At Classy, we’re always asking nonprofit organizations to define their mission and goals. Establish what you stand for, and that should drive every one of your organization’s actions.
We ask nonprofits this all the time, but it shouldn’t be a one-way conversation. So we’ve decided to turn those questions onto ourselves. What does Classy want to achieve? What do we stand for?
As a company, we’re on a mission to mobilize and empower the world for good. To keep us focused, we’ve invested in a company culture based on a set of core values. These values drive what we do and how we do it.
To give you a more intimate look at how we embody these values in the day-to-day, we’re starting a series of posts that dives into what the core values mean to us here at Classy. To kick off the series, we took the core principle, “Create Meaningful Value,” to the sales team and asked how it influenced the way they approached their work. Here are what a few team members had to say.
1. What do you believe is the value behind the Classy product? And how do you articulate that to the organizations you talk to?
Brad: One of the most important things for me is that we are 100 percent focused on helping nonprofits. I think that the features we have are amazing; they’re beautiful and they do some incredible things. The power of peer-to-peer fundraising and how it helps nonprofits speaks for itself. But I think what drives Classy forward is that we are totally focused on helping organizations succeed.
Sarah: Right. At the end of the day, what I think Classy does best is that we make it all about nonprofits and what they’re doing. Classy takes a back seat. When you’re using the Classy product, you’re not focused on who Classy is; you’re focused on our clients and who they are.
Not only do we show that through our product, but we show that through our entire sales process. Every conversation we have with a nonprofit is about who they are and how Classy can help support their mission.
Brad: And it’s not just how we help them raise more money online. It’s about helping them engage with their supporters in creative and unique ways, and presenting ideas and strategies that they’ve never thought of or used before.
I articulate that by saying, here, we’ll give you a set of tools. And we’ll not only show you how to use it, but also the best ways to use it. That way you can take full advantage of the platform, and make the most of your experience here both from a technical standpoint and a strategic standpoint.
2. How do you seek to “create meaningful value” in your role?
Stacy: For me, it’s easy to fall into the routine of checking items off a list. But what I love doing is discovering organizations that have great goals, but don’t necessarily know how to achieve them. I can offer ideas and say, “Sounds like you’re doing some really cool work. Have you thought about this?” The value I try to create is to plant a seed for a bigger conversation.
3. Do you think the idea of “creating meaningful value” translates into your own professional goals here at Classy?
Logan: Definitely. As cliché as it sounds, everyone always says that you should do what you love. It’s great to be able to both receive the satisfaction of helping other people, and benefit my professional career. I experience that when I tell nonprofits, “Hey, this is possible using the Classy platform and working with our team.” I get to experience the same, by working for a team that genuinely cares about you and your success.
4. How do you find opportunities to create meaningful value for the people you talk to?
Tim: Before I ever reach out to a nonprofit, I explore their organization and try to uncover ways in which they’re not doing things right now. I come to them with new ideas and offer different ways to think about their fundraising. Then I show how Classy can help them do that.
Brad: It’s also about asking a lot of questions. I try to learn everything I can about their entire organization, even the things that have nothing to do with our business together. And then I ask those very same questions to the person I’m talking to. I want to know who they are, where they came from, what their experiences are, what’s driving them to work as hard as they do—so I can really understand what value they are looking for in a platform and in a service.
5. Why do you think it’s important for sales to create meaningful value for the nonprofits they talk to?
Tim: I think it definitely separates us from any other technology company approaching a nonprofit. A lot of nonprofits get hammered by technology vendors that are trying to sell them something. Classy has been able to succeed because we listen. We take the conversation outside of our technology and dig into what the nonprofit does. That’s important.
Sarah: What it comes down to is that the people we’re hiring at Classy are not necessarily people who are looking for any sales job. They’re coming onboard because they see the value in what Classy is doing for the social sector. They take pride in helping our clients solve some of the biggest problems in the world.
6. What do you do to stay informed about trends in the nonprofit space, and how they’re impacting the people you talk to on the phone?
Sarah: One of the biggest ways the entire sales team stays informed is by being hands-on. The team is divided up geographically, so they each have territories throughout the country. All of them follow social groups within their own sectors, whether on LinkedIn or other networks. Not only do they follow these groups, but they’re also contributors within those spaces.
It becomes less about what they’re reading, and more about getting exposed to real-life nonprofit experiences by being in live feeds and social groups.
Stacy: I really love our blog. I also subscribe to Nonprofit Quarterly, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. But I also personally like to see what’s going on in technology, so I’ll subscribe to blogs like Fast Company, Quora, or other resources that are a bit more tech-oriented. I think the worlds of tech and nonprofit are getting closer and closer together, but I don’t believe they should be so separate in the first place. I always try and bridge them.
At the end of the day, the sales experience revolves around sharing ideas and building partnerships. As nonprofits advance in their missions and create value for the world, Classy works alongside them with innovative strategies to push forward. The conversation starts with listening to the organization on the other end.
P.S. Does this sound like something you’re excited about? Great, we’re hiring!