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How to foster customer relationships in a hybrid world

Stripe, Splunk, and Snowflake are 3 forward-thinking companies leading the way

How to foster customer relationships in a hybrid world
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Almost every aspect of our engagement with customers has changed, and we’re not going back. It’s no longer the norm to leave our families and hop on a plane to engage with customers in person. Companies are cutting back on business travel “to slash costs and protect the environment,” and new tools at Slack are helping people work wherever and whenever it works best for them. This past year we’ve proven that with the right digital-HQ we can be even more productive and innovative while better serving our customers and closing deals.

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This is a generational opportunity to take what we’ve learned from this past year, shake off the bad habits from before, and entirely rethink everything about sales and customer success.

Here are three forward-thinking companies that are leading the way:

Stripe

When Stripe went remote in March 2020, its sales teams canceled business travel and in-office visits with customers. In its place, teams turned to Slack Connect, the most secure way to work directly with people outside of your company—customers included. For the sales teams at Stripe, this has:

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  • replaced many in-person sales meetings with asynchronous communication
  • helped cultivate stronger relationships with customers, and
  • increased how quickly deals progress from initial calls all the way through to signed contracts.

“We were launching a new payment method in Japan with (a partner), and we were working out a couple of kinks that started on email, right before we went live. After two back-and-forths, we flipped to Slack, and within five minutes, we’d actually figured out the issue.” –Jeanne DeWitt Grosser, Head of Americas Revenue and Growth, Stripe

Sales cycles have shortened thanks to real-time collaboration between customers and account managers in Slack. Contracts are uploaded to Slack, and then both sides can hash out details directly in a channel, rather than wrangling schedules and wading through endless emails, calls, and meetings.

Stripe’s biggest win with Slack Connect? According to Grosser, it’s onboarding new customers. Integrating Stripe’s API into a customer’s own system often involves writing new code. Today, engineers from either company can solve problems together, in Slack channels, as they make progress in those vital first few weeks.

SPLUNK

An expert at transforming machine data into accessible information, Splunk, Inc. is leveraging Slack to close deals faster and get usable data into the hands of more customers, including 91 of the Fortune 100 companies.

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The need for Splunk and its Data-to-Everything Platform continues to grow as more businesses move operations online in response to the pandemic. To meet demand, Splunk’s sales engineers and professionals are using channel-based communication to collaborate, usher in prospective deals, and grow their sales organization.

Splunk’s sales teams use Slack to keep communication organized and efficient, while making it easier to find information. Antiquated ways of communicating like email and phone are not nearly as effective as channel-based communication and collaboration in Slack. Splunk’s teams love it as a way to move more rapidly and stay in sync while closing deals quicker. Customers love it because it saves them time. It’s a win-win for everyone.

“Slack Connect gives our customers a single place to interact with our cross-functional Splunk team, making it easier for them to find the people they need,” says Kevin Pura, area vice president of global sales and engineering at Splunk. “When we started bringing customers into our channels through Slack Connect … our success rates among customers also started to go up.”

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SNOWFLAKE

Snowflake is a global company that provides its customers with data analytics, data warehousing, data tools, and the cloud—all on one platform.

From contacting prospects to helping new customers choose the right plan, Snowflake account executives work with customers throughout the sales cycle. And in the past that required a lot of slow, impersonal emails.

From getting faster IT support to building deeper vendor relationships, Snowflake opts for Slack Connect over email. “We use Slack to talk to pretty much every external party under the sun,” says Marisa Guarino, a senior IT systems engineer.

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To close deals more quickly and offer distinctively high-quality service, Snowflake’s sales team connects with prospects, encourages adoption, and communicates with VIP customers in Slack Connect channels. “Once we realized Slack Connect would be a viable source of communication, we began to expand it toward longtime customers who wanted that closer interaction with us,” Guarino says.

With a central spot to exchange messages and files, Snowflake has redefined how it engages with customers. “When we’re giving clients and new prospects the Snowflake white-glove treatment, we heavily leverage Slack Connect,” Guarino says. “The Slack channel sets the standard in terms of the level of professionalism that you’re capable of and the amount of personalized material you can really leverage.”

The team also doesn’t have to spend time bringing new players up to speed. “It’s all historical,” Guarino says. “As soon as you add somebody to a Slack Connect channel, they have all the context already.”

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Snowflake Account Executive Michael Westra credits Slack Connect for helping him increase deal size three-fold, year over year. “Having an external Slack channel with our prospects and customers really helps us stand out and communicate that our customers are our No. 1 priority.”

Find out here how you can be even more productive and innovative while better serving your customers and closing deals.

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Robert Frati is the chief sales & success officer at Slack