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Case studies


How Flow State helped HiBob revamp its sales process and start winning bigger deals

If you’ve ever tried using a human resource management system (HRMS) before, you’ll know they tend to fall into one of two camps — either powerful but clunky, or user-friendly but inflexible.

HiBob is different. The platform is designed to offer the best of both worlds, combining flexibility and power with an easy-to-use interface to help modern, fast-growing companies. The business was founded in 2015 and currently helps over 4,000 customers across 104 countries. 

For many years, HiBob was able to grow rapidly through inbound sales. “When I started at HiBob, we were handing out contracts like it was free candy,” recalls Damien Andreasen, VP for the APJ region. “You could be a very successful seller without actually mastering the fundamentals of sales because there was so much money sloshing around the system.”

However, the market changed. Inbound leads dried up as people had to do more with less. Sales cycles were longer, more stakeholders were getting involved and the decision-making process had completely changed. 

HiBob suddenly found itself having to adapt to the changes and return to a more traditional sales environment. “You actually had to learn how to sell,” says Damien. “You had to convince people of value. You had to build relationships. You have to be able to understand pain across an organisation.”

It soon became evident that the HiBob team needed to take a fresh look at its sales process and capabilities.

As the new global director of sales enablement, Sam Moody identified that there were significant gaps between how HiBob sold as an organisation and the actual value provided to customers. “Listening to sales conversations showed that we were very quick to jump to a feature to solve a problem, instead of slowing down to understand the problem and what that impact was to the greater organisation.”

“There was no structure, no continuity,” adds Christina Lewis, sales manager for the UK&I region. “We weren’t equipped to deal with that change, so for three quarters we didn’t hit our targets — considering the UK has never missed a target until 2023, that was a huge deal.”

Bringing in external sales expertise

To start hitting those targets, the team knew they had to go back to basics and invest in fresh sales training.
While the business had a brand new sales enablement function, Sam recognised that they would benefit the most by getting some external expertise. 


“We wanted to hire someone who has done this for other organisations,” Sam says, “Someone who could give us that head start. It would take much longer to try and build it ourselves without having that skillset already in place.”


HiBob was no stranger to sales training but, to reach their goals, it was clear that the team needed more than just a few days in a classroom. They needed something continuous, tailored to their needs that covered training, coaching and enablement.


Damien was already aware of Flow State and was familiar with Aaron and Raff’s work from their LinkedIn content. While many sales trainers are overly prescriptive about what form of selling is best, Damien was impressed by Flow State’s expertise. “I wanted someone who was a master of the craft, who had truly studied all of these sales methodologies and realised that there were benefits across all of them, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.”

The A-Z of sales skills

Flow State started off the engagement with an extensive discovery process, designed to get a deep understanding of HiBob and its business — who they were, their level of sales maturity, what they were trying to achieve, why that mattered to the business and so on.

This knowledge enabled Flow State to tailor their solution to HiBob and where they were in their sales journey. “It wasn’t one-size-fits-all,” says Damien. “There was a lot of consultation, a lot of conversation and a lot of back and forth until we felt the programme was the exact fit for what we needed.”

Flow State designed a six-month programme that went deep into the specific challenges the HiBob team faced and the skills needed to overcome them. The agenda covered every aspect of the modern, complex solution-based sales environment; prospecting, deep discovery, business cases, strategic pain, overcoming objections, timelines, multi-threading, path to close and more. “It was the largest sales enablement programme that I’ve seen rolled out in an organisation,” says Damien. 

More than just teaching different concepts, Aaron and Raff went to great lengths to explain why these concepts mattered and how to implement them.

For example, one of the sessions covered value-based delivery on sales demos. Rather than bombarding the team with different lengthy scripts, Flow State taught them the acronym NFABQ: Need, Feature, Advantage, Benefit, Question. “The team has walked away with talk tracks, examples and a really easy acronym so they can remember what they need to do in those phases,” says Christina.

Every session covered a new topic, which was then reinforced. As the sessions went on, there was also the option for individuals to book time directly one-on-one to practise their new skills with Flow State and further develop those capabilities. Aaron and Raff also carried out further training with the sales management team, in effect training the trainers so they could become better coaches and ensure the benefits continued post-engagement.


“People were high-fiving each other”

As the sales enablement programme continued, HiBob came to view Flow State as an integral part of the team. “It felt like we were working together toward what HiBob needed,” says Sam. “They were open to new ideas, to new ways of going about things, and they supported the team in terms of the programme management.”

