As a sales leader, your job is to increase revenue, execute sales strategies, and improve your team’s results. But it’s difficult to do this if you’re not receiving clear, concise information from your reps.
This can happen if you don’t have a good internal communication plan, don’t use the right tools, or haven’t created a safe space for reps to tell you the truth about customer accounts, sales targets, and their performance.
But internal communication is a two-way street, and sometimes you need to share some information with your sales team. There’s just one problem:
Your sales reps are busy and have things to do.
The last thing they need is unnecessary emails or Slack messages that puncture their focus.
As a sales leader, you might feel that there can never be too much communication - and you’d be partially right - but what those updates entail and how, when, why, and to whom you communicate these updates also matters.
Much of enterprise sales lore focuses on external communication: how to speak to prospects and customers, how to communicate changes to contracts and product features, and how to onboard and offboard new and existing customers respectively. Much of this external communication is tied to your marketing and positioning plan.
But just as important is how you communicate internally to your sales team - and how to spot and eliminate friction in this process.
For effective internal communication, you need to be clear, concise, and empathetic to the needs of your B2B sales team. This post will help you outline your internal sales communication strategy and how to improve yours. But first:
What is sales communication and why does it matter?
Sales communication refers to how you share information with your customers or sales team about products, analytics, competitors, and industry news. In this post, we’ll be focusing on the internal side of things: communicating effectively with your enterprise sales team.
Every internal sales communication request should ideally have the following four components:
- Source: The creator of the communication request
- Audience: The primary target of the communication
- Purpose: Why the communication is being sent
- Urgency: The importance and deadline of the communication request
Good internal sales communication presents valuable information in a way that saves your team time and solves their needs. When your sales reps don’t need to hunt for critical information themselves, they have more time to spend on selling.
Have a single source of truth
Asking your sales reps to gather information from five different sources wastes time and introduces friction in the sales process. Reducing this number to a single source of truth - a centralized repository of all your sales communications and sales enablement assets - improves your enterprise sales workflow.
Condense your sales messaging
Avoid making your sales reps read through long documentation or watch lengthy videos to gather information. Instead, make information more accessible to them by using conversation trees to guide them through their first few sales calls and providing visual sales enablement assets they can quickly reference at any time, even when on a sales call.
Who should direct internal sales communication within B2B teams?
Part of internal sales communication is vetting and filtering information before it gets through to the sales team. This is done to preserve priorities and conserve their time and energy.
Much of the time, the sales manager, head of sales, or VP of sales or sales ops is implicitly responsible for internal sales comms by virtue of their role.
When a new request to push a new product, communicate a price change, or change the sales strategy comes in, the internal communicator is ultimately responsible for triaging the request, communicating it to the team, and assigning relevant members to act on it.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If the engineering team wants to announce an urgent change to the product (e.g., “We can no longer support devices older than version 3.2”), then they should be able to quickly email firstname.lastname@example.org so that your sales representatives can update their sales calls and emails ASAP.
However, if it’s a major announcement about the product or pricing (e.g., “We can now support up to 1m events from 100k before, and the cost is going up by 15%”), that’s something that the internal sales comms lead will need to assess and relay to the team with context.
This means they’ll need to know what that information means for the customer, how that changes your company’s sales offer and positioning, and which sales enablement assets need to be updated. It’ll be up to that key person to tell other departments how, when, and what to communicate with the sales team.
Should you hire an internal sales communications manager?
If you’d like to have a central point of contact for your sales team, you might need to hire an internal sales communication manager.
Such a manager acts as the point of contact between sales or sales ops leadership and the rest of the sales team. Their job is to develop and distribute messages, campaigns, and initiatives via internal communication tools - such as newsletters, email lists, and intranet sites - to ensure strategic alignment across the sales department.
To do this successfully, they’ll need to understand your company’s communication guidelines, suggest the best internal collaboration tools, and act as a liaison between sales and marketing.
LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed are all great starting points for potential candidates and job description templates for internal sales communications manager roles.
