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The Ultimate Microsoft Teams for Sales Playbook

nobackground@2x

 

Are you properly leveraging all the functionality of Microsoft Teams to drive sales?

Microsoft just recently announced that Microsoft Teams now boasts over 145m daily active users

If there was ever any question about this product becoming an essential part of a productive workflow, I think that question has been officially squashed.

For go-to-market and sales teams, this milestone represents a significant opportunity to improve two critical things:

  • Synergy among key sales processes
  • Overall customer experience

Most modern sales processes operate like complex machines. Various players function with unique roles. Salespeople typically go back and forth with customers as well as internal personnel like account managers, marketers, executives, developers, and other team members before the sale can be converted. 

Closing a deal these days involves many moving parts. 

The rise of the remote work only increases the complexity as everyone now operates beyond the four walls of the office. Sales teams that once had easy access to others in the organization now must find new ways to work together. 

This isn't all bad news, though. With the proper tools, you can simplify these logistical complexities and ease the burden on your sales team. 

Just think about how CRMs have changed the game in recent years. 

Collaboration and communication tools like Microsoft Teams are having the same effect. So we decided to put together this guide – The Ultimate Microsoft Teams for Sales Playbook – to help you understand how your organization can begin using Microsoft Teams  to optimize your sales process.

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CHAPTER ONE

Sales challenges that can be solved with Microsoft Teams

Why should you care about optimizing the sales process or how you use Microsoft Teams if your business seems to be doing just fine?

The short answer is this: you might be able to solve problems you didn’t even know you had!

Especially in this new world we live in, where sales teams face a new set of unique challenges in addition to the challenges they’ve always faced!

Challenge 1: Sales team alignment

Each stage of the sales process – prospecting new opportunities, qualifying leads, going wide at accounts to build consensus, negotiations, and follow-ups – requires the various functions of the go to market team to work together to close deals. 

Without the right alignment, management teams will become disillusioned by lost leads,  poor time management, and unrealized KPIs. The challenge is getting all of these different moving parts on the same page. But coordinating this type of effort without jeopardizing the customer experience is not easy. 

Microsoft Teams can help solve this problem.

Challenge 2: Cross-organization collaboration and visibility (especially for revenue teams)

For most modern companies, alignment issues don't begin and end with just the sales team. Alignment challenges can impact various revenue-generating departments like customer success, marketing, and even product and engineering.

  • Marketing needs to understand what pains customers are having in order to build the right collateral…
  • Product needs to understand particular feature deficits, so they spend their time on the right things…
  • Executives need to understand which deals are at risk, so they can come in and influence…

And everyone needs to know what’s driving success and what’s getting in the way, so your business can adjust accordingly and double down on what’s working! 

When information flow is not moving seamlessly throughout the organization and reaching all teams, everyone loses. All teams, not just those closely involved with CRM, need to be in the loop in order to achieve the big goals that will enable the business to grow. 

Microsoft Teams can help solve this problem.

Challenge 3: Data and CRM management

Data is crucial for the success of any strategic sales strategy. Today’s sales teams must be able to capture and access information easily in the CRM for two reasons:

  • To understand and optimize the customer lifecycle
  • To plan strategically for their business...forecasting anyone!?!?

The more you know about a prospect, the easier it will be to position your sales playbook appropriately. This kind of information should be easily accessible in the CRM, but you know and I know oftentimes it’s full of garbage data.

CRMs and sophisticated analytics software like Power BI can help companies store and access this information,  but without the right tools, managing all that data can be cumbersome. Moreover if the  data inputs are not good, the output and analysis will be a moot point.  

Using Microsoft Teams in the most effective manner enables sales teams to not only manage that data, but to leverage powerful insights within the data as well.

Challenge 4: Task management 

Sales management teams feel constant pressure to keep their sales reps on task. You don’t have to be a seasoned sales expert to realize this can become quite the undertaking. 

Each team member has a laundry list of responsibilities and administrative tasks to accomplish. 

For managers, productivity enhancing strategies can help. For example:

  • Implementing workflows
  • Coaching and enablement
  • Training
  • Inspection of the CRM

However, management still faces a formidable challenge in making sure team members are hitting all their goals. 

Microsoft Teams can help solve this problem.

Challenge 5: Sales process adherence

The dream for any sales team leader is a perfect sales process, right? 

  • You get your sales playbook all set. 
  • You have clear workflows that enable your sellers to move from one stage to the next, guiding the customer through the sales pipeline with ease. 
  • You make collaborating easy.
  •  You even automate some of the more tedious tasks so your sellers can focus on the more important stuff. 

