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Volunteerism in the workplace certainly isn’t a new concept. From volunteer days to matched donations, companies have been coming up with ways to give back to their communities for years.
But now more than ever — especially thanks to millennial expectations in the workplace — giving back to the community has become more of a norm amongst employers.
All that said, a well-designed corporate responsibility program is hard to come by. Only 38% of employees believe that their company provides access to volunteer programs. And among those that do, the majority of participants say they’re still not volunteering as much as they’d like to.
It really comes down to the level of commitment. Take Salesforce, for example. They’re a company that lives and breathes this idea of responsible capitalism.
To quote Mark Benioff, Salesforce’s Chairman and CEO, “The business of business is improving the state of the world.”
Giving back to the community is part of their DNA with the 1-1-1 model and recent intent to buy their own educational/nonprofit arm, Salesforce.org. Their brand has become synonymous with giving back. As a result, they continuously attract top talent while maintaining 20% of the CRM market share.
Clearly, community giving is a benefit to both employees and employers when managed thoughtfully. And for those working in sales, this is certainly the case.
Here's why you should organize a volunteer day with your sales team, specifically:
Volunteering makes people feel good. Period. It instills a sense of personal satisfaction that goes beyond the daily grind of emails, proposals, and analyzing sales metrics.
These “feel good” feelings translate to a team’s ability to strengthen their own rapport and sense of connection. And for those working in sales, the importance of teamwork still rings true.
Your sales reps may be motivated by their commission plans, but company goals factor into their success. In working as part of a team, they can learn from each other in selling a common product and/or service. What workflows end in more proposals? What language turns cold calls into warm leads?
There will always be competition. But when sales teams are put into situations where they need to work together (e.g. volunteering), they’re able to better work as a whole towards driving more sales.
Additionally, they're given more opportunities to develop relationships outside of the office. A company and sales team that gives back becomes the gateway to more conversations and positive reputation.
John Hagel leads the Center for the Edge at Deloitte and has worked in Silicon Valley for the past 35 years, helping institutions increase their positive impact on the world.
Through his experiences, he offers a differentiation between the concept of employee engagement and employee passion. He argues that while engagement may prove beneficial for company productivity in the moment, it’s ultimately a distraction. Passion is what drives people to conquer new challenges and work steadily towards a long-term goal.
When your sales team is not only passionate about the bottom line but the company as a whole, how they work is directly impacted. Believing in a cause and having a well-defined sense of company culture to point back to leads to higher levels of sustained productivity — especially when paired with tools that make working in sales 10x easier.
It’s entertaining to poke fun at the low points of a salesperson’s job. Hello, memes.
But the truth is, the rejection of working in sales can take a toll on a person’s overall mental health. Over time, you end up becoming your own worst nightmare, sabotaging closed deals with subconscious mannerisms and inaction.
This is why it’s important to remain conscious of morale. Volunteer day opportunities offer sales teams the ability to take their mind off quotas and calls while focusing on the bigger picture. They bring light to a greater sense of purpose behind why they do what they do.
Productivity is ultimately what you’re striving to sustain as a sales manager. This means providing your team with the right tools, coaching them through top strategies, and helping them focus on prospects that matter most.
Volunteer days are equally as important to this idea of productivity. Beyond this aforementioned idea of engagement versus passion, employees can translate skills learned from volunteer opportunities to improved performance in the workplace.
Even if your sales representatives aren’t closing deals when volunteering, they’re still stretching the muscles essential to networking successfully. In creating more community-based relationships, they become better equipped to build personalized communications with sales leads.
All of this factors into your team’s ability to contribute to the bottom line. The better their relationships with incoming leads, the more likely they are to close a deal. The more likely they are to close a deal, the more money they make. The more money they make, the more motivated they are to rinse and repeat.
All the while, your company reaps the rewards of stable growth and development. It’s a win-win for everyone involved — the global community included.
The benefits of organizing a volunteer day with your sales team go beyond this single day. It’s a waterfall effect, positively impacting company performance, morale, and reputation over time. And this is all on top of the rewards reaped by whatever organization your team has the opportunity to serve.
As a sales manager, it’s your job to help create an environment where reps not only can sell but want to sell. Commission checks may certainly achieve that push in the short term, but it’s the greater sense of mission and purpose that solidifies success down the road.
We salute all of those out there on a mission to empower their communities and drive change on both a global and local scale. And we’re curious, what types of volunteer-based activities does your company participate in? Tweet us @cirrusinsight with your response!