Meet The SalesLoft Staff: Tim Dorr

Tim’s Bio: A seasoned tech entrepreneur and web aficionado, Tim runs front-end development, design and UX for SalesLoft. His career launched in college at Georgia Tech when he founded A Small Orange Hosting & Design.

Six years after founding the company, he sold and subsequently inked his first successful startup exit. Tim went on to found one of the first co-working spaces in Atlanta, Ignition Alley and two other companies: Billfold & Army of Bees. Tim served in the prestigious position of Entrepreneur in Residence at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). An avid photographer, traveler and creator, Tim resides in Westside, Atlanta.

1. What has been the most rewarding part of your job at SalesLoft?

For me, it’s been helping to create a company that values individual success as much as the company’s overall success. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the numbers and health of the business, and end up missing what’s really important: that your coworkers are learning, growing, and gaining their own successes. I have seen us shepherd people into the next stage of their careers, forge life-long friendships, and improve lives. I’m really proud of that.

2. Tell us about your work/life mashup and give advice to entrepreneurs and wantreprenuers who are trying to do the same?

I try my best to keep life separate from my work. However, that’s not to say I keep my coworkers out of my life. Our company culture is top notch and I often involve my coworkers in my life.

If you’re building a company, this is key. Culture is the one thing you can actually control. On that note, you should realize it will never be the case that “I love my work so much it doesn’t even feel like a job!” That’s a trap, because you should have some balance and separation. Work can certainly be enjoyable and rewarding, and culture is an important component for making that happen, but it shouldn’t mix with life too freely. Don’t turn your home into a branch office.

3. What advice can you offer salespeople on working alongside developers and engineers?

Most engineers are curious and always looking to learn, which includes discovering more about the sales world. Don’t be surprised if they want to learn how you sell. It may be because they are genuinely interested, so be sure to help them out.

4. What is the biggest challenge when it comes to startups and entrepreneurship that is often overlooked?

Dealing with things you don’t control…which is most of the business.

I’ve seen many startups fail because they were too focused on trying to control the world around them. Customers may not want what you’re selling. You shouldn’t try to change that; you should adapt to it. There is usually a big opportunity if you listen to the customer and build what they tell you they want, not what you think they want.

5. Most sales and marketing professionals aren’t really familiar with what goes on in the world of design and UX. What is one thing you wish people knew about tech engineers.

There are often a number of factors that go into a decision on design or functionality in the product. Not the least of which is user feedback. Users often make unexpected choices and that influences the product in ways we didn’t expect.

For example, at one point I produced a nice, well-spaced design for a product where there was a lot of room to read a list and each item was clearly delineated. Users hated it. They wanted a compact, dense view so they could fit as much data on the screen at a time, so I redesigned things around that concept. The user experience is what matters most and can make for some pretty interesting and even confusing decisions.

6. What’s your ultimate productivity hack?

A pair of noise-cancelling headphones and regular breaks.

Everyone gets “in the zone” with their work, where they’re operating at peak productivity. Having some way to block out non-critical interruptions is key because they can completely derail you and bring your pace to a grinding halt.

Conversely, trying to maintain that state for too long will lead to burn out, so you need to take regular breaks. A common way to manage this is a pomodoro timer, which forces you into a productivity rhythm.

7. What’s the most influential book you’ve read?

Difficult Conversations.

It’s all about learning to talk with others and really hear what they are saying. Conflict usually arises from misunderstanding, and resolution comes from empathizing and learning what is really going on. The book has some great techniques for how to do that and ensuring that you avoid conflict-inducing habits.

8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t critique others’ work just because it’s done differently than you would do it.

I’ve found myself doing this many times in the past where I was acting stubborn and egotistical, thinking that my way was the best way. I’ve since learned to take a step back and not be critical of the process just because it differs. The results are what really matters. You should always look to recognize and reward excellent work by others.

9. As a cofounder of SalesLoft, what is the biggest change you have experienced since you cofounded the company?

Many of my previous endeavors didn’t require me to be in an office at certain times or maintain a schedule. SalesLoft has a similar focus on ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), but it’s the strongest culture I’ve worked in by far. And as a result, I actually want to come into the office and work alongside all my coworkers. I haven’t had this consistent of a schedule in quite some time.