But after you do all that work, what if the sellers still don't adhere to the sales process?

If you've ever had something like this happen, you’re not alone. Anyone who has been there knows how challenging it can be to get your team on board with the process, no matter how great they are. 

Adoption is always difficult, but watching your sellers step over all that work can feel particularly frustrating.

Microsoft Teams can help solve this sales problem, too.

Challenge 6: Sales team training and knowledge sharing

Another major challenge facing modern sales teams is training. This is yet another area where Microsoft Teams can have a transformative impact.

Selling today requires a great deal of flexibility. Reps must be able to adapt and meet the customer wherever they are in the buyer’s journey. 

This means that initial onboarding training is more important than ever. But it also means that sales training doesn't just happen once during onboarding. It must be an ongoing process. 

Leaders have to regularly coach and mentor their sellers in the most efficient and effective way. But training in today’s environment doesn’t have to occur in the traditional manager-to-rep model. Often, sellers learn the most from one another.

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CHAPTER TWO

Microsoft Teams use cases for your sales team

Let’s see how MS Teams maps specifically to some of the challenges we just outlined.

graphic-using-microsoft-teams-for-sales

Alignment and Cross Organization Collaboration

The first thing you’re going to want to do is set up dedicated channels within MS Teams that make it easy for other teams to consume and subscribe to information.

Here are some themes and suggestions:

  • Stage changes and progression. Make it easy for different teams in the company to understand how buyers are moving through the customer lifecycle. 
  • Marketing asks (of other teams). Set up various places where members of the sales or GTM teams can ask for help or ask questions. Ensure that you capture the requests so you can identify patterns and to build better processes as a result.
  • New** updates from other teams (i.e. new content, features etc). Create dedicated channels where adjacent teams can share specific ideas for improving the sales process. You can even categorize granularly to segment ideas around specific products or segments. 
  • Sales onboarding. Design a hub for new employees where they can ask questions and engage other members of the team. By having a dedicated place for this, you can again identify patterns and subsequently improve various processes.
  • Wins and losses. Everyone needs to know why you are winning and losing sales. Sharing this information shapes how you make adjustments and uncovers patterns that should drive future action.
  • Account and deal engagement. Establish specific channels for accounts so that the entire account team can swarm around opportunities and solve problems more efficiently. This is quickly becoming a best practice as cited in research in the CRM + Messaging Report as well as in this analysis of Slack vs. Chatter

You can see some example channels mirroring these we have set up in our own instance here:

using-microsoft-teams-sales-team-channels-screenshot

When you clearly create dedicated places for cross-functional information sharing and collaboration, you make it that much easier for your team to understand where to go to get what they need. 

A few of the suggestions above, like stage progression and wins and losses, can be vastly enhanced with a MS Teams CRM integration, which we’ll discuss in more detail later. But even manual updates to start are a step in the right direction. 

Data, CRM, and task management 

The average MS Teams user spends most of their day with their Teams App open on their 2nd screen or phone. Companies are finally realizing this trend is something that can work in their favor. More and more, companies are recognizing the value and importance of meeting their users where the users are. 

In other words, it makes perfect sense to engage people where they are already working vs. asking them to jump from one application to another in order to get what they need. 

For sales teams, this means bringing the data and functionality of their most important application, which is CRM, into Microsoft Teams. That’s why today MS Teams integrates with many different CRMs, including Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Hubspot, and more (see all integrations here)

Each integration and the level of functionality is different, but at the core, they each empower teams to see and act on things they might have otherwise missed, and often in a more collaborative way. 

A great place to begin integrating your CRM and MS Teams is with alerts that provide visibility about changes taking place, so that teams can all be on the same page and act swiftly.

screenshot of troops sales opp status update with team comment

But if you really want to unlock the power of getting better data and task management, you will have the best results by finding bi-directional integration solutions that provide the ability to update Salesforce and other CRMs from Microsoft Teams without leaving the application.

using troops to update next step on sales prospect and set deadline

We may be a bit biased, but Troops.ai is the only solution that provides this functionality that we know of! You can check it out above.

Sales Process Adherence

The hardest part of any sales process is actually getting your team to follow it! 

We’ve talked about this at length in content we’ve created about popular sales processes such as MEDDIC

The big misconception here is that training is a one time thing. Training must be an ongoing effort, which is why we recommend creating channels for the following:

  • Stage changes with exit criteria. These can be really effective in providing managers with more real time insight into whether people are gathering the right information at each part of the sales process. Again, this will require a CRM integration. 
  • Process wins. By making it easy to share call recording snippets and other examples of people doing a great job and following the sales process, you encourage knowledge sharing and incorporation of best practices.

troops account update showing deal won with user comment

Finally, you might also think about incorporating automation that keeps your team on task. An example of this would be pinging reps after a meeting with the exact actions they need to complete in order to update a deal.

