Release Notes: Outlook and Gmail Enhancements

You live out of your inbox to reach prospects, book meetings and close those deals before month’s end. We know how important email efficiency is to you and are stoked to tell you about some improvements we’ve made in both Gmail and Outlook. Read on for some inbox-goodness.



  • You can now Tout emails while in “read” view
    • The reply pops out so you can access the Tout It button. How ’bout them apples?
  • You now have the ability to Tout a reply in a threaded email view
  • You can see your colleague’s calendar when suggesting meeting times in an email
    • The calendar function displays all calendars that are shared


  • You can now delete your Content from your Gmail inbox
    • You can now clean up your list of trackable Content by selecting any row and clicking ‘Delete Selected’
      • This will not only delete your Content from your list in Gmail – but also from all of Tout. Woot!Delete Content in Gmail
  • You can also bulk delete and bulk add Content to your email
    • There’s a select-all check box above your list of Content – just select that to choose all Content listed

Every new release of ToutApp includes improvements to our infrastructure and overall performance. As new features and bug fixes get rolled out, we’ll let you know. Thanks for your feedback!


14 Reasons Why Tout is our Valentine

It’s that time of year again – where we share our warm and fuzzy feelings about our loved ones, friends and our jobs. Over the past year, ToutApp has grown tremendously with each new person bringing in their unique personality and quirkiness. Yes, it’s true. We can’t hide it. We love ToutApp and we wanted to share our feelings about it with you:



1. Steven, Engineering Manager:
Everyone is crazy… and it’s awesome.



2. Sarah, Happiness Officer: 
I love Tout because of the energy, the synergy, the good vibes that course through the office even on the most meager of Mondays. Tout is a home away from home. #GoodVibes


3. Tara, Manager Customer Success:

I love the feeling of waking up every morning excited to start the day at Tout. It breaks down to the team, culture and our customers. Everyday there’s a new challenge to tackle, opportunity to grow or an experience to learn from which is addicting. The tout team is a perfect combination of a little quirky, super smart and all around kick-ass.


4. April, Customer Success Manager:
I love how intelligent my team is.  Seriously, they are the most brilliant group of people I’ve ever worked with. From troubleshooting to creative outreach I am daily impressed by the people I’m surrounded with. There hasn’t been a day that goes by that I haven’t learned something new either about our product, our culture or about myself.
5. Brooke, Happiness Officer:
Hands down the people make this company what it is today. We all have that go getter mentality that is otherwise known as a 10xer. Aside from the people, I love the 20% projects we all work on and are so passionate about. I think its so unique to find a company that not only allows you, but gives you 100 percent support to pursue these projects. #TOUTLOVE



6. Tamara, Customer Success Manager: 

Trying not to echo everything that was said, aside from the people and overall culture – I think it’s great to have open lines of communication across the company. That way you’re consistently aware of what’s going on and up to date on upcoming releases/events, etc. Way better than looking like an idiot when a customer knows more than you do. :)



7. Nick, Sales Happiness Officer:

For me, it’s inevitable that work is going to take over a great deal of your life, no matter what desk you sit at today. In order to love what you do, all while feeling accomplished, you must feel inspired by a purpose. Tout is that purpose for all of us. It’s not just work for this team, we’re family.
My colleagues attitude, drive, success and outlandish support make me jump out of bed in the morning. To know how to do something well is to truly enjoy it. Tout not only embraces that passion, but we spread that love in a contagious fashion to our customers and prospects daily to be better in every way.
You have to ask yourself, “if today was the last day of my life, would I want to be doing what I’m doing today?” Not only is this what I love to do, but these amazing individuals at Tout make me a better human. What else could you ask for?
Oh we also have kegs. #GoDucks


8. Stephanie, Customer Success Manager:
The energy in the office is addicting. We support each other, are constantly learning from one another, and celebrate our wins together.


