Revenue Operations

End The Slack ‘War Room’: Why Turning Noise Into Signal Means Better Team Selling

Nick Gaudio
January 24, 2024
End The Slack ‘War Room’: Why Turning Noise Into Signal Means Better Team Selling

From #big-deals to #whale-alert, no matter what you call it, the good old-fashioned Slack "deal desk" or “war room” — a dedicated channel for sellers and front-line managers to “work” large opportunities — have been a mainstay of revenue culture since the Covid-19-lead shift to WFH.

And for good reason! These virtual spaces facilitate and streamline communication, keeping physically distant teammates connected and productive. 

In 2021, Gartner said, the revenue in collaborative work management, enterprise social networks, and employee communication software reached nearly $4.5 billion, marking a 17% increase from 2020. This trend is expected to continue, with the forecast predicting revenues to rise to $6.9 billion in 2024. 

And the more scientific outcomes don’t lie:

  • Teams tend to make better decisions 87% of the time compared to individuals, according to Harvard Business Review;
  • When sales reps teamed up with leadership, win rates could increase by as much as 119%; and even…
  • Companies that foster teamwork in a remote environment see about 50% lower employee turnover, as per Gallup's findings.

And we all know how a well-timed “/giphy huzzah” can be like water to the soul.

Finding from a 2020 Yesware study on Team Collaboration

But as we all stand on the verge of a new era in sales management, it's become increasingly clear that relying only on these manual "war rooms" is no longer sufficient.

Automation and artificial intelligence have been improving nearly every other aspect of revenue life — from sexier, streamlined workflows to literally mapping and monitoring your sales process in real-time. For collaboration, the whole point of said war rooms, which is often messy and clunky… it was only a matter of time for disruption to rear its beautiful head.

Of course, the goal here isn’t to replace the humans — or even remove the famed "human element" from selling... (Heavens no!)This is, we think, and will always be the cornerstone of successful sales teams.

The goal here is to keep the best parts of the human side, and scrap the rest.

At-scale, this kind of war room is a nightmare…

Why Your Slack ‘War-Room’ Needs Help

1) Information Overload

In a busy Slack war room, the sheer volume of messages can be overwhelming. Important updates get buried under a mountain of less critical information (like GIFs 😬) , making it difficult for team members to prioritize and respond in a timely manner. This deluge of data not only leads to decreased productivity but also increases the risk of missing crucial details that could make or break a deal. (Rippling, for instance, knows exactly what we're talking about here.)

2) Missing Data

No doubt, plenty of useful information (data that could be helpful for hygiene purposes) pops up in these kind of Slack channels (or — vice versa — pertinent data doesn't make its way into the conversation).

3) Total Lack of Scalability 

As your team grows, so does the complexity of managing a many-membered room. With more participants, the conversation becomes harder to follow, and maintaining a structured, focused dialogue becomes a Sisyphean task. Plus, often, as your team grows as does your Slack — this requires your fellow team members to remember which channel each kind of conversation goes into leading to either A) a lot of conversations spread out all over the place or B) important conversations not surfacing due to analysis paralysis. his scalability problem means what works for a small team can become untenable for larger groups, leading to decreased efficiency,  big, ugly communication breakdowns, or — worst of all — siloed selling slash lone-wolf selling.

4) Distractions Abound

While camaraderie and casual banter are part of a healthy team culture, they can become distractions in a busy war room. Even with the best of Slack norms at your back, casual or off-topic conversations are bound to happen can sidetrack from the primary objectives, making it challenging to maintain a high level of focus and productivity, especially when dealing with critical or time-sensitive deals.

5) Security/Confidentiality Problems

In an open room where numerous team members are active, sensitive information can inadvertently be exposed. This poses a significant risk in terms of data security and client confidentiality. As the stakes in sales deals are often high, safeguarding sensitive data is paramount, and public rooms can inadvertently become a weak link in this regard.

6) Social Taboos and Politics

A public space like a Slack war room may also discourage honest dialogue among team members. Some sellers won’t ask for help for any number of reasons in the public sphere, whether it’s their fragile little seller egos, concerns about internal politics, or any number of factors that we may never know because they’re only human.

