Katy Perry was roaring and Leonardo DiCaprio was immortalizing the infamous Jordan Belfort on the big screen. The year was 2013 and sales tech was at a crossroads. It just didn’t know it yet.

Salesforce had cemented themselves as the defacto CRM, and reps spent a majority of their time in the SaaS app. But as the SaaS landscape continued to mature, more and more apps began to pop up, many of which aimed to increase rep productivity. The issue here quickly became evident - reps needed to go to a different destination app in order to do their jobs.

And when you look at what reps need to do, it’s no wonder. Let’s just take a brief look at some of the daily activities of a sales rep and the destination apps required to do each.

Task Apps
Responsible for updating information in the CRM Salesforce
Access marketing collateral DAM, Google Drive
Find playbook materials and product/competitor information Wiki, company Intranet, Docs
Collaborate with their team internally GChat, Chatter
View important milestones or indicators in their pipeline Business Intelligence Tool

Yikes. And to think, this list doesn’t even include email clients and researching in LinkedIn. How do reps stay focused and execute bouncing between all of those different destinations? Or adopt more products that require more destinations aimed to make them more efficient or effective?

Here’s what we do know - good sales reps are productivity machines. And when you require those reps to continually switch context and log into a new app to use a tool, adoption plummets. According to Saleshacker, there are over 700 sales SaaS applications - spanning everything from sales intelligence tools to productivity and enablement tools. A basic problem with too many destinations is the lack of adoption of those applications. Even if you can initially get reps to use these tools, the constant context switching hurts productivity by up to 40%.

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 3.34.44 PM SalesHacker Sales Technology Blueprint

The lack of adoption has been compounded by the growing trend of a "bottoms up" sales model, where centralized IT departments are subverted and new SaaS products are purchased by the individual teams themselves. With many B2B SaaS product employing either a free trial or freemium offering, there is now a huge incentive to use the shotgun approach and try as many products as possible in the hopes that one sticks. As a result, the average SMB company uses 14 different SaaS apps, and for large enterprises that number balloons to 66.

How Slack combats modern adoption challenges

While Salesforce very much remains the backbone of the sales tech stack, reps are now only spending 18% of their time in the CRM. 18. Percent. So where’s the disconnect?

“Five years ago, we looked for things connected to Salesforce. Why? Because everyone lived and breathed and did all their work in Salesforce. But things have changed. There’s a parallel now to people living in Slack. I can get so much more done, so much faster, because everyone lives in Slack. People are using Slack day in and day out -- their engagement data is pretty remarkable.” - Doug Landis, Growth Partner @ Emergence Capital

So what does this mean for the future of Salesforce? Believe it or not - great things. The rise of Slack and its ecosystem is ultimately good for the CRM, as Slack can effectuate activity and engagement with sales tech through the Slack platform. On average, Slack users spend more than 2 hours per weekday in Slack on average and the service now boasts over 6M daily active users. When you look at numbers like this one thing that is clear: Slack has now become a destination in the enterprise and will only continue to grow in influence. And the sales tech landscape has taken notice, and are now building on top of the Slack platform. Forward thinking sales leaders are now looking to leverage the Slack ecosystem to drive rep productivity, taking advantage of Slack’s stickiness and meeting reps where they want to work.

Unpacking the Slack for Sales ecosystem

From CRM Management to Enablement, there are a whole host of workflows and tools built into Slack that can make reps productivity machines. With integrations and bots that require nothing more than a quick slash command, reps can stay in Slack and get all of their work done.

Let’s take a look at some Slack workflows and tools sales leaders are utilizing to drive rep productivity

CRM Management

Slack is a natural place to strategize and discuss ongoing accounts and opportunities. Through Salesforce’s Slack integration, you can give your team the necessary context to have productive conversations. Quickly access basic account information with a simple slash command. By sharing key information about your accounts right within Slack, you can keep your conversations productive and efficient. Simply search Salesforce by typing /salesforce [search term] and your results will appear in just seconds. You can expand account details, or hit the link to jump right into the Salesforce account without skipping a beat.

CRM Management

One of the biggest challenges facing modern sales leaders is maintaining data and pipeline quality and accuracy. Seeing as reps spend so little time in the CRM, it’s difficult to predict how well they’ll update their records. For deeper CRM workflows within Slack, Troops not only centralizes all your key sales information, but allows you to update the CRM and pull reports without ever leaving Slack.

CDA.Edit (1)

With Troops, you can ensure good, accurate and predictable data by allowing reps to execute their Salesforce tasks without ever leaving Slack.

