If you’ve made it to this article, you have likely made the decision to bring the power of Salesforce to Slack...and by doing so, you’ve aligned yourself with the future of Salesforce, which is a great move!
However, having the intention to integrate and successfully driving adoption and value of the integration are two completely separate things.
Making Slack the new DigitalHQ for Customer 360 isn’t just as simple as establishing an API connection between two systems. Bringing all the data, workflows, and insights from Salesforce into Slack to help users take action at scale is a BIG task and requires a lot of thoughtfulness.
Having brought these systems together for many years across deployments with 1000’s of users, we are excited to share what we believe is the best formula for success, adoption, and value when integrating Slack and Salesforce.
Consider this as a “How-to guide” and framework you can use and adjust to your needs as you strive to make your Customer 360 vision a reality.
Principles For Success
Before we get too tactical, it’s helpful to understand these guiding principles that we believe result in the long term success of any Slack and Salesforce cloud integration.
- Build with the end user in mind - put yourself in the shoes of your users when you design workflows. At the end of the day, they are going to be the ones tasked with successful execution and these workflows must connect seamlessly to their processes. Though sending them 50 alerts a day on things they need to do might seem like a good idea, realistically that’s not a good user experience for your team.
- Map to existing or desired processes - though Slack does open the aperture for new ways of doing things, when you’re getting started, it’s best to start with existing processes your team already understands. An example would be something as simple as we’re going to be routing hot handraiser lead notifications to you in Slack now instead of email. Emails get lost in the shuffle and are often seen as lower priority than Slack alerts. Throwing an entirely new process at them they’ve never done before will be less likely to be successful.
- Align workflows to company goals - when you ask your team to make a behavior change, they need to have a compelling reason to do it. This is why mapping initial workflows to things that impact team or company goals is so important. It will resonate more deeply with your team and drive greater accountability. For example, sending alerts to your customer success team about important changes on a high-priority account that is up for renewal within 90 days is a signal that supports your retention and renewal goals.
- Crawl, walk, run - assuming interacting with CRM data in slack is new for your team, you should be aiming to start small, generate some wins, and then build upon your success. Don’t try to boil the ocean at the onset or put that expectation on your team.
- Think with scale in mind - we’ll talk more about this later, but it’s very easy to just start building things without understanding the full picture and how certain processes or workflow will work across hundreds of users. It’s best to have the desired end state in mind when you begin to roll out initial processes and evaluate whether that process scales. A big part of this will be determined by your CRM + Slack integration strategy and the abilities of the product you choose to accommodate scale.
- Be flexible and adaptable - you’re going to learn quickly from your users what is working and what isn’t. We encourage you to be flexible early on as this is something new that will be iterative until you find the right balance and formula. Make sure you and your users agree on how to measure effectiveness, so you can all know when you’re on the right track, and when you need to adjust.
- Make it fun - a big reason people love Slack is that it’s just more fun. Emojis, gifs, celebration...teams love these things. Take this as an opportunity to transform boring jobs to be done into engaging experiences!
Designing An Initial Scope
Now it’s time to get into the details.
Phase one of this process is designing an initial scope for your Salesforce and Slack integration. We are going to make the assumption that you’ve identified a number of challenges or use cases that warrant experimenting with bringing this data and workflow into Slack.
Pick 3-5 use cases that target individual efficiency
If your goal is really to make Slack the new engagement layer for your CRM, you need to start with creating value for your individual contributors. We recommend picking 3-5 use cases that are thematic and related to your company goals that engage this audience.
Common Themes include:
- Sales: Forecast Hygiene, Activity Tracking, Prospecting, Operations Visibility, Cross-team collaboration
- CS: Forecast Hygiene, Activity Tracking, Account Health, Operations Visibility, Cross Team Collaboration
When you select these use cases, you want to map out a day in the life of that person using a calendar view.
Place your screenshot here
This view helps you understand the quality of a user experience. Depending on the role and use case, we recommend that users should be alerted in DMs 2-4 times a day max. Any more than this can become noisey, with the exception of time sensitive use cases like hot inbound leads.
As part of the scoping process, you’ll also always want to understand the required fields/conditions and editable fields for each use case.
Selecting the Pilot Group
With these use cases in mind, you want to pick a targeted pilot group who you will be working with on testing and refining the initial workflows.
We recommend that you pick an entire functional unit vs. scattering use cases amongst a bunch of different teams. Ideally this should be somewhere between 8-20 people so there’s enough of a sample size to derive feedback themes, but it’s not too big that it becomes unmanageable.
You should be thinking about this initial period as a proof of concept that will improve over time with feedback. Only after you’ve found what’s working does it make sense to really roll things out in a more scalable way.
