Full Disclosure : I am the founder of Skystra.com. The information I share comes from real experiences, however names of team members have been edited to protect their privacy.
That’s the word I’ve learned to love and work for over the years of building a cloud business. Or any business for that matter.
A tech company has a lot of different people working in it. Developers, System Administrators, Sales, Marketing, Support, Operations, and more. But a funny thing keeps happening between all departments, and Sales. There is a distinct dislike of the word “sales” inside these departments. And there is a very big reason why that happens.
Sales brings revenue into your company. They will take everything else other people within the company have done, and present it to a customer and close the deal. That sounds simple in principle, but without having a cohesive strategy, other departments will never understand the work they do and how it relates to sales.
As the founder, I had the idea to start something. Then I got other people who were smarter than me to help me out in areas I was weak in. This is a story told countless times over, so I won’t go over it here.
In the early days, especially the first year, things were going well. New systems came online, better designs got deployed, new customer flows got launched, and new signups happened organically. And then “scaling” reared its ugly head, and things weren’t so smooth anymore. Signups still continued at the same rate they had for the previous months, but our head count grew way faster than our signup rate. Hindsight being 20/20, the math and strategy was simple. But all we knew at that time is we had a problem to solve.
We needed a sales team. We needed a pro sales manager to come in build out a team that could bring revenue in at the rate we were growing the rest of the company. In came in Lauren (Not her real name!), who read me the riot act when it came to sales, and immediately got started on 2 things :
- Building out the system, structure and hiring of the sales team.
- Changing the internal culture around sales.
I will explain the former in another post. I want to focus on the latter. The culture of sales in a company is, having gone through it, the most critical component of your company. Everyone needs to be a sales person. Developer, IT, support.. everyone. I don’t mean they need to be on the phones selling to customers. What I mean is this :
“How do I help bring in customers every day?”
Once our developers started thinking about how their code will be used, who will interact with it, what will people who use it think, they started understanding the importance of sales and what it means to the company. The same thing happened with our System Administrators, Support, Ops and everyone else. Once everyone knew what the company was doing, what the overall strategy was, and what we needed to grow to the next level, every one became a sales person.
Sales increased by nearly 80% in a 6 month timeframe. Incredible as that sounds, they increased even further afterwards. And even more remarkably, our developers became very curious about the code they wrote months earlier, frequently asking how customers were using their code. System Admins started asking how customers were rating our infrastructure, what did they think of the speed and performance. Every single department started focusing on the customer experience, all because we changed the Culture of Sales across the entire company.
Removing silos is a cliche term, and not always practical. Information sharing should still be compartmentalized as the business sees fit. However, when everyone understood the value they have in bringing in a new customer, and what that meant for the customer, everything shifted.
And for that, years later, we are in a much stronger position because of it.
I will be posting a series of my thoughts and articles. Part 2 will go over how to build a sales team and the challenges we faced.