in Best Practices, Slack | Estimated reading time: 7 minutes | 2 Comments

How to Get Your Sales Team Using Slack

Slack is the fastest growing enterprise software company of all time for a reason: there is immense value when companies make an investment to streamline communication and workflow by using Slack.

However, some types of teams have been quicker to start using Slack than others.

Using Slack

In this post, we’re going to share some different ways that Sales and Customer Success teams can drive Slack adoption within their organization.

Here are some outcomes we’ve seen amongst some of the most modern Sales & Customer Success teams once they’ve effectively started using Slack:

  • Greater real-time transparency, collaboration, and communication across teams (i.e. Sales → Post Sales)
  • Quicker follow-up on inbound leads
  • Improved focus on highest value opportunities
  • Increased engagement around team wins
  • Less time in bloated meetings
  • A decrease in unnecessary emails threads
  • Minimizing instances of duplicative information sharing
  • Quicker recall of important information like CRM data and company best practices

If your organization is looking to improve any of these initiatives and has not yet effectively adopted Slack, I encourage you to read on!

Here are some ways to get your sales team to start using Slack:

Silo One Function To Slack

If you’re having trouble getting your team to use Slack, one simple thing you can do is constrain one type of communication to being “Slack only.”

Today there are many recurring communication events that exist over email.

I’d argue that messaging is actually a better medium for some of these instances. Specifically, for communication that:

  • Requires a more real-time response
  • Includes data that might need to be recalled in the future consistently since message channels can be less ephemeral than long email threads that might get archived.

Some specific examples of communication where Slack might be better than email are:

When Sales has a question for the Product team

Requests to pull reports from Sales to Sales Ops

AE → post-sale pass off

AE’s being informed that a customer they own has written to customer service

This list goes on, but you can see how mandating that even just one of these communication functions will be performed Slack can start to ingrain the habit amongst your team.

*In order for this initiative to be successful you need to have an internal champion to police adherence to this. As a sales manager or sales operations manager, that should be you!

Like any positive behavior change, there will be a bit resistance in the beginning. But, the upfront investment will pay itself in spades in productivity gains.

Declare A Weekly Slack Day

In the same vein as the strategy above, another way to drive adoption is pushing all communication with the “champion(s)” to Slack for one day a week.

I was recently with a Sales Ops manager who is constantly getting requests from his sellers to do tasks like pulling reports and finding specific meta data, etc.

This manager sees an immense opportunity for his team to increase productivity by shifting internal communication to Slack, but is having trouble getting old school sellers to make the jump.

A simple solve could be picking a day like “Friday” and only being available to his team on Slack for all requests.

You might even go as far as putting on a vacation auto-responder if you don’t get a ton of external communication directing people to ask you anything over Slack.

Obviously, there is still some mission critical emails that might require you to bend the rules a bit, but this is a simple way to get team members to adopt Slack..

Build Out Your Integration Stack

 

Using Slack

 

One of the main reasons Sales teams have been a bit slower to adopt Slack than Engineering and Product teams is the lack of value-adding integrations…until today Person Raising Both Hands in Celebration on Apple iOS 9.3

At Troops, we know people work out of Salesforce and email, so we’re laser focused on serving our audience with our Salesforce + Gmail integration.

 

Using Slack

 

An important factor to consider when thinking about driving adoption amongst teams new to Slack is the behavior of “push” vs. “pull”. Pushing valuable information for Sales teams is the easiest way to get salespeople using Slack, and can be the segue to other interactions like cross-team engagement.

Here are some push integrations that might be relevant:

  • Delivery of pipeline reports from Salesforce
  • Inbound lead notifications
  • Notification of stage changes
  • Customer Service tickets

Real time updates on compelling events and leading indicators are crucial, so theoretically this list could be a mile long, but hopefully the examples above give you a few ideas…

You can dedicate development resources to accommodate many of these requests like the Slack team has done, or just sign up for Troops where we have made many of these experiences plug and play Winking Face on Apple iOS 9.3

Make Status Meetings or Pipeline Reviews Digital

A sales team’s version of a daily standup is a pipeline report or status meeting. Basically, individual members of a team discuss what’s going on with their pipeline as well as other details like what’s blocking them or what their most important priority is.

If you’ve ever been in these meetings, you know that they can result in a lot of wasted time for each contributor. After you’ve shared your updates, it’s really easy to zone out like a 4th grader during school-wide assemblies.

Using Slack

Making these meetings digital can optimize a meeting in a few ways:

  • Limit the amount of wasted time
  • Make the information shared available for recall at anytime
  • Allow for asynchronous processing to minimize content switching amongst each rep
  • Eliminate the time spent for remote team members dialing in & dealing with technical difficulties

A simple way to do this is to provide everyone a format for their status, create a new channel for status updates, and mandate that everyone share their status before a certain time.

Here is a sample template:

3 most important deals I’m working on: Microsoft, Dell, HP

How I’m going to be successful: Focus on getting buy in with all decision makers and alignment on what success looks like

Blockers: I still don’t have a champion at Microsoft

Sample Process: Status updates to be shared by every member of the team before 10am on every Monday in the “Sales Status” channel.

Check out Solid, Meekan, or Howdy if you’d like to integrate a bot that would do this for you when you start using Slack.

Highlight Deal Mentions

If you’re a seller, it’s important that you know everything that’s going on with a prospect or account you’re working.

Between Customer Success, Support, and even new inbounds from existing accounts, you want your team informed whenever an event occurs with one of their customers.

A simple way to make this really easy is to take advantage of the “Highlight Words” feature.

Using Slack

Using Slack

This features enabled individuals to be notified when someone mentions a word or phrase. A quick, easy win is to  have reps enter their most important opportunities as highlighted words so they get notified every time someone within the organization mentions a deal they’re working on.

This can be huge for fostering transparency between teams so everyone is on the same page throughout the customer lifecycle.

Make Using Slack Fun

People love slack for more than just the lift it provides in productivity gains…did someone say Giphy?

Using Slack

Their rich integrations with 3rd party services and focus on delighting the user has made work communication actually fun. You can these elements of their product as a lever to get your team to spend more time in Slack.

Here are some ways you can make Slack fun:

  • Integrate Giphy…because who doesn’t love gifs!
  • Start affinity channels to make it easy for people to galvanize around things besides just work. This could be as simple as starting a #lunch channel or a bit more involved like #whiskeyaficionados!
  • Drive engagement by celebrating wins. There are a host of services like Growbot and ++plusplus that make it easy to give people shoutouts and make them feel good…and yes, they include emojis 🙂

These are just a few ways that some teams have made Slack a communication hub for their Sales and Customer success teams. For some additional ideas, we recommend checking out the Slack User Guide for  Sales or these Slack Hacks for Your Sales Team.

What have you tried to drive Slack adoption amongst your sales team? Please share with us in the comments!

[Cover image via the awesome blog at Drift]