9. Jeffrey, Sales Happiness Officer: 
The ability to consistently learn and feel energized by everyone I work with.
10. Vince, Sales Happiness Officer: 
I would probably say that Tout is special for a few more reasons:
– The innovative nature of the business, as evidenced by our CEO TK’s forward thinking.
-The competitive but friendly environment, everyone wants to succeed and better themselves but not at the expense of their peers
– Athleticism abounds in the office, “clap, clap” (Whenever anyone claps twice in succession, the whole office does pushups together)
– We are all party people who can have fun together outside of the office



11. James, Happiness Officer:

I get to do what I’m passionate about as well as embrace an awesome culture. I feel like there’s a lot of potential within the product that has yet to be tapped into. I look forward to seeing the company grow into something amazing; like a caterpillar blossoming into a butterfly.


12. Dan, Sales Happiness Officer:
My more-than-platonic feelings for ToutApp come from the shared mission to be more than the sum of our parts that can truly help our customers with something amazing. We’re building something truly beautiful and unique for sales people that will change how businesses communicate with their customers. There is nothing I love more than being able to help others be successful with what they care about.


13. Ali, Product Manager:
I’ve never worked anywhere where the smallest things are not only noticed, but celebrated. Whether it’s a birthday, a deal closed (no matter the dollar amount), an issue being fixed, a small feature, a work anniversary, etc. – it gets called out and celebrated. I absolutely love working in a place that has so much positivity (and let’s be honest, crazy) exuding from the walls every day.


14. Jenn, Executive Assistant:
I love that we celebrate everyone’s uniqueness and that each one of us can contribute our special skill or talent to the company in our own way.
Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!
Team ToutApp

If you’re interested in a career at ToutApp, we’re building a crack team of badasses:

4 Time Management Hacks that Every Salesperson Should Master

Last time in our Selling Like It’s 2014 and not 1994 series, we talked about getting personal…with your emails. This week, we’ll tackle timing. Doing your job well isn’t about working harder. It’s about working smarter. So, let’s work smarter by zeroing in on your best skill: selling.

Your time is an asset. It’s also your nemesis. As a friendly reminder: you only have 86,400 seconds in a day, here are four no-brainer ways to make all those seconds count.

1. Define Your Time

When you’re in sales, you’ve got a defined role and purpose within your company. Most often, your role aligns with the company’s goal: sell products that people want.

But how do you go about doing this day in and out? First off, define your role within a company. If you’re in inbound sales–focus on that and vice versa if you’re in outbound sales. If your speciality is crushing it with medium-sized sales teams–go after them and crush it. Whoever they are, be sure to identify them and target your audience with laser focus.

2. Build Your Arsenal

There’s a sea of sales tools out there–be sure to build that right arsenal of sales tools that’ll fit your needs. Use the best sales apps and tools that grow and improve your outreach strategy. If Salesforce is your preferred CRM platform, look for sales communications tools that integrate with the platform for optimal and seamless cross-functionality.

If you’re into social selling, refer to our own social selling stars here for guidance.

3. Reach Out At The Right Time

Remember strategic research? Stay on top of current happenings in order to reach out at the right time. You say it’s hard to focus your time and strategically research everyone in your pipeline? Yes, that’s true. However, it’s easy to follow @TechCrunch for all the latest Tech news, get LinkedIn alerts when key employees change their employment titles, and get in the cadence of writing simple and sweet emails that always provide context and benefits.

You’re already scrolling through updates on your social media newsfeeds, why not follow the top sales news magazines, sales thought leaders, and sales conferences?

4. You Can Say No

In the sales world, the one word you always want to hear is yes. When you hear that magic word–you feel like you’ve struck gold. Yes to your product. Yes to setting up a meeting. Yes to everything. However, sometimes, you have to say no.

Take control of your time. Chances are, as a salesperson, your manager measures your performance by results. Block off heads-down time and pump out those emails and pitches. It’s okay to be selfish with your time. It is, afterall–yours.

Want Another Sales Hack?

Selling is all about time management and knowing when to strike. Sometimes, it’s also about knowing how to use your machine, aherm, your computer. Be sure to consult our resident Computer-Keyboard-Time-Optimizer’s Dan Smith and Jenn Nguyen’s post on 7 Essential Shortcuts That Every Salesperson Should Know.


Introducing: ToutApp for Outlook, version 5.0

Since the beginning of ToutApp, we’ve been on a mission to improve your sales workflow and communications. We’re now three years in and that mission has remained unchanged. We work every day to improve upon that mission to create a smarter way to do Sales–especially on Outlook.