Sales notifications and data enrichment

Slack can transform into a sales notification hub for your team. Using bots like Clearbit, you can give your sales team all the information they need about their customers. As users sign up for your product, Clearbit can push these notifications directly into a Slack channel, and enrich this data on a person or company level to give your team the context they need to follow up effectively.

Sales notifications and data enrichment

Markets and competitors change frequently - and, unless your sales team is glued to VentureBeat and competitor blogs, it can be tough to keep up. Data Fox can push your team alerts about key trigger events like new product launches and hires - for both your competitors and your prospects. Filter your alerts by various criteria in order to hone in on your ideal customer profile and leverage these trigger events to stay on top of accounts and personalize your engagement.

Sales notifications and data enrichment

For sales orgs using email automation, Salesloft’s Slack integration enables teams to keep their fingertips on everything happening. Beyond engagement notifications, you can broadcast success and news in Slack as it’s happening in real-time - keeping teams on the same page and instantly aware of the developments in their pipelines.

If you’re looking for a way for sales managers to highlight performance milestones directly in Slack, Ambition can do just that.

Ambition Slack Triggers (1)

With Ambition, reps can announce that they have won a new deal, booked 5 meetings in the day, and so forth. Choose which channel to alert so you can make rep recognition public to your entire sales team (or company).

Real-time rep coaching and enablement

The natural byproduct of a collaboration platform like Slack is conversation. And questions. As a rep, you’re responsible for information on your product, process, and your market. With the Guru Slack bot, all of your sales knowledge and assets are immediately discoverable by with a simple slack command. Since Slack is a new destination for the enterprise, you can now access and share knowledge captured in Guru without leaving Slack.

As a Slack user, you’ll soon realize that the app facilitates collaboration between previously disparate teams like engineering, product, and your customer-facing teams. Instead of shoulder tapping subject matter experts, new knowledge is organically created and shared everyday. With the Guru Slack bot, you can quickly capture all of the incredible insights your team is sharing with a simple, customizable emoji reaction. New information is indexed and stored to be rediscovered at any point through the Slack bot (and browser extension).

Real-time rep coaching and enablement

While we all know the value of taking good notes on sales calls, they can often get buried or become tough to access, even if it’s as simple as needing to open up Salesforce, login, and dig into the right account. With Chorus, not only can you automatically record and transcribe your meetings in real-time, but you can share all of the insights and analysis directly in Slack. Daily digests and alerts keep your team productive in Slack, arming them with the coaching they need to win more deals.

Real-time rep coaching and enablement

Customer Engagement

Your prospects have questions, and chat is becoming a popular way for them to reach their sales reps. With Intercom’s Slack integration, you can give your entire company visibility into the conversations your sales and success teams are having. You can even customize conversations to see only what is most relevant to you. But when you dig a bit deeper into the workflow, as opposed to just the integration itself, you see the incredible collaboration Slack can unlock.

Customer Engagement

These types of collaboration that Slack facilitates and that gets enhanced by appropriate integrations and webhooks. Here, our VP of Sales is able to rope in one of our sales reps to offer up a demo of our product after they reached out via an in-app message.

“Death by 1000 Apps”

As you are reading this post, how many tabs to different apps do you have open right now? Well, if you are the average user, you will have at least 5 different SaaS-based business applications open. Having multiple log-ins and user interfaces to navigate, it is now more important than ever to reduce the noise and clutter of SaaS products.

With Slack, sales teams can consolidate all of their SaaS applications into a place where their team actually wants to work, ensuring better adoption of those apps sales leadership has chosen to invest in. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of context switching that kills rep productivity.

Slack: a competitive differentiator for your sales team?

There are over 60 Sales SaaS apps in the Slack app directory. The ecosystem of weapons at a sales reps disposal in Slack continues to explode - as there are tools for all things sales reps need to do. How the sales ecosystem is developing for all the things sales reps need to do.

“Slack isn’t a differentiator; it’s table stakes. How you use Slack is your competitive differentiator.” - John Ley, Head of Sales Enablement at Square

The way companies work is going through a big change, and Slack is at the epicenter of this movement. With Slack, company communication is vastly improved, from internal collaboration to customer engagement. Instead of opening a sea of tabs, applications, and siloed experiences, all of their work is brought to them in Slack. A thoughtful, strategic approach to enabling your reps in Slack can absolutely elevate your sales motion -- and ultimately win you more business.

Want to get your team started with Slack? For a limited time only, we’re giving our friends $100 off Slack here!

Recommended Reading

Conversations, Not Content: How Enablement Lost its Way

Six Lessons Learned at the Sales Development Conference

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