Justin Mongroo runs the sales development team at Slack and has an extensive portfolio with companies like Conga and Induit. Mongroo is also one of the rare cases who sold outside of the "fake economy."
He shared his tips on building and running a successful sales team and the importance of a good sales process and work environment.
When Mongroo first joined Slack, he realized he needed to help build a more rigorous process and wanted to tackle how to deal with the company's growth.The challenge was managing the rapid growth and type of volume Slack was undergoing. One of the most crucial steps was implementing a culture that revolved around building and helping one another, creating not only a team, but a community.
One challenge that comes up when defining a sales process is to make sure that your company is not reactive. You need to be proactive. “It’s about balance, there are people who come to slack on their own. We’re responsible for maximizing the product and what will lead them to spend time on it in the future”. Companies focus too much on selling a product,
but if you want to keep people coming back, you need them to be able to use it as much as possible. It needs to be relevant in their daily life and Mongroo saw this in Slack.
“It’s about balance, there are people who come to slack on their own. We’re responsible for maximizing the product and what will lead them to spend time on it in the future”.
Despite his respectful portfolio, he made sure to be selective of what ideas he brought in. “If you stamp it the way you did before, you’re going to miss an opportunity” when talking about prioritization and marketing. Mongroo wanted a sales process that works for his team without simply cutting and pasting.
Mongroo also discussed prioritization when it came to targeting accounts for outbound prospecting. For target accounts, they are usually targeted by the organization and handled by inbound representatives. What is most important is understanding your accounts and what they’re based on.
To maintain consistency, measuring rep activities is crucial. However, you should look at them as a function of results and outcomes. He also looks at rough activity metrics, but Mongroo makes it clear that he’s “never looked at a number and made a change”. He cares about people and as long as they're improving and responding well to coaching, they are viable to the team if needed.
Targeting the audience is always a challenge. For Slack, it was user influence vs. decision maker. Mongroo looks at C-level down, which includes account-based intel and gathering context at the user level. Users need to understand what they could do as well as how to do what they want to do today. It’s always about being informative. “Motion starts with empathy,” says Mongroo, “make sure they’re getting value out of it and understanding areas that they didn’t know.” Users give stakeholders landscape, so it’s important to ask them what they were looking for.
A lot of people don’t talk about the culture behind a sales team, and for someone like Mongroo, it was as important as everything else. The cornerstones of the culture at Slack are ‘Coaching and empathy’. The team leaders lead by example, Mongroo describes his team as "smart, humble, hardworking, and collaborative".
Slack’s team leads with empathy with their primary objective being practicality. He also discusses how his inbound sales team focuses on using it as a web chat tool and outbound sales prioritizes hospitality, government, and education. Mongroo wants Slack to be able to bridge organizations to its goals.
He built his team from the ground up with the question, “What’s the DNA you want in your team?” You need to build the fundamentals. He also took into account career paths that he wanted to help build. Mongroo wants to nurture people and further their careers. If the leader considers his team the outcome is sure to be positive.
One of the best ways to enable a successful sale when it comes to negotiation is through stories. Mongroo creates an environment where people will listen to stories on Gong and integrate them into their sales process and strategy. Mongroo finds a lot of what drives success on Slack is hyper-personalized emails on the outbound end and personalization on the inbound end leading up to it are stories with sales.
A lot of cold calling has shifted to email. Less people use phones nowadays; however, the team has training in place to maximize conversation regardless of platform. Mongroo notes that you need to “know your hook statement and it should be personalized on the phone call.” As companies scale, it’s important to keep personalization in it but not deviate from strategy.
Despite times looking bleak, Mongroo is keeping his head up. There is a work culture at Slack built around the team helping each other and encouraging each other in person. Now that everything is remote, the culture needs to be reshaped. Mongroo is aware that he needs to create onboarding in a remote world but like he said, “If you own the will set, you won the skill set”.