“It felt like we were working together as partners,” recalls Christina. “The energy they’ve brought to the team has been incredible. They’re not afraid to ask challenging questions but they’re not afraid to receive them either. They’ve been there and done it, and that’s evident in the training they’ve built.”

Unlike some consultants, who keep a tight hold on their IP, Flow State takes the opposite approach and encourages the team to go on using the IP, so that it continues to deliver value long after the programme itself has finished. 

As HiBob is a global company, Flow State delivered a combination of in-person and remote training sessions, carried out across multiple time zones. “I was impressed with how they engaged the remote groups, how they owned the room and how engaged the participants were,” says Sam. “At some point, people get tired of being on camera, but Flow State was able to keep the energy high. After each session, people would send messages about it being the best Zoom call they’ve had in their life. At the in-person sessions, people were high-fiving each other. Flow State really knows how to captivate an audience.”

A cleaner pipeline, a consistent approach and an all-new mindset

Although the programme only concluded recently, the sales team is already enjoying the benefits. For example, the team has been able to clean up their pipeline significantly, based on the criteria covered during the training, in turn allowing the team to focus their efforts on high-value leads. 

The opportunity scorecard, provided through the training, allows teams to know whether or not the deal is where it should be, and then put a plan in place with the exact questions they need to ask. Business cases are helping the sales team better defend their pricing and show why HiBob is worth the cost compared to cheaper alternatives, propelling them further with enterprise clients. The HiBob team has also been able to escalate deals, helping prospects see the business case for their product as a priority. 

In a recent deal, one sales team member was able to get a prospect to reprioritise their HR initiatives — moving them forward by a whole 12 months —  and hand their notice in with their current provider. 

In another example shared by Damien, the sales team wrote a comprehensive business case for a prospect, who’d also written their own business case. “The prospect looked at ours and said it was spot on, that it was exactly what they were trying to talk about but hadn’t been able to articulate. They’re now about to close. That’s just one example where we’ll beat several competitors to a fairly substantial deal that was propelled by agenda setting, understanding strategic pain, generating a business case, timelines, mutual action plans and asking for the business — all of the topics we covered with Flow State.”

This was more than just a change in the sales process; it was a change to the sales team’s entire mindset, enabling them to look at their sales in a whole new way. Rather than being transactional order-takers, the team now uses a more consultative, educational approach, positioning themselves as experts who can help their customers get the best outcome. The team is now more efficient and effective, while customers are enjoying a more positive experience throughout the buyer journey.

“People are enjoying learning about selling again,” says Damien. “They’re more coachable and more flexible in the way that they do sales and also pushing themselves and challenging themselves to do things that might have once felt uncomfortable.”

At the same time, the team is more consistent, both in terms of messaging and having a set process. In turn, this structured approach means that management can coach their teams more effectively, with measurable criteria they can give feedback on. Rather than a general evaluation, management can be more efficient and focus on one thing at a time. “We’re now including a lot more of the science, rather than just the art,” says Christina.

“The Flow State programme helped me and the team establish our methodologies and our sales excellence,” says Sam. “We didn’t have that before, but now we do and we’re excited to create these relationships, sell some stuff and build the business up.”

Ongoing coaching for ongoing success

As HiBob continues to grow, the management team is making sure that the skills developed with the Flow State programme are cemented into the sales team. Having seen how quickly markets can change, the team is committed to ongoing coaching and further developing those sales skills. 

“It’s been a serious investment,” says Christine. “It’s not something we want to do for six months and then let it slide. It’s really down to us as managers now and our sales enablement team to hold us accountable in those areas.”

Currently, that means carrying out two-week coaching sprints on each of the topics and reinforcing them again, resharpening their tools. Aaron and Raff are also now working with the customer success team, while they continue to check in with the sales team and support them as they tackle larger opportunities.  

For anyone thinking about working with a sales enablement company, Christina believes sales organisations in any industry should work with Flow State. “They immersed themselves in the HR world, and within a week or two they knew more about HR objectives than some people learn in years. They can apply themselves to any business. They went above and beyond. I just can’t recommend them enough, honestly.”

Damien was particularly impressed with Flow State’s authenticity and genuine love of sales. “For me, they’re an incredibly trusted pair of hands that genuinely care about the outcome of the programme. They’re just as invested as you, if not more so, in making it a success. They care about the people they’re coaching and want to see everyone succeed.”

Sam has already recommended them to others who want to help their sales teams become more adaptable. “They’re able to blend the best practices from other sales methodologies while creating something that’s tailored to the organisation’s goals. Aaron and Raff are incredibly dynamic… They’re an awesome duo.”

Record quarter in businesses history

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