With our latest version of ToutApp for Outlook, its features will help you continue to sell, develop best practices, and follow analytics that provides relevant insights into your sales opportunities.

Outlook Version 5.0 is Battle Tested

It is important to point out that this is our best Outlook version yet. Outlook is complex. Windows environments in large IT organizations are extremely diverse. We’ve been battle-testing this over the last three years, across multiple Outlook environments to bring to you the best experience possible.

To celebrate the release of this latest version, here’s a video of our very own Daniel Barber, one of the earliest adopters of Tout for Outlook.



Act on the Tout Live Feed

When your prospect views an email, clicks on a link, visits your website or opens your presentation—you’ll be notified right within Outlook, so you can follow up instantly.

From your Tout Live Feed, you’ll gain visibility on all your sent emails. You’ll know if that sales pitch email got read, if a cold prospect is reviewing an old email or if that busy Exec finally opened your email. With Tout for Outlook, you’ll see exactly when and who’s engaging with your email–all in real-time.



The Tout Live Feed will be limited to the 10 most recent activities, but, you’ll still be able to see all activities and see who’s been engaging at a high level on your Tout Dashboard.

Discover the Power of Tout Templates

With Tout Templates, you’ll always say the right thing because the perfect messaging is right there. Don’t rely on copy and paste, when you can have it so much better. On the right-hand side of your compose window, you’ll find your Tout Templates–making it simple to find the exact messaging to make that connection, sales pitch or close a deal.

Alongside your templates, you’ll be able to quickly view template analytics for yourself and your entire team. With Template Analytics, you’ll be able to see the total number of times a template has been sent by the team, and view click through rates for each template.

Now with Smart Calendar Integration for Booking Meetings

With our new calendar feature, booking meetings is faster than ever. Just click the “Calendar” button and you’ll easily be able to suggest times for meetings. Instead of going back and forth over 10+ emails to find a time, you can get it done in one.



Is Tout for Outlook for me?

If you’re a salesperson or on a sales team that’s currently operating on a Windows machine – then Tout for Outlook’s email tracking, templates and real-time analytics will be an invaluable asset for your sales process. Sorry Mac users, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for Tout for Mac.

Get the new Tout for Outlook

If you’re already running Tout for Outlook, just click on the Tout menu bar and update.



If you don’t have Tout installed for Outlook, go Install it now!

We’ve spent the last three years working towards Tout for Outlook and we’ve been listening and digesting feedback from our diverse customer community. So, whether it’s closing deals, following a new lead or managing email campaigns — we know Tout will improve your sales growth and team.


Sell like it’s 2014 not 1994.

Throwback Thursday: It’s 1994 and you’re a salesperson at an indistinguishable company. You’ve got your Rolodex of leads and a printed out spreadsheet of numbers to call, or even better, the Yellow Pages. You’re living in an age of pre-Google, pre-LinkedIn, and when the only Internet option was AOL.

Sales in 1994 was all about you: the salesperson. The elevator pitch was about you and the big solution. Cold calling was your go-to approach for the connection, the pitch, and the sale. Maybe your office was something straight out of Glengarry Glen Ross? Yikes.

Thankfully, it’s 2014.

Sales has changed. If you’re having a hard time getting into 2014-sales-mode, here are some pointers:

Personalize Emails

The inbox is a personal fortress. The keeper knows who’s visiting and they only want the important people inside. Unexpected visitors—or emails—are typically not welcome.

Instead, personalize your emails before sending out that cold email:

1. Take the time to research, connect, and engage with your prospect. It’s 2014, if they’re anybody they have a presence somewhere on the Internet.
2. Check out their Twitter to see if you share similar tastes and distastes.
3. LinkedIn’s InMail feature is an invaluable way to make an instantaneous pitch.
4. Keep it short.

If you want prospects to read your emails—take the time to read about them. Don’t be afraid to exhaust all your resources. After all, you’re a stranger invading their fortress.

It’s All About Timing

A good sale is all about great timing. Time is precious—we only have 24 hours in a day, that’s 86,400 seconds a day. Make all those seconds count.

