Using MS Teams for Sales
We’ve previously written about how we use Microsoft OneNote for Sales Management for everything from recording meeting notes through to online sales coaching, training and sales playbooks. We are big fans of OneNote, but what really turbocharges OneNote for us, is the ability to create, store, access and use inside MS Teams.
With so many people now using MS Teams from home Teams has gone from a Business product to a household brand that everyone can use. Unlike its competitors that lack the Enterprise level of security, MS Teams has multilayered security allowing users to configure Teams to bring sales prospects, customers and employees all together. In some cases that might not be appropriate, however, in many cases we help our clients configure Teams so they have:
- Using the Public Access feature to deliver Live Events & Sales Webinars for Lead Generation
- Using Group Access to position your business as an Industry thought leader
- External Company access for Sales Prospects to take them through a Complex Sales Process
- In house access where Teams for Managing Sales Opportunities, for example, collaborating on Tenders
- In House access where Teams is used as the “host platform” for a Learning Management System based on OneNote, MS Forms, Planner, Yammer, Stream, To Do, Calendar and My Analytics or even third party apps like Moodle.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these scenarios and see why using MS Teams for sales makes so much sense.
1. Public Access for Live Events using MS Teams for Sales
Every business needs new customers and the Live Events feature inside Teams allows you to create and run events open to the public as part of your Lead Generation Programme. Over the years we have found that many Salespeople struggle to pick up the telephone and make sales calls.
Some even struggle to send emails and LinkedIn connection requests because they are introverts and don’t want to face the possible rejection that comes in sales. We’ve found that create FREE high-value Events are a great way to overcome this because most Salespeople are much happier calling or emailing a FREE invitation. The reality is Events are a great way to position your business, raise awareness and start conversations with prospects.
If you’re struggling with ideas on what High-Value event you could deliver think about what’s relevant and what’s current. Are there changes in Legislation surrounding your industry? Are their new trends in your industry?
If you’re still unsure look up your Industry News site and run a Live Event on the topic they are headlining with. If you don’t know anything about the topic find the expert source that the News article referenced and interview them for the Live event using questions from the attendees.
Enabling the Live Events functions inside MS Teams
If you are planning on using MS Teams for Sales, the Public Access feature may not be available or switched on in your companies current MS Teams platform. If Public Access is not available then you will require a user with Admin Rights to switch this feature on from inside the Teams Admin Centre. Once Inside the Admin Centre you should look for the Meetings section and from there the Live Events policies. Please check the video for easy to follow directions.
The notes not only help us remember what was said and what next steps need to be taken they are great for referring back to when we send a “Thank you for meeting me email” with a summary of the notes and if we need to create a proposal or presentation later in the sales process.
If you are in the Admin Centre it’s worthwhile using the additional features in Teams to customise your Meeting Invitations:
Your Company Logo
Your Legal T’s and C’s
Your Support Contact for the Event
Your Company strapline in the Footer
These are then displayed whenever a recipient opens their Meeting Invite.
We should point out we’re not a Tech Channel so here are the links to Microsofts’ own guide to making these changes.
Once you have Live Events configured you can create your own Event from inside teams by clicking on Calendar and then use the drop-down menu to access the live events option.
From here you can then add the Meeting Title and all the details. Next, simply copy the link and insert it into your emails or lead generation campaigns.
2. Group Access for Sales using MS Teams
Whereas Public Access in MS Teams is a great platform for Live events, we recently configured Teams for a client who wanted a Channel to communicate with a specific industry that was going through huge changes with the Pandemic and needed a platform to talk to them.
They invited over 350 customers and 450 prospects into Teams and are delivering weekly updates to an entire industry. They are now seen as thought leaders in the industry and it’s a great way to start conversations that lead to relationships that lead to sales.
You can use the same strategy and use MS Teams to create a platform so that you can talk to your industry.
You could deliver updates on new laws and regulations, industry trends and insights, interview industry thought leaders and invite your customers to talk about their businesses and experiences.
We would, however, warn against overtly selling in these types of communications as the minute the audience believes they are being sold to, they will start to drop out and the Channel will wither.
3. Company Access for Sales Prospects inside MS Teams
In B2B Sales it’s increasingly difficult to reach all the decision-makers in the Sales Process. In many cases they send a “Scout” to find information not available on your website and do all they can to keep Salespeople at a distance throughout the buying process.
