COVID-19 – the initial impact on sales & marketing

The economic impact of COVID-19 is starting to show already. Closures, booms and adapting new working environments is having an undeniable impact on businesses. But what is the initial impact on sales and marketing?

I just read a comprehensive article from HubSpot who have analysed their 70,000+ database of customers and have come up with some interesting data and analysis for March 2020. You can read the full article here. I thought I would summarise it and add some more suggestions on what you should be doing now to improve your sales & marketing position for when we go back to our new normal.  

The obvious – number of new deals & closes are down

With all the booms and crashes the averages are still on the downward trend… Globally, the weekly average of deals created decreased by 17% the week of March 16, and fell by 23% by the week of March 30, compared to last year. In March, the number of deals closed fell globally from previous Q1 weekly averages by 21%, most happened after March 16.

Website traffic is up

Monthly website traffic increased by 13% in March, compared to February. and more businesses are relying on website purchases and if you don’t have good online CTAs and/or shopping it could be a serious issue . It will be interesting to see April’s results!

Marketing and sales activity has increased – but less responses in general..

Marketing and sales teams sent a significantly higher volume of emails in March. However, the main outcome was only that engagement with marketing emails increased. This suggests that opportunity exists to improve outreach and connect with your target market. They are just not buying as much at the moment.

Opportunities for Businesses

Focus on education, not promotion.

The increase in website traffic, engagement, and marketing email open rates suggest that customers are still looking to engage with companies, they just might not in the market to buy yet. This is why sales led conversations may not be appropriate at the moment. This is the time to look at building your brand by educating your target market of your core values and collating data.

People are chatting

Live chat volume has increased, it looks like it might be worth looking at how you can incorporate this function onto your website. It can help you capture questions from real-time chats to build on relationships for the future.

Work on your sales pipeline.

Your sales pipeline may be very different to what is was in February. First of all…make sure your sales team is using a helpful technical sales approach (consultative selling) trying to find solutions for issues people may be having currently. Empathy is key in this climate.

Realign your sales pipeline and sales process to ensure that when we come out the other end, you are not starting from a position where your pipeline is lagging. Communicate with your pipeline honestly and transparently so you do not lose momentum but do not waste their time.

This is a great time to analyse your leakage in the pipeline, check your CRM is giving you good data or just number crunch. Put effort in improving the stages that you are less successful in converting to the next. Come up with ideas and ways you can increase the probability of success. Better templates? More collateral?

Also ensure you communicate with operations regularly if your sales forecasts change (up/down) significantly. If this process is not in place properly at the moment, take this opportunity to put in place best practice here, improving efficiencies for the future.

Do loads of proactive stuff

Doing something proactive now will help you when we all get back to the new normal after Covid-19. Other areas to focus on are: Optimising your sales process, do some sales/technical training (loads of free stuff out there too!), competitor analysis, data cleaning, build relationships with other departments, complete that to-do list.

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