E-book

Sales teams and Slack

A guide to managing sales pipelines, working with internal teams and landing more deals with Slack.

The average company loses more than 20% of its productive power to “organisational drag.”


That includes all the time teams spend searching for the name of their customer’s favourite bakery before an upcoming visit, or coordinating internally on the status of campaigns, projects and other factors that can affect a deal.

This handbook will show you and your sales team how you can use Slack to keep the sales pipeline flowing. Work in channels, integrate apps and services you already use and deploy various Slack features to bring up information in an instant so people can spend less time digging through inboxes and arranging meetings and more time on what matters: providing top-notch service to customers and closing deals.

Sales teams using Slack experience a 25% increase in potential deals won per year per sales team member.

The Business Value of SlackIDC Research, 2017

1. Get access to information and experts company-wide

More than just a place to organise conversations, public channels automatically create a hub of knowledge that’s searchable by everyone in your organisation. If you commit to doing most of your work in public channels, when someone needs more context to move a deal forward – such as the deal history, insights about the customer or the status of a customer request – all that information is readily accessible.

It’s best to reserve private channels for conversations that are sensitive or confidential, such as budget and deal approvals, and direct messages for quick back-and-forths.

Channel tips:

  • Organise channels by team (for example, #sales-team), projects and accounts (#sales-teathyme), region (#sales-emea) and function (#salesforce-notifications or #sales-announcements) to keep conversations focused. Start with a few and add more as you go.
  • Name channels in a predictable way so they’re easier to find, like an index. Prefixes help!
  • Stay on top of conversations by starring important channels so that they’re pinned to the top of your sidebar

And say hello to highlight words: As the name suggests, this notification preference will alert you whenever a word that matters to you is mentioned in a private channel you belong to or in a public channel anywhere in Slack.

2. Turn insights into action in a flash 

Bringing real-time sales data into Slack

Timing can be everything when landing a deal. With Slack apps and integrations, you can bring valuable real-time data from a variety of sales systems and platforms into channels where your team discussions are already happening, so everyone has quick access to critical information needed to make decisions, resolve issues and respond to new leads and opportunities.

Piping sales data into public channels also means managers and people from other teams can stay updated on deal progress without taking anyone’s focus away from their goal. And less juggling between multiple apps and logins means fewer lags in your work day.

Integrating sales tools with Slack

Connect these apps and services to your Slack workspace to manage your sales pipeline in one place.

 

Discover more in the Sales category of the Slack App Directory.

Tip: Set up weekly reminders (/remind) for yourself, a user group (e.g. @sales-smb) or an entire channel to remind team members to keep their records up to date.

3. Keep customers informed and interested 

Working across teams in Slack

Sales teams need to know how to rustle up answers to customers’ questions quickly, often between meetings or a hectic travel schedule. Here are a few ideas for how you can set up your Slack workspace to stay closely aligned with other teams whose work supports or affects a deal’s success.

Updated pitch slides and sales collateral at your fingertips

In a channel such as #sales-demos, marketing and sales can work together to ensure everyone’s singing from the same spec sheet. Avoid version control pandemonium by pinning the most updated documents to the channel and add the Guru app to turn your conversations into an internal wiki so you can keep important information handy.

Tip: Need to update a proposal with the team on the spot? Launch a Slack call and use screen sharing or add your favourite video conferencing app to Slack to work on tweaks and improvements together.

Share and prioritise customer feedback

Create a channel so that salespeople in the field can easily report customer feedback and requests to product teams while it’s fresh in their minds. When others react to the message with an emoji, it can act as a diagnostic tool, signalling how much need there is for that request.

Celebrate successes

Remind everyone that every deal is a team effort by using announcements channels to celebrate new deals as well as the people, across distributed teams and offices, who worked on them. These messages can still include useful information, such as the size of the deal and the payment terms, that becomes instantly searchable.

4. Make external partners part of the team: 

Working in shared channels

Congrats! You’ve closed a deal. Build on the conversations in your account-focused Slack channel by adding account managers, customer success managers and other team members who will be supporting the account, so they can continue to discuss customer needs and opportunities for renewals, upgrades and other negotiations.

With shared channels, you can create another channel that bridges your Slack workspace with your customer’s workspace, so you can answer their questions quickly and build better partnerships.

Learn how to create shared channels.

50%

reduction in sales cycle duration at Solstice

“I can have an individual finance conversation and create a channel where everything is tracked historically. I can search and find all the relevant files and everything I need. It just moves things through the process so much quicker now.”

Dan Karbdatzke

 

What’s next?

There’s lots to digest in this handbook, so here are a few things your team can do at the outset to streamline your workflows, speed up your processes and make information more accessible across teams.

Checklist:

  • Do a little channel clean-up: Maintaining good channel hygiene is essential for keeping communication between teams and departments crystal clear. Make sure you periodically audit your channel list, archiving ones that are no longer relevant or useful. Take a look at these tips for reducing noise in Slack.
  • Rethink your channel names: Is there a consistent naming convention across all your channels? Are they labelled in a way that makes their purpose obvious? Take some time to rename channels so that they’re easy to find and follow. Learn more about channel naming best practices.
  • Give some apps a whirl: Connect a few key services that you use often (such as your CRM) to your team’s workspace and try sharing and updating data directly in Slack. Explore sales apps for Slack.

For detailed tips and how-tos on organising channels, working with apps and more, visit our Help Centre. Or if you prefer to talk to a human, get in touch any time via feedback@slack.com or find us on Twitter @slackhq and we’ll be happy to help.

    Footnotes

    1. Michael Mankins and Eric Garton, Bain & Company, Time, Talent, Energy, March 7, 2017. http://www.bain.com/publications/business-insights/time-talent-energy.aspx

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