What these buyers want is information and in most cases a quote or proposal and when they have it they immediately cease all contact. This can be a huge waste of time and money for the selling organisation as tenders become more and more complicated, needing multiple people in the way of bid teams to respond. If you’re not sure if this is happening to you simply check back through your CRM and you’ll see that many deals stall immediately after the prospect receives the pricing and information they need.
There is no easy way around this however what’s working for our clients is offering limited information up-front and then holding back until the other Decision Makers engage. They do this by re-framing the sales opportunity as a project and using Teams as the “Project Management Portal” to gather the needs of all the “stakeholders”.
This brings the buyers out and allows a controlled release of the information in exchange for engagement. This doesn’t work on every deal however it very quickly “smokes” out the genuine buyers from those just using the Salespeople for pricing.
An additional benefit of this approach is the Sales Team can invite Pre-Sales, operations, delivery teams and aftercare teams to the Teams Channel in the solution forming phase of the sale which can provide a richer sales experience for the customer. This is a great point of differentiation and whilst no sales strategy works every time it’s low cost and easy to try.
Lastly this strategy shouldn’t be applied across the board unless every sales opportunity is large and comes with a bespoke solution. We only implement this for deals above £10k, but you can choose where to set the bar.
4. Inhouse Access for Using Teams on Bids & Tenders
The most common use for MS Teams is the call and video conferencing functions, however, there is much more functionality that can help Sales Teams sell more. MS Teams makes Sales Teams more productive, more focussed and delivers a better user experience which in turn increases productivity.
There are numerous advantages with Teams such as the chat function, which allows us to stay connected without cluttering up our Outlook Inbox. Whether it’s Yammer, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or any of the other O365 products, they can all be accessed and worked on from inside the Teams environment.
If you have bid teams responding to tenders the Bid documents can be created, stored and developed within the Teams environment and Tender Teams can collaborate and even edit the same document simultaneously.
In many cases the Bid creation process can run down to the deadline and when multiple authors are involved which can create time delays as each contributes and updates potentially separate copies of the one document. The Multi author allows uses inside Teams to make edits and additions live and see the document develop as their work colleagues contribute in real time.
Whether it’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any of the other O365 products, they can all be accessed and worked on from inside Microsoft Teams.
5. Teams as a Learning Management System
Many companies now acknowledge the tangible benefits of training, coaching and developing their people. Sales Training and Coaching itself has changed and improved over the years, whereas in the past training was in most cases was one-off event, they are now almost always part of a bespoke sales training programme. In order to deliver these programmes software companies have developed SaaS models where companies can create bespoke learning programmes.
There are numerous Learning Management Systems on the market each with some great functionality, however, Microsoft Teams has for most companies all the functionality they will ever need from an (LMS). Furthermore, the beauty of using MS Teams as an LMS is both compelling and simple:
- You are already paying for it with your 0365 Licence
- Your people are already working inside the O365 suite every hour of every day so that’s a great place for learning.
Although there is no one standard in terms of the functionality of an LMS, for most companies an LMS has the capability to, create, document, record, measure, store and deliver training programmes. In practical terms this means:
Create. Document, Record. You can create learning content in OneNote, MS Wiki, MS Paint, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Stream, MS Whiteboard, Excel, Publisher.
Measure. You can test and measure learning using all of the above and MS Planner and MS Forms.
Store. You can store all your content in either One Drive or SharePoint.
Deliver. You can deliver all your training and coaching using MS Teams and acknowledge achievements via MS Praise.
In addition to the suite of O365 tools there are many additional third-party applications available from inside MS Teams to both enhance and compliment your existing applications. For example, you can connect to
CRM systems – MS Dynamics CRM, Salesforce CRM, NImble, Zoho or iGlobe CRM.
Productivity – Asana, Trello, Jira & Stormflow.
Communications – Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp, Mail Clerk & Text Bot.
There are hundreds of other applications available and the number of these apps including Moodle which is a stand alone LMS that can be connected into your Teams Channel.
We’ve also written on the benefits of using OneNote for Sales Management and Coaching which are an important part of any LMS. We rally like the combined functionality of MS Teams and OneNote as a Coaching platform to help develop Salespeople.
You can break down your Training into competencies and deliver bespoke sessions on specifics like sales prospecting, pipeline management sales closing techniques all from inside your own Sales Playbooks in OneNote. We use our Sales Playbooks with every client and the combination of creating and using OneNote for the Playbook, and delivering them through Teams is really powerful.
6. Recommended Reading
If you would like to discover some of the free templates that we use inside teams then check out our B2B Sales Tools.