Is Slack The Next Frontier In Business Development?

marketing on slack channels
Home » Blog » Is Slack The Next Frontier In Business Development?
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in Slack channels.  As a solo founder I’m primarily dependent on reaching out to other people on social media networks such as Reddit, LinkedIn, and Slack to exchange ideas and keep up with current happenings in the marketplace. Through that process I’ve become quite involved in several Slack communities and noticed that a pretty scary amount of business is being done on private Slack groups similar to how employees might exchange ideas and referrals in an office setting or at a trade show. At this point, Slack has probably become my number two lead generation channel behind Google Ads. The thing is, I haven’t even been focusing on generating leads via Slack, I just monitor the channels, engage in the conversation, and naturally see people that I can help that have questions related to services provided, and jump in there. I think a lot of people in technology are drawn to Slack because of its inability to be exposed to advertising. Techy crowds in general are allergic to ads and frequently use technology such as ad blockers to avoid the constant bombardment by marketing professionals in today’s world. It’s one of the few places that you can have real business conversations in a digital sense without the blatant self-promotion, political opinions, and other negative drawbacks of using more prevalent networking channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Reddit. This has got me wondering is Slack the next Frontier for business development? How can companies capitalize on this largely untapped channel to generate new business?  Is there even an opportunity, or will it stay an unconquered land ruled by those that hustle?

    Slack Challenges

    Slack marketing efforts present a huge opportunity because of the receptiveness of the audience and organic ways of engagement. With this opportunity comes several challenges though. 

    • No Means Of Advertising – there is currently no way to run an advert within a Slack channel or engage in paid direct messaging. This means that you’ll need a person to hangout in the Slack channel, survey the conversation and look for opportunities to engage with consumers in the target market for your industry. 
    • Discoverability and permeation – each industry will be different in the volume of Slack channels that are present and that have an engaged audience of participants.  Slack channels can often be difficult to track down as well, not every Slack channel is going to have a discoverable landing page via a Google search and oftentimes they will be private invite-only communities. 
    • Hard to measure success – it’s difficult to tie an employees engagement within a Slack channel to measurable outcomes.  Are you making any headway or are they mostly just sharing memes and talking about the latest tv episodes? Are they putting your pipeline up shitt’s creek?
    • Hard to protect the brand – it’s also difficult to assess brand damage via pressy sales conversations or an employee spamming the channel until no one takes them, or your company, seriously anymore.  

    Community Engagement

    For companies that put a strong focus on outbound marketing via business development reps Slack is too big of an opportunity to ignore – especially in the pandemic. Dedicating a resource to focus exclusively on Slack probably doesn’t make sense for most companies but wrapping Slack engagement into an overall community engagement role may make more sense. This type of resource could spend time networking on multiple platforms not just Slack. It may also just make sense to tie Slack engagement to quarterly goals for your business development reps if your company is not of the size where a community engagement resource is feasible. 

    Synergy With Inbound Marketing

    Companies that will benefit the most from a Slack marketing effort will be those with an existing strong inbound presence. Business Development reps can post links to your company’s website landing pages and present compelling offers to their respective communities. You can capture those visitors into a retargeting audience and help start to nurture them down the funnel with advertising on Google ads and social media to help compliment the efforts of your BDRs. If you can use these retargeting ads to convince your Slack driven visitors to opt-in to your email list you can continue to nurture them down the funnel with marketing automation sequences. this will relieve a lot of pressure off your BDRs to close sales within Slack only. Having this sort of back up infrastructure in place will allow your reps to engage organically and politely with the Slack communities and not have to make pushy and annoying pitches via direct messages that will do more harm than good to your sales efforts. 

