The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) empowers entrepreneurs with the tools, ideas, and strategies necessary to achieve 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 might benefit entrepreneurs as they take steps to grow and scale their businesses.
What are professional gatekeepers? They’re screeners, shields, and repositories of corporate knowledge. They’re also highly necessary if you want to optimize your business and head toward your goals of serious, consistent growth.
Not familiar with the term or the position? The best way to think of a gatekeeper is to picture your company as a building with one point of access. The gatekeeper watches the door and decides whether strangers–salespeople, vendors, customers, unscheduled job seekers–should enter.
In traditional in-person offices, the gatekeeper literally sits front and center, serving as a director of first impressions. In remote businesses, gatekeepers may answer the phones and examine all incoming general emails. If you’re a busy executive, you may have two gatekeepers: One for your company as a whole and one for you specifically. That way, you’re less likely to be interrupted from your work by low-priority conversations or requests.
Good gatekeepers tend to earn a reputation for being decisive and maybe even a little intimidating. After all, they hold all the keys and are empowered to use the word “no” more than most personnel. As such, they’re integral players and worth integrating into your workplace.
Leaning Into the Advantages of Gatekeeper Culture
Not sure how your company could potentially utilize an expert gatekeeper? Here are four ways a gatekeeper could benefit you and your company:
1. Stop incoming communications from overwhelming everyone.
You may want to bring a gatekeeper on board when you and your colleagues just can’t keep up with all the calls coming into your business. For example, you may find that your business is starting to take off. That’s great, but it opens the door for salespeople to ask for appointments. Each week, you may notice that your to-do list keeps getting longer. Eventually, you won’t be able to keep up. A gatekeeper gives you a little breathing room and the ability to focus on higher-level initiatives such as growth and scaling.
2. Confirm that opportunities are worthwhile.
Gatekeepers frequently vet sales presentations, listening carefully to pitches before deciding whether they pass muster. Though welcoming, gatekeepers are strategic. As long as you’ve taught your gatekeeper how to evaluate sales calls, you can expect them to only allow the most important opportunities to land on your desk. Just remember that gatekeepers aren’t perfect; they may occasionally let “duds” slide through. However, you’re guaranteed to decrease the amount of time you spend on lackluster opportunities.
3. Ensure information gets appropriately routed and managed.
Does it seem like calls keep getting missed? Do team members consistently have little time to monitor the progress of workflows or forward emails? A gatekeeper can keep everything running smoothly by acting as a sort of wide-ranging project manager for numerous departments. In some cases, the gatekeeper may take on specialized duties, such as setting appointments for particular titles. Although they’re not decision makers per se, gatekeepers can provide helpful insights into what’s happening at your business.
4. Serve as your company’s brand voice.
Some of the best gatekeepers wind up as the voice and face of businesses. Because they’re so closely associated with the company, they’re seen as part of its legacy. Of course, you have to find the right gatekeeper to trust with this kind of authority. But once you find one who stands out, do your best to retain them. That person can become invaluable to your business’s image and voice.
When your company was just starting out, you probably accepted any and all visitors. Now, it may be time to become a bit stingy when filling your schedule. If that’s the case, consider whether a professional gatekeeper could benefit you and your team.