The economic impact of COVID-19 is undeniable. In the face of closures and shifting consumer behavior, businesses across the world have had to adapt to rapidly changing economic circumstances.
At HubSpot, we’re asking ourselves the same questions many of you are: What now? What should we change about our strategy, and what can go on, business as usual? If we have to make changes, where should we invest our resources and focus?
About the Data
These insights are based on aggregated data from over 70,000 HubSpot customers globally.
The data from HubSpot’s customer base reflects benchmarks for companies that have invested in an online presence and use inbound as a key part of their growth strategy.
What We’re Seeing
Buyers are seeking out and interacting with businesses more today than a month ago. However, deal creation volume is down, a decline that will impact most businesses’ sales forecasts. Responses to sales outreach have decreased as well, suggesting that sales strategies need to be adjusted to reflect the current buying reality.
External factors like budgets and industry-specific impacts from COVID-19 will inevitably affect sales cycles, but the data suggests businesses have an opportunity to attract and engage interested customers.
How Metrics Changed in March
The number of closed-won deals and new deals created are declining.
The weekly average of deals created decreased globally by 17% the week of March 16, and fell by 23% by the week of March 30, when compared to prior global averages for those weeks. Region-specific data are included below.
Your website is an important source of business right now.
Customers are initiating more interactions with businesses today than they were a year ago, and doing more research online.
Average monthly website traffic increased by 13% in March, compared to February.
Weekly chat volume via onsite chat and Facebook Messenger increased 5% after March 16, based on previous Q1 global weekly averages.
Marketing and sales teams are both reaching out to their customers more, with varying levels of success.
Marketing and sales teams sent a significantly higher volume of emails in March. However, only engagement with marketing emails increased, suggesting that opportunity exists to improve outreach and connect with the right buyers at the right time.
Marketing outreach, open rates, and database growth have increased since the start of the crisis.
Email open rates increased in March despite a significant jump in send volume. Corporate communications conveying COVID-19 related messages likely contributed to part of the growth in email volume, and we expect this metric to shift over time. Encouragingly, the number of average contacts added to HubSpot customers’ portals increased in the same time period.
What This Means for Businesses
While this is early data, some opportunities for companies have already emerged.
Focus on education, not promotion.
The increase in website traffic, buyer-initiated conversations, and marketing email open rates suggest that customers are still looking to engage with companies.
Instead of dialing up the promotion of your products and services during a crisis -- an approach that may be insensitive to your customer base, focus on nurturing the long-term relationship. Identify where you can help your customers today, without asking for anything in return.
Incorporate chat into your strategy.
Conversational marketing offers a real-time way to answer customer questions, as well as automating the lead routing process so your business can serve prospective and existing customers even when your team is out of the office.
Investing in chatbots to get customers answers more quickly, automate lead qualification or book meetings can help your company meet the increase in customer inquiries.
Refresh your sales pipeline.
Depending on your company’s sales process, a dip in new opportunities today may not impact your company’s profit & loss statement until several months from now. Many businesses will need to rethink what prospecting looks like to bolster their long-term pipeline.
On individual calls, encourage your team to emphasize a helpful, consultative selling approach. Certain factors, like your customers’ budget and willingness to enter sales conversations at this moment, are out of your control. Instead of cold calling your whole database, use your knowledge of your customers’ industries to prioritize reaching out to:
Industries that have been minimally impacted or those that are transforming quickly to meet the new challenges
Industries where your solutions are particularly relevant or useful in this moment
We hope these benchmarks provide useful context as you monitor your business’ health in the coming months. Just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of the full article.
Written by Kipp Bodnar of Hubspot