Use these approaches:
1. If you’re sending out a cold pitch—put everything right where they expect it to be. There’s no room for surprises.
2. If a company has just hired a new Executive, reach out.
3. If there’s a recent product launch, reach out.
4. Show prospects how your product can benefit their business. Show them exactly how you can help and outline your specific course of action.

Seconds are literally ticking away, what are you waiting for?

Focus Your Time

Like your prospects, as a salesperson, your time is likewise valuable. You’ve got those same 86,400 seconds in your day. Use those seconds wisely.

Here’s how to focus your time:
1. Your job description as a salesperson holds the same purpose as the business: create and keep customers. Direct your efforts to doing that every single day.
2. Make a “to research” list for prospects, a “to contact” list for those you’ve researched and are ready to reach out, and a “to follow-up” list to maintain relationships.

Above all, be yourself

A salesperson is a human—not a wolf. A salesperson wants to help, solve a problem and improve workflows. If you’re going to create and win opportunities, you must be yourself.

People want to buy from people. In 1994, you might have read from a script. It’s 2014, be a person. Everyone has a personality and a sense of humor. Use your human skills to create a relationship instead of a cold transaction.


7 Ways to Sell like a Human

An Enterprise Sales Executive, a Strategic Sales Rep, an SDR, AE, MDR, BDR, ZBR, AMR, VP, Happiness Officer, I could be all things.. but really, I’m just Jen.

One of the most important things I’ve learned recently, is that it doesn’t matter what you have as your Linkedin headline, or what your email signature says. At the end of the day, you are essentially just you, and no title can really change that. At the end of the day, we are all only human.

What do I mean by this? Being genuine (and more importantly, sounding genuine) is key to being a successful seller. I think the following quote sums this up perfectly:

“In sales, you are never selling an object or something tangible. What you are really selling at the end of the day is: Opportunity. Confidence, Conviction and Charisma just allow you to take that opportunity and turn it into art.” –Gurbaksh Chahal

So how do we get there?

I’m certainly no pro, but over the past couple years I’ve learned the most important part of selling today is being real with people. I’ve found that conviction will persevere, and your charisma will allow you to take that opportunity and truly turn it into an art.

“The most successful salespeople today are not the Type-A ‘meat eaters’, they’re not the ones that can ‘sell anything, close anything, don’t give a damn.’ Salespeople today could quite frankly be you, the person that hasn’t sold a day in your life, but you are a real person, an intelligent person, a humble person, a self-reflective person, a person that can communicate, a person that believes in delivering value, in solving problems, in being the best that you can be. YOU can be a salesperson.”  -Tawheed Kader

Sell like a Human. Here’s how:

1. Sell with confidence.

You need to sell with conviction. IT IS KEY.  It helps when you believe in what you are selling. Even better, eat the dogfood and practice what you preach. Focus on what you know and support it. Focus on more than communicating, focus on them. Be assertive.

2. Sell with humor.

Dude, you gotta have a sense of humor in sales; without it… all is lost. I’m a huge believer in making people crack a smile or laugh. Sales is high stress, and fast pace, so when you throw humor into the mix at the right time, it can calm that tension. Humor can bring ease into the conversation and help potential customers open up and share insights around their wants, needs, and company. Don’t be afraid to be funny!

3. Selling is solving problems.

“The best salespeople are professional problem solvers.” Stephan Schiffman.

The true beauty of sales is overcoming those massive challenges. I’ll never forget the first deal I ever lost– I was devastated. It wasn’t until TK our CEO told me “Jen, this is not a failure. It’s a learning experience. In the end, it’s only a deal. Not the end of the world. Reflect on the good, the bad, and move on.”

4. Selling is showing you genuinely care.

“Honestly, what’s more human than actually giving a damn about their life, their career, their company. Better yet, stop calling them prospects and start calling them “customer advocates.” — Great insight from the unstoppable Jill Rowley.

5. Selling is being a social.

Hear and communicate effectively with all customers and potential customers (aka customer advocates) on ALL social channels. Make sure you’re leveraging different tools in the proces like (these are my must-haves):

  • Salesforce
  • Gagin
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • ToutApp
  • DocuSign

Always be learning. Attend sales meet ups, webinars, and listen in to sales podcasts.

Follow sales leaders, here is a place to start: John Barrows, Koka Sexton, Jill Rowley, Matt Heinz and Scott Britton.

