After a few weeks in the five-foot society, the dust seems to have settled somewhat. People and companies are used to the new reality and we are slowly picking up the thread again within the borders.
When it comes to marketing and sales, interesting things have happened in recent months. Hubspot researched the marketing and sales activities in the first quarter and, more importantly, its effect.
We list the most important findings in this blog:
Both marketing and sales have sought more contact with (potential) customers:
Marketing and sales teams have both sought more contact with customers and prospects, but with varying degrees of success. They both sent a significantly higher number of emails. However, only engagement with marketing emails increased, suggesting that there are indeed opportunities to improve outreach and connect with the right buyers at the right time. But that the “buying moment” may not or hardly be there at the moment.
Sales ‘outreach’ has increased, but the response has decreased significantly
Sales teams were significantly more active in March, but buyers were less engaged in what they had to say. The lower response rate to outreach was ultimately reflected in lower deal volume.
On a weekly basis, companies sent 23% more sales emails in the week of March 16 compared to previous weekly averages in Q1.
The response to those emails started to decline in the first week of March, with an overall decline of 27% in March compared to February.
Marketing outreach, open rates and database growth have increased since the start of the crisis.
Email open rates increased in March, despite a significant increase in the number of emails sent. Business communications on COVID-19 related information have likely contributed to some of the email volume growth, and we expect this measure to change over time.
Average marketing email volume rose 29% in the week of March 16, while open rates were up 53% in the same week.
Over the month as a whole, the open rate roseby a total of 21%.
What does this mean for companies?
Although these are somewhat premature figures, we already see great opportunities for companies.
Focus on education instead of promotion.
The increase in website traffic, buyer-initiated conversations, and open rates for marketing emails suggest that customers are still looking to engage with businesses.
Your customers may be more interested in education and information right now. Our own website is seeing a massive increase in access to educational resources such as our blogs, whitepapers and webinar.
So instead of starting up the promotion of your products and services during a crisis – you better focus on distributing content that makes your customers “smarter”, without asking for anything in return. The reward, in the form of new business, is guaranteed to follow later.
Include chat in your contact strategy.
Hubspot’s data shows that chat volume has increased in the past two months, and we think it will likely continue to grow. Conversational marketing provides a real-time way to answer customer inquiries and automate the lead routing process so that your business can serve potential and existing customers even when they are out of the office.
Investing in chatbots to get responses from customers faster, automate lead qualification or book meetings can help your business meet growing customer demand.
Depending on your company’s sales process, the current dip in the number of new sales opportunities may not affect your company’s profit and loss statement for a few months. Many companies will have to rethink what prospecting looks like to strengthen their long-term pipeline.
Regularly adjust your sales forecasts to reflect potentially extended sales cycles or a reduced deal size, so that forecasts remain accurate. With just a little bit of process adjustment (or improvements to existing processes) you can get a clear picture of your business over time.
Encourage your team to emphasize a helpful and advisory sales approach.You have no control over certain factors, such as the budget of your customers and the willingness to have sales calls at the moment.
Review your target audience and shift focus.
Rather than accessing your entire database unsolicited, use the knowledge of the industries of particular customer groups to prioritize achieving:
Industries that have been minimally affected or are rapidly transforming to meet the new challenges
Industries where your solutions are currently particularly relevant or useful
In short: there are plenty of opportunities, you just have to find and seize them!