When it comes to how Slack can benefit sales teams, the numbers don’t lie: 296% return on investment; nearly 15% increase in closed deals; 13% faster onboarding; $2.6-million increased revenue due to improved sales velocity. But those numbers could just be scratching the surface of business possibilities when it comes to bringing together Slack and Sales Cloud, according to Bill Patterson, Salesforce’s General Manager of Sales Cloud.
We spoke with Patterson on digital deal rooms, simplification over complication, and where Slack within Salesforce can equip teams for the future of sales.
Q. What went through your mind when you first heard about the Salesforce-Slack acquisition?
When you think about the world’s leading engagement platform in Slack, combining forces with the world’s leading CRM platform, as an innovator that gets your mind going about living up to our company’s promise of helping businesses get closer to their customers.
Q. How will integrating Slack into the existing Sales Cloud to create the Digital HQ for Sales be meaningfully different and better for our customers?
There’s so many great use cases for Slack throughout the sales process, starting with using channels. Sales is a team sport, so think of channels as a way to bring together all the different team members who collaborate around a customer or deal. You can use different channels for your accounts, deals, and opportunities in the works.
Slack also breaks down the formality of communication and speeds up business workflow. Instead of writing a long-form email to approve this deal or discount, you can react with a quick thumbs-up or thumbs-down emoji. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing to switch to a different context. It speeds up the transaction in a natural, graphical, and whimsical way.
We’re going to deeply embed Slack within the sales cycle from onboarding and training salespeople; to finding experts across the enterprise; to using Slack Connect to engage customers, partners, suppliers, and vendors. Here at Salesforce, we’ve already begun to transform our sales process by becoming Slack-first. We’re already seeing a heightened level of engagement at Salesforce and I’m excited to see other customers experience that too.
Here at Salesforce, we’ve already begun to transform our sales process by becoming Slack-first.”bill patterson, gm, sales cloud
Q. In the “Built by Humans” podcast, you mentioned how calls-per-hour is an outdated metric and we should focus more on the quality of the relationships between salespeople and their clients. How can Slack help facilitate that?
Slack Connect is a place where a company can securely connect outside of the walls of its organization with their customers. Developing proposals, sales pitches, negotiations — all of that is an intimate process with your customers. It’s not just sending or forwarding an email to say you’re connected. With Slack, you have all the back and forth context, and can invite other people into that dialogue while getting real time answers. Some work moves to the background and that frees up time to develop more meaningful relationships with customers.
Q. You mentioned a challenging part of sales is catching up on an existing account and learning what’s happened in the past. How does bringing together Slack and Sales Cloud allow that process to become faster and more efficient?
It’s a very common scenario to have account managers or sales representatives taking on new accounts. Maybe someone moved on from the business and now you’ve been assigned to maintain and grow a relationship. The drill of catching up on accounts takes a lot of manual effort — phone calls, etc. That changes with Slack. Slack has all the relationship and conversation history searchable and streamlined in one place, helping a salesperson get up to speed very quickly.
This is really going to be a godsend for a lot of our sellers who are picking up new accounts for the first time, or are transferring or selling to new areas.”bill patterson, gm, sales cloud
This is really going to be a godsend for a lot of our sellers who are picking up new accounts for the first time, or are transferring or selling to new areas. If someone’s relocated during the pandemic, this could be a really phenomenal tool for those scenarios.
Q. Statistics have shown Slack’s digital Deal Rooms can improve the speed of sales cycles. What are Deal Rooms?
A digital deal room is a specific channel we create on Slack that has all the necessary people invited, all of the pertinent deal information stored. It also has all the inherent workflow and automation experiences to prompt and nudge people if certain actions to advance a deal are not actually being followed through. As the deal progresses through the sales cycle, teams can update Salesforce data right from Slack, changing the deal size or a close date as conversations move forward.
Those things come together in the digital deal room and speeds up the process of closing deals. Our customers are seeing up to 15% increased productivity by just closing deals on Slack. It’s because everyone now is orchestrated around the workflow required to get the job done.
Q. Field sales representatives can have their own set of challenges. How can the Digital HQ for Sales help address potential feelings of isolation?
I’ve been fascinated by the level of engagement you find with your peers that are all distributed around the world when using Slack. The ability to create a sense of community amongst your work groups, your colleagues through this digital water cooler. Apps like Donut in Slack can automatically schedule virtual coffee meetings to foster relationship building.
One thing we’ve learned in this time is that the separation between working at home or in the office is really challenging to manage. One of my favorite features of Slack is setting your status. You know when I’m away and not coming back until the morning. I’m not working through the night and can spend time with my family. A lot of customers I speak to find they’re more resilient because they can pause and come back in the morning.
Q. What’s coming down the pipe regarding Sales Cloud and Slack that you’re most excited about?
When Slack joined Salesforce we became a new company altogether. We can rethink how businesses communicate. Maybe in the future instead of calling an 800 number for a service center, you’re opening Slack and getting right to the trusted agent you’ve previously had great success with.
Maybe in the future instead of calling an 800 number for a service center, you’re opening Slack and getting right to the trusted agent you’ve previously had great success with.”bill patterson, gm, sales cloud
Maybe in the future, you can reorder your products with a slash command inside of your Slack experience. You no longer have to review product catalogs, you can just say ‘give me the latest’ or ‘repeat my purchase from before.’
This opportunity to speed up business and break down barriers of engagement is what a Slack-first future will mean for our customers. We’re going to be able to give back what companies and customers all need: time.
We’re going to be able to give back what companies and customers all need: time.”bill patterson, gm, sales cloud
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