6. Educate and inspire.

Selling is educating and inspiring your customers. Make sure you’re doing the 5 E’s of Social Business.

  • Educate with content
  • Enchant by being relevant
  • Engage with authenticity
  • Embrace them by starting an open dialogue
  • Empower by giving them the right tools

7. Celebrate the small wins.

In sales, you have to celebrate the small gains. GET EXCITED about that one meeting you’ve been working on for over a month, that one awesome email, that deal you closed, that shout out from your boss, and most importantly celebrate the success of your teammates.

Key takeway.

In the end, we are all human beings. Sell with integrity, sell with conviction, sell as if you are key stakeholder for their success.

If you are a genuine person, an intelligent person, a open person, a self-reflective person, a person that can communicate, a person that believes in delivering value to your customer, in solving problems, in being the best that you can be – you are meant to be in sales.

Above all be you. Because you’re friggin awesome.


The Secret Call to Action You’re Not Using in Your Sales Email

Writing a good sales email is hard. No wonder we wrote a whole guide to teach you how to write kickass emails.

You probably know how to write a good email, but I bet you’re missing out on precious opportunities by not using two simple letters “P” and “S”.

I’m talking about “P.S.”

How it lands meetings.

P.S. is a classic copywriting technique that can make your sales email more effective.

Look at this email below:

This could just be another sales email to demo a product, but its the last line that makes it incredibly effective.

Adding the P.S. gives you a chance to add a small nudge or call to action.

So why does it work? It’s a part of the basic human psychology called the Serial Position Effect. Simply put, people remember the things that are in the end of a list.

If you write an email, there’s a good chance that the reader will read and remember the last thing you wrote.

Who’s using it?

Don’t take my word for it. Even Jill Konrath, the popular sales influencer, uses it in her emails:

As you can see, Jill used the “P.S.” as one last chance to sell.

How it subtly sells.

The P.S. can also act as a nudge to sell something in a subtle way. Take a look at the email below:

The email is to thank a blogger for his quality content AND creatively uses a P.S. to tell him about a product and get him to sign up.

Now that you’ve seen some examples, start using P.S. and closing more deals!

P.S. Comment and let us know if p.s. has helped you make your emails more effective.


11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Social Selling


Koka Sexton, a leading visionary on Social Selling (and the Global Senior Manager of Social Marketing at LinkedIn), sat down with our team to share tips on why social selling is important, and rather crucial, to sales.

Definition of Social Selling:

Leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.

Why it’s really important:

Social selling helps you be proactive vs. reactive in your selling process. It helps you bring more passion to your work. Instead of being “salesy” Koka says,

”Social selling helps you influence your buyers and come across as credible, authentic, accurate, information rich, and service oriented.”

Here are 11 social selling tips that you probably don’t know:

1. Social Sellers are more likely to hit their quota

Salespeople that use social selling to increase their pipeline actually see better results. In a study by LinkedIn, the C-level and VP buyers (your decision makers) are using social media to make 84% of their purchase decisions.

Key takeaway: When DM’s have more information, “they feel more confident about the buying decision and are willing to spend more.” Social buyers make 61% more purchases. Make sure your social media is teaching rather selling.

2. Social Media is kind of like Outside Sales.

This was my ‘A-ha!’ moment and I think this is a great way to look at social media. Since salespeople don’t always get the opportunity to meet prospects in person, think of social media as being the door to their office. It opens up a whole new world for making a personal conversation.

Key takeaway: “As an inside salesperson, I didn’t have the opportunity to go into their office to see pictures of their kids, plaques on the wall, memorabilia from their vacations, and find personal talking points.” By doing research on social media, “You can understand where people are in their lives based on their presence on social media” Don’t be creepy about it, but find something interesting to talk about.

3. Don’t sell like a LION.

LION (LinkedIn Open Network) is a connection philosophy. Meaning, you’re a LION if you push accept on anyone and everyone that asks to be your connection on social media. While some people find this useful for building a large network, other’s want to build more personal relationships.

Key takeaway: Pick a connection philosophy, but make sure the person you’re accepting can add value. Koka’s filter for accepting invites is, “If I can add value and you can add value to me; I’ll connect with you.”

