Sales Cloud 360 and Slack open up new ways to sell, helping your sales team to sell faster: driving growth now, and in the future.
Ah, that classic knock-brush sound.
For many members of the 21st-century workforce, the familiar Slack notification sound has become shorthand for many things. A team member celebrating a major deal closing. A supervisor giving some last-minute encouragement before a make-or-break meeting. Sometimes, just the social committee figuring out where everyone is going for lunch. These days, it represents the future of how we work and how we grow.
Many people see Slack as a tool to communicate, and it still is. Now, it’s also a tool to close deals faster. Here are three ways Slack can help you rewrite the rules of sales:
1. Cut out conversation-killing email and talk with customers in a real-time #buyer channel instead
What: Slack Connect allows salespeople to move conversations with customers, partners, and vendors out of email and into Slack. You can create a dedicated Slack channel for each buyer, choose the option to share that channel externally, and send the buyer an invite link to join. All of the magic happens in one place instead of in unending email threads.
Why: Email is the new snail mail. The immediacy of Slack communication mimics the natural flow of in-person conversation. Similar to texting and instant messaging, it creates more genuine connections according to industry research. There’s also the added benefit of being able to easily share white papers, demo recordings, and other insights right in a chat. With a simple “@” mention, you can address concerns right away and lessen overall response time. This shortens the sales cycle.
An IDC study revealed businesses that implemented Slack as a sales tool were able to respond to a sales lead 21% faster. That ease of communication can make the difference between struggling to book a meeting and finally closing that deal.
How: Let’s say a buyer has a question about implementation time. Instead of playing a game of email tennis with a bunch of different stakeholders — an asynchronous way of communicating that eats up time — you can loop in the right technical expert in Slack within minutes. Need someone who can provide more detailed answers on use cases? Tag a product expert. Just needing to strengthen rapport? Tag an executive sponsor. No “just circling back on my previous email” required.
Slack Connect brings customers and partners into the sales cycle so you can easily check on progress, catch potential blockers, and stay ahead of upcoming renewals. Slack bots can even scale your customer outreach, allowing you to do them en masse for smaller accounts.
In a work-from-anywhere world, tools like Slack become indispensable. Forty-six percent of salespeople in a recent Salesforce survey stated they’ll be working virtually from now forward. To maintain a quality customer experience, sellers need collaborative software.
Influx is the world’s largest on-demand support provider, and relies on being able to quickly react to clients’ seasonal needs. “Within 30 seconds of a lead arriving on our website, our app sends a notification to a dedicated Slack channel,” says Alex Holmes, Chief Growth Officer. “Those leads get actioned by the inbound sales team to let everyone know when they followed up – with a timestamp – and whether it was successful or if there was an issue. Every lead turns into a learning event.”
2. Make onboarding new team members a breeze with #new-hire tools
What: Before a rep’s first day, invite them to join a #new-hire Slack channel where they can use the chat for all onboarding questions instead of email. If your company is large, you can even create different Slack channels for cohorts onboarding on different dates (e.g. #new-hire-November2021). Ask them to write a brief introduction and get acquainted with other newbies. Most importantly, provide all onboarding info in this channel. Need day one materials? Want an onboarding buddy? Don’t know how to enroll in benefits? Another benefit is new reps can see the entire history of an account in one place. All conversations, decisions and documents are available, not locked away in their predecessor’s inbox. Everything can be found in Slack.
Why: Imagine you’re a sales development representative (SDR). It’s your first day on the job and you’re just getting started. The onboarding process is spread across documents on different platforms, resources in different inboxes, and known only to specific people. In short, it’s siloed and utterly overwhelming. With a single workspace for all onboarding materials, you can ramp up people faster. Not to mention that creating a channel for new hires gives everyone the benefit of seeing other people’s questions and saves HR teams the extra workload of answering repeat queries.
