Sometimes, “startup” describes teams in the type of laid-back environment where creativity trumps all. Slow productivity? Who cares? You’re on the verge of coming up with the next big thing. Here at LevelEleven, that’s certainly not the case. The fact that we’re a startup stretches us in ways most of us never knew we could go.
LevelEleven CEO Bob Marsh talks about this in his recent CitizenTekk post. “Some people hear you run a startup and assume you roll into work at a different time each day, shirt un-tucked, Red Bull in hand, ready to meet your young – but creative – team,” he says. “And of course, several groups live up to the stereotype. But for others, being a startup means just the opposite. It means that you’re a productive sales engine, because you don’t have any other choice.”
Bob goes on to share four lessons that more established companies can learn from such startups, in order to increase their own productivity. He lists the following:
1. Let salespeople understand how they’re affecting the business
All too often in established organizations, salespeople close deals with a clear understanding of how they’re progressing toward individual goals and no idea of how they’re impacting the organization as a whole. On the other hand, the moment a sales rep closes a deal at a startup, they know they’ve helped to grow something.
When individuals understand that they have a clear stake in their company’s success, sincere pride and motivation ensue. Clearly tie your team’s wins back to overall company objectives, and you’ll see the kinds of results a startup mentality can produce.
2. Take advantage of all opportunities for recognition
Larger companies typically focus sales recognition on deals closed. Then, there’s the startup environment. Salespeople at new businesses are likely to get attention often for more minor accomplishments, like meetings booked with important prospects or even new leads generated, because smaller wins seem bigger.
It’s well researched that greater recognition translates to greater motivation. If you’re not already, start acting like a startup and leveraging this motivator as often as you can.
3. Make productivity priority
When you have a smaller team working toward the types of mammoth goals it takes to rapidly grow a company, everyone has to be at their best all the time. Sales reps at successful startups know that. They remain actively engaged as a result, putting in extra hours, paying attention to what is – or is not – working in selling their team’s product or service and proactively suggesting ways the entire business can improve.
This one comes down to a simple point: At early-stage organizations, there’s just no room for someone to come into work and zone out until the hours pass. Create the same environment at yours. Draw company-wide attention toward your team’s daily accomplishments, provide reps with regular recognition and do whatever else it takes to make each individual feel accountable for their productivity.
4. Make collaboration a regular thing
The workplace of a typical startup hosts a wealth of collaboration— not only on an interdepartmental level, but also between the company and its clients. In order to progress, these teams must figure out what works and how they can make it even better.
This should be the same case with your salespeople. Make sure they are consistently learning from, and developing relationships with, both internal and external contacts. The internal collaboration will help to unify your company, and the communication with external contacts will keep what you’re offering in line with what your prospects and clients really need.
In short, young companies work with a certain sense of urgency that leaves room for nothing but maximum productivity. Use these four rules, and you’ll see the same sort of environment. In the words of Bob: “…just because you’ve passed the startup stage doesn’t mean your company shouldn’t be growing like the best of them.” So stop reading, and get into startup mode.