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Culture is the most important part of a team, especially considering that 80% of your resources leave through the door every work day.

Building and maintaining culture in a startup is hard enough, but doing so in the office, at home, and with a hybrid work model is harder still. Ready for some tips on building culture in a hybrid sales team?

In this episode, I interview Sven Mößbauer, Head of Sales Development at Personio, about maintaining a strong team culture during the last 18+ months.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Going beyond Zoom to have fun together as a team
  • How hypergrowth affects the sales team
  • Why sales development leaders need alignment with AEs
  • The strategy for returning to the workplace


Going beyond Zoom to have fun together as a team

Sven emphasizes the importance of keeping up team spirit.

That became a mammoth task when the pandemic struck. People couldn’t talk and laugh with each other candidly in their office.

They found themselves on scheduled Zoom calls, but that’s no match for the spontaneity of being in an office together. How would you replace that essential bonding time of celebrating quota at the local beer garden after work?

Their solution: schedule downtime for team games, like a virtual murder mystery.

Sven’s key learnings from managing a team over the duration of the pandemic thus far:

  • Stay in touch with people. Don’t lose that sense of connectedness with each other.
  • Be flexible. Test out different team engagement structures. You may find that a daily stand-up starts out well but can create communication fatigue. Sven’s team is now stable at a twice-weekly teamwide catch-up.
  • Take feedback seriously, bottom-up as well as top-down. Even if people get annoyed with having to provide feedback, use that to inform your decisions in managing your team.


How hypergrowth affects your sales team

Hypergrowth reveals the need for structures and processes. If your sales team is meandering along, then suddenly scaling, it becomes unclear where the milestones are on the road to promotions and bonuses.

In Sven’s experience, it’s not just about setting targets and leaving the sales personnel to fend for themselves:

  • Sales managers must communicate the expectations clearly and consistently. Sometimes people need reminding.
  • Enable two-way communication so that sales staff can request support when they need it, and trust that it will be provided.
  • Managing a sales team will involve motivating staff and nurturing the team spirit and ambition.


Why sales development leaders need alignment with AEs

Sales development and AE tend to experience friction with each other. It’s natural.

Sven’s advice is to first engage the business-wide leadership team to make sure that everyone is clear about the principles that need to be drawn on to inform decisions that carry the company toward its goals. It’s necessary that every leader has and understands the same overarching goals in the same way.

Outward from there, involve team members. Once all levels and functions of the business are aligned in this way, it’s easier to work together toward the goals, and to approach processes with an open curious mind, reducing friction in execution.


The strategy for returning to the workplace

At Personio, the strategy is employee-centric, and not just for the sales team. By letting people choose what kind of workplace environment they want, they can be held accountable as well as be trusted to perform because they’re comfortable with their respective set-ups.

Personio is placing the power of decision-making into the hands of every employee, ultimately creating a flexi-hybrid workplace.

By maintaining constant two-way communication, they’re also letting people adapt when they feel they need to. If someone tries working from the office and finds difficulty doing so, they can easily shift back to working remotely.


Sven’s Key Takeaways

  1. Stay in touch with people. Human connection is the key to unlocking human potential.
  2. Develop and implement a clear career path. To navigate hypergrowth successfully, you need structures and processes that people can depend on.
  3. Performance depends on alignment. It starts with leadership being aligned, then filters to every level and function. When people are aligned and oriented toward the same target, they find it easier to collaborate.

You can get in touch with Sven Mößbauer on LinkedIn — and check out this resource we mentioned during the podcast:

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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