After Consensus Cloud Solutions’ team transitioned to working in a distributed environment in 2020, Director of Account Development Christian Ransopher noticed unexpected changes for himself and his team.
For every new meeting that was slotted into his Tetris-like puzzle of a calendar, he lost time that he could use to connect with the sales representatives who depended on his leadership, and he knew that the reps were facing barriers of their own as they tried to succeed in a new environment.
“Overnight, quite literally, we lost the ability to lean over to ask a colleague a question or to over hear a senior sales rep consult with a client in a way you hadn’t previously tried,” he said. “I had a problem and I needed a solution.”
Ransopher decided that he would try to replicate in-office camaraderie with an open office-hours style Zoom meeting every morning, from 7 to 8:30 a.m.
At first, attendance was light. Some reps would pop in to see if he was really online — “I think they wanted to catch me sleeping on the job,” Ransopher joked — but soon, more and more of the team started to join.
“At first they were coming to me for answers, and I knew I would have to change that trajectory quickly,” he said. When a question was raised, Ransopher would redirect the query to a rep who he knew could answer, and soon he was serving as the mediator and facilitating connections across the team.
As the morning sessions changed into a trusting environment for information sharing, the sales team started building deeper, more cohesive relationships, and word started to spread.
“Now managers and new hires from across departments will join just to listen to the group discussions to see if they can garner a nugget of information that will help them succeed,” he said. “I’m back in the loop, supporting our team along their journeys. That’s well worth the early morning hours.”
Sales Representative Steven Coffman has found the open-door meetings equally useful — with practical and tangible outcomes. “We get that in-office feeling of being able to walk in and get a question answered in the moment,” he said. “Across the team, we are able to move deals forward faster, reduce account management frustrations and share best practices.”
For Coffman, these Zoom meetings are an example of the workplace values that have helped him thrive at Consensus for two decades.
“The consistent respect, coaching and support I receive from senior leaders motivates me to be better, which drives business results,” he said. “Our leaders engage with the team, demonstrate encouragement and respect our decisions and approaches to problem solving.”
“The consistent respect, coaching and support I receive from senior leaders motivates me to be better.”
Both Ransopher and Coffman have established long tenures at Consensus Cloud Solutions, for which Ransopher credits the supportive atmosphere.
“Over my 17 years here, the genuine care and camaraderie has built a supportive environment,” he said. “I try to pay that forward. From the first interviews I have with candidates, I tell them that those who have been most successful are the ones who reach out for help when they join. Everyone here wants people to succeed and will support new colleagues in their endeavors.”
Coffman adds that the support starts at the top. “Consensus understands the value of gratitude and recognition,” he said. “I want to know that I am part of the journey and that my hard work and success are recognized and truly appreciated. This helps me feel a strong sense of purpose in my job, which delivers positive results for the company and for my customers.”
“Consensus understands the value of gratitude and recognition.”
Communication is key to building team bonds at Consensus, according to both Ransopher and Coffman, and systems across the sales team help advance the supportive and caring environment.
“Instead of weekly sales meetings, we have weekly best practices meetings,” Ransopher said. “Sales meetings can focus attention on only the top performers, so we strive to be more inclusive and turn attention to the actions that helped progress the deals we are closing. Since the focus becomes less on the actual dollar amount, the newer reps can share their decisions and the more tenured reps can offer their insights.”
Coffman agreed that these best practices meetings reflect the high level of communication at Consensus. “A focus on proactive, ongoing communication and continuously reaching out to make sure the team is aligned helps keep everyone engaged in the full company conversation,” he said.
Continuing to build this sense of community and positive impact can be especially tricky for sales leaders, Ransopher told Built In. But Ransopher has a clear vision for how he wants his team to envision their work.
“There are a lot of negative connotations associated with being in sales, and that’s a mindset we have changed with our reps,” he said. “Many years ago, a mentor challenged me to stop selling and to start helping people, which was a new concept to me. Once I changed my mindset, I realized I was consulting with clients, and I was offering them solutions to their problems. That’s the difference I want to make for our sales reps.”
“Years ago, a mentor challenged me to stop selling and start helping people. I changed my mindset, and that’s the difference I want to make for our sales reps.”
Beyond the strong workplace values, a little fate might have contributed to Ransopher’s long tenure at Consensus.
As a recent high school graduate in 1991, he paid a highly anticipated visit to “Lone Ranger” Clayton Moore’s Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Boulevard — a moment, and actor, that meant a lot to him in his formative years. Fourteen years later, Ransopher stepped out of his LA office building en route to get a coffee and stumbled upon the same Walk of Fame star.
“I looked up at our building and back at his star — the same place I had kneeled for a photo 14 years before,” Ransopher said. “It felt like a little bit of fate to be here.”
Since 2005, the company has changed names and offices, but Ransopher remains part of the constellation of colleagues that creates Consensus Cloud Solutions’ people-first focus.