Transformation

How the Influx sales team closes deals faster across 9 time zones with Slack

The world’s first and largest on-demand support service uses Slack to help monitor real-time sales activity, 24/7.

Author: Nathania Gilson 20th April 2021

Influx, the world’s first and largest on-demand support provider, relies on sales reps who can proactively address seasonal client needs, make things happen fast, and reach smart decisions. 

To increase deal win rates, close deals faster, and keep reps connected with cross-functional partners across nine countries (including Australia, the US, Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya and Jamaica), the Influx sales team relies on Slack channels, centralised workspaces for knowledge sharing and collaboration, to be successful. 

Scaling sales performance by global region, 24/7, with Slack channels

Influx has high standards for healthy team communication: from output, tone, and grammar to helping others out and general work ethic. The company’s sales and support teams use Slack channels to proactively learn about their clients’ businesses through sources such as previous inter-team conversations and internal documentation.

The simplicity of Slack channels allows team members to find the information they need to build high-performance relationships and workflows quickly. At a higher level, with channels, Alex Holmes, the chief growth officer of Influx, can review and improve performance retroactively. Conversations and data display themselves neatly by initiative and by local time.

“Sales activity from when a lead first arrives till when they decide to work with us is organised in an easy-to-follow 24-hour format, which lets me see where opportunities are moving the fastest or getting blocked.” says Holmes, “Or, I can see information in a retrospective format. Having a historical knowledge source like Slack makes it easier to scan through and see what’s been going on over the last few weeks, or even what hasn’t been happening but needs to.” 

The success of sales reps and client success managers depends on their ability to think ahead—not just for tomorrow but for the next 12 months, and then the next 24 months. With dedicated Slack channels, Holmes is able to track important performance indicators like:

  • Leads by region
  • Leads by campaign or product
  • Lead engagement
  • Follow ups
  • New clients
  • Payments or non-payments
  • Financial events
  • Inspiration and pinboards to help the sales and marketing teams plan and make decisions 

“What’s great about Slack channels is, you have context for every message, and messages don’t get lost,” Holmes says. He’s also found that it helps sales reps ramp up faster to full productivity. 

“When you break all those messages down into 10 different channels, then you can start diving into the most important issues first,” Holmes says. “That allows us to come up with solutions to problems faster and train people and figure out what’s going on. It’s also much easier to build relationships quickly.”

“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.”

Alex HolmesChief Growth Officer, Influx

Boosting sales productivity by picking up leads directly in Slack

Since launching in 2013, Influx has built up highly skilled, flexible support teams for more than 200 high-growth companies across the U.S., Australia and Europe. According to Influx co-founder and head of operations, Michael De Wildt, this success can be attributed to encouraging teams to make the best decision for the customer. After all, the best outcomes are driven by situational context over blindly following policies and procedures.  

Part of the company’s secret to operational success: an internal application that powers every aspect of its business from day one, including sales leads. “Within 30 seconds of a lead arriving on our website, our app sends a notification to a dedicated Slack channel.” Holmes says. “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.”

With this app integration, Holmes is able to focus on work and recall information when and where it’s needed, in Slack. It’s asynchronous-friendly, too: He can wake up in Melbourne and review overnight activity in the U.S or UK., for example. 

“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’’s 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.”

 

Tracking the sales deal lifecycle end-to-end with custom Slack integrations

As Influx customers go through the discovery, education and purchase phases through to post-purchase engagement and advocacy, Slack helps the sales team stay transparent at every stage—from working on the deal to winning new business and onboarding the client. 

Holmes and his team use an internal system that integrates with Slack to track the sales lifecycle. “We can understand when the customer first arrived,” he says, “if and when they first paid us, if they haven’t paid an invoice, and if they’re expanding or contracting.”

Relevant changes instantly get published to related client Slack channels, including a master customer lifecycle channel. “For example, if a client pays their first invoice, that’s very exciting,” says Holmes. “When we acquire a new client, that information automatically goes into the general channel that the entire company sees. 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.”

Notable client success solutions by sales reps include setting up Vend’s global 30-person customer support team with weekend coverage so that only one or two people need to work after-hours. Sales reps also work to make sure teams are set up to have an impact during the onboarding phase. ClassPass got help from more than 60 dedicated Influx agents who were onboarded in six days (beating the 14-day estimate), clearing an 11,000-ticket backlog alongside the internal team during the onboarding phase.

“When we acquire a new client, that information automatically goes into the general Slack channel that the entire company sees. It’s a nice way for the people working on that deal to get credit for their contribution.”

Alex HolmesChief Growth Officer, Influx

Speeding up approvals and offering custom help-desk solutions with Slack integrations

With Slack, sales reps can anticipate and act on customer needs that extend beyond the initial deal. The Influx platform connects to all major help desks and chat platforms, including Zendesk, Help Scout and Salesforce. 

To stay competitive, companies like Influx will have to work more closely with specialist partners and vendors, often using software APIs that call on new capabilities. Sales reps can still create value with other players in the ecosystem; they’ll just do it in an open, fluid way.

“We often get people coming into the lead funnel asking for solutions that are customised or not part of our primary business,” says Holmes. “For example, they might want us to help with Zendesk troubleshooting or a macro setup.” 

The sales rep working on the deal will have multiple channels set up to see if anyone in the wider Influx team can help find a solution to the customer problem or make time to help the customer directly.

Additionally, reps don’t have to work solo—they can tap into the expertise of peers in Slack channels related to:

  • Regional client success managers
  • General client sales 
  • Training
  • Specific help desks

“Any rep can go into these channels and try to find the expert in Zendesk macro setups,” says Holmes. “From there, we’ve actually brought on a few deals with custom offerings, just because it’s really easy to quickly find people that can help out and close the deal.”

Ultimately, Influx is in the business of generating confidence: the feeling that someone can rely on and trust you. Trust depends on knowledge sharing. 

While email chains keep knowledge trapped in silos, Slack can become a single source of truth for long-term client success, open for everyone on your team to see. The long-term goal of such transparency? Better relationships, considered responses and happier customers. 

 

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