Despite all the big changes in its top management, Slack’s product evolution continues at pace. Coinciding with the arrival of the Salesforce World Tour in New York today, the digital teamwork and messaging platform today announces closer integration into its parent company’s flagship Sales Cloud, along with a package of streamlined sales processes. Customer priorities are leading Slack to “aggressively focus on sales,” says Rob Seaman, the company’s SVP of Product Management. He explains:
“We are seeing a number of our customers trying to improve sales productivity and efficiency in this time. And those sales teams are under a lot of pressure to produce results, and again, do that in a very efficient way.”
The preview of the new Sales Cloud and Slack solution, which will be available next year, is today’s flagship announcement. It expands on existing integrations to add more ready-to-run processes that are automatically triggered within Slack when used in combination with Sales Cloud. Seaman elaborates:
There is an integration that’s available today, customers can go use that between Sales Cloud and Slack. That’s largely focused on data integration, so you can get notifications from Sales Cloud into Slack, you can make updates to Sales Cloud from Slack.
This new solution is going to include a catalog of best-practice sales workflows built on top of the new Slack platform. It’s also going to have the connectivity that the existing solutions have. But layered on top of that it’s going to have out-of-the-box workflows built on top of the platform for things like getting a subject matter expert into your deal, for managing approvals, for running a QBR, for running a forecast call, things like that …
This builds on the foundation of the work that’s happened between Salesforce and Slack for connectivity, authentication, permissioning, et cetera, and it takes it to the next level with the new Slack platform and those out-of-the-box workflows.
The tighter integration is designed to tempt more Sales Cloud customers into adding Slack for team communications, he adds:
The key part of the connectivity into Salesforce is we expect a significant number of the Salesforce customers of Sales Cloud and net new customers of Sales Cloud to use this, because it’s going to be a faster, more modern way for them to sell.
Sales productivity with Slack
The second part of the announcement is a sales productivity bundle, available to all Slack customers from today, that includes a number of ready-made processes for sales teams. This is based on taking a look at how the most advanced Slack users, including Slack itself, are using the platform to accelerate their own sales processes. Seaman says:
What we’ve done is we’ve taken a long hard look at how the Slack sales team uses Slack, which is very different than how the rest of the world does. We’ve looked at the other leading organizations that are out there and said, ‘Okay, how can we make the other sales organizations that are out there that are either on Slack or might adopt Slack in the future as fast and effective as the Slack sales organization or the others that have gotten there already?’ And we see that way is these workflows that are built on top of the Slack platform.
Many of these workflows are designed to ease collaboration between sales teams and other functions across the enterprise. As such, this part of today’s announcement has something to offer customers that aren’t using Sales Cloud as well as those that are Salesforce users. Seaman gives an example:
You’re working a big deal with a prospective customer, and you need to get your CEO in to talk to their CEO. That process today is fraught with phone calls, emails, calendaring, and there can be a very simple workflow in Slack where you can submit a request into a channel where all the executive assistants for your entire executive leadership team are, where you can say what customer, what deal, and they can just quickly flag it, make it happen, and your life is a heck of a lot easier. That’s not really connected to your CRM, but it makes you faster and more productive as a seller … So this is a modern way of selling using Slack and Slack platform.
Early adopters of these best-practice workflows have seen significant impact. He says:
We’ve seen customers that have improved their sales cycle length by 15% by using Slack and having channels about their customers. We’ve seen 60% faster response time with their customers through Slack Connect. So there are a number of other customers that we’re working with that have also shown us the ways that that this can be leveraged by sales organizations, and we’re learning from all of this.
The improved integration may also help existing Salesforce customers who already use its native Chatter communications channel to switch those conversations and workflows to Slack — although at some customers this is a project that needs careful planning. Seaman explains:
The benefit of Slack is, it’s where you’re already working, it has the rest of your enterprise that may not use that part of Salesforce, and you can fluidly bring people in and out. Same thing with other applications being in the channel beyond Salesforce. But when they have embedded workflows into Chatter as an example, customers do have to go through and think through ‘How might we model this in Slack instead of Chatter?’ So we do see a lot of the workloads for conversations being moved from Chatter over to Slack. The workflows themselves, I think, take a little bit of thought [but are] certainly feasible in Slack with the Slack platform.
One observation from Slack’s departing CEO Stewart Butterfield that has always stuck with me is when he said that it isn’t easy for organizations to adapt to Slack. Packaging up ready-made workflows is one way to ease that onboarding process, so today’s announcements are a sensible move, particularly for Sales Cloud customers, who will get an additional leg up once the new integrated package ships. But it’s important too that the wider productivity package is relevant for users of any CRM product, sending a message that, while Slack is becoming a more integral part of Salesforce, it still wants to offer value beyond the Salesforce universe.