Top channels for internal sales communication
How your sales teams communicate internally depends on your company culture, sales tech stack, and communication cadence. Beyond face-to-face meetings with first-line managers - increasingly less likely in a remote working era - most sales teams communicate via one of the following channels:
Email is still one of the most common ways to communicate internally. It’s fast, flexible, accessible, and usable on multiple devices. It provides a digital record for future reference and you can embed file attachments as needed.
However, for most email providers, larger files require linking to a file on a third-party platform (e.g. Google Drive or Dropbox), and too many emails can quickly overwhelm your recipients. You’ll also want to avoid CC’ing people who aren’t directly involved in the conversation, as this can annoy or distract them.
Email can also be used to send internal sales newsletters with the latest industry news, product updates, and company announcements. As an employee engagement channel, email communication is invaluable.
Internal social platforms
Platforms like Yammer, Teams, and Facebook for Work allow sales teams to coordinate accounts, discuss pressing issues, and socialize within the workplace. One popular internal communications tool is Slack.
Slack is a growing channel for team communications in many B2B sales teams today, with 65 of the Fortune 100 companies using Slack for business communication in some capacity. Sales teams using Slack are also up to 5 times more likely to win in business transactions.
You can create multiple channels within Slack based on different topics, tag people directly, respond to threads without cluttering the main channel feed, attach files of differing sizes, and link to them via third-party storage services like Google Drive.
Beyond just storage providers, Slack also allows for third-party app integrations that speed up your workflow, including Momentum’s collaborative sales tool. However, Slack notifications can be a major distraction for sales reps who are trying to focus on their work, although the app allows you to mute channels and conversations you’re no longer interested in.
Team meetings and planning sessions usually take place over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet, or some other flavor of video-conference software. These platforms allow for real-time conversation, the ability to record these conversations, and the added element of seeing your colleague’s faces.
Software like Teams also combines the team chat functionality of Slack with the video-conferencing functionality of Skype or Zoom, all backed by the storage capacity of tools like Drive or Dropbox.
However, this might not be the preferred mode of communication for everyone on your team - some people work faster with text-based directives (over email or Slack) than with long brainstorming sessions over Zoom.
Frequency of internal sales communications: How often should you meet and talk?
Depending on your line of business, you’ll most likely communicate with your enterprise sales team at least once a day, with topics relating to everything from product updates to daily check-ins.
You might then have a weekly meeting that involves one or more (or even all) members of your sales team. This gives everyone a chance to review the previous week’s performance, discuss pipeline health, and celebrate big wins.
Next up is the quarterly sales meeting - held every three months to ensure you’re on track to reach your team’s goals (e.g., meeting quota, signing on new clients, implementing mid-year changes, and more.)
Finally, the annual review happens either as a team event (where you discuss changes to the business, client accounts, or product), or with individual members of your sales team (where you review their performance, KPIs, and next steps).
Each of these types of activities needs to be defined in advance - and that’s where having an internal sales communication plan comes in handy.
Defining your internal sales communications strategy
An internal sales communications strategy helps everyone understand who to talk to about what issues, which channels to use, and when to to give or receive internal sales comms.
The first step is to define this strategy in a central document that everyone on your team can access. You can store it on your internal file server, your company-wide Dropbox or Drive account, or use a document management tool (see options at G2.com).
The next step is to train your staff on how internal sales comms work at your company and add the guide to any onboarding checklists for new sales hires. Keep in mind that a full understanding of the process will likely only happen over time.
After that, you’ll want to acquire the right tools to streamline your internal sales comms. This involves communications tools, reporting and analytics tools, video conferencing, and collaborative sales software.
Finally, gather feedback on the internal sales comms process to find out if the process is working, how it can be improved, and what friction points persist. Remember: your internal sales communications strategy is a living object that evolves over time.
Shape your internal sales communications strategy today
Your internal communications strategy plays a huge role in the success of your enterprise sales workflow. Defining how this works for your team - from the people involved to the tools you’ll use - sets the stage for success in the sales cycle.
The right tools streamline the sales process. At Momentum, we’ve worked hard to build a Slack integration that makes it easy for sales teams to communicate clearly and speedily at the most critical point of the sales cycle - when closing the deal. See Momentum in action today.