Bang that gong: Inside the sales traditions of 7 Chicago tech companies

We talked with seven tech companies in Chicago about the cultures and traditions that set their sales teams apart. Here’s what they had to say.

Written by Sam Dewey
Published on Apr. 14, 2016
Bang that gong: Inside the sales traditions of 7 Chicago tech companies

Ah, sales. In no other office department will you find as much competition, focus and good ol’ fashioned fun. Whether they’re competing to win the newest monthly incentive or on their collective way to an outing celebrating a crushed goal, sales teams know how to keep things lively.

We talked with seven tech companies in Chicago about the cultures and traditions that set their sales teams apart. Here’s what they had to say:


Tradition: Annual Presidents Club trip

G2 Crowd, a Chicago-based startup that’s democratizing reviews for business software and services, has a sales team made up of dedicated and supportive team members. Their Presidents Club, composed of the company’s top sellers, enjoys a yearly vacation to celebrate goals met and exceeded. This year, they’re headed to sunny beaches of Cancun, Mexico.

But G2 Crowd’s sales team is just a fun lovin’ bunch in general. Besides a healthy sense of competition to land deals, they also wage bets on just about anything — from one-on-one basketball games to eating entire burritos in under a minute.

“The sales team is made up of hard-working, committed professionals who know how to push and support each other to help the team succeed,” said Brad Rosen, G2 Crowd’s director of sales. “We are competitive and play to win, whether it’s against our competitors or each other on the basketball court. We have a great time working together and an even better time accomplishing our goals and celebrating success together.”




Tradition: Culture comes first.

Before anyone from the PowerReviews team even looks at a candidate’s resume, they’re vetting job seekers on a different set of criteria: cultural fit. That’s because culture comes first at the company — which is clear if you look at their sales team. If they’re not ringing bells or doing infectious victory dances, they’re chilling in their petting zoo of life-size, cardboard cut-outs of animals, who each have their own name.

“On our sales team, a passion for endless learning best equates to success. We're focused on making our clients smarter about their business, not ours. That approach requires that an individual wants to develop an expertise not only in what we do and how we do it, but even more importantly, an expertise around each client they engage with,” said Todd Caponi, SVP of Sales at PowerReviews.




Tradition: Celebrate all wins, big and small

Hireology’s sales culture revolves around hard work, competition, and core values that team members live by. The company holds a different contest each and every month, in addition to daily, weekly, and quarterly incentives for just about everything, from demos held to deals closed. Contests usually have both individual and team rewards, with team contest winners usually enjoying an outing — like a night on the town.

Despite all that competition, Hireology said its team members always support one another without things getting contentious.  

"The first time I walked into the Hireology office, I knew it was a place I wanted to be,” said VP of Sales Max Lowenbaum. “We are united by our shared goals, core values, and an infectious energy to make our workplace the best in the world. There isn't a person on our team who doesn't look forward to coming to work."




Tradition: Sports Championships

LiveWatch knows how to treat their sales representatives. The company is known to send top-tier sellers to major sporting events throughout the region, including the Stanley Cup last year in Chicago and the World Series in Kansas City. But those trips are just the cap on an overall fun-and-games culture — they host weekly internal competitions for variety of rewards, including a remote-control replica of BB-8.

“Simply put, LiveWatch builds great sales reps," said LiveWatch sales manager Ben Mascow. “In addition to offering our customers a game-changing and life saving product, we offer intensive paid training, regular coaching and ongoing training sessions. We are a great place for anyone to gain top notch sales experience that will accelerate their career and take their skills to the next level, all while benefitting from a healthy dose of perks and incentives along the way.”




Tradition: Morning Mimosas

Twice a week, SpotHero’s sales team has morning scrums to keep the team on the same page about goals and successes. And in the spirit of celebrating major wins, the team has been known to enjoy an 8:30 a.m. mimosa or two. Besides that, every new hire spends a day fielding calls as a “Customer Hero,” which grants them the opportunity to hear directly from customers and understand the overall customer experience.

“We believe in fueling relationships with SpotHero drivers, parking companies, and our teammates,” said Rich Reising, SpotHero’s general manager. “And, of course, enjoying the ride along the way.”




Tradition: The gong.

Made up of a “unique blend of industry experience paired with a proven track record developing long-standing relationships with enterprise customers and suppliers,” Eved said their sales team is like fine wine. Though, it’s not wine they’re typically drinking when they proudly (and loudly) bang their sales gong to celebrate new deals — it’s champagne.

“We are passionate about solving big problems our customers didn’t realize they had, in ways they never imagined possible. Our biggest competitor is the status quo, so we look for sales talent that is genuinely interested in how businesses work and just crazy enough to enjoy bringing disruptive ideas to the market in order to challenge complacency,” said Trista Hannan, Eved’s senior VP of client solutions.




Tradition: Be Unboring

Yelp doesn’t just celebrate wins once yearly (although they do have an annual trip top-performing account executives can nab a spot on). From ongoing competitions to gong ringing, the team celebrates wins on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis, all in the name of fun.

And that’s exactly how the founders wanted it.

"When Yelp first started, our founders created values to keep the company focused and motivated. We live these values to this day and one of them is to ‘Be Unboring.’... I’ve even seen managers get pie’d in the face or even had their head shaved because their team achieved an big milestone," said Yelp’s Sara Gehrdes, one of the company’s recruiters.



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