📈Sales process & team formation

Below are a set of principles we use in managing sales processes, decision-making on saying yes to projects and forming a delivery team. The emphasis is on them being principles that you interpret in the given context of a situation, rather than rules that are applied 1-1. They aim to help us make decisions around how to approach leads and team formation in a way that aligns with our overarching principles and values.

These principles can evolve and will be added to over time, since for now only some areas of sales & project setup process are covered here.

Guiding principles around sales & team formation

Version 1.0, last updated August 2022, see this thread.

For how to manage the sales process

Small proposal teams and no more than 2 people to interface with the client

Since more often than not, sales processes do not convert to a project, and making proposals can require lots of time and energy getting deep into the client's context and information, we try not to involve too many people in the proposal making process (rule of thumb: 2 people). Of course, especially for more complex projects, you may decide to pull in more people to contribute to different elements, give feedback, etc. To not overwhelm the client and ensure we’re communicating a coherent message, they should however not meet more than two people from GT at this stage.

One member of the proposal team needs to be a partner or associate

An opportunity may be brought in and led by anyone in GT, but there should always be a partner or associate integrated into the sales process as a link and “sensor”. This is important so that they can bring in historical context, experience from other projects, an understanding of our approach to services, and who else from GT to pull in for input or advice.

Deciding which projects to say yes or no to

If the proposal is submitted and won, and the work is deemed to be aligned with our mission, the final decision on whether to go ahead with the project is an informal process. As long as the criteria in the following section for forming a team are fulfilled, the decision on whether to say yes is decided by consent by those making the sale and the delivery team. If there is nobody or not enough people in GT willing to work on a certain project, then it doesn’t happen.

However, for larger, long term projects that require a significant amount of multiple members' time (approx + 4 people working part time), at least 2 partners need to be included in the decision making process.

Once you have won a project and are ready to form a team

Projects are generally led by partners or associates

To ensure that our projects have a minimum level of coherence with other GT services and alignment with GT’s approach to work, projects are led by partners or associates. This serves as a type of ‘quality assurance’. If an explorer is leading a project, then there must be a partner or associate very actively supporting them.

Our understanding of the clients needs must be clearly articulated

The person who is leading the sales process is expected to clearly articulate their understanding of the client’s need, as well as make explicit their sense of what kind of profile (including skills, experience, seniority, and geography) is needed. This will allow others to determine whether they might be a good fit.

Key criteria for picking the team

  1. Geography, skills, availability as key criteria

    As a rule of thumb, three good criteria can be taken into account when evaluating whether someone is a fit for a project: geography, skills and availability. Location depends on where the client and the people leading the proposal are based so that work and scheduling can be as smooth as possible. People interested in a project are expected to be clear about their own availability and working hours (for instance by keeping their profile in the people dashboard updated) without overcommitting.

  2. Take into account how work is currently distributed in GT One of the factors to take into account when building a project team, is who is in need of work/income currently.

  3. Priority to GT partners and associates In the case that multiple people’s skills, location and availability are a fit, the level of commitment to GT provides the order of priority in which work opportunities are offered: partners, then associates, then explorers. If an external person who is not even an explorer is chosen, it is made explicit and communicated openly why this was done in this case.

  4. Different projects enable different risks Certain projects have very high stakes, while others leave space for higher risks, such as bringing in someone who we don’t have any first hand experience working with yet, who are not an expert yet on a topic but in a growth edge, or simply looking for an opportunity for certain people to grow their working relationship. When possible, we default to making good use of this “wiggle room” for risk taking and exploration in projects that allow it.

The final decision sits with the project lead

The person who is the project lead has the final say over who joins the project, if they are taking into account the above principles. If someone was not chosen or anyone feels discomfort around the decision, we invite each other to take time for an open conversation about this, to share feedback about why someone may not be a good fit.

Open communication about the process

At the latest, once a new project team has been formed, it is expected that it be communicated publicly to others in GT, to be aware of it happening, in the #pipeline-and-new-projects channel. It is encouraged for there to be open communication earlier in the project forming process, but it’s understandable that this is not always possible. When sharing at the kickoff of a new project, it is also encouraged to openly share any reflections, decisions or challenges that came up in the process of building the team, to help us learn and continuously improve in this area.

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