Sharing tribal knowledge

The best companies make it easy for their employees to become learning machines.

We’ve discussed a few examples already in terms of making information more visible. That could mean:

  • Sharing what’s happening in the GTM by integrating your CRM with Microsoft teams
  • Creating dedicated connectivity among different teams so they can ask specific questions of one another
  • Integrating your knowledge center, like Guru or Jira, so that as updates are made to these systems, that information is shared with your team
  • Hosting AMAs (ask me anythings) with executive leadership like the CEO or head of sales, so all employees can see the perspective of other thought leaders and grow the collective intelligence of the organization

Lastly, we recommend creating dedicated places for your reps to share content, based on what they’re learning. For example, consider setting up channels for:

  • Industry News
  • Podcasts
  • Books and articles
  • Objection handling 
  • Case studies 
  • Customer love and wins

You get the idea! 

The more information that’s out there about the value in your solution, the better.

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CHAPTER THREE

Benefits of using Microsoft Teams for sales (vs. other messaging platforms)

If you’re here, you may be all-in on Microsoft Teams for your sales team already.

Or... you might be evaluating other solutions in the market, like Slack.

Microsoft is no stranger to helping teams capitalize on their sales opportunities. For decades, stakeholders from every industry have relied on tools like Powerpoint, Onenote, and Sharepoint to close deals. 

Microsoft Teams is just the latest addition to the deep well of resources offered by the massive tech company.   

The tool offers real-time communication functionality that ensures simple collaboration and easy access to vital information. These are absolutely necessities for managing sales or revenue operations in the digital age. 

People who are on the same mission need to communicate with one another, and MS Teams makes that easy. 

Microsoft Teams can help organizations bolster their sales operations in a variety of ways, and we've pinpointed a few, simple features that show the versatility of the software. 

Video calling 

We are living in the world of distributed work which means lots of video calls. 

Though things appear to be getting better in terms of getting back to the office, we don’t anticipate this distributed work trend going anywhere. 

MS Teams has amazing video conferencing built into it, making it a formative all-in-one solution, not only for internal communication, but also for external communication. 

By asking your team to only use one application for both, integration and adoption becomes much easier. 

Hosting live events

More and more companies have harnessed the power of live-streaming to host live, virtual events that can open the door to new sales opportunities. 

Whether you're looking to put on a Q&A, a Webinar, or a similar type of gathering, the Live Events feature in MS Teams enables sellers to host the event without toggling through another piece of software. 

Specialized enterprise sales use cases for Microsoft Teams

One thing we’ve heard time and time again, is that because the entire Microsoft suite is integrated, it makes the organization of everything much easier. 

You can create dedicated channels for specific accounts and then access documents, presentations, and other related assets to that account all from within Teams, essentially making it a hub for a customer. 

Microsoft rules the world when it comes to the digital office suite, and MS Teams makes it even easier to access the programs. Sellers can open Yammer, Powerpoint, Excel, Word, or any other O365 product right from inside Teams. 

Teams as a sales training ground

Modern sellers need regular coaching, training, and development from their management team and more experienced peers. 

MS Teams, with the assistance of other O365 products, can operate as a fully functional Learning Management System (LMS) without adding costs or more logins. 

Likewise, organizational leaders can create unique, private Teams Channels based on whatever criteria they choose in order to keep the communication flowing. Sellers can pose questions to their team members and more tenured employees can post coaching content in real time.

Try Troops free for 30 days and learn how we can help you unleash the power of Microsoft Teams for your revenue team

 

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CHAPTER FOUR

The 6 best Microsoft Teams apps for sales ops

MS Teams is a great piece of software, but it can't carry your sales operations team on its back. 

That's why MS Teams spreads the workload among integrated apps that users can leverage from within the Teams interface. 

Here are 6 of the top applications that will help take your MS Teams experience to the next level.