4. Always send a personal message when connecting

I can’t reiterate enough how important personalization is in emails. Take the same mentality when using social media. That extra minute it takes to write a quick note when connecting will make your relationship that much stronger. Don’t get lazy.

Key takeaway: “A good connection request is relatively short (2 paragraphs) and shows that they actually understand me in some way.” Koka always tries to reply to personal messages. “If you write a personal message when connecting, 99% of the time they will write back. How cool is that? These are your buyers talking to YOU!”

Super simple example:

5. You don’t always have to talk about your company

It’s important to MIX up what you talk about on social media. Unless someone is a devout customer, they might not love hearing about your company as much as you do. Instead, take an influencer approach and share the latest and relevant sales content.

Key takeaway: “Make sure you talk about relevant sales content like: the world of email, why analytics are so important, an occasional sales meme, industry news, etc.” Because you’re always doing something new, people will keep on coming back if you’re giving enough helpful information.

6. You’re a part-time CEO

One of my favorite lines Koka said was, “You are the CEO of ME Inc.” At the end of the day, it’s about you. A good brand, “conveys some kind of emotion.” So make sure “your” company looks good on social media.

Key takeaway: Think about what that is for yourself. Make sure you tell your story for how you got there, things you’re dealing with, things that interest you. Be a little more authentic and “channel fun things like birthdays and events to add a level of entertainment and authenticity.”

7. It’s great to shoutout to your customers via status updates

Koka uses a trick to promote his network in his status updates. By saying a simple, “Happy Monday to my favorite connections…(and listing a few), you’ll get the attention of your network and show appreciation.

Key takeaway: When you make shoutouts to your current customers or social media followers, you do two things. “One, you build and strengthen the relationship with that person. And two, you increase the visibility of your posts and personal brand.” In other words, their friends will also see your post and you’ll gain more visibility.

8. Everyone messes it up at one point.

Everyone make a bad post or says something they shouldn’t have, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn how to not take things so personally.

Key takeaway: “One time I tweeted something that went too far into my personal world, and so I took it down. People were upset that I was taking tweets down and got angry. I fired back and took things way too personally.” Instead he says, “Take the criticism and let it go to your logic brain as opposed to emotional brain.”

9. WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know (Tags)

Companies are making social selling a qualifier these days; as opposed to an option.

Key takeaway: Make sure to tag people into groups on your social media accounts so you have quick access to finding the right people. By tagging groups like “all Sales Managers in SF,” you’ll be more organized with your potential leads or customers.

10. Stop thinking about your LinkedIn profile as your online resume

Don’t just copy and paste your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. It’s meant to be used for more.

Key takeaway: “Make sure you use your online social media profiles to build your reputation and include things about your industry.” What does this do? “By having rich media on your profile, your page becomes a go-to resource!

11. It’s okay to change your title

It’s okay to have a different title on your LinkedIn profile. Change your title to describe what kind of seller you are along with your company name.

Key takeaway: It’s an added bonus that gives your buyer more information and *sparkle* about you.

*What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask us here!


5 Reasons Why Culture is Actually Important in Sales

Dear Brittany,

I work at an established company. Everyone is hardworking and smart, but sales culture is lacking. There isn’t a sense of community or collaboration. Does this make a difference, and what are some ways to change that?
-Lonely Salesguy

1. Culture is key to hiring.

I think people are starting to forget that culture doesn’t mean having a ping-pong table in the office, or getting free lunches every day. Quickly defined, culture is sharing a similar passion for the company’s success. Culture is the similar belief system of a particular group. And at the end of the day, all of the amenities in the world can’t buy that. If a person is not a culture fit, they will not mesh well with the team and be an integral part of the company’s success. A fun game of ping-pong won’t make a person buy into the company’s values. A decorated office will also not change a person’s inherent drive to succeed.

Our CEO TK thinks it’s the single most important thing when building a team.

“It means more than the ability to close, and even more than their experience as a salesperson.”

I’ll be honest, at first I was a little shocked he didn’t say it was a person’s track record for closing deals. But, as I researched about culture this week, I’ve found that it really is the one thing that trumps everything else.

