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Ryan’s Journal: How To Start A Cultural Revolution

by Ryan Pew

I had the opportunity to spend some time in Raleigh, NC this week in the Research Triangle. If you haven’t had an opportunity to spend some time here, I highly recommend it. Not only is the area full of beauty, it’s a melting pot of diversity that exemplifies the best of America. The hub of elite universities and top ranked tech companies make this a desirable place to raise a family, but also pursue a career with meaning.

I was here to spend some time with BMC software and was able to sit in and watch first hand on how they train their inside sales teams. I was thinking about how I wanted to approach this topic and this forum allowed for me to point out some real world examples of how a cultural revolution can be started.

A little background on BMC. They are one of the largest private software companies in the world and create products for enterprise IT systems to do everything from track assets, create help desk tickets, manage capacity and sit on top of complex environments to manage jobs.

In a real world example Starbucks is a customer and if BMC’s software failed at any time then Starbucks would be unable to accept any form of plastic.

I say all of this to say they are in big spaces doing the behind the scenes work that is required for us to live this modern life. They were acquired by Bain Capital a few years ago and have been in a massive growth trajectory lately.

One major change that Bain made was the expansion of inside sales teams, BDR’s and inside sales reps.

When you think of sales you think of someone wining and dining with customers and comping their dinners; these guys don’t live that life. They manage the sales cycles through phone, email and LinkedIn.

It is a special skill that is required and it can be taught. These teams add great value to the organization by sourcing leads, closing business and creating value for the customers and field representatives. 

An entry level role is as a BDR, Business Development Representative. My experience at other companies has been that these are young college grads that are hungry.

You have some of that at BMC, but they also have folks that have years of experience in other industries who are starting out in software.

You also have some that just enjoy that role and have done it for years. BMC takes these folks from all different backgrounds and shapes them to its vision and culture.

How do they do this?

One way they do it is by constant feedback and coaching opportunities. Now, this can be done the wrong way, but they seem to balance it well here where people seek out opportunities to learn and improve.

They also spend time highlighting team members who are doing something unique that works for them. They take folks that are young in their career and allow them to teach others. This does wonders for morale and also inspires others.

The last thing that I saw that helps is that they like to have fun as a team. They have happy hours, Vegas trips, president’s clubs. Constant incentives to allow people to reach their full potential.

I was impressed with the way they won as a team and built on mutual successes. They were not afraid to share best practices and they helped each other out as much as possible. 

Now, maybe we can’t all go to Vegas but some of the things they are doing are very scaleable, not rocket science, and can be repeated at any org. 

And then start the revolution.

Image credit: BMC

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