breakout sessions. But there's no way to just like hey, I need sidebar, right like Umar Come over here. I just want to tell you something real quick then we'll come back to the main meeting, right? And yeah, I think could be really valuable for a lot of reasons, really distracting for a lot of reasons right? Vote really, really valuable for a lot of reasons.

Umar Hameed 7:45
So tell me what's what is sales like right now? So how do you do what you do? Do you get a lead coming in? And then you kind of respond back to it like what's happening?

Kyle Jepson 7:53
Well, so I do sales training. I'm not a frontline seller anymore.

Umar Hameed 7:59

Kyle Jepson 7:59
Um, and it's been interesting watching sales trends over this time. Because there's been this digital transformation going on in sales for a long time. And HubSpot has really for a long time been shifted, pushing the message of, you know, you should have a website, you should be collecting inbound leads, you should be sharing helpful content. But it's been possible for a long time for a lot of companies to be like, Huh, that's not how my industry operates, right? I'm in manufacturing, or I'm in the oil industry, or I'm in whatever the answer industry here and we are, we are old school, right? And that is not how we operate, right? And then suddenly, that's how we have to offer it right? There is no in-person meetings. There are no conferences, you're setting up booths that everybody has been forced to adapt, and HubSpot for a while I don't think we're doing anymore but on a monthly cadence last summer, we were sharing benchmark data just kind of aggregate data from our customers on sales activities and outcomes, and the pandemic hit and suddenly sales emails went through the roof right, everybody suddenly is emailing because that's all they had. And response rates plummeted because everybody was using only sales emails right? And I think now it's sort of evened out people are discovering like, Oh, we can do things over the phone. We can do things over zoom we can do things in other ways. And it can work right and the thing that I keep thinking about both in relation to sales and just in general with life right now is, is we can't do things the normal way. But that doesn't mean it has to be worse right? Why can't it be better than normal? And we have found some things are better, you know, and so I think the real test not just for salespeople, but for everyone will be when this is all over when we have the freedom to go back in the office when we have the freedom to go back to the way we used to do things, do we and I hope not right. I hope we are different.

Umar Hameed 9:55
Yeah, that is a good question. So this is odd experience for me because we're recording This to be a podcast, I don't want to be looking down at your face. So I'm looking at the camera directly, which is kind of like disconnecting a little bit. Yeah. But if we were having a sales call, I'd be actually looking at you to pick up those cues. And one of the things I find on an experience like this is that all the other distractions that used to be there in real life, like my phone ringing, or somebody walking in a coffee shop, or a pretty girl walking by are all gone. So I'm actually more attentive to people right now through this medium than I thought I would be.

Kyle Jepson 10:32
Yeah, that's really interesting. And I think it is, we are sort of learning to create this space, where we are just doing one thing, right. And I think, also, even for people who have been doing sales over the phone for a long time has been phone conversations, and now they're doing zoom. Or Yeah, suddenly, now my prospect can see if I'm, you know, checking messages on my phone or, trying to avoid another tab on my computer or, zoning out. Right? Like, but to your other point, like it's not quite the same as in-person, either, right? Because it's hard to tell, are you? Are you looking at me? Are you looking at yourself? Are you looking at the camera, right? And so it's, a new way, our old and we're trying to navigate it.

Umar Hameed 11:13
But you can tell? So right now, I'm going to look at you. So can you see my eyes? Look down? Yeah, yeah. And I'm looking at myself over there. And I can see myself I'm looking in that direction. So tell me about, you have a sales rep that you work with, and they're doing perfectly fine, then all of a sudden, they go into a slump. So tell me about a real-life situation could be during the pandemic, or before we had one of the sales reps that's doing well goes into slump? A, what did you think made them go in a slump? And how did you get them out?

Kyle Jepson 11:44
Well, I mean, I think during the pandemic, we certainly saw a lot of people going into slumps and for a variety of reasons. And it's interesting. I, one thing I really hope for the sales industry, is that those sales leaders, managers, VPS, whoever it is that historically has been cracking the whip right, is now aware of the fact that their salespeople are human beings, right? That sometimes happens that is totally unrelated to sales, that affects their performance, right? And it doesn't have to be a global crisis. But now that we've been through a global crisis, maybe we understand like, Oh, yeah, this sales rep who has been great, if suddenly one of their loved ones get sick, or if something else like that happens, their performance will go down. And it no amount of coaching or raising quota or lowering quota or, you know, changing deadlines, or re-carving territories is going to help with that. And I really hope the frontline sales managers who work with sales reps on a daily basis, are taking that into consideration because sales is intense, right? I started in sales like that was my first job out of college. And I quickly realized, I don't have the emotional fortitude to do this for the next 20 years, right. I can't keep this up to be a salesperson, no matter,

Umar Hameed 13:09
Some people thrive on it. And some people it's a tough gig.

Kyle Jepson 13:12
It is.

