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The new playbook for sealing sales deals in an all-remote world
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The new playbook for sealing sales deals in an all-remote world

Why sales teams at Box and Segment rely on Slack to build stronger customer relationships and seal deals faster.

What's the key to converting a prospective lead into a customer? Most sales representatives will tell you that ace communication is just as important as the product you're selling.

But this year, the tried and true way of doing business changed fundamentally and we're likely not ever going back to the traditional way of working. Sales teams can no longer nurture customer relationships over face-to-face meetings or meals. Internally, sales representatives and account executives can no longer roll up to their colleagues' desks to exchange updates or ask questions about a lead.

Adjusting to remote work in the age of Covid-19 means rapidly adopting technology systems to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration. Today's IT leaders are meeting such a tall order by following a selective best-of-breed approach to technology, ultimately choosing the best tools for the task at hand rather than adopting a suite of software from one vendor.

Slack, the channel-based messaging platform, is one best-of-breed solution sales teams are readily using to close communication gaps and build better relationships with customers. Companies can securely collaborate with external parties using Slack channels, a single place to share files and messages, in the same Slack workspace through Slack Connect.

"In sales, getting customers and prospects to talk to you via text is generally considered the gold standard," said Mark Wayland, chief revenue officer at Box, during our annual Slack Frontiers conference.

"Slack Connect has replaced that and has become a game changer for sales teams in the pre-sale, integration, and post-sale phases of the sales cycle."

Here's how sales organizations at Box and Segment are harnessing the power of channel-based messaging to keep communication strong, seal deals and streamline the sales cycle when everyone is remote.

Box: Streamlining communication to seal deals faster with Slack

As a cloud computing company that focuses on content management, Box is always looking for ways to improve communication with customers who are already being bombarded with too many emails. Enter Slack Connect.

"Slack Connect is a privileged communication line between us and a customer or a prospect," Wayland says. "Our best sellers always set up those external communication channels with a prospect. You get much higher fidelity communication, much more regular communication, because you're not lost in overflowing inboxes."

With increasing engagement—on both sides—Box's sales team has a better chance of converting prospects into full-fledged customers with a strong collaborative relationship.

They've 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. "When those prospects become customers, we use Slack channels to discuss customer success issues and how can we make them more successful with their current investment in Box."

Internally, Slack also helps Box's sales team maximize team effectiveness when it comes to vetting and converting marketing qualified leads (MQLs) into sales leads that can be pushed down the funnel to account executives.

"Before Slack, our team wasn't alerted about new MQLs until they looked in Salesforce," says Kate Sterne, the global senior director of sales development and inside sales at Box. "If we were lucky, the right person would see it within a minute, but on average we might not have seen it for two hours. And every minute you don't respond, the chance of converting that opportunity goes down approximately 20%."

Slack notifications changed everything."With Slack, our speed to lead is much faster," Sterne says. "You still get lots of notifications, but instead of showing up as thousands of emails in your inbox, it just shows up as a red dot on your Slackbot."

Additionally, before Box's sales teams began working in Slack, the time between getting an MQL and crafting a service-level agreement, or SLA, was generally about two weeks. That's because teams were assigning MQLs to individual people, rather than putting them in a queue for the next available account executive to take on. Thanks to Slack, they've now boiled down the turnaround time to two days.

"We've moved from a weeks-long SLA to a two-day SLA and are one step closer to a one-day SLA," says Peter Vanderhaak, senior director of go-to-market process and systems at Box.

Segment: Setting customers and partners up for success in Slack channels

Alex Chou is an account manager at customer data platform, Segment. On a typical day, Chou might speak with prospects from both a five-person startup and an enterprise with more than 1,000 employees. No matter whom she's speaking to, it's her responsibility to carefully research each organization's mission, determine its goals for customer data, and then propose a solution for which Segment can help.

Chao and her teammates keep this critical customer information organized in Slack Connect. For each prospect, the sales team spins up a dedicated Slack channel. This channel becomes home base for anyone from account executives to solution engineers from each organization to connect, share information and answer questions.

Chou uses the pin feature in Slack to keep track of key documents—like project plans and timelines—so everyone's on the same page. Saving documents and conversations in a way that's easily searchable and archivable makes it simple to onboard teammates onto accounts or pass the baton to new stakeholders.

Sasha Blumenfeld, group partner marketing manager at Segment explained how working in channels not only helps her teammates keep conversations organized and focused, it helps speed up communication and build strong relationships with both customers and partners.

Before adopting Slack, Blumenfeld says her teammates often missed critical email threads or had to hound teammates to schedule phone and video check-ins. This would ultimately take up way too much precious time when planning events or launching campaigns.

"With Slack Connect, we can reach decisions with partners and stakeholders within a day," says Blumenfeld. "In the past, these conversations would normally take at least a week."

If you'd like to learn more about how you and your team can get started with Slack, schedule a free 20-minute consultation with one of our experts.