    UTM Codes For Slack

    Be sure to train your reps on how to generate UTM codes for URLs so that you can measure the success of Slack driven campaigns from your reps. These will help tie retargeting efforts and other advertising and marketing automation sequences to a first touch Slack interaction from your reps. If you don’t know what a UTM code is it’s a set of parameters you can append to the end of a URL that will allow you to get slick reports at a campaign level within Analytics software such as Google Analytics. See the image below for an example of how your analytics campaign reports can look when combined with UTM codes on your promotional URLs. I frequently see people post URLs within Slack that attribute clicks to social media or other channels, instead of taking the time to update the campaign source to Slack.  This causes marketers to improperly invest in the wrong channels because their campaign attribution data has gone bad.  

    slack marketing campaign with utm codes
    Lead Magnet Posted To Slack With UTM Codes To Get Campaign Data

    Final Thoughts

    Slack presents a strong opportunity to reach a manually qualified audience at the point where they are experiencing a need, but may not have reached a point of strong enough motivation to start searching for a solution on the open market. For ambitious startups and certain companies allocating a resource to help target people via this channel is still developing.  Are you incorporating slack into your business development efforts?  Have you been able to synergize it with your inbound marketing efforts?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

    Share This Article

    Hunter Nelson

    Hunter is the founder and president of Tortoise and Hare Software, a digital marketing agency for B2B technology companies. Hunter has more than 10 years’ experience building web applications and crafting digital strategies for companies ranging from scrappy startups to Fortune 50 household names. When not on the clock, you'll find him spending time with his family and pups, relaxing on the beach, or playing competitive online video games. See LinkedIn for more.

    Leave a Comment





    Table of Contents
      Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

      Free Email Course:
      Launching Your B2B Digital Marketing Program

      Enroll in our free digital lead generation crash course. A 60 day email series with twice a week emails walking through the journey of how to launch your digital marketing program and generate more B2B leads from your website. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Recent Posts
      msp marketing guide to 5 million+ ARR

      MSP Marketing Guide To 5 Million+ ARR

      In this guide, we’re going to talk about how you can use MSP marketing to generate enough pipeline to get to 5 million plus in annual recurring revenue. A lot of the things we’ll talk about in this guide can be used in larger and smaller businesses but for the purposes of this guide, we’ll…

      multi arm bandit

      Multi Arm Bandits And PPC Machine Learning

      In today’s post, we’re going to be talking about a common PPC machine learning algorithm of which some variant is leveraged in part by many pay per click platforms called a multi arm bandit. We’ll talk about how they compare to simple A/B tests and why understanding the types of algorithms these platforms use is…

      online lead generation tips for msps

      Top Online Lead Generation Tips For MSPs

      According to industry research by a leading managed service provider marketing firm, 94% of MSPs self-reported lead generation as their number one challenge when it comes to growing their MSP. There’s no question that the vast majority of MSPs struggle with lead generation, especially in the earlier years of their business. It makes sense, most…

      Top Content
      sample brand kit

      Branding Your MSP: How To Get Started

      Throughout the process of launching and running Tortoise and Hare Software these past 3-4 years there’s one thing that I’ve gotten consistently good feedback on. The brand! People who aren’t shopping for marketing, and have no relationship to the company will regularly come up to me at trade shows, or comment on my business card,…

      msp paid search campaigns

      The Ultimate Guide To Paid Search On Google Ads For Managed Service Providers

      Generating leads for your MSP can be a challenge. You spend so much time managing employees, making sure customer support tickets are answered, procuring hardware, and defending against cyber threats, there’s hardly time to worry about networking and doing things like posting on social media. However, you’d like to grow faster, and due to some…

      msp seo ultimate guide

      The Ultimate Guide To MSP SEO

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important ways to attract new business for mid-market managed service providers (MSP). If you look at MSPs that have achieved any sort of meaningful scale and grown to the 10MM ARR mark and beyond, you will almost always see a significant portion of their growth came…

      About Us

      Tortoise and Hare Software is a boutique B2B tech marketing agency. We help companies like MSPs, SaaS providers, cybersecurity firms, and other technology service providers launch their digital marketing programs and generate inbound leads.