Once new salespeople are up to speed and ready to venture out onto the virtual sales floor, they’ll find everything they need to do their jobs within Slack. They’ll also have visibility into historical account activity, so they’ll know what they’re walking into when they inherit accounts. You can even use a customer relationship management (CRM) integration to sync sales data. That way, salespeople no longer have to switch back and forth between systems.
This makes early training a cinch. The threat of the productivity-killing “frankenstack,” where various project systems are haphazardly sewn together, is eliminated. Slack alerts can help you prioritise the right deals as you prep for meetings by providing insights from Sales Cloud. The less time you spend digging for information, the quicker you can land your very first sale. Companies with a Slack integration had a 15% faster sales cycle on average and 13% more deals closed.
How: Slack can optimise and, frankly, humanise the employee experience, leading to less turnover and more well-prepared sellers. New team members can learn how to be successful based on others’ wins, benefitting from peer-to-peer learning. They’ll also build rapport with their teammates, establishing a company culture even virtually. “What’s great about Slack channels is, you have context for every message, and messages don’t get lost. That allows us to come up with solutions to problems faster and train people and figure out what’s really going on,” says Holmes.
Slack with Sales Cloud can even boost effectiveness in small ways that aren’t always obvious. “Often it’s as simple as an emoji system, where I can really quickly see which leads may be worth following up on or not,” says Holmes. “If they’re unqualified leads, why are they not qualified? If there are leads where we don’t have enough information, I can see whether someone is actively following that up. Similarly, if any leads are a repeat lead, that information is clear to us as well.”
3. Create specific #opportunity Slack spaces so you can close deals as a team
What: Selling is a team sport, so use Slack channels to collaborate with cross-functional team members on important opportunities. These digital “deal rooms” allow team members to swarm around customer needs in order to drive more deals forward, faster. Now, it’s easy for everyone to stay up to date on a deal’s stage and activity, and to work together on next steps to keep things on track. Winning deals is now a team orchestration instead of a solo effort. Plus, you can create a #winning channel where employees gather to pop (emoji) bottles and congratulate each other after a major close.
Slack recently launched a new Huddles feature that allows group audio within a channel. People can quickly hop in and out of an audio conversation without having to schedule a formal video chat while still sharing files and screens. This aligns with research from Yale that shows phone calls create an even stronger empathetic response than video calling. The screen-sharing capabilities also allow everyone to feel like they’re in the office standing over a monitor, hashing out last-minute decisions.
Why: Selling is a team sport – no rep closes a deal on their own. If a seller is facing a hurdle and they’re not able to pull in the right person quickly, it negatively impacts credibility, delays decision-making, and ultimately slows down the sales cycle. When teams are able to move as a unit, revenue grows.
Slack enables sellers to not just talk to each other better but to talk to other departments better. Slack tears down the walls that exist between sales and marketing, engineering, finance, legal, product, or customer success — all the key players needed to get the deal done! This empowers sales organisations to act on customer feedback faster, passing along valuable input to the product teams. One hundred percent of sales leaders surveyed in an IDC study agreed that Slack helped them better understand and work with non-sales teams.
How: Slack allows immediate collaboration between teams, even if the salesperson is on a call with a potential customer at that moment. If a prospect raises an objection, the speed of Slack allows the salesperson to contact the right person within their organisation, get an answer, and go right back to the client without leaving the call.
Slack is there to help share the joy of winning a new contract, too.
“When we acquire a new client, that information automatically goes into the general channel that the entire company sees,” says Holmes. “It’s a nice way for the people working on that deal: from the salesperson to the person onboarding the deal, and the team leader, to get credit for their contribution.”
So, are you ready for #next-steps?
Slack is a bridge builder. It closes the gaps between sellers and buyers, sellers and marketers, and sellers and other sellers. Slack helps to transform a CRM system from just the place where you keep information to the place where you engage, learn, and ultimately win. On virtual sales floors where salespeople are moving with ever-increasing agility, Slack positions teams to drive growth from anywhere.
This post originally appeared in the U.S.-version of the Salesforce blog.