Like many of us, Victoria Breidenthal didn’t get crypto.
“I’ve put a lot of time into learning about crypto. But it’s complex and changes fast. I’d be lying if I said I understand it in its entirety,” the enterprise account executive at Slack admitted.
What she did get, though, was her customer. And that landed her very first multi-million dollar deal.
How did it all go down? We asked Breidenthal to share her secrets.
1. Recognize the upsell opportunity in an extreme growth scenario
Breidenthal had been closely tracking the rise of Coinbase in the months leading up to its public offering. Coinbase is a startup dedicated to building the crypto-economy, and the company was also an existing Slack customer. In April 2021, when Coinbase went public, it became the largest crypto exchange in the United States with 68 million users.
Add to that, the company had previously signed a three-year contract with Slack for several thousand users, and five months later, it had blown past that allotment.
Since Slack is quick and informal, it was almost like being on a texting basis with someone. We were able to gain each other’s trust.
“This made Coinbase probably one of the fastest-growing companies I had ever seen in my time at Slack,” Breidenthal said. “Their contract was originally in our mid-market segment, but they outgrew our segment lines, which brought them into our enterprise team. This could allow us to get more creative with pricing.”
Translation: They were prime candidates for a contract expansion.
2. Communicate the need for a solution that could scale with the customer
Breidenthal and her team had to successfully show Coinbase the value of doing what’s called a “rip and replace,” where the company’s older contract would be supplanted with a bigger, better contract that reflected the company’s rapid scaling. Slack would pull in a larger ACV (annual contract value), and Coinbase would get better pricing per user. It was a complex deal that involved a lot of people, a lot of planning, and a lot of communication.
“We wanted to act fast to help support their growth in a moment when they really needed a scalable solution,” Breidenthal said.
Much of the magic happened in a dedicated Slack channel with Coinbase where Breidenthal could ensure seamless, secure collaboration with the customer, no email threads required. By becoming an authorized guest user in Coinbase’s workspace, she effectively embedded herself in the flow of conversation, allowing her to unlock a greater understanding of the customer and tightening the feedback loop as the team hammered out the intricacies of the deal.
“There were things that happened in the channel that likely wouldn’t have happened over email,” Breidenthal said. “Since Slack is quick and informal, it was almost like being on a texting basis with someone. Due to the ease of communication, we were able to gain each other’s trust.”
3. Align all the key players in order the move the deal forward
When the Coinbase team eventually agreed to the rip and replace, it was time to pass the contract back to Slack for approvals. Breidenthal had to obtain six different approvals from various departments within her organization.
“Not only does my manager need to approve it, her manager needs to approve it, and our VP needs to approve it. Legal needs to approve it. And so do our sales ops and revenue recognition teams,” she said.
If you’re wondering how a seller runs a deal like this up that many flagpoles and gets a bunch of players with different needs on the same page, enter automation. Breidenthal used a customized approvals bot to streamline sign-offs from all the essential parties in Slack. The bot enables teams at Slack to approve deals up to 70% faster, saving hundreds of hours and taking team productivity to new heights.
One of the biggest things that sales reps struggle with is clarity. This deal would have taken us so much longer if we didn’t have that relationship in Slack.
The integration was linked to Salesforce so when she created a quote in the CRM, she had the option to send it to a specific Slack channel for the Coinbase account. With one click, the Salesforce quote generated a Slack message that tagged every single person who needed to approve the deal, and created a real-time notification as each person approved. No more disjointed emails or excessive meetings.
“With a million-dollar ACV deal, every single leadership person’s eyes have to be on it,” Breidenthal said. “We were able to expedite this process because all the information you need for approvals and all the right people you need for approvals were all in one place.”
The approvals bot in Slack further accelerated the quote-to-cash process by extending the power of the CRM. It gave stakeholders what they needed, when they needed it, wherever they needed it, whether it was at their desktop or on mobile. Stakeholders didn’t even have to open Salesforce, they could approve right in Slack. The platform became the connective tissue bringing together data and knowledge from across several platforms and departments. This became all the more necessary since Breidenthal’s team was still fully remote.
“Instead of people having to pull information, that information was pushed to them. When you don’t have to go looking for something, it makes actionable items so much easier. The deal doesn’t get held up,” Breidenthal explained.
4. Overcome operational inefficiencies to close as a team
The hardest part of finally closing a deal this big? Clarity. Every step needs to be precise. Having deals come in by the end of the quarter is critical for an accurate sales forecast. A miscalculation about the timing of a seven-figure close like Coinbase, even if the sales close is off by a day, can heavily skew revenue predictions. And a lack of transparency for the customer side of things can erode confidence in the product and the deal. There’s no room for error, and Breidenthal needed to move in lockstep with her customer and with her sales team.
Slack didn’t just provide cross-functional visibility among internal stakeholders, it enabled them to roll up their sleeves and do the nimble, careful work of closing the deal together. Everyone in the extended sales team from finance to legal to go-to-market had a part to play.
“One of the biggest things that sales reps struggle with is clarity. Clarity from the customer and clarity internally,” Breidenthal said. “You can only ask so much in a meeting, but there are questions that arise throughout the sales process. Trying to accomplish this through email is extremely hard,” Breidenthal said.” This deal would have taken us so much longer if we didn’t have that relationship in Slack.”
And the final steps of aligning on contract terms, especially over minor details, can feel like the bane of every sales rep’s existence. But Slack made it simple.
“Once we near the finish line, it’s a few weeks of going back and forth with like, ‘Is this your address? Is this language okay?’ So there’s always a few things in flux that are all little details that we could resolve so much faster,” Breidenthal said.
With easy communication and effortless automation happening in Slack, Breidenthal’s time and attention was freed up to zero in on the customer. And once you’re able to zero in, you land those extra zeros.
The final result: a contract with a million-dollar ACV, and a multi-million dollar TCV (total contract value) over three years — signed, sealed, and delivered in the final week before the Q2 deadline.
How did Breidenthal celebrate her huge win? Well, she bought herself some Bitcoin.