So, what’s one personality trait we should first look for when hiring for culture fit? Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) thinks one of the most important qualities to look for in an employee is being self-aware. He says, “I think if someone is self-aware, then they can always continue to grow.” Growth and drive to succeed are two very important qualities to look for in a salesperson.

2. It’s the foundation for all skills.

Skills can be taught, but values cannot. When building a sales team or interviewing, make sure you know what values are important to you. Dependability is a very important quality to look for in a salesperson because it correlates with teamwork.  It’s good to ask questions around responsibility for this very reason. Were they on a sports team or have they had a job that involved teamwork at a young age? Some questions to ask yourself when interviewing for culture fit:

  • Would you want them to sit next to you in the office?
  • Would you grab a drink with them after work, just the two of you?
  • If they were the only person in the office on a Saturday, would you still want to come in?

You know when you’ve made a good culture hire when a person just starts at a company, and you can’t even remember what it was like without them. When they feel important to the team right away, that’s a good sign of culture fit.

3. It can help you win.

I’ll be bold but say it, if you have a strong culture with a group of people that are passionate, you can destroy your competition. When you value the same things, it’s easier for your sales team to move in a similar direction. Ideas can flow better and get you ahead of the game.

Culture is when people have a similar perspective on what the company means to them. TK says, “Everyone has personal goals, but we help each other because what it does best, is help everyone get to the same goal.”

Tony Hsieh sold Zappos for $1.2 billion dollars to Amazon and attributes much of the company’s success to culture. He says, “We want people who are passionate about what Zappos is about – service. I don’t care if they’re passionate about shoes.” In other words, aligning the same values is key to creating a great company culture.

4. It completes the team.

It’s important NOT to get stuck on the idea that culture means everyone has to be the same. Similar values and similar personalities are different things. Diversity is key to building a strong team for productive debates. Otherwise, groupthink and innovation can decrease.

I like to think about each person’s “superpower.” A person’s superpower is the one attribute, big or small, that they really excel at. Are you really good at networking on social media? Are you good at finding pain points right away on the phone? Are you very compassionate and good at connecting with people? These are all very important qualities to have on a team, but not everyone can have all three. So pick three people that excel at each one (or whatever values you’re looking for).

Also, people that have different superpowers can fill in the missing holes in a company’s culture for the better. For example, do you need more extroverts, or more creative thinkers? Simply stated, while culture fit is an overall feeling, different personalities should not be confused with fitting in.

5. It helps build resilience and trust.

I went to a meetup in the San Francisco last week and listened to some of the best VP’s of Marketing in the city. Even though Marketing and Sales is different, I still learned the same key takeaways when thinking about Culture. Elise Bergeron (VP of Marketing from Relate IQ) gave great advice on how culture can help build a company’s resilience.

“People need to believe in what you’re doing. If they do, it’s better to recover from misalignments.”

I thought this was excellent insight for boosting morale when something doesn’t go as planned; which often happens in the start-up and tech world.

ToutApp does a daily stand up everyday to talk about each person’s highlights/lowlights. Elise’s team does #moments where the team goes around and talks about the special moments of the week. Both are similar concepts of boosting morale and getting the team together. Elise says, and TK agrees, both are vital to a company’s success.

With small startups, it’s easy to talk to your colleagues on a daily basis. However, as teams grow, that starts happening less often. Rafael Alenda (VP of Marketing from New Relic) says you must, “Come from a point of trust.” Meaning, if you don’t get to talk to each and every co-worker, build a team and culture where you can trust from a distance. And finally, I think JD Peterson (VP of Marketing from Zendesk) put it best when facing our 100+ person room,

“The reason why were sitting up here at the end of the day (the reason why we stay at our jobs) is because of the culture.”

Everyone nodded their heads.

A lot of times culture fit is a gut feeling, and that’s okay. You know the inner workings and small details of your company, and your gut should let you know if you can see someone fit in. Focus on a person’s “sparkle.” That je ne sais quoi feeling you have when meeting someone. Often, if you feel sparkle, it means you can see their potential to do great things at your company.

So, Lonely Salesguy, if there’s one sentence I can leave you with it’s this: If a person has sparkle and is a great culture fit (along with technical abilities of course), then you have your next Salesperson. Go help build a kick-ass Sales team!

That’s everything I’ve got.

What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask me here or tweet at me!