The Entrepreneurial Organization (EO) gives entrepreneurs the tools, ideas and strategies needed to reach their full potential. Amie Milner is the executive vice president of sales enablement at Abstrakt Marketing Group, a business growth company that provides lead generation solutions. We asked Amie how a professional gatekeeper can help entrepreneurs take steps to grow and scale their business.
What are professional gatekeepers? They are screeners, shields and storehouses of business knowledge. They are also very necessary if you want to optimize your business and achieve your goals of serious, consistent growth.
Not familiar with the term or the function? The best way to think of a gatekeeper is to imagine your business as a single entry point building. The gatekeeper watches the door and decides if strangers – salespeople, salespeople, customers, unscheduled job seekers – should enter.
In traditional personal offices, the gatekeeper literally sits front and center, directing first impressions. In remote businesses, gatekeepers can answer the phones and examine all incoming general emails. If you’re a busy executive, you may have two gatekeepers: one for your business as a whole and one for you specifically. That way, you’re less likely to be interrupted by your work due to low-priority calls or requests.
Good gatekeepers tend to build a reputation for being decisive and maybe even a little intimidating. After all, they hold all the keys and are authorized to use the word “no” more often than most staff members. As such, they are integral players and worth integrating into your workplace.
Capitalizing on the benefits of gatekeeper culture
Not sure how your company could use an expert gatekeeper? Here are four ways a gatekeeper can benefit you and your business:
1. Prevent incoming communications from overwhelming everyone.
You may want to hire a gatekeeper if you and your coworkers can’t keep up with all the phone calls coming into your business. For example, you may notice that your business is starting to take off. That’s great, but it opens the door for sellers to make arrangements. Every week you may notice that your to-do list is getting longer and longer. Eventually you can’t keep up anymore. A gatekeeper gives you a little breathing room and the opportunity to focus on higher-level initiatives, such as growth and scaling.
2. Confirm that opportunities are worth it.
Gatekeepers often review sales presentations, listening carefully to pitches before deciding if they succeed. While hospitable, gatekeepers are strategic. As long as you’ve taught your gatekeeper how to evaluate sales calls, you can expect them to let only the most important opportunities land on your desk. Just remember that gatekeepers aren’t perfect; they can occasionally let “duds” through. However, you are guaranteed to reduce the amount of time you spend on moderate opportunities.
3. Ensure information is properly routed and managed.
Does it seem like calls keep getting missed? Are team members consistently short on time to track workflow progress or forward emails? A gatekeeper can keep everything in the right direction by acting as a kind of broad project manager for many departments. In some cases, the gatekeeper may take on specialized duties, such as making appointments for certain titles. While they are not decision makers per se, gatekeepers can provide useful insights into what is happening in your business.
4. Serve as your company’s brand voice.
Some of the best gatekeepers end up as the voice and face of companies. Because they are so closely associated with the company, they are seen as part of the legacy. Of course, you have to find the right gatekeeper to trust with this kind of authority. But once you’ve found one that stands out, do your best to keep them. That person can become invaluable to your company’s image and voice.
When your business was just starting out, you probably accepted all visitors. Now might be the time to get a little stingy about filling your schedule. If so, consider whether a professional gatekeeper can help you and your team.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
This post 4 Ways a Skilled Gatekeeper Drives Business Growth
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