1. Microsoft Stream: This streaming tool makes it easy for users to share recorded videos to the team.

microsoft-stream

2. Microsoft Planner: The classic Microsoft tool helps teams stay on top of their to-do lists, manage projects, and assign tasks.

microsoft-planner

3. Polly: A simple but powerful little application, Polly allows users to create and post polls to gain input from others.

polly

4. Karma: The concept behind Karma is simple. Organizations can boost morale by making it easy to share little pick-me-ups or tell someone congrats. Just click a button and give someone a little kudos. 

karma

5. Whiteboard: One of the struggles with virtual meetings is that you lose the ability to visualize ideas, but it doesn't have to be that way. Whiteboard allows meeting participants to collaborate on a virtual (you guessed it) whiteboard, and it easily integrates with MS Teams.

whiteboard

6. Troops: Troops functions as a connection point between MS Teams & your sales and GTM applications like Salesforce, Dynamics, Hubspot and more.. Highly customizable workflows that both push and write information back to these systems, help sellers get actionable insights without stepping out of their natural workflows. This also helps tremendously with improving data quality, visibility, and task management.

troops

 

Explore how Troops can add actionable insights and automation for your GTM apps and Microsoft Teams


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CHAPTER FIVE

How integrating Microsoft Teams and your CRM with Troops can drive productivity in your sales process

As we discussed earlier, integrating Microsoft Teams with your CRM unlocks the full potential of your sales teams!

There are certainly out-of-the-box integrations for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Hubspot and others that we hope you explore. However, if you are really looking to take it to the next level and have maximum connectivity between your CRM and MS Teams, look no further than Troops!

Timely alerts, notifications, and real-time signals provide sales teams with actionable data that boosts efficiency and visibility. Increased alignment helps sellers come together, resulting in greater productivity and higher performing teams.

example graphic of setting conditions in troops for chat updates on account

The ability to provide custom write back actions to your team where they are working attached to these signals makes it very easy for them to get better data into the CRM and adhere to your sales process.

You can see how to build out a custom action that can be displayed on any alert and updated from Teams below:

troops screenshot showing simple custom action creation processThe modern sales process has become quite complex, but it doesn't have to be. Innovative tools like Microsoft Teams help increase communication and simplify workflows. CRMs help gather data and manage tasks. And Troops brings it all together.

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CHAPTER SIX

Challenges with Microsoft Teams and how to overcome them

Like any product, getting the most out of Microsoft Teams for Sales will have its challenges. 

The Microsoft Teams Adoption Challenge

The biggest challenge you might encounter, especially if you are moving over from another messaging platform, is adoption! 

There is no silver bullet here, but here are a few things you might want to try:

  • Make it fun. Leverage automations to showcase metrics that teams will want to see, like closed won deals and customer love.
  • Native app downloads - make sure everyone downloads the native applications on their phone and computer.  

Experiment with availability. Making certain people and certain types of content available only within Microsoft Teams can encourage adoption. 

  • Highlight benefits of integration. If working in MS Teams makes your team more productive, they’ll be more likely to do it! So share the wins and spread the word.

Here’s a great story of how Terrapin was able to accelerate adoption of Teams and drive global visibility for their sales team by leveraging some of the strategies mentioned above.

Multiple Messaging Platform Challenge

“We use Teams and Slack.”

If this is you, you aren’t alone! Because of the mergers, acquisitions, or simple departmental preferences, it is not uncommon for companies to be using more than one messaging platform. 

To overcome this challenge, there are really two approaches here that you can take. 

  • Cold turkey. One is to cold turkey an entire platform by turning it off and forcing everyone to unify on a single platform. Although this can work, it certainly causes disruption and can alienate employees. 
  • Gradual transition. The other alternative is to take a more gradual approach by slowly transitioning people over, while maintaining connectivity between the two platforms. One way to accomplish this is by providing integration from your main systems into both places so that people understand what’s happening regardless of where they want to work.

troops screenshot showing slack and microsoft teams multi-system functionality options

This multi-system functionality is again something that can be accomplished through the Troops.ai integration.

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CHAPTER SEVEN

Looking forward: Microsoft Teams for sales

As Microsoft Teams continues to grow by 100m+ daily active users, we  are really just at the beginning of their platform growth and so much innovation is ahead of us.

Capabilities we are excited about include:

  • Native call recording. With better intelligence for your meetings in Microsoft Connect, you’ll be able to streamline messaging outside your. This will enable you to  create intimate communication with your customers over chat. 
  • Integration. Teams want to spend more time in fewer places. And they want applications that natively understand what is going on and applications that can tell them what they need to do simply based on data from other places. 

With more integration capabilities and opportunities, it’s only a matter of time before the unimaginable become reality. And at Troops, we are excited to be a part of the story.

If the world we just described sounds exciting, we hope you will begin to invest in your team by implementing some of these suggestions and making your Microsoft Teams experience one that supports their success and workflow!

Talk to a Troops expert about supercharging your Microsoft Teams experience for your sales team

 

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