Street Culture: Year-Old JumpCrew Builds for Scale, Eschews ‘Startup Culture’

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David Pachter put years of consideration into the creation of Nashville-based JumpCrew, a social marketing and sales company for local businesses.

Pachter, JumpCrew’s executive chairman of the board and co-founder, says that as companies grow, especially at a fast pace, culture that promotes individual achievement can be diluted.

“There has to be a process around the strategy to support the goals of others,” Pachter says. “It’s about nurturing emerging leaders. The people driving innovation are the ones on the front lines, working with clients and products. That groundswell of direction and changes, they don’t happen if you don’t have open channels of communication.”

Pachter and JumpCrew’s other co-founder, Robert Henderson, spent several years working at LocalVox, and Pachter says that JumpCrew grew out of their experiences there. In that time and since then, they have seen sales and marketing strategies completely redefined. For example, Pachter says, Salesforce has become the go-to solution for tens of thousands of companies – and it requires a different approach to marketing and sales execution to get an ROI.

“You can’t have people running around on sales calls saying, ‘I’ll follow up on that lead tomorrow,’” he says. “By tomorrow, someone else has already converted that lead.”

A clear intent, experience, planning, and established processes are what Pachter is working with now at JumpCrew.

“You don’t see that at a startup,” Pachter says. “You see people trying to squeeze the apple to get the most juice. We’re trying to nurture that apple to get a bigger apple. That’s the biggest difference between startup culture and building for scale.”

The company launched about one year ago with a core sales offering, and last month revealed its new social media product. Currently at about 45 employees, Pachter expects to grow the company with about 10 new employees each month to reach 500 employees in the next five years.

“I’m focused on building for scale,” Pachter says. “I want leaders to be non-essential to performance. I tend to circle back to planning. If the organization can’t help you or inspire you to hit your goals, you’re less likely to stay there. I don’t think I’m necessarily breaking new ground in all that I’m doing. I’m just trying to make it more digestible and focus on the folks who make the biggest difference. It’s the emerging leaders who have the most potential to influence and change organizations.”

Pachter, Henderson, and the other leaders have so far had to enforce the notion that JumpCrew is not embracing startup culture, Pachter says. The company is focusing on a much bigger and deeper commitment to personal employee development than startups are typically able to do.

“We don’t want to assume folks are coming in with any certain level of understanding about the dynamic of local business,” Pachter says. “The key is to get people participating, get them comfortable participating so that they’re engaged in the learning process. And the faster we can inform and educate our folks about what’s on the minds of the clients, the more helpful they can be when they’re helping tell that business’s story.”

Further, Pachter doesn’t see self-sustaining organizational growth being especially supported by the personality quirks of a CEO. Startups can enjoy a positive, healthy company culture for a couple of years based on that, he says, but the organization as a whole needs to sustain an ongoing culture of achievement in order to succeed long term.

“How am I, from the catbird seat flying in here and there, how am I going to change processes?” he asks. “If recruiting is effective and managers can embody the skills and values of the organization, you’re on your way. If you surround employees with the right values and enforce a creative learning culture, then the organization can take on a life of its own.”

For local businesses to succeed today, serving mobile and online customers, they need more marketing automation and more options. JumpCrew clients range from staffing companies to advertising companies to technology and consumer apps, and Pachter says his business model focuses on whatever is the best solution for the client.

“We’ll be the first to tell clients, ‘What we did yesterday doesn’t work anymore,’ and seamlessly replace it,” he says.

April Nowicki is a contributor at Street Fight.