Not sure how nonprofits work? Ask a Social Solutions salesperson — they’ll be able to tell you everything you’d ever want to know. That’s because understanding the ins and outs of the nonprofit world is just part of the job at Social Solutions, whose software helps mainly nonprofits track compliance data and demonstrate their larger impact to stakeholders.
We caught up with members of the company’s sales team to learn more about the culture driving the socially conscious tech company forward and what it’s like to sell for the greater good.
EMPLOYEES: 242 nationally, 194 in Austin
WHAT THEY DO: The company specializes in building software that helps organizations use their data in meaningful ways, specifically in the areas of human services and workforce and education programs — most of which are also nonprofits.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Austin
WALKING THE WALK: It’s not just their product that Social Solutions is using to help the community. The company gives employees eight paid hours a quarter to volunteer with a nonprofit of their choice.
TECHIE TALK: Nonprofits are doing amazing work each and every day. And like most of the world's industries, they’re seeking technology to boost their impact even more.
Greg Meyer, Inside Sales Team Lead
As the inside sales team lead at Social Solutions, Greg is responsible for both individual quota attainment as well as supporting two inside sales reps through coaching, developing and whatever else is needed for them to attain their metrics.
BEYOND WORK: Greg has a big interest in physical fitness. He goes to Planet Fitness a few times a week and hikes with his dog in Austin’s Hill Country.
You’ve held multiple positions at Social Solutions and moved from sales rep to manager. How has the company promoted your career growth?
Social Solutions is a great company for promoting from within, especially in the sales organization. Growth from within a company is crucial for establishing a career rather than just having another job. Social Solutions takes great pride in recognizing high-performing individuals and helps to create the roadmap to achieve both professional goals and personal ones as well. I’ve formed impactful relationships with the sales management team here at Social Solutions, and I know they care about my ability to sustain my level of success.
As a mentor to new hires, I’m always looking to pass on as much of my sales knowledge as I can to help them get out of the gate running.”
How do members of the sales team step in to help and learn from one another?
The culture within our sales team is tremendous. Everyone wants to see each other succeed, and it’s always more fun when a high number of sales reps hit their quota every month. Working strictly with nonprofits is a shift for some of the sales folks we bring on, so sharing best practices among reps happens without any hesitation. Everyone on our team feels comfortable asking questions and feels confident in the answers they get. As a mentor to new hires, I’m always looking to pass on as much of my sales knowledge as I can to help them get out of the gate running.
Share an experience in which you were able to provide a meaningful product or service. How did this provide value for your customer?
One organization stands out in particular to me. It was clear from our early conversations that they not only needed our services but needed to completely revamp the way they interacted with clients. They shared with me the raw number of mothers and children who were turned away from their services in 2017 due to inefficient processes to support them. The conversation quickly shifted from a “sales experience” into “I want to help you figure this out as fast as possible, what do you need?” This role is so much more like a consultant helping nonprofits in this way.
Lindsay Chiero, Inside Sales Specialist
As an inside sales specialist, Lindsay’s responsibilities include strategic cold-calling efforts, guiding prospects through the sales process, and managing net new accounts during the first 90 days of their partnership.
BEYOND WORK: Lindsay loves to read inspirational literature and listen to motivating podcasts to step out of her day-to-day routine and get inspired for the day ahead of her.
Your job is to help Simple Solutions succeed, but how do they set you up for success?
Social Solutions has done a really good job providing their sales team with the tools we need to succeed. In the last year, the company has adopted several new platforms to assist in our success: Outreach, a cold calling tool; ZoomInfo, which helps us target prospects; and Gong, which helps us dissect our sales calls.
For me personally, Social Solutions restructured my sales territory, giving me my home state of Ohio. Now when I call prospects in Ohio, I have an easy icebreaker and can relate on a more personal level.
Once a plan is executed, leadership makes a point of circling back with us to ensure our voices have been heard.”
How has the company integrated feedback from your team to make the product and processes better?
Social Solutions conducts a quarterly discussion with our CEO and leadership team that we call our Executive Round Table. During the discussion, the leadership team invites us to share our thoughts about any part of the company structure that needs improvement. We are very candid with our responses and the executives have been attentive to our concerns. Following up on that discussion, our leadership team collaborates to act on the points we made. Once a plan is executed, leadership makes a point of circling back with us to ensure our voices have been heard.
What was the largest obstacle you faced when you were new to Social Solutions? How did you overcome this challenge?
The largest obstacle was getting acclimated to my new sales audience. Coming into the job, I knew very little about nonprofit organizations. Social Solutions made sure I had the resources I needed to familiarize myself. In training, they went over the standard structure of nonprofits and what we, as a company, are trying to help them accomplish. They even provided an entire pamphlet describing common roles inside nonprofits so we knew how to tailor our messaging to our audience.
Sarah Tischer, Inside Sales Representative
As an inside sales representative at Social Solutions, Sarah conducts targeted prospecting efforts into nonprofit organizations in the New York City area, including cold calls, emails and social media outreach.
BEYOND WORK: Sarah is interested in any and everything music related. Sarah credits her experience playing music with helping her to be more articulate and thoughtful in her day-to-day life.
Social Solutions is a mission-driven company. How has the company encouraged employees to do good and give back outside of the office?
Here at Social Solutions, we have a Volunteer Impact Program, which provides us the opportunity to use time during our workday to volunteer within our community. Generally, we volunteer in teams, which adds an extra layer of fun while promoting a positive impact.
What’s special about Social Solutions’ approach to onboarding and training? Why is the company so passionate about this?
Social Solutions wants its new team members to be prepared starting on day one. To provide what they need to succeed, we offer a couple of weeks of sales bootcamp to ensure that new team members learn about our sales process, our products and how nonprofits operate. During my time at Social Solutions, I’ve led trainings on nonprofit operations, including dissecting IRS 9-90 forms — forms for tax-exempt organizations, like nonprofits — understanding funding streams, and the different types of nonprofit verticals that exist.
Social Solutions wants its new team members to be prepared starting on day one.”
Describe a time in which you’ve mentored someone or a time when you received mentorship that helped you succeed. What did you learn from that experience?
When I first started, I was given a sales manager as my mentor and she was awesome. She stressed the importance of shadowing calls and demonstrations at every point in my sales career. About a year into my tenure at Social Solutions, I decided to shadow a demonstration of a product I didn’t often work with. I heard questions asked by the prospect that I had never even thought of! I then went back and retailored my discovery calls and demonstrations to hit those questions.