Feedback flows both ways: Customers often base purchasing decisions on crowdsourced reviews, and companies are beholden to monitor and improve based on key reviews. Trustpilot looks to bridge the divide between customer and creator, offering companies a community-driven platform to derive insights directly from the people who matter most — their customers.
We hopped in the co-pilot’s seat with David Arkow, director of sales at the Denver office — and Trustpilot NYC veteran — and learned how he and his team paved the runway to a successful company culture.
EMPLOYEES: 759; 56 locally
WHAT THEY DO: Trustpilot is a community-driven review platform that helps companies collect real insight from their customers.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Denver & NYC
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE: The sales team is looking for someone who is hungry to be successful, passionate and goal-oriented. The work isn't always easy, David says, and future Trusties should “care about the bigger picture and want to be better.”
David Arkow, Director of Sales
David is the director of sales at Trustpilot’s Denver office, leading three sales teams with a total of 17 sales reps. He and his reps are responsible for growing the Denver office and helping Trustpilot as an organization achieve its goals — to that end, they’ve fostered an office culture centered around transparency, fun, success, trust and collaboration.
TITLES & TRAILS: Dave is an avid reader and hiker (he and his wife go hiking almost every week). When he’s not in the mountains, Dave knows how to R&R — aka, reading and relaxing on his patio or in his recliner.
First off, what about Trustpilot or your work inspires you?
I love the work that I do, the people I work with and the product we sell. It’s refreshing to hear companies sharing praise and enthusiasm weeks or months after the sale and knowing you’re helping their business. We’ve also created an environment centered around transparency, fun, success, trust and collaboration. It makes it easy to want to come to work every day.
When setting up the Denver office, what aspects of company culture did you emphasize, and how did you build them into the overall company structure?
From day one, we’ve made a culture a huge priority. From picking a shared office space that has endless snacks and ping-pong, to doing sports events like kickball and basketball, to team dinners and Monday Night Football parties, a social atmosphere has been key for us. We expect a lot from our employees, and they work hard. Because of this, we try to make our office a place where people are excited to come to work. We’ve succeeded in that goal.
From our CEO down to a brand new hire, everyone is open-minded and available to help and share ideas on how to make Trustpilot better. It’s a hallmark of our growth and success.”
How are employees empowered to help shape or participate in the office culture?
We are an organization that has scaled by building from within. Our best ideas have come from frontline employees, and we’ve developed nearly all of our management team through promotions. We have monthly all-hands to discuss the state of the union and encourage active participation and questions. Every manager meets with their direct reports in a weekly one-on-one, and we strongly encourage transparency. While we use Slack, Google Hangouts, and other online communication means, nothing beats walking over to someone’s desk and speaking openly. From our CEO down to a brand new hire, everyone is open-minded and available to help and share ideas on how to make Trustpilot better. It’s a hallmark of our growth and success.
Over time, strong cultures tend to develop beloved traditions. Tell us about a team or company tradition. Why is it meaningful to you?
We have a few fun company traditions that have evolved over the years. We start every week on Monday with a morning stand-up, where we share wins from the previous week. We also provide bagels on Mondays, and catered lunches on Fridays and the last two days of each month. Since most people are so heads down and focused, we do “the dollar game” on Fridays where everyone puts in a dollar in a hat, and one lucky person wins all the dollars. And in sports fashion, we give control of the music to the person who recently closed a deal, and they start with their “deal song.”
How are you updating your company’s culture?
We started a culture club and let different people own small subsets of the group, like the chair of our book club, Trustpilot Women in Leadership committee, events committee, and more. These individuals help identify what activities our office wants and helps coordinate planning the event. It keeps a regular schedule of fun and meaningful activities and empowers individuals to step up and own something. In March, we participated in The Jane-A-Thon, a charity ski day hosted by a local nonprofit, Invest In Kids. We closed the Trustpilot office, enjoyed a day of skiing and raised over $7,000 as a team.
What would you say is the key to embracing open communication, and giving the Denver team a platform to share new ideas?
There is nothing more important than being open and transparent with your employees. We speak honestly about an individual's performance and what they need to improve on. Without it, they can’t get better. It also sets the tone and enables sales executives to manage up.
There is nothing more important than being open and transparent with your employees. We speak honestly about an individual's performance and what they need to improve on.”
Your job is to make Trustpilot successful. How does Trustpilot set you up for success?
Trustpilot supports me currently by providing me with a direct mentor who I meet with bi-weekly, and we discuss ways to improve the Denver office and our sales in general. In addition to that, we do annual manager trainings at offsite locations, trips to our other offices, sports leagues, happy hours, and partnerships with charities and nonprofits in our local city. This supports my professional growth, ensures I’m leaning on my peers in other offices, and building camaraderie and fun in Denver with our team here. All in all, it makes me feel challenged, enables me to grow and be my best self to give back to those who I work with.
What questions do you ask to determine culture fit when interviewing for new roles on your team?
I typically ask how they would handle various situations when faced with challenges or adversity. I want people who are resilient, willing to ask for help, comfortable being honest and transparent, and excited to take the feedback and apply it. I’d also ask what responsibility they have to help the person next to them if they were asking for help. It’s important they’re willing to pay it forward and support the incoming group of new hires.