If your functional units are enormous, you can break them down further by vertical or subset (i.e. commercial AEs East) if you need to. Scattered teams often result in feedback that will be inconsistent because the workflows and use cases will likely differ. It also makes iteration and refinement more difficult. Reducing the scattered nature of your teams will prevent these issues from happening.
Celebrate This Pilot Group
We have found that during initial roll-outs it’s always best to have some signals that are oriented around celebration of a goal or milestone. Your team will love this and it will get them excited about bringing the information from Salesforce or another system into Slack.
Common themes include
- Closed/Won new business, renewals, upsells
- BDR/SDR booked meetings
- VIP Deal Progressions
- Key Customer milestones (ie handing to CS, out of implementation)
Engage Managers With Oversight Use Cases
With the individual contributor use cases in mind, we highly recommend creating a feedback loop that engages front line managers. This helps drive further adoption of the processes at hand as well as get them engaged in the new paradigm.
An example of this flywheel effect could be the following.
Let’s say you want your reps to update all their sales process fields after their meetings at the end of the day. You can create a managerial channel in Slack to pump in these changes (or lack thereof) for managers to inspect and provide coaching directly in Slack on the information.
We’ve seen tremendous results with this 1+2 punch for the adoption of any business process or behavioral change.
Engage Executives and Cross-functional Teams with At Least One Signal
As you launch this initiative, you should strongly consider making Slack the new DigitalHQ for your CRM ecosystem. This isn't just a GTM team initiative, but really a company wide shift in the way information is shared, consumed and actioned.
Therefore, we recommend during the initial pilot making sure that you get the executive team engaged with at least one workflow. This could be something simple like signals alerting to closed won or lost deals, or perhaps something more granular like competitive insights or deals being pushed out of the quarter.
The same goes for cross-functional teams like Marketing, Product, and Engineering. What is one piece of information they’d like to know about as it happens? Use this as an opportunity to engage them as you champion this initiative.
BONUS: Integration Owner Signals
As the owner of the integration, it’s always good to have a pulse on what’s working and what’s not. One way to do this is to set up 3-5 signals that serve as check and balances to the data and processes you’re supporting. Here’s an example of this that we use internally where we spot-check whether individuals are using the correct lead sources like they are supposed to.
Potential Pitfalls and Warning Signals
Because working with CRM data in Slack is such a new paradigm there are many pitfalls you want to watch out for. Ideally the system and playbook you are designing can be scaled out beyond the pilot team instead of having to be rebuilt from scratch.
If you are creating a ton of channels to support a use case for a designated team, there’s a good chance that when you scale this out, this will become an immense administrative burden. This is why we recommend using reference field routing when applicable so you’re not having to create a million team or use case channels as you scale.
As you design your use cases, make sure to ask yourself how will this work with the whole team? Does this make sense?
If you are replicating a use case more than 5 times, or duplicating the SAME use case for numerous roles, chances are you are off-track. Not because there isn’t value, but because the maintenance of these signals is not tenable .
Pause and think about how you might be able to design this more scalably.
No Clear Map to Value for Users
If what you’re asking a team to do does not have an important benefit associated with it or level of manager inspection, it’s going to be hard to drive adoption. Define, educate, and enable these elements at the onset and you will be in good shape.
Rollout Best Practices
Once you’ve defined the scope of your integration and made sure to avoid the pitfalls, it’s go time! Here are some high level guidelines.
Setup and Enablement
Start by building the IC signals in a test channel to yourself to make sure they are working. Once verified, schedule a training session with your team, and walk them through how the integration works ideally with use cases live or to be set live that day.
It’s important to provide hands-on experience as a part of the training or in close proximity to it so that you can problem solve as needed.
Regular Feedback Reviews
Set aside time once a week to review how things are going with select members of the pilot group. You can also send out a weekly survey to gather feedback so that you can iterate quickly. Generally after 2 weeks, themes will emerge and you can begin to iterate.
Obviously this varies business to business, but generally after about 4 weeks you will have clear insights into what works for your team and business. At this time, you can choose to more aggressively introduce the integration to additional teams and stakeholders if you so choose.
This is also a great time to sit down and take an inventory of what other business processes you can transition into Slack based on the feedback and behaviors of your team.
What You Should Takeaway from This
The big point a lot of companies miss is that they try to integrate the CRM and messaging experience together without really recognizing that they’re asking their team to work in a completely new way.
No, using Slack or Microsoft Teams is not new for most companies which is a big part of the benefit. BUT actually engaging with information and workstreams beyond messaging often is. This is why you need to take a thoughtful approach and really think through the user experience for each team. It’s also why having a proper experimentation and feedback period can be so valuable before going hog wild on use cases or roll-out to your organization.
We hope that you found this guide helpful and if you are interested in not only a product that can support all of these needs from accommodating the complexities of your CRM, to tools to roll-out, administer and manage users, we’d love to help you at Troops!