Michael Weinstein has a goal: He wants Social Solutions to continue being the leading case management software provider for the nonprofit industry.
As the company’s director of inside sales, Weinstein can personally influence that goal — he’s responsible for managing a team of 18 people who sell to nonprofits. We spoke with Weinstein about the mission-driven culture at Social Solutions, what he looks for in sales reps and his belief that a standout sales team can run on tacos alone.
EMPLOYEES: 200 national; 119 local
WHAT THEY DO: Social Solutions’ software for nonprofits allows organizations to spend less time on compliance and more time ensuring the effectiveness of their service programs for the people who rely on them. Since the software was designed by direct service workers for direct service providers, it also helps them to demonstrate impact to stakeholders.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Austin
WHO THEY DO IT FOR: Nonprofit organizations such as United Way, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Love INC.
FOR MORE: The engineering team at Social Solutions is dedicated to helping nonprofits increase their software capabilities. Learn more.
Michael Weinstein, Director, National Sales
DAY IN THE LIFE: Weinstein spends a good chunk of his time coaching sales representatives. Nothing makes him happier than seeing that coaching pay off when a deal comes across the finish line. It’s also fulfilling to realize that a sales rep is directly empowering an organization to help more people more effectively.
LEADERSHIP STYLE: Laidback, involved and fun. The sales team is known for being competitive and holds regular contests with prizes. The team also recently raffled off a free trip to Miami.
BEYOND WORK: Weinstein’s favorite pastime is hanging out with his one-year-old son, Oliver. When he’s not doing that, he loves cooking since it’s an opportunity to zone out and focus on some simple tasks that will result in a great meal.
What attracted you to Social Solutions?
Working for a mission-driven company that helps nonprofits transform lives is incredibly fulfilling. Knowing that I’m empowering organizations to help more people more effectively is unique to Social Solutions and not something that I take lightly.
Describe your team. What is this team tasked with doing? How many people?
I work with a team of 16 sales reps and two managers to help nonprofits that have between $1 million and $12 million in annual revenue. These are full sales cycle reps that can do everything from cold call to negotiate deals. We find that this creates an incredible amount of value for our prospects since they’re able to work with the same person throughout the entire sales process.
How do you create a team feeling?
There are a few things that I do. There’s nothing like a team-versus-team competition to bring a group together for a common cause. I’m also 98 percent convinced that I can run a sales team on tacos alone. When it comes to the end of the month or quarter, I’ll often bring in some food to get everyone together during the day.
I believe that it is incredibly important to celebrate the success of others. These can be small things such as setting appointments or larger things like closing deals. A team that can rally around a common cause and supports one another is a team that I want to be a part of.
Additionally, as much as I would like to make every stand-up meeting, sometimes I have conflicts and I call on other team members to run those meetings. This gives each member a chance to lead and add their own flair to the meeting, creating more opportunities to bond as a team.
A team that can rally around a common cause and supports one another is a team I want to be a part of."
Describe the ideal candidate for this team. What attributes or characteristics make a team member successful?
There are two main things that I look for when evaluating a sales rep: attitude and effort. These, to me, are two indicators that will help me understand whether or not someone is willing to put in the effort that it is going to take to be successful.
As an individual, you are generally in full control of both. From an attitude perspective, are you coming in the door every day with a positive, can-do attitude? If you pair that with a willingness to put in maximum effort and go above and beyond what is asked, you end up with a stellar team member.
By the time you become a leader, you’ve taken countless personality tests — DISC assessments, Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinder. Name one that resonated with you.
I’m a huge fan of Insights. We use it at for all of our employees and it is part of the onboarding process. It is rare to see a desk without someone’s “colors” being proudly displayed. These colors allow you to understand how to communicate effectively with an individual. It provides a common language in a visual representation that can be leveraged to ensure positive interactions. On the sales side, I’ve found myself describing our customers in different colors to talk about deal strategy and how to best connect with them.
When you are interviewing candidates, how do you know when you’ve found the best culture fit?
As part of our interview process, we have candidates do a mock presentation. That is incredibly telling of how they will do in our culture. The things we look for are preparedness, quick thinking, the ability to handle tough questions and people who are comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” If we find someone who can illustrate those qualities through the presentation, we know that they will be a great fit for our culture.