7) Not Enough Accountability 

It shouldn't be a secret or unknown why your team lost a deal anymore! Siloed selling does that. Tracking progress, assigning tasks, and holding team members accountable becomes impossibly tough in a crowded Slack channel. Without proper tools to assign and monitor tasks, it's far too easy for responsibilities to become muddled, leading to inefficiencies, errors, whiffs, and missed deals. This lack of clear accountability can hinder the sales process and ultimately impact the team's overall performance.

Now, let’s talk about how automation and A.I. can address these challenges, enhancing the best parts of human collaboration while minimizing the drawbacks of traditional war rooms….

A dinosaur dressed as a coach repeating the same fact from above about an improvement in deal rates by 119%

The Ideal (Automated) Slack War Room

In reimagining this magical future of efficient revenue-team collaboration, a pivotal strategy beckons: the creation of dedicated war rooms for each individual deal, involving only the relevant parties. Call it a Deal Room. Wink.

This approach aligns best with the dynamic and nuanced nature of sales, where each deal is a unique opportunity (hey, maybe that’s why they call it that!) — with its own set of unique challenges.

Let’s look at the ideal future of the War Room:

A (War) Room of One’s Own

Since every deal gets its own 'war room,’ every channel is a bespoke environment. It includes only those who are directly involved — from SDR to Solutions Engineer and, when necessary, higher-level execs. This focused approach ensures that every conversation, every piece of advice, and every decision is directly relevant to the deal.

Dynamic Participant Inclusion 

The next important thing to account for in these deal-specific war rooms lies in their fluidity. Ideally, the revenue team can set criteria for auto-escalating the deal — such as deal size, complexity, or stage in the sales cycle — to bring in Front Line Managers only when they need to be included) No need to leave this one up to the whims and caprices of whoever thinks is big enough to get collaborated on. (Standardizing data and process adherence to boot.)  As a deal progresses or encounters challenges, additional expertise can be brought in seamlessly. This could mean escalating to higher management for strategic input or involving technical experts for specific client queries.

Data Goes Where It Needs To

Even better? These deal-specific war-rooms should be connected to your CRM and updated in real-time. The issue of information overload is significantly cut down. Each channel contains only information pertinent to a single deal, making it easier for team members to track progress, identify key action items, and stay focused on relevant tasks. This streamlined communication enhances clarity and decision-making efficiency.

Enhanced Focus 

As we said before: as teams grow, the scalability challenge of a single, crowded war room becomes totally and utterly unmanageable. However, with individual war rooms, each team can operate in its focused environment. This not only makes managing larger teams more feasible but also maintains the quality and relevance of interactions within each room.

Security in your Security  

In a deal-specific war room, call it a Deal Room ( 😉)  sensitive information is shared only with those who need it to know it. This greatly reduces the risk of unintentional information leaks and maintains a higher level of confidentiality, which is crucial in sensitive negotiations and high-stake deals.

Personalized Accountability and Tracking

Of course, with a dedicated space for each deal, revenue leaders can also know where every deal stands. They can track progress, while assigning tasks becomes more straightforward and personalized. Team members have clear visibility of their responsibilities within the context of the deal, enhancing accountability and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.

Encouraging Open Communication

In a smaller, more focused group, the barriers to open, honest communication are lowered. Sellers may feel more comfortable seeking help or sharing insights in a dedicated space, fostering a more collaborative and supportive environment.

A.I. — It Just Saves Time

Even. if you're just dipping your toe into the water on A.I., there's a lot to be gained here a relatively minimal risk. Ironically enough, it’s not about generative A.I.’s generative side here. It’s all about its evaluative abilities! Getting A.I. to quickly summarize deal-specific sales meetings (via transcripts) and upload them directly in the pertinent war room. A.I. can also assist in suggesting relevant next steps, and provide real-time insights tailored to each specific deal scenario. You could say:

The Skynet is the limit.

Ultimately, the concept of a dedicated war room for each deal, combined with intelligent automation, a dynamic participant structure, and A.I. use represents a significant evolution in revenue collaboration, away from the "Slack war room" of old.

This retains the human element — the very essence of sales — while dramatically improving efficiency, focus, and outcome. As we shoulder our revenue selves into this new revenue era, let's truly improve how we work together.

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.