SaaStr Podcast Episode 216: CEO Dan Reich on Account Based Collaboration

Last year, our Co-Founder and CEO, Dan Reich, joined Harry Stebbings for an episode of the SaaStr Podcast. In the episode, Dan talks about how he found his way into the world of SaaS, ended up starting Troops, and built the ultimate Slack bot for sales teams.

Recently, Dan and Harry reconnected to talk about account based collaboration and how to utilize this highly successful method in your organization.

We’ve gathered the key insights and need-to-knows from the episode in this blog post. First things first, what’s account based collaboration?

What’s Account Based Collaboration?

The past few decades of innovation and technology have been centered around individual productivity and applications that facilitate that productivity. But in order to create a better customer experience, collaboration is required.

In order to drive leads further down the funnel and create a sustainable path of conversion, you need to involve multiple people. This is why sales teams are creating channels specifically dedicated to managing prospects, leads, opportunities, customers and accounts. These channels then serve as the location for coordinating efforts to create a better customer experience that will ultimately drive growth and increase revenue.

Account based collaboration puts collaboration and teamwork at the center of the process for every step of the sales funnel. By separating channels for your key accounts and collaborating on issues and needs that arise, you create a better experience for the prospect and the likelihood of closing a deal increases. customers use account based collaboration for:

  • Enhanced deal visibility
  • Encouraging executive and cross-functional deal engagement
  • Streamlined organization of information

The results of account based collaboration speak for themselves, and include:

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Higher win rates
  • Minimized administrative work
  • A 360° view of the customer

Working in a collaborative environment that’s real time, frictionless, and pleasant benefits the entire business.

Looking Beyond the Sales Team

When communication failssay someone is accidentally left off an emailit often spirals into a mess that can be detrimental to the business. You can lose a high value prospect, an opportunity, or perhaps an existing account.

This is something that happens very frequently: the right people are not brought into the process at the right time. And the reason is because that type of collaboration is not facilitated. In order for an account to thrive, from lead status to customer, it requires more collaboration earlier onwith various people on the team.

By getting people involved in sales that are not on the sales team, you're going to get a better perspective and more operational support to help effectively close deals faster. It might be a product manager, an engineer, people from operations, or perhaps even someone on the legal team. Look beyond the sales team to see who can help you move a deal forward.

Fostering a Culture That Democratizes Information

Great results start with a great culture. People often say that a great culture means happy employees. And while this is true, happiness is the product of what really sits at the core of a healthy culture: democratized information. And it’s this driver alone that generates the key components of a great culture:

  • Alignment
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • Visibility

You need a great culture to drive the right outcomes. And a great culture means happy, productive and motivated employees. Without those criteria, you can’t foster collaboration.

A Paradigm Shift

When Slack first launched, it was the beginning of a paradigm shift as we moved away from traditional and lengthy email threads in favor of a real time and frictionless collaboration hub.

The reason behind that shift wasn’t just the ease of communication. It also facilitated better workflows and business processes.

It was never about just another tool for conversationsit became a place to tackle mission critical processes in a way that's easier for employees. And as a result, businesses could drive better outcomes across the entire company.

Breaking down Silos with Real-Time Feedback

Silos are silent but solvable issues--which is why high performing organizations will adopt account based collaboration as a sales methodology to drive growth and increase revenue.

Silos are an issue on an organizational level. A silo occurs when a department, team, or even an individual does not share information, goals, tools, priorities and processes with other people.

The good news: these are all solvable issues. Silos can be broken. And the means to doing so is with collaboration toolssuch as Slack. The problem is, however, that we tend to tackle issues a little bit too late.

Let’s look at an extreme example. Say that a product and engineering team work on a product that the sales team cannot sell, or customers will not find valuable. This sounds crazy, but it’s not unusual. So why might that happen? A possible reason is because the product and engineering team live in a vacuum. This means that they’re not listening to real time customer feedback. They're not engaged with what's really happening on the front line.

