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This is a guest post by my friend David Krieger. David Kreiger is the President and Founder of SalesRoads. SalesRoads is a leading B2B Appointment Setting and SDR Outsourcing firm. [FYI from Nigel: you should contact them if you need this kind of help. They are the “real deal”!]
This year’s coronavirus pandemic and the resulting shutdown of much of the US economy has had an impact on just about everything: how we live, how we work, and even how we sell.
My company, SalesRoads (North America’s leading B2B Appointment Setting and SDR Outsourcing firm), spends much of its time supporting the SaaS (software-as-a-service) industry, so we wanted to better understand their situation in this pivotal moment. To study this, we surveyed 755 B2B SaaS professionals who are part of the sales process at their companies in late May and early June 2020. We also conducted 25 interviews with B2B SaaS sales leaders to go into greater detail and get a better understanding of what they are experiencing within their own organizations.
We asked respondents how the sales process itself has been transformed by this experience, particularly with regard to sales channels. Considering that most sales activity has, for the time being, moved to digital, it is also informative to see a) which channels people are finding to be worth their time and effort and b) how this answer may have changed as a result of working remotely.
We asked our respondents which sales channel, prior to the crisis, had been their most effective. Nearly two-thirds of our respondents said that digital methods, such as email (31.3%), social media (27.5%), and webinars (13.1%), had been most effective for them. At the same time, a significant proportion – 22.4% – said they considered reaching out to people by phone to be the most useful. In fact, SalesRoads’ own internal metrics indicate that phone consistently performs better with respect to generating appointments.
These findings demonstrate the value that human-to-human contact plays in the overall sales process. After all, calling someone up or sending them an email (or communicating with them via LinkedIn messages) allows salespeople to personalize their pitch while also demonstrating knowledge about the business problem that needs to be solved within their organization. And, because all you really need is a phone and a computer — and a fast internet connection — to carry these things out, the disruption caused by the coronavirus would be, in theory, minimal.
As it happens, our data largely bears that theory out. On the whole, a relatively small percentage of our surveyees said that the coronavirus had negatively affected their ability to use email, the phone, social media, and webinars to contact prospects. Another one third said their ability to reach prospects on those channels was about the same as it was before. The rest reported improvement.
What is also clear is that the disruption caused to the sales process by the coronavirus is not so much an issue of being able to find or reach new leads; rather, it is the economic disruption that has made it more difficult for deals to be finalized.
Our research allowed us to better get a sense of how to support our customers as we enter a new normal that may be with us for a while. I expect COVID to have created lasting changes to how we sell. It may very well be a sobering thought, sure, but to be forewarned is to be forearmed – and the salesperson aimed with the best intel is the one who consistently surpasses their quota!
David Kreiger is the President and Founder of SalesRoads. SalesRoads is a leading B2B Appointment Setting and SDR Outsourcing firm. He has been named as one of The Most Influential Leaders in Sales & Lead Management by the SLMA the last four years in a row