Amid pervasive economic uncertainty and growth concerns at many organizations, sales teams everywhere are looking for ways to boost sales efficiency and lower costs. Last week at World Tour NYC, new Salesforce and Slack productivity innovations were announced to help organizations grow revenue — faster and at scale — at lower costs than ever.
Available early next year, new Sales Cloud and Slack innovations – powered by Salesforce Customer 360 and the new Slack platform – will bring together critical insights and scalable automation to help sales teams gain productivity, close deals quickly, and drive growth for their organizations. A Sales Productivity Bundle will be available immediately to help customers automate sales processes and give any sales organization a consistent way to work as a team, connected to all their systems and customer data.
We caught up with Rob Seaman, SVP of Product Management at Slack, to hear how customers can use the technology to bring critical insights, scalable automation, and the people who can act on them, together.
Q. How are economic headwinds prompting companies to adjust their strategies?
Companies are looking for ways to achieve higher levels of productivity. It’s not necessarily ‘growth at all costs,’ but ‘how do we do as much as we can with what we have?’
And that most certainly affects sales teams who are under pressure to produce results and move the business forward. They’re looking for a new way of selling that takes admin work off their plates and gives them tools to make them more efficient and productive.
Q. What challenges are Salesforce/Slack customers facing in this environment?
The challenges that teams are facing are actually the same ones that they’ve been facing for some time now. The macroeconomic environment is just bringing long-standing issues front and center.
Sales teams aren’t as effective as they theoretically could be. There’s a lot of misalignment among teams and their stakeholders. They’re spending a lot of time not actually selling.
Salesforce’s new State of Sales Report found that reps spend only 28% of their week selling, and 66% say they’re overwhelmed by using too many sales tools.Rob Seaman, SVP of Product Management at Slack
In addition, their data is often out of date. And it’s difficult to onboard new sales reps into these tough environments.
Q. How do the Salesforce and Slack innovations help sales reps be more productive?
To build these innovations, we took inspiration from how our own sales team and customers use Slack.
Think about the number of emails that go out during the sales process — either to a customer directly, or among colleagues about a customer’s status. It’s a lot of emails and a lot of people that are brought in that you need to get up to speed as you move through the sales flow. New Account Channels within Slack let sales teams orchestrate entire customer relationships, which are organized pretty inefficiently today.
With Account Channels, they can quickly find real-time insights that they had to hunt for before, and easily disseminate information about customers to everyone who needs to see it. For example, sales reps are often in the dark about whether a customer just logged a case, or their marketing team just invited a customer to be part of an event. With this new solution, that information is going to be brought to them proactively and in real time within an Account Channel in Slack.
The solution also enables greater collaboration between sales reps and other teams, making the process for winning sales deals as seamless as possible. The sales process often requires layers of deal approvals and executive support, which require buy in and approval from other groups across an organization. With the new tools, sales teams can easily work with teams – like finance and legal – to make decisions about next steps, answer questions, and more. It’s also easier than ever to solicit executive support for deals to make sure the deals are won.
Q. Sales is often a team sport. How do the new Account Channels help teams get the win?
To close a deal faster, sales teams need quick access to subject matter experts and stakeholders. For example, an executive sponsor that can negotiate pricing with the buyer, an expert on a particular product to explain the application to the customer’s business, or legal and finance teams to nail down the details of a deal.
A Slack Account Channel makes it a heck of a lot faster for reps to make these connections, and get teams up to speed and brought into deals when and where they’re needed. We’re bringing all of those deal-making team members – and necessary approvals – right into Slack, making the process to close deals tremendously faster than they’ve previously been.
Q. How do the new solutions’ automation features play a role in closing deals?
The new Slack platform is much more automated than before, and we’re connecting that to Salesforce’s platform.
When a customer logs a case or gets a marketing message, reps will now have an automated, real-time view of the activity. The process of requesting a subject matter expert or an executive can be automated through channels and workflows in Slack.
And, importantly, that process of obtaining approvals, which can be so time consuming, is going to be automated through a process directly in Slack. The approval process for quotes for sales reps often takes days or weeks, and we’re going to take that from weeks or days down to within the day, or hours, or minutes.
Q. What does the future look like for sales teams?
The future of sales hinges on teams’ ability to be unified, in one place; where reps can access the tools, data, collaboration, and customer information they need with the least amount of effort required.
Additionally, working with customers in a faster way, and more directly, is going to be a huge part of the future for sales teams. Today, a lot of customer communication is handled over email, and through forms and paperwork, which is just not efficient. Automated processes and new ways of working in real time, like Slack Connect, will be transformative for sales teams.