Umar Hameed 13:12
In face your own humanity and your own fears every day.

Kyle Jepson 13:15
Every day, and you face rejection every day, no matter how good of a sales rep you are, no matter how great your product is, no matter how warm your leads are. Sometimes it's just not going to be right. And you're going to hear no right and chances are you're going to hear no, a lot. And that is just that's something a sales rep has to face up to. And that requires a certain amount of resilience. That,

Umar Hameed 13:37
On huge.

Kyle Jepson 13:38
Yeah. That other facets of life can take away from right like, Oh, your landlord raised your rent again, or, you know, this unexpected medical cost or, whatever thing, right? I and your sports team lost again. You never know exactly what if several of those things line up suddenly, it's,

Umar Hameed 14:01
Triggering it.

Kyle Jepson 14:01
Yeah. And so yeah, go ahead.

Umar Hameed 14:05
Could be the smallest thing. It could be the tone of voice that your wife used this morning, right? And she could have been distracted. It's not directed at you, but you hear it, and all of a sudden it triggers you. But the opposite can be true as well. Yesterday, I was doing my first clubhouse.

Kyle Jepson 14:17
Oh, nice.

Umar Hameed 14:18
And so it was actually kind of fun to do. And we didn't screw it up too badly. But there was a guy there who was from Africa. He said he came to America and he was butchering the crap out of language. And he's in like, elementary school, and it's his turn to present and it was dreadful. And he felt horrible. kids weren't fully understanding. And his teacher said, you know, what I really found amazing, is the sound of your voice is so beautiful. He says I was a kid. And there was in Africa, we don't get any compliments whatsoever. And my teacher said this to me because teachers are more revered there. That he allowed me to think, you know, maybe I can do anything. And he was just sharing that one little comment that set him on a path of awesomeness. So you, we don't know what's going to inspire us or sabotage us as we go. So if you will going to give three pieces of advice for inside sales reps, and pretty much everybody no matter how outside and golfer you were in the past, you're looking inside now, baby.

Kyle Jepson 15:23

Umar Hameed 15:24
Three pieces of advice would you give them to keep their head straight?

Kyle Jepson 15:27
Yeah, well, I mean, I it just that story made me think there was a few years 2017, I decided I was going to create a sales course and I was going to base it on an interview data is going to talk to successful leaders and a bunch of them and pull together patterns I found and the first interview I did, I scared out of my mind because I'm gonna record a live interview and like, what if I screw it up? You know? And, of my co-workers said, like, it just, she knew I was headed to the interview. And she texted me and she's like, good luck. Right? Before you go into the interview. Just remember something you did that was really awesome in the past, and hold on to that. And so, and that did it right. Like.

Umar Hameed 16:05

Kyle Jepson 16:05
I don't remember back in 2017 what the memory held on to was, right, but like, I thought of something. And it just gave me that feeling of, Oh, yeah, I can do good stuff, right? Like, I can do things. And I can succeed. And instead of that mindset.

Umar Hameed 16:21

Kyle Jepson 16:22
I'm gonna fail, I'm gonna fail, I'm gonna fail, I'm gonna fail. And I think in the sales context, where I'm gonna fail, I'm gonna fail I'm gonna fail is his death, right? And so easy to fall into your just make yourself a little file in your email. For all the people who respond like this is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much. They'll make a little mental folder of every time on a sales call. Someone was like, Whoa, you just blew my mind, you know. And every time before you pick up a call, pull up one of those memories and just replay it real quick. And you're not you don't have to tell yourself.

Umar Hameed 16:52
Hold that thought.

Kyle Jepson 16:52
Yeah. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 16:53
So that was brilliant. You've got a homework assignment. Ready for your homework?

Kyle Jepson 16:57
Sure, Yeah.

Umar Hameed 16:58
I want you to find that person. Whoever that woman was that sent you that email at that moment? And tell her Umar said she frickin rocks.

Kyle Jepson 17:07
She does. Her name is Sarah French. She actually went on she started her own company. She's the CEO of I forget what it's called. But she is fantastic. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 17:14
We'll do an introduction. We're going to get her on the show.

Kyle Jepson 17:16

Umar Hameed 17:16
And let her know to which you probably did back then. But we have no idea what impact we have on other people's lives. Yeah. And sometimes people come up years later is like, Oh my God, when you said that thing, it changed my life. And it's like, wow, I wasted 20 years not knowing I was awesome. You should told me sooner. Wow. So that was number one.

Kyle Jepson 17:36

Umar Hameed 17:36
And here's my final folder. What's number two? And three on to keep your head straight?

