Salesforce: interview with Regional Sales Vice-President Bob Vanstraelen

Which services does Salesforce offer?

Bob Vanstraelen: “Salesforce is the world’s largest supplier of CRM software and one of the largest suppliers of business software in the cloud. Salesforce’s cloud software forms the foundation for the literally tens of thousands of solutions of our partners, that supplement our offer with the specific functionality needed in every industry imaginable. This way, we’ve been able to establish a cloud ecosystem that’s never been seen before, to the advantage of our hundreds of thousands of clients and millions of users.”

What does Salesforce as a company stand for?

Vanstraelen: “Our founder Marc Benioff firmly believes in Salesforce’s corporate responsibility. We were the first to introduce the 1-1-1 model, in which at least 1% of technology, Salesforce’s equity and employees’ working hours, is spent on charity. Nowadays, even large global enterprises like Google and Yelp, have implemented the exact same model.

On top of that, we embrace the Hawaiian faith, concerning ‘aloha’ and ‘ohana’, meaning that new employees have to be able to feel at home in our company and that they should be treated as if they were family. Everyone should be able to be straightforward and sincere, and last but not least, everyone should have a healthy level of fun.”

Why has Salesforce enlisted itself in the Hercules Trophy 2016?

“I’ve been following Inge and Yves, the Hercules Trophy founders, for a couple of years by now. We’ve established a good relationship and the Hercules Trophy is an absolute landmark in Belgium. I’m very much impressed by both the event itself, as by the participants’ wildly enthusiastic responses. This year, Salesforce Belgium just had to be a part of it and so we’ll send two teams to take up the battle.

Our participating teams this year are largely made up of clients and competitors/colleagues. A little healthy competition is always nice. Salesforce Belgium has been growing strong the last couple of years, which resulted in the fact that we’ve hired quite a lot of new people. A sporty team event like Hercules Trophy is the designated way to get to know colleagues better, to forge new ties and to experience Salesforce’s corporate culture.”

Why did Salesforce enroll two teams?

“The enthusiasm among our colleagues was immense, after seeing a video of the Hercules Trophy 2015. Both teams of seven players were full in no time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enroll a third team, as the Hercules Trophy in Mechelen on 18th June was already completely sold out.

Our teams are made up of a mix of sales-, presales- and professional services coworkers and each team holds two women. My colleague Carmina Coenen and myself have taken the task upon us of being their mental coaches. We’ll cheer the Salesforce colleagues on during the Hercules Trophy event. We’ve given supporting roles to those that couldn’t be a part of the two teams. They will mainly be handing out towels or water and looking after injuries (laughs and winks).

What does Salesforce want to achieve with its participation?

“Over the past few years, Salesforce Belgium has grown strongly. We’ve recruited a lot of new people, as I’ve said before. A teambuilding revolving around physical exercise is the best way to get to know colleagues, to become ever closer and to embrace the Salesforce way of life. Next to that, it’s fun to do something else than just working (together) all the time. We’re aiming for a maximum amount of fun, rather than first place, but our most competitive employees are ready to give their all nonetheless.”

What does corporate wellbeing mean to Salesforce?

“Salesforce pays close attention to the wellbeing of every employee, which translates into our ambition of making time on a regular basis to both reinforce the bonds of our teams, and participate in voluntary work.

Soon, we’ll partake inBike to Close the Gap’. We’re sending one sporty team to cycle as much laps as possible. We don’t just sponsor the event, but double the amount our team achieves as well. We strive to organize a pleasant group activity every quarter of the year. Cooking together on a boat and making chocolate desserts at chocolate producer –and innovative Salesforce client- Barry Callebaut, are two prime examples we’ve enjoyed very much.”

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