For those who may have missed Dreamforce, there are plenty of sources and articles out there that talk about these new features in detail, but you might wonder to yourself, "How can my team actually put these to use? What real benefits do they offer? And... what's the cost?". 21b is here to provide that practical insight beyond just marketing hype! Hooray!
In the below article, we'll quickly review each hot new enhancement with ideas on how these features will change work and increase productivity for your team. And as always, I'm happy to chat with anyone about these, Slack Connect me at email@example.com!
Slack Sales Elevate
In short, this is the previously acquired Troops app integrated natively into Slack. It's current power really comes from a few core features:
Being able to use Salesforce list view functionality directly in Slack for standard Sales Cloud objects (Accounts, Opportunities) - allowing users to update multiple records at a time via inline editing quickly from Slack.
Setting up personalized, out-of-the-box notifications for things like stage changes in seconds to send via DM or to channels.
Being able to use the above features across all devices - desktop, phone and tablet.
If your team loves Slack and hates going into Salesforce to update information, this is a great solution for them, and will only continue to improve. The roadmap has things like custom objects and approvals coming soon... so lots of productivity improvements on the way!
Note, this add-on is currently accessible for Slack Business+ plans and higher, along with Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited Sales Cloud editions at a cost of $60 per user per month.
New User Interface
You can go read the official release posts and marketing for the reasoning behind the new user interface but all I have to say is...
It's clear that the redesign took -- lets call it "inspiration" -- from it's main competitor. That's undeniable based on having eyes, though officially not written anywhere.
What I can say is that for users switching from Teams, Enterprise Grid teams and users who have had trouble or confusion with switching workspaces, this redesign should be very helpful to them. For those of us who had no trouble with the existing UI, it's a bit hard to understand why this was required or how it will make us more productive... 🤷♂️
It's important to note that this will now be the default UI. The "old UI" will soon be gone forever as the Slack product team has confirmed this is not toggle-able. But hey, at least it's free!
Alright I'm done, moving on... 😂
Workflow Builder 2.0 + New Platform
Now here we get into some real power!! We at 21b had the opportunity to be part of the pilot for WFB 2.0 and the new platform beta, so we've been using this for some time now and absolutely love the attention this has gotten. The original WFB was acquired from Robots and Pencils (originally called Missions) in 2018, with only two core steps, so it had been some time since this feature saw the attention it deserved.
The workflow builder now supports 15+ out-of-the-box steps, 15+ platform connectors, and fully custom developed connectors (via new platform development) which allow users to build all sorts of cross platform automations with configuration not code in the WFB. This means that anyone on your team, technical or not, can automate tasks to improve their work and productivity quickly and easily. Plus, we've been told that there are more core steps and connectors coming, so this will only improve! I believe it will become a competitor to apps like Zapier and Workato as it continues to mature.
That said, there is a cost to using 2+ platform connectors or a custom step depending on runs/month. But I'd highly recommend anyone to go try the new core steps (which are free!) to get familiar with what's possible and go from there as there is a lot you can do with the core steps.
As someone who has used Jira, Monday, ClickUp, Wrike, Trello and even Notion for managing projects while using Slack -- this is a game changer! To have an all internal task/project management tool in Slack, all context directly in Slack, is going to fundamentally improve how teams function and operate -- manage, track, and triage work while in the flow of communication.
Yes, a lot of the apps I mentioned above have integrations with Slack (some even have new platform connectors!) but to have this all internal to Slack will be something that I believe smaller teams who want to reduce tool sprawl will be massive fans of. At 21b, we run all our projects in Slack using Slack soup to nuts, it's all there, so for us this will be how we do project management from release of it forward.
We are lucky enough to be taking part in the pilot here starting in October 2023, and hope to see this released to teams by end of the year or early 2024. No word yet on if this will be a paid add on or what Slack plans will support it.
✨ Annnd of course had to save the best for last (AI AI AI). This one is easy to explain because anyone and everyone who has ever used a text-based communication tool and understands AI can see how there is exponential value and time savings that will come from this.
Channel summaries, thread summaries, and the ability to search and generate quick summaries using AI -- will be absolutely incredible for teams on Slack. I continue to tell customers and prospects now: Start using Slack now. Start getting all your information and data in Slack now. Start to organize your channels, teams and communications now. Once the AI rolls out, it will need data to be valuable, so as long as you have been using Slack historically it will provide massive power immediately upon release since you already have the data.
Our guess is this will absolutely be a paid add on, though pricing is completely unclear at this time. The pilot for Slack AI will start this winter, you can sign up here. More to come soon!
After a rocky start to 2023 with RIFs and layoffs at Slack, changes in the Slack leadership plus activist investors doing whatever they do at Salesforce -- it's clear now there is a continued push and massive investment in Slack from Salesforce. So feel free to disagree, but 2024 is looking to be the best year for Slack yet! 🚀
References: Introducing Slack AI, Slack Lists, and New Automation Capabilities that Boost Productivity and Transform How Teams Work | Slack Keynote: Meet the Future of Intelligent Productivity | Salesforce Launches Slack Sales Elevate to Transform How Sales Teams Work