Kyle Jepson 17:40
Um, I think I? That's a good question. I mean, there are so many, little tricky, I think, I think there's no substitution for being prepared, right? If you are going into this hall with someone, you've got to research them, you've got to know what they're interested in, you've got to, to know what your product can and can't do, you've got to be, you got to know that. And so that's got to be on this list somewhere. Like, you can't just go in blind no matter how many happy memories you in your store before you go in, you've got to be ready, right? You don't know your ship, and you can't fake it. So I would definitely put that on the list somewhere too. But then also just you know, if you've got if you know, you're prepared, if you if you if you have that together, if you have some happy memories you can pull on. I think that's great for the in the moment preparation. But I think also you should zoom out and just like, take take stock of what's, how's it is what you're doing right now. Can you keep this up? next week, next month and a quarter next year? Right? Is this gonna keep working for you? If you have nagging doubts about that, like time to make some adjustments, right? Maybe you need more exercise, maybe you need a new hobby, maybe, maybe you need to, to start work earlier in the morning or, or, or there are so many things you can do. And and you know, the internet has an endless list of all these suggestions of how to organize your day how to energize yourself and all. Most of those don't matter except the ones that work for you. Right and so I look around, see, see how you can improve your life just just generally right? And you might be really surprised. Yeah, an extra hour of sleep at night really improves your performance the next day or getting up an hour earlier or exercising or whatever it is. Just Just don't get the sales call is is rarely the thing. If it goes poorly, you know it as long as you were prepared, right? If you weren't prepped that's totally on you make sure you're prepped. If you are in a bad state of mind, right, have those happy thoughts hold on to them. But if just randomly out of nowhere, you fumble the ball and and the performance is not great. I would I would suggest zooming out and looking elsewhere. Right and making sure your your life your your body your yourself is is is taken care of and ready for these kind of performance because just like just like athletes train right salespeople you need your brain and your body in in shape to do this job because it Is it is taxing.

Umar Hameed 20:02
So Kyle HubSpot went into the CRM business A while ago.

Kyle Jepson 20:06

Umar Hameed 20:07
How did that change HubSpot business?

Kyle Jepson 20:10
It's it's funny in some ways completely and in some ways not at all right. So I actually I joined HubSpot in in 2015. And the CRM was less than a year old at that time. And, and in in the summer of 2015, it kind of operated like its own business, had its own support team had its own sales team had its own engineering team. And then in early 2016, all that got folded together into one organization. But it's just like, we still it's been five, six years, there's still plenty of companies out plenty of people out there who think HubSpot is just this marketing automation tool, right? We have never shed that. Partially because we, we did a pretty good job of building ourselves up to be the world's best to write. And, and, and we love that reputation in some ways, but we kind of it grates us in other ways, because like, No, we actually do a lot more than just marketing tools now. And so it's it's interesting how the company itself has grown a lot. We have, I mean, my whole job now is teaching people how to do sales stuff, right? That wouldn't exist if we were just a marketing company. And, and we have all these sales tools, we have customer service tools. Now, we have all these things. But the perception in the market has been slow to keep up, right. And so it's interesting how, in some ways, things have changed a lot, and entirely massively for us inside the company. It feels like a completely different company now. But externally, people just think HubSpot is still the marketing company, right. And so yeah, it's an interesting disconnect. It's

Kyle Jepson 22:08
Hmm, this is something actually I just in the past year, I've been working on it because I pretty I created a lot of videos, I was sales training videos. And it used to be when I was in the HubSpot office full time. You know, we had a little studio there and and it was just like me and a solid colored background or a reclaimed wood background or whatever. Now, when you see videos I make it's me here in my living room, right? It's usually it's usually this wall over here. And like there's pictures of my family, right? here's here's, here's a, you know, here's a picture of the of the religious building, my wife and I were married in and and and that is just there, right for all the world to see. And, and people notice, right people reach out to me on LinkedIn was like, I was watching your video. They used to say like, I learn this thing about sales like, Wait, is that that? Is that that building in Sacramento like, Oh, yeah, yeah. So it just like, and so to ask it to answer your question of how I'm trying to show up in the world. I'm trying to own that. Right. I'm trying not to have two separate persona personas, the Kyle, the sales guy persona, and then the Kyle, their religious dad at home, right, I'm human, I just want to be mean, I don't want to be all of me everywhere I go. And not all of me is relevant in every situation. Right? Like, there, there are lots of aspects of me that in this conversation we did not talk about because I mean, and every person has so many facets, we couldn't ever talk about all of them in a single interview, right? But I just I don't want to hide from that anymore. I've I've if you look at my, my LinkedIn profile, it's no longer just my, my, my professional stuff. I have, you know, some volunteering stuff I've done at my church and these sorts of things, just so people, you know, if they're trying to figure out who I am, LinkedIn is longer. So when I mentioned like, here, here I am, this is here, here are all the pieces of me I think you might be interested in and, and and not shying away from it and fielding questions on whatever topic you know.

Umar Hameed 24:06
Brilliant Kyle, Words To Live By being authentic. being yourself is your most powerful self. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Kyle Jepson 24:13
Yeah. Thanks for having me, this is great.

Umar Hameed 24:19
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro-linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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