Geoffrey James at the Sales Machine recently interviewed Michael Dell and posted his interview. I have included some of the most interesting comments from Dell.

On Competition: “Sometimes it’s a battle, but sometimes we’re clearly working with a number of companies to grow an industry. I think the leading companies tend to be able to grow together. This industry is so large. To give you an example, this year our industry will grow more than the size of any single company that competes in it. The growth this year of the PC industry is more than Compaq’s PC business or IBM’s PC business or Apple’s PC business. In that sense, I think, the leading companies in an industry have an opportunity to work together. In fact, in the computer industry, it’s really required that they work together because the products are so interconnected. “

On the types of employees they hire: “We do look for certain kinds of employees, particularly in the areas where it’s a sales or service orientation. We have a lot of processes within the company that really involve everybody in understanding the customers’ desires.”

On the kind of work environment at Dell: “I think people look to the company as a place where they want to build a career and a life and not as a place where you come here for a little while, then leave and go somewhere else. We definitely want to build that sense of belonging and being a part of something. “

On sales management: “This is a business where you really have to understand the products. You can’t just manage people and numbers and expect to win. The business is technically complicated enough where you would make too many wrong decisions if you weren’t really understanding the core product.”

On Dell’s Company Culture: “It’s open and not particularly formal in terms of orientation. I’d say it’s much more of a meritocracy than, perhaps, other companies. People don’t go around calling each other `Mr.’. and `Ms.’. Everybody calls each other by their first name. You can show up for work in blue jeans if you want to. There are areas of the company where you never, ever, wear a tie. There’s certainly no assigned parking spaces, or executive anythings. It’s basically an open, free-form culture where you can bump into everybody and talk, and everybody goes through the same sort of process. I get E-mail all the time from people anywhere in the company Anybody can send me a message and I always send them a message back. I walk around the company all the time and talk to anybody in the company, everybody in the company. That’s very common. I think it’s important because as the company gets larger, you can definitely lose track with what is actually going on. It is often very different from what appears to be going on.”

On Exercise: “ That can be pretty helpful. We encourage it inside the company and it certainly works for me. We have a fitness center and, generally, we have an active, athletic kind of workforce. People get out and do things and we certainly encourage that by sponsoring those kind of events and giving people every opportunity.”

Read the full interview here -> Sales Culture: Interview with Michael Dell


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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