Building strong face-to-face relationships is the cornerstone of any successful sales strategy. But remote work has led many sales teams to rely on convoluted email chains and glitchy video calls to maintain current relationships and close deals with prospective customers. Productivity can also take a hit as sales representatives switch between tools to find crucial information.
At our annual conference, Slack Frontiers, we heard from Mark Wayland, chief revenue officer at Box, a cloud content management company, about his strategies for using Slack, the secure channel-based messaging platform. Wayland empowered his sales teams to not only adapt to a changing sales environment, but emerge more resilient and successful than before.
With Slack, the sales teams at Box can:
- Strengthen internal connections and boost morale
- Unlock opportunities and shorten sales cycles with customers, using Slack Connect
- Maximize team effectiveness by centralizing relevant tools
Aligning sales teams with executive AMAs in Slack channels
To maximize team effectiveness, sales representatives at Box have evolved how they connect and share news, boosting morale and keeping productivity high in a network of Slack channels, virtual spaces to share messages, digital tools and files. Box also started weekly Ask Me Anything sessions (AMAs) with executive leaders in Slack to foster transparency, employee engagement and alignment.
“We have a virtual, company-wide lunch every Friday which includes an executive AMA,” explains Wayland. “We facilitate this AMA via Slack to ensure our employees around the world feel like they have a voice. Employees can ask questions and check in on executive responses no matter what time zone they’re in.”
“Our global account teams around the world are communicating and collaborating in Slack. They’re helping each other and helping our customers be more successful.”
In lieu of in-person check-ins, sales leaders at Box lean on Slack to build camaraderie and bring everyone together in a shared, virtual space. “With Slack, we don’t have to do any pushing or pulling,” Wayland says. “It’s where our team communicates and collaborates.”
And even if they’re away from their computer, sales teams at Box can stay connected. “The speed and simplicity of Slack and the mobile app is excellent.”
Maintaining customer relationships and retention with Slack Connect
Just as sales teams are discovering new ways to connect with each other, they’re brainstorming new strategies for customer outreach. Enter Slack Connect, an effective email replacement that helps sales teams leverage channel-based messaging to build and strengthen customer relationships.
“Our best sellers set up Slack Connect channels with a prospect,” Wayland explains. “Once they’re a customer, it evolves into an open channel to discuss how we’ll continue to meet and exceed expectations.”
Box sales team members have even reduced delays in signing contracts by connecting with customers in their dedicated Slack channel. “We’ve had a huge increase in executive engagement and a decrease in deal pushes and slips because of the availability of signers,” says Wayland.
“At Box, we get much higher fidelity communication in Slack because we’re not lost in overflowing inboxes.”
Boosting sales productivity and performance with Slack integrations
Now that sales interactions have changed, sales representatives need to make the most of every conversation with prospects and customers. Box replaced Chatter with Slack for improved speed and simplicity, and zeroed in on integrations to boost sales productivity. Collaboration and communications have become richer thanks to the Salesforce, Gong, SalesLoft and People.ai integrations for Slack.
“We need tools that help sales reps work efficiently, and these Slack apps and automations drive the most productive output when reps are in front of customers,” Wayland says. “A lot of enterprises are spending up to $10,000 per rep on other tools, and that’s before you even get into engagement and enablement platforms.”
When you don’t have these tools, Wayland explains, it’s harder to retain reps, especially in complex business-to-business sales when deals can drag out with layers of security protocols and multiple buyers and lines of business.
“You could have 50 broken email threads that stretch over time and get more convoluted,” he says. “Or you can have one continuous Slack channel on your key deals that you can work in and refer back to. The Slack channel is critical.”
Helping teams hit their stride during uncertain times
In a world where work, family life and everything in between has changed dramatically, the sales organization at Box has kept the team spirit alive in Slack.
“At Box, everyone communicates and collaborates in Slack—not just sales but our customer success managers, our marketing team, our product and engineering team, and our people team,” Wayland says. “Slack is the natural place to go for communication with a rapid response rate.”