When we talk about traditional selling we often operate in a silo where feedback is delayed and inconsistent. By organizing teams in a collaborative medium, you will break the silos. Think about it as a really systematic approach to building and leveraging a strategic support team that ultimately will help you drive conversions, shorten your sales cycle, and increase deal sizes.

Team Synchronicity: Collaboration Based Sales

So how do you foster a collaboration-driven sales culture that actively ensures that sales teamswhether they come from inbound or outboundare working together in unison?

Let’s use HubSpot as an example. HubSpot had a fairly luxurious problem in the sense that they were generating so many leads that were just being pumped into their CRM. But no one was working those leads. And the reason they weren’t being worked was because they were sitting in a clunky system that wasn't very visible or transparent and very hard to use.

So they unified the team and brought all of the leads into Slack. As a result, they saw a 100% increase in lead work rate. Why? Simply by putting the work in a place where people were already spending their time.

3 Steps to unify your teams and foster collaboration

As shown above, here’s how to unify your teams and foster collaboration:

  • Step 1: Unify the team in a public and social medium where people are spending their time.  
  • Step 2: Ensure teams are sharing wins and learnings often.
  • Step 3: Make the KPIs visible to the whole organization.

Whatever the leading indicators are for your teamwhether it's number of sales activities, or number of user signupsyou want to make sure that the entire team is frequently seeing that in real time to act as the heartbeat of the organization.

The Benefits of a Transparent Learning Culture

It's important to see when deals are closed and deals are lost. Share the why’s behind the wins and losses with the entire organization, not just with the sales team. This will create a continuous learning culture to improve and double down on the things that are working and fix the things that are not.

The risk of not sharing the losses is far greater. By not having the hard conversations and identifying and speaking honestly about problems, you can never fix those issues. Worst case scenario, this puts you out of business.

Real-Time Transparency at Troops

At Troops, we have a value of radical transparency. This means we look at the problems head on and tackle the difficult conversations as a team so that we can fix them. We continuously try to identify the problems: what's working and what's not? And if it's not working, how do we fix it?

We have the information flowing in real time to the team. If then, as the event is taking place, someone can help fix somethingor we’ve learned something that we think the rest of our customers would benefit from sooner than laterwe want to react quickly.

Every Monday we share the aggregate wins and losses across all teams from the previous week. This helps us understand what’s happening and what’s needed. By making that information available in real time across the whole organization, all of us are made accountable for what’s happeningwin or lose.

Retaining Focus in an Environment with Constant Influx of Data

Retaining focus is an issue across the board. Whether it's the tools we use at work or how you operate in your personal life and engage with social media, noise is constant. However, at work there's often somebody that’s responsible for determining the right noise to signal ratio. And that’s what’s key when it comes to retaining focus and not get distracted by noise.

If there is a mission critical updatesay one of your best customers is leavingyou’d probably want to know that as soon as possible. But an updated pipeline or a forecast for the week is not something you’d need to see on a daily basis, once a week is probably enough.

What you do want access to is a historical view and lens into everything that's happening on some of the customer conversations. And that’s why the concept, account based collaboration, is so important. If you want to know what's happening with the biggest deals in the pipeline, you shouldn’t have to chase down a single personthat information should be available to you within seconds in one central location.

It’s about prioritization. And good prioritization requires good information and support from your team. You want to prioritize in a way makes you smarter and drives better outcomes for your business.

Conclusion: Selling as a Team

Whether a prospect, lead or customer, people are craving a personalized experience. The more you listen, the better you’ll be able to understand them, empathize with them and create solutions that meet their needs. By putting the right information at the core of the process and opening up the process for collaboration, you will create a better customer experience.

Creating a tailored experience is not a one-person job—it’s a team effort. That’s why high performing organizations will adopt account based collaboration as a sales methodology to drive growth and increase revenue.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Do you want to increase collaboration and drive growth? Learn more about Troops and how you can supercharge your sales performance.

